Selected Correspondence Peter
Affective Feelings – Emotions and Passions
PETER to No 21: It’s a particularly delicious rainy winter day here, which presents a good opportunity to get back to the topic that was originally under discussion – psychic vibes. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have difficulty in understanding psychic vibes mainly because they attempt to intellectually understand how such vibes operate rather than *feel* how such vibes operate in action in their daily life.
As I write this it does seem somewhat too obvious to have to say it but much of human communication is done via affective feelings and this is so because human beings are at core feeling beings. To observe how human beings communicate via feelings is quite straightforward – if someone is feeling sad then that person conveys their feeling of sadness to other people in various ways, be it by the tone of voice, by appearance of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, by body posture and so on. The other person, tuned by experience to takes notice of these signs, then feels the same feelings as the other person and a mutual communication is established on the somewhat fickle basis that they both are apparently feeling the same thing. The same form of feeling-communication can also operate amongst a group of people – if everyone is apparently feeling the same feeling at the same time then a feeling of camaraderie based on mutually-shared feeling of sadness operates.
However, when one begins to become a bit more aware of one’s own feelings in such situations, it becomes obvious that when one meets someone who is feeling sad about a personal loss, one is automatically twigged to remember a similar loss of one’s own in order to have a similar feeling to the other person – to sympathize as in suffer-with. What is interesting to take note of is that whilst the feeling of sadness is similar for both, they are more often than not both feeling sad about quite different issues.
One can see that the very same thing operates with regard to feelings of anger and resentment – if someone is feeling angry and resentful then that person conveys their feeling of anger and resentment to other people in various ways be it by the tone of voice, by appearance of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, by body posture and so on. The other person, tuned by experience to takes notice of these signs then feels the same feelings as the other person and a mutual communication is established on the basis that they both feeling the same thing. The same thing operates amongst a group of people – if everyone feels the same feeling about the same issue at the same time then a feeling of camaraderie based on mutually-shared feelings of anger and resentment (most usually towards other human beings) operates.
When I first started to become aware of how these affective feelings operate (both mine and others) in my daily life I was astounded at how my interactions with fellow human beings were indeed feeling interactions. I also started to become aware of the fact that these feeling communications could be both transmitted and received without any verbal communication whatsoever. I became aware of the fact that I could detect the mood (the feeling that someone was feeling and transmitting) the moment they walked in the door, even before they opened their mouth and said anything. I then became aware of the fact that I also invariably transmitted my own feelings to others in exactly the same way – the experiential understanding that I along with the rest of humanity am a feeling being – which in turn led me to acknowledge that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.
Once an ongoing awareness revealed how all human beings communicate by overtly transmitting and receiving feelings the next thing that I became aware of were the less obvious means of affective-feeling communications – communication via psychic vibes or psychic currents. Quite often the stronger the feelings are that the person is feeling and the more they want to keep their feelings hidden from others, the more likely it is that they will transmit their feelings via invisible psychic currents. I say invisible because in these cases there are quite often no obvious clues to be had in the tone of voice or appearance or body language and so on as to what the other is feeling – and in some cases the other may not even be aware of having the feeling themselves. But the feeling is there nevertheless and because the feeling is there as an undercurrent as it were, the feeling will most likely be received only as an undercurrent.
This undercurrent of psychic vibes is murky business indeed as it most often operates at an unconsciousness level, i.e. it operates underneath the ‘radar’ of normal awareness. It is also murky in that is one can never be sure what the other is feeling by reading the overt signs, which means that one has to revert to guesswork as to what the other is really feeling. Once I became aware of this I saw the utter futility of attempting to know with certainty what any other person was actually feeling at any time so I eventually gave up this ingrained, instinctual and automatic habit – the habit of having one’s psychic radar always ‘on’ as a method of ‘self’-defence against likely predators, in this case all of one’s fellow human beings. This in turn helped me focus my attentiveness exclusively on my own feelings – what I was feeling right now in this moment and what feelings I was either overtly or covertly transmitting to others.
I do acknowledge that it is somewhat difficult for people to really get in touch with their feelings in order to be able to see how feelings operate – how they are transmitted, how they are received, the pivotal role they play in human communication, the overt affective feelings, the covert psychic undercurrents, what triggers various feelings into operation and so on. I know that I had difficulty at first in getting in touch with my feelings, the primary reason being that we human beings are taught that expressing certain feelings is ‘bad’ and we are taught that it is best to repress such feelings by either keeping a lid on them and/or not paying attention to them. A little introspection however revealed that it was not that I didn’t have these feelings, it was simply that I had repressed them, tucked them away, very often so much so that I wasn’t even aware that I was indeed having the feelings at all. I also found that my years on the spiritual path reinforced my notion of being a good person in that I was given licence by the belief inherent in all spiritual teachings that ‘I’ was good and it was ‘others’ who were evil combined with the feeling-fed conviction that ‘I’ had a special insight of the truth and it was others who were ignorant.
I’ll leave it there as this is getting a trifle long, but the main point I am attempting to make is that the only way you can understand how psychic vibes operate is to firstly get in touch with your feelings and then observe how you invariably continuously transmit these feelings to others as well as to feel the feelings that you invariably pick up from others and then observe the manner in which you receive these feelings from others and how these feelings then trigger off feelings in you.
RESPONDENT: (...) My interest is located right now in the area of the ‘self’ reactions towards practicing actualism. That’s why I am not questioning ‘the teaching’ per see because I did it some time ago and I have already established a ‘prima facie case’. The information is valid and it’s high time to test it and further enquire into it. I agree with you that feelings prevent a sensible understanding and communication. Feelings and beliefs are the main obstacle in understanding the information supplied on the website. They distort the data received by the eyes before it’s processed by the brain.
PETER: Yes. And this is something you yourself can observe in action, not only when reading posts to this mailing list or when reading the Actual Freedom Trust website but in the rest of your daily activities and in interactions with others, no matter who they are. Once you get your own attentiveness up and running you can start to be aware of the precise moment that a feeling such as fear, anger, jealousy or resentment kicks in and then you can also notice what effect the feeling has not only on yourself but also on others around you.
I do acknowledge that this is easier said than done because I remember it took me months of persistent effort to get to the stage where I was able to do this. At first whenever I did remember to ask myself how I was experiencing this moment of being alive I would then realise that I had been running on ‘automatic’ for hours – completely and utterly self-absorbed in ‘my’ own feeling-fed world. And for anyone who has been a practicing spiritualist, i.e. who has been practicing detachment for a good while, even beginning to becoming interested in being here is doubly difficult as one needs to completely reverse the focus of one’s awareness from retreating ‘inside’ to being attentive to what is actually happening ‘outside’, as it were.
RESPONDENT: I have experienced lately some visceral (to quote No 60) reactions both to actualism and actualists. They are irrational in nature (not supported by arguments) and after they pass I can sometimes trace their source.
PETER: Yes. Over time the full gamut of the emotional reactions have been expressed on this mailing list. Some that come to mind are aggression arising out of fear, resentment arising out of jealousy, ennui arising out of boredom, bewilderment arising out of lack of knowledge, obscuration arising out of cunning and so on. You might also have noticed that it is far more easy to see feelings in action in someone else than to see them and feel them in operation in oneself, as one’s ‘self’ – and this is particularly so when and as feelings and emotions are occurring.
RESPONDENT: There are some questions though: Why is it that feelings are metaphysical and thoughts are not? The first have their origin in the heart (a physical organ) and the latter in the brain (another physical organ), they are both the end refined products of these bodily parts.
PETER: If I can just correct a common belief, the heart is not the origin of feelings, it is an organ whose sole function is to pump blood around the body. As Richard has recently written on this mailing list, the three ways a human being experiences the world is sensate firstly, affective secondly and cognitive lastly, and as you well know the affective experience is predominant to the point where it very often totally obliterates both sensate and cognitive experiencing.
As an example, after my son died I would often walk along a deserted stretch of beach near where I lived at the time totally immersed in feeling grief, so much so that hours could go by without me being aware of the sensate experience of my feet on the soft sand, the breeze on my skin, the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and so on. Eventually it dawned on me that by choosing to hang on to my feeling of grief, I was cutting myself off from the sensual experience of being here and this realization was the breaking of the stranglehold that grief had over me.
I can similarly remember being overwhelmed by cerebral introspection on many occasions such that it totally obliterated sensate experiencing until I eventually came to see the futility of indulging in abstracted thinking, imaginative scenarios, neurotic obsessions, meditative fantasizing, philosophical ruminations, compulsive worrying and so on. What eventually twigged me to the senselessness of such mind activities was that firstly such thinking always feeling fed-thinking but, more importantly, that it always impeded the possibility of any direct sensual experience of the actual world of the senses.
There has been a good deal written on the Actual Freedom Trust website about the three ways human beings experience the world and how this experiencing operates, but there is no substitute for your own hands-on investigations if you really want to know how you have been genetically and socially programmed to experience the world – which is exactly what I was pointing to in my reply to your question.
RESPONDENT: I’ve recently heard a report about someone who lives thanks to an artificial heart. I wonder if he experiences any feelings now ... his report may dissipate the globally widespread heart/love and coloured balloons nausea. For what I can remember, when in the grip of deep emotions I felt a physical (both painful and pleasurable) sensation in the stern/stomach area and prior to the ASC the chest area was intensely stimulated/heated while my heart beat rapidly increased. But rapid and powerful heart-beat may well be just a physical effect.
PETER: If I can again correct a common belief, the heart is not the origin of feelings, it is an organ whose sole function is to pump blood around the body.
Information gleaned from Encyclopaedia Britannica
And not only was he subjected to the scorn of his peers who held to their traditional beliefs but also to the ridicule of the religious establishment who ardently believed the heart was the seat of the soul and hence of the deep-seated human feelings.
When I started to become attentive to my feelings and emotions many memories surfaced of past occasions in my life when I had experienced deep emotions or indeed when I was utterly overcome by raw instinctual passions. I recalled many occasions in my life when I had been gripped by fear, stirred to aggression, overwhelmed by nurture or driven by desire. Indeed it was an outburst of anger in my latter years on the spiritual path that twigged me to the fact that my spiritual ‘goody-two-shoes’ persona was but a very thin veneer and that deep down I was still prone to being resentful, angry, frustrated, jealous, melancholic and so on. Not that I delved into these memories at all, but they did serve to remind me of the extent of the work I needed to do to become aware of the extent to which the instinctual passions dominated my life, be it stridently or subtly.
When I stopped being a spiritualist and started being an actualist, there was a good deal to be aware of and to take a good look at – the first layer being my Eastern spiritual beliefs, ethics and morals and the next layer being my Christian beliefs, morals and ethics. As I peeled away each of these outer layers I was then able to take a clear-eyed look at the raw animal survival instincts that are the base operating system of each and every human being.
The process of actualism involves exposing one’s own beliefs, morals, ethics, feelings, emotions and instinctual passions to the bright light of awareness and in order to be able to do this one needs the intent to actively explore them whenever you find that they stand in the way of you being happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: Is it possible to exist an actualist group psyche, bearing in mind that we still are selves and enjoy plenty of feelings? I have seen some synchronicity around here...
PETER: If you mean, is there what could be called a group dynamic that operates on this mailing list, then the answer is yes. There is always a group psyche, to use your term, which operates whenever feeling-beings get together. <snipped>
With regard to seeing ‘some synchronicity around here’, I would put that in the same category as serendipity – the simple fact of being alive presents a smorgasbord of opportunities, situations, coincidences, events, meetings, settings, locations, and so on, such that serendipity abounds and synchronicity is possible. My down-to-earth experience is of the serendipitous events that lead to my meeting both Richard and Vineeto which in turn allowed the synchronicity that happens between us – and by synchronicity I mean being able to co-exist together both happily and harmlessly whenever we happen to meet or interact. This synchronicity is also apparent in our correspondence on this mailing list as we tend to use the same terminology for ease and accuracy of communication, we all rely on facts as being the arbiter in deciding sensible action and we have all have direct experiential knowledge of the human condition (or have had in Richard’s case).
RESPONDENT: Okay, yesterday I was watching TV and I thought about someone 3 seconds before the phone rang and guess who was at the other end of the line? And this is not a singular event. At the same time when I sent an email to the AF mailing list saying that I will take a vacation also No 33 simultaneously did the same thing. I have also noticed that whenever I’m interested in something I find that thing in a surprisingly and unexpected way. E.g. your Catch-22 phrase, I had no idea what you meant when reading your post but a few days ago I’ve seen a TV documentary about the book.
And these happenings are not related only to people generated events so that one can say that they are only (human) psychic vibes. It seems that we are connected with the Universe (capital U as in Sunday – no pantheism/deifying intended, wrong English maybe) in a number of ways, not all being satisfactory explored.
If it is telepathy, synchronicity or serendipity, I don’t know but I heard many people experiencing it.
PETER: My experience is that it is attentiveness itself that very clearly reveals the extent of the psychic web that connects individual human beings. One of the first manifestations of this powerful enmeshment that I became aware of was the extent to which I had been influenced by the psychic powers of a spiritual teacher and of the group psyche of being one of his followers. It was a fascinating investigation of not only my own gullibility in falling into the trap but also of the extreme difficulty in breaking free of being a spiritual believer. Once I had cracked ‘the big one’, I then moved on to the other aspects of the myriad of ways ‘I’ am psychically connected to others – by family, by gender, by race, by culture, by class, by nation and lastly, and most fundamentally, by species.
I also became observant of the hit-and-miss nature of my own intuition in practice, such that I was eventually able to abandon relying on a gut-reaction – a confluence of feeling and imagination. I began to take notice not only of when my guesswork worked but also of when it didn’t and I also became aware of the particular feeling that had triggered my gut-reaction as it kicked in, and I discovered that it is mostly fear.
Nowadays what I find most astounding is that whenever I am feeling excellent neither intuition nor psychic vibes impinge upon my experience of being here … and as a consequence I become more and more aware of the intrinsic benignity of the universe itself.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the psychological and emotional structure of ‘me’. I’ve never been a community minded person, always regarded nationalism, racism, religious affiliations etc as glorified tribalism (at best a joke, at worst, the cause of unspeakable suffering in the world). I thought I was immune to all of that crap.
But just lately I’ve realised (with some surprise) that another kind of tribe (the family) is deeply embedded in me.
For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to dissolve these webs of entanglement in my mind and emotions. Not walking out on the family, not abandoning friends, but refusing to carry them around with me, refusing to define myself (or others) in terms of our special relationships based on kinship or shared experiences. I’ve never thought of myself as a possessive or clannish person by nature, but it’s all there. This psychic network of family relationships and friendships is a large part of ‘me’.
PETER: What you write of reminds me of the time I first really became aware of not being free. I had been on the spiritual path for years but when my teenage son died I experienced that I was ‘bound’, as though I had invisible bands around my chest that I needed to break free of. Having someone so young die seemed such a waste, which made me realize that I also was wasting my life unless I became free of these bands before I died.
RESPONDENT: Did that feeling of being ‘bound’ first arise when your son died, or was it something that had always been there, that only then became painfully apparent?
PETER: Being ‘normal’ was never ever satisfactory, particularly as the pursuit of material wealth and financial power never appealed to me – I somehow knew that ‘something’ was missing but I didn’t know of any alternative. About age 33 I fell for the belief that abandoning grim reality and opting for a greater reality meant freedom. I guess when my son died I no could longer kid myself that I knew anything about freedom and hence the feeling of not being free suddenly surfaced as being more urgent and therefore much more obvious.
RESPONDENT: I think I know what you mean about those bands. If we’re talking about the same thing, there’s nothing abstract about it is there? ... for me it feels something like a weight or a drag in the solar plexus region.
PETER: I would describe my feeling as more like being in a straight-jacket and, yes, there was nothing abstract about it at all – there was a definite physical component to the feeling, as there is with all feelings.
Plumbing the depths of such feelings can be fraught with danger for depression, and despair can lay at the bottom, but at the time, and in the circumstances, this feeling of not being free proved to be inspirational and motivational – the feeling was so strong that it was not something I could either dismiss or deny as I had done so often before.
RESPONDENT: I’ve noticed something lately that I find strange and interesting: the emotions of platonic love, fear, and a (vaguely doomed) sense of obligation are all, on a physiological level, quite similar. They have a different ... uhm ... cognitive halo ... surrounding them, but the sensation of aching heaviness is, if not identical, then pretty close.
PETER: Observation will reveal that all feelings and emotions have physical sensations associated with them. The last half century of scientific study has unearthed the cause of this – a veritable cocktail of hormones are triggered by instinctive reactions to both actual or presumed physical dangers as well as to intuitive, as in speculative or imaginary, psychic dangers.
RESPONDENT: If we’re talking about the same thing, I carry this sensation/feeling around with me everywhere I go (sometimes it’s more oppressive than others, of course, but it’s almost always present to some degree). Apart from a few short interludes of genuine happiness, I always have.
PETER: We may well be talking about different things here. I was talking about a singular life-changing realization – the realization that my life would be a waste if I didn’t become free of the sense of bondage that I experienced as bands around my chest. From what I understand you are talking of an almost constant background feeling of heaviness. If this is the case then I can relate to this – for me it was a feeling of seriousness and responsibility that was both wearying and stressful. It’s a tough job being an entity living inside a corporeal body, ever on guard, ever needing to be in control and yet never being able to do so. It appears that my son’s death was the catalyst for me not accepting this as being a good enough way to live.
RESPONDENT: Only rarely am I completely free of it (more below). And, hmmm, just realised as I’m writing this, I actually feel guilty about feeling this way. (Allow me to rant for a moment here because this is quite unexpected). Yes. A thousand exhortations to ‘count your blessings’, ‘think yourself lucky’, ‘thank your lucky stars’, ‘there but for the grace of God ...’, have all been taken (literally) to heart. Heh. When I hear other people talk about the ‘unbearable lightness of being’, it seems to me that ‘being’ is not a balloon, it’s a fucking boulder!
PETER: The human condition is littered with dimwitticisms that exhort you to be grateful for your suffering, not to grumble about your lot in life, to accept things as they are, and so on. When I came to realize that most, if not all, of these platitudes originate from those who believe that they will finally rest in peace in a spurious after-life, I came to understand the extent to which sorrow permeates the human condition. It’s not for nothing that ‘self’-centred reality is know as grim reality.
RESPONDENT: ‘Freedom’ (from this boulder) has taken a couple of forms for me. Firstly, there definitely were PCEs in early childhood, and more and more echoes of these are coming back to me lately. (There was also a deep and leaden melancholy feeling, in spite of being a tough, robust, healthy kid raised in ‘happy’ circumstances). Secondly there was mischief with my mates which gave me great delight. Thirdly, a deep and lasting relationship with my girlfriend. And finally, dalliances with psychedelics. I’ll pause for now, otherwise this’ll become an autobiography.
PETER: The problem I found with being a normal human being was that I was prone to bouts of melancholy no matter how ‘positive’ I tried to be, that I had a tendency to be antagonistic no matter how much I tried to hide it … and that I had an over-arching feeling of being separate from everyone and everything, a feeling which was only temporarily relieved by ‘belonging’ to someone or by ‘owning’ something. It’s the lot of being a passionate being. (...)
PETER: By the stage of my second experience of not being free I had by-and-large demolished my social conditioning – including the spiritual conditioning that insists that to become free of social conditioning is the meaning of life – which meant I was then able to experience that there is in fact another layer beneath one’s social conditioning that one needs to become free of, and that is the human condition itself. My experience of being tethered to Humanity made it clear that I would not be actually free whilst these invisible emotional tentacles – as in psychic ties – remained.
It also occurred to me at the time that ‘I’ only exist whilst these tentacles exist and if these tentacles disappeared then ‘I’ would cease to exist … because ‘I’, as an affective non-physical being, only exist as a member of an affective ‘big club’ we call Humanity, a ‘club’ that has no existence in actuality.
RESPONDENT: It’s always fascinating to hear about how people experience themselves. As one who had already decided to become free of the human condition by eliminating the affective self, it’s understandable that those last vestiges of self would be experienced as ‘tentacles’. It’s a little different for me in that there seems to be two of ‘me’ (i.e. two souls, not just one ego and one soul). See if this makes sense:
The first affective self is the ‘stone’ or ‘boulder’ that I referred to before. It’s the weight of love, caring, responsibility, and it happens to feel (viscerally) not unlike fear, guilt or doom, except that one experiences them with a courage instead of weakness. (How absurd this seems when I think about it. I wonder if this is specific to me, or whether other people feel this way.)
PETER: If by courage you mean ‘it takes courage to fight the good fight’, ‘it takes courage to go on despite the setbacks’, ‘it takes courage to pick oneself up again and to keep going’, and so on, then I can remember having had such feelings when I was a normal man. I remember it as being bloody hard work trying to be good and loving all the time – it’s a stressful business by and large.
RESPONDENT: The other affective self is a busy, restless little fellow. He’s not enmeshed in tentacles, he is a bundle of tentacles and claws. Actually, I visualise ‘it’ is as a kind of crab or some other crustacean scuttling away blindly but purposefully, never satisfied, in truth not even satisfiable (or not for long anyway).
PETER: Forever needing to be busy, forever wary, forever thinking about the past or worrying about the future, basically neurotic and ever fearful at root?
RESPONDENT: I think of the first affective self as a somewhat unhappy person who’s bearing up as nobly and kindly and with as much dignity as possible. The second one is just a mad scuttler, a heartless mechanism that perpetually strives for god-knows-what. Writing about this helps to clarify something. Probably these affective selves are none other than what you guys call ‘sorrow’ and ‘malice’ respectively.
PETER: Yep, the so-called ‘good’ passions are at root sorrowful and the so-called ‘bad passions’ are at root fearful. And it is these instinctual passions, both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, that fuel the malice and sorrow of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: To ‘me’ (guess which one ;-)) ‘they’ do not feel like the same entity, but rather two sets of twins. That is, each of these affective selves has its counterpart with a pair of twin egos. One of these twin egos is a rather melancholic, whimsical, friendly, harmless, bumbling, caring sort of fellow, and the other is a ruthless, self-centred ratbag who looks out for number one in every situation (though he’s pretty good at disguising this).
RESPONDENT: Just to set the record straight ;-). At this point I find it neither necessary nor desirable to respond in a personal way (meaning addressing any members <finding them either supporting or not supporting the worldview currently presented as ACTUALISM>). The basic goal and purpose to establish (becoming happy and harmless while living a life in which there is no denial whatsoever of any bodily functions or qualities attributed to what is generally referred to as the human body) has been agreed upon as to be possible beneficial.
PETER: If I may point out something both from my own experience of spiritual years, and from observing others, that may be relevant. If you run the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and come up with the answer ‘I am being angry right now’ or ‘I am feeling sad right now’ then you have something to investigate. If, however, you adopt the spiritual approach of ‘there is anger arising (in my body)’ or dissociate from the anger by asking ‘who is being angry right now?’ – as though it was someone else but you being angry – then you are indulging in the spiritual practice of denial and cultivating a new, holier than thou, dissociated identity.
The simplicity of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ with sincerity is not an easy exercise, but for someone who dissociates from their feelings it is impossible.
RESPONDENT: So ... even if the topic seems to have become a little hazy I’ll see if I can ‘nutshell’ it anyway. For purpose of completeness and to bring a little more coherency in the conversation, I just wanna make my position clearest as possible as to why I have been ‘hammering’ on the significance (for me that is) on the ‘Byron conflict’ I was there as an actual witness/ participant of/in a situation that is best described as a rather ‘intensive’ meeting between a ‘graduated’ Humaniversity student dissident and an Emb. VIE (virtual intimacy expert) Now this HS was a self-proclaimed expert on human intimacy. The demonstration of his ‘expertise’ gave me a clear clue how it is on the one hand of utmost necessity to experience an instinctive feeling , yet on the other hand the difficulty actually to choose neither to suppress nor to express it.
That’s what nerves of steel (as I understand it) is all about; it has nothing to do with the need to portray oneself as a hero (I have the guts to do it and you don’t, so I’m more daring). Nerves of steel are required to ‘contain’ that kind of energy that is released in the system. Which is basically a vast difference as to a meditation method called the Aum (a humaniversity deviced method in order to explore intense social interaction).
PETER: I take it you are talking about examining a feeling or emotion as it is happening rather than running on automatic by either suppressing it or expressing it. This is just plain common sense, it doesn’t require nerves of steel at all. For example, if you want to explore and understand anger, it makes sense that you first have to acknowledge that you do feel angry sometimes. By doing so you are then able to become attentive to feelings of anger when and as they occur.
If you feel angry and then you blurt it out on other people or blame people, things or events for causing your anger, you miss the opportunity of putting the feeling of anger on the microscope slide and examining it, so to speak. Or, to put it another way, if you are fully involved in suppressing or expressing a feeling, you simply have no time left to be attentive to the feeling as it is occurring.
RESPONDENT: Though I have mentioned in previous posts that I like to stay clear from politics, yet I can not deny that when taking notice of the overall condition of this planet certain things come into focus and trigger feelings especially in the layer of gender conditioning.
PETER: Yes. The point of actualism is not to deny the feelings that come to the surface when taking notice of the world as-it-is and people as-they-are. Only by becoming aware of these normally suppressed, denied or supposedly transcended feelings, can one break through the protective shell of self-righteousness that most spiritual seekers have cloaked themselves in and begin a clear-eyed study of one’s own psyche in action.
RESPONDENT: Seeing that, and also considering that evaluation of spirituality on this forum is a bit being overemphasized; i.e. the Dalai Lama has been fairly exposed among other so-called spiritual leaders, I think it might be learnfull to also take a look at leaders of a ‘seemingly’ different category.
PETER: I see it as a good sign that you think ‘that evaluation of spirituality on this forum is a bit being overemphasized’ because it can be an indication that you are starting to look at the whole picture of the human condition rather than accept the common good-spiritual/bad-materialistic division that has plagued human thinking and feeling since its first inception thousands of years ago.
PETER: I don’t want to pre-empt your own experiential observations about the sorrowful feelings but in my own investigations I discovered that feelings of malice is more readily discernible than feelings of sorrow. Speaking metaphorically – malice can be experienced as being peaks or flare-ups of emotion, sadness can be experienced as valleys or troughs of emotion, whereas in general the constant plain or milieu of human feelings is one of seriousness and sullenness. The other observation I have made is that sorrow in the form of the feeling of compassion – the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering – is the essential emotion that binds Humanity together, and hence binds ‘me’ to Humanity. Which is why I described sorrow as being a strongest emotional tether to break free of.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for your response. After some reflection, it appears that I am still participating in the feelings of compassion ... not as strongly as before ... but it is lingering around from time to time. I like your definition: ‘the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering’.
PETER: The deep feelings that come from being an instinctual being are not likely to disappear overnight as they are the very core of ‘me’. The reason I used the word compulsion was to emphasize the instinctual nature of grief, sorrow and compassion. Because these feelings are ‘me’ and ‘I’ am these feelings, the best ‘I’ can do is to be attentive of these feelings whenever and wherever they kick in, name them, observe them in action, feel what they feel like and, as soon as possible, get back to feeling good about being here. This way you disempower the sorrowful feelings before they set in and totally whisk you away from the sensual enjoyment of being here.
RESPONDENT: Now, if compassion were in some way genuinely useful ... if it actually worked in freeing one from insidious feelings that were either destructive to others or oneself, then at least compassion would have some positive purpose or value.
PETER: What really got me wanting to do something about my sadness and melancholy was a sincere consideration for other people – particularly those closest to me. When I started to become aware of my sad feelings, I also started to become aware of how my feelings affected other people – and feelings of sorrow have a way of spreading from person to person rather like a dark cloud of malaise. The curious thing is that when I started to be attentive to my own feelings of sorrow and thereby gradually stopped being a contributor to this cloud of malaise, I was also less and less affected by the sad feelings emanating from others.
RESPONDENT: I do conclude that when I moved into compassion from compassionless states ... I felt more connected with myself and others ... more in touch with feelings ... as opposed to not feeling or just feeling fear all of the time. Being compassionate, I felt myself to be coming from and living from my own heart. I was tapping into ‘love’ that I could finally experience for myself and share with others. I covertly set myself up as a ‘better’ person ... able to discern the difference between compassionate people and their actions and uncompassionate people and their actions.
PETER: Yes. The more you start to become attentive to how your own psyche operates, the more you allow yourself to feel the quality of feelings, the more you come to experientially understand the human condition – how feelings of sadness and grief have a bitter-sweet self-indulgent flavour, how feelings of compassion and pity have a cop-out element to them, how feelings of love and compassion for others are inextricably entwined with feelings of superiority and dependency, how the so-called bad feelings are debilitating and the so-called good feelings are aggrandizing, and so on. And the more you experientially understand the human condition the more you come to understand that there is no one to blame – the whole notion of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is but a human invention that has no existence outside of the heads and hearts of human beings.
RESPONDENT: I do not actively do this any longer. I take this back! I do from time to time. Now, with actualism, compassion is up for grabs and may be more closely examined. If I throw out compassion, will I revert to the carefully guarded, encapsulated person I used to be. Will I loose my warmth and become cold? I’m not sure how to proceed with this. Yet, I will examine it.
PETER: Only you can dare to question the tried and true ways of humanity, only you can dare to take the necessary practical steps that are necessary if you want to be actually free of the human condition of malice and sorrow. I always said I went a fair way in questioning the tried and true ways of humanity before I met Richard and was emboldened by his success in becoming free of the human condition to keep going all the way. Those of us who follow Richard’s precedent have it much easier because there is now a path to follow but the wonderful thing is that you get to walk the path by yourself, for yourself and in doing so you prove by your actions that you genuinely care about actually facilitating peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: Will you please tell me, do all completed investigations end with a belief being proven false, or do they sometimes end with an affective feeling simply disappearing?
PETER: A completed investigations ends when I recognize that one of ‘my’ precious beliefs is nothing other than one of the plethora of beliefs ‘I’ have either unwittingly imbibed in early childhood, cunningly taken up later in life in order to ingratiate myself into a particular group or accepted it as being a Truth solely because some Big Daddy or Big Mummy figure said it or is supposed to have said it.
In my experience, and my observations of others, there is usually a particularly precious belief that ‘I’ hold so dear that ‘I’ will stubbornly fight to hang on to, rather than relinquish it. There is usually one belief that is so much a part of ‘my’ identity that to relinquish it is to bring up deep feelings such as being irresponsible, being a traitor, a defector, a turncoat, a fool, or whatever.
But if you dare to let go of your most cherished belief, you can then begin to see all your other beliefs for what they are –‘your’ beliefs, an integral part of your social identity. Each time one of these beliefs come to the surface – and you will notice them because you will feel offended if it is brought into question and you will feel smugly justified when it is affirmed by others – you can then investigate the validity and sensibility of holding on to that particular belief. Provided you have set your sights on being happy and harmless, then each time you discover a belief you have a choice – hold on to the belief and remain feeling ‘self’-satisfied or offended, or be happy and harmless.
Pretty soon you get the hang of it and finding beliefs and chucking them out becomes great fun. As the momentum builds you will eventually get to the stage where you stop the very act of believing and you will then start to stand on your own two feet for the first time in your life. Provided you don’t get swept away with aggrandizing feelings at this point, you will find yourself well on the way to becoming free of malice and sorrow.
As for the second part of your question – ‘do they sometimes end with an affective feeling simply disappearing?’ – once you have become aware of a feeling such as anger or pride as it is happening, you have in effect brought the feeling out into the open and exposed it for what it is. Then, when it reappears again, you can recognize the emergence of the feeling in its very early stage and this awareness will cause it not to grow and take over.
This is not suppressing the feeling – this is being aware of the feeling, naming the feeling and feeling the feeling, all the while being aware that this is what you are doing – it is a bit like detecting an ember before it grows to become a raging bushfire. When you get to the stage that you only detect the occasional very faint ember such that it never glows brightly, let alone grows into a bushfire, you are virtually free of malice and sorrow – and your own sincerity will be the judge of that.
As you can see I don’t have anything particularly new to say on the subject, but maybe saying it in a different way will have been of use to you. If I haven’t addressed your question satisfactorily, I am only too happy discuss it further – topics such as these are ‘right up my alley’, so to speak. (...)
RESPONDENT: For panic attacks/phobias that don’t appear to have any obvious beliefs surrounding it, what would one do?
PETER: There are of course feelings that are not associated with taking offence when you feel one of ‘your’ beliefs – part of your social identity – is being brought into question, exposed for what it is, overtly or inadvertently challenged by someone or some event. There are feelings and emotions that are associated with you being an instinctual being. You will get to know these as feeling much ‘closer to the bone’ as it were – they are deep-down-inside feelings so much so that they can be described as gut-wrenching or heart-rendering.
What would one do when these surface? – keep your hands in your pockets – label the feeling, feel the feeling, and then get back to feeling good as soon as possible. If you can’t get out of the feeling because it too all-consuming, find a quiet, safe place and literally wait it out, because you will find that like all feelings, eventually it will subside. Actualism is about awareness and investigation not indulgence and right suffering.
RESPONDENT: If I simply asked, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, and did nothing else, would this just lead to a state of dissociation?
RESPONDENT: So it is the thought element of the emotion that is special and it is what allows us to have enormously varied ways of expressing our instincts.
PETER: In my early days of actualism, whenever I asked myself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I most often came up with a thought response, in other words I often thought that I was thinking something that I shouldn’t be thinking and all I needed to do was change my thinking and that would be that. I soon discovered that right thinking and wrong thinking was nothing but the morals and ethics and beliefs ‘I’ had taken on board as part and parcel of my social identity and that what I was calling a wrong thought or a bad thought was really a feeling.
As an example – sometimes I would come up with an answer that ‘I was just thinking about something that happened a while ago’. A little further probing and I would come up with an answer that ‘I was concerned about something that happened a while ago – did I do the right thing’. A little more probing and I discovered I was anxious about the repercussions, and a little further I discovered that I was feeling fearful of the consequences.
What started off as me thinking I was merely thinking, eventually revealed that I was really having a feeling at the time, and a strong one at that. I only say this because it is common that people have a good deal of difficulty in distinguishing between thoughts and feelings, and none more so than the male of the species.
RESPONDENT: I began learning the applicable thought patterns at birth (and probably even before birth). The question is, when do I stop linking learned thought patterns to instinctual drives and if I can link them, can I unlink them, or replace them with new ones? The answer appears to be yes. During the last year I’ve watched my emotions. I’ve felt fear, sadness and resignation and anger and found under it very often the drive to belong – to feel safe in a secure relationship to others. When I ponder this emotion I find that (given my personal situation) I am actually safe and secure in this physical world and will continue to be so regardless of which particular person I associate with. This produces an internal smile, a quiet sensation of happiness. This has allowed me to quickly drop the suffering of rejection and not-belonging and the malice I have felt toward others for excluding me. Since I’m less angry, sad, and resigned my relations with others have become more amicable and productive. I’m happier and more harmless.
PETER: Great, hey. When you say ‘during the last year I’ve watched my emotions. I’ve felt fear, sadness and resignation and anger ...’ – these aren’t learnt thought patterns, these are feelings that you have become aware of as they are happening, i.e. you have labelled them and felt them as they were happening. If you set your sights on becoming happy and harmless then, by becoming aware of feelings of sadness and animosity as they arise, you can pull the rug out from under these feelings and get back to being happy and harmless again as soon as possible. As you seem to be reporting, this process of continual awareness and disempowerment does produce tangible results.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had feelings of rejection and being misunderstood from responses and non responses on this list. It’s fuel for the fire that can burn away self-importance and a reminder that malice and competitiveness are there to be burned away too.
PETER: I do acknowledge that writing on this list can sometimes be a challenging business as one gets no support here for one’s dearly-held beliefs, no sustenance for one’s bitter-sweet sadness and no validation of one’s pet animosities.
But then again, would you have it any other way?
RESPONDENT: My experience has taught me that the first prerequisite of true knowing is letting go of the intellect. In trying to analyze how ‘I’ am experiencing this moment I am stuck in the mind and prevented from attaining any sort of pure, thoughtless awareness.
PETER: Indeed. Most people have been trained to suppress their feelings and, as such, feel stuck when trying to discover ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’. The ‘pure thoughtless awareness’ experience you are trying to attain is the common affective religious experience as in being there ‘abundantly happy, endlessly grateful and consciously connected with the Pure Source’, as you said further down. What I am talking of is ‘how are you experiencing this moment of being alive’, right here and now on earth as, it is with people as they are, which is 180 degrees different to becoming un-attached, retreating inside and going there to be with God.
Pure sensate-only sensual experiencing is only experienced in brief moments, because human beings are continually tossed about on a raging sea of tender and savage feelings, emotions and passions.
RESPONDENT: The most profound and transforming experiences of life come when we cease attempting to analyze what is happening to us.
PETER: Eastern spiritual teaching is not aimed at finding out what is going on in one’s psyche, investigating these feelings and passions but is aimed at suppressing the bad feelings and savage passions and giving full reign to the good feelings and tender passions. An old, ancient, fear-driven idea that has been tried and found wanting for millennia because it not only fails to address the problem of human malice and sorrow, it prevents one from even finding out exactly what is the problem inside oneself.
I for one was vitally interested in why I was sad, melancholic, peeved, annoyed, angry, unattached, alienated, euphoric, blessed out, humbled, grateful, loving, hateful, resentful, bored, envious, etc. Why all these feelings prevented me from being happy and harmless 24 hrs. a day everyday? But in order to become interested and begin questioning and investigating I had to abandon my spiritual conditioning.
PETER: The practice of detachment from the physical, material world and renunciation of sensate, sensual experience is fundamental to entering fully into the more refined, ethereal, inner spirit-ual world.
RESPONDENT to No 14: I agree with Peter here. But I can see very clearly the following too ... if we just replace a couple of words: The practice of detachment from the spiritual world, the feelings, emotions and passions in general is fundamental to entering fully into the more material, rational, ‘intelligent and logical’ world (as one sees it).
PETER: You use inverted commas as though you are directly quoting my words, which is not the case. I have never used the words rational or logical to describe the actual world. Rational thinking and logic are no substitute for a clarity of thinking that is unimpeded by ‘self’-centred – or ‘Self’-centred – emotions and feelings arising from the instinctual passions. Rational and logical type thinking and philosophies were invented largely by impractical men ‘holed up’ in ivory towers, who were neither in touch with their emotions and feelings nor their physical senses.
It is vital to explore and investigate the affective feelings and emotions that arise from the instinctual animal passions – both the tender or so-called ‘good’ and the savage or so-called ‘bad’ – for the secret to being actually free of malice and sorrow lies in this very exploration. It is essential to understand and fully comprehend that one’s feelings and emotions are part and parcel of the Human Condition and not a personal fault, failure, stigma or ‘evil’. Fear, aggression, nurture and desire are innate passions that every human being is programmed with by blind nature. Active observing and investigating – neither suppressing or expressing – has the added advantage of both getting men fully into their feelings for the first time in their life and getting women to examine their feelings, one by one, instead of being run by a basketful of them all at once.
Few spiritual believers are prepared to make this investigation of feelings, emotions and instinctual passions for they believe that if they dare to question the spiritual ‘good’ feelings they will simply end up back in the ‘real’ world that they have been desperately trying to escape from. Some fear that to question their spiritual beliefs is to go towards the devil or evil while others see it as ending up in a sort of robotic catatonic state of non-feeling. What belies these fears is the PCE where the purity, perfection and benevolence of the actual world becomes magically apparent as having been here all the time ... if only ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul wasn’t in the way.
RESPONDENT: You see, the ‘practice of detachment’ can work both ways! The overall rule seems to be that we can live our lives as we please ... as long as we invest our energy in detachment.
PETER: I don’t practice detachment in any way at all. What I did was undertake a thorough investigation into all that prevented me from being fully and intimately involved in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. This includes working in the market place, running a business, living with a companion with all the delights of intimacy, equity and sensuous sexual play, being free to enjoy all of the sensual delights such as eating meat, drinking coffee and smoking tobacco and being able to directly relate to all of my fellow human beings without imposing ‘my’ instinctive feelings or ‘my’ ethical or moral judgements upon them.
PETER: You wrote to No 30 on the subject of clarity and perception –
RESPONDENT: Your follow-up question regarding the change in how we perceive ‘the world’ when our mood changes is an interesting one. I think there is a direct correlation between our level of consciousness and how we ‘see’, even in a physical sense. I too have noticed the dramatic lightening-up effect when the fearful or angry thoughts pass.
PETER: Fearful or angry thoughts are feelings, not thoughts. Fear is a feeling, as is anger. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts. A feeling is sensately experienced in the body, either in the heart area or the gut, due to the flow of chemicals from the instinctual brain.
Spiritual belief is that bad thoughts and wrong thinking are the cause of our malice and sorrow and completely ignore the fact that it is the feelings that arise from the instinctual passions that are the real problem.
RESPONDENT: I am starting to experience these episodes as energy fields passing through consciousness and resisting the urge to identify them as ‘my’ problems or fears. This gives them a relatively short life-span. I notice that when I am experiencing these heavy energy fields they seem very real and I can’t imagine that I will ever feel happy again, and yet when they pass I do indeed experience happiness, love and joy once again.
PETER: What you label ‘energy fields’ are in fact your very own feelings and emotions. It is common in the real world to blame others for one’s own fear and anger and it is common in the spiritual world to blame others in general – the unconscious, evil or normal people – while disowning these same feelings in oneself.
This is what is called dis-identifying with one’s feelings. This is the quintessential religious/spiritual practice whereby one dis-identifies from the bad feelings that arise from the savage instinctual passions – it is not ‘my’ anger or ‘my’ fear – and identifies with the good feelings that arise from tender instinctual passions – the real ‘me’ who is all-loving and all-encompassing.
RESPONDENT: I always think I have to do something to ‘fix’ the problems or to protect ‘myself’, but I am really starting to see that they will just dissolve and this is giving me the freedom to just watch them come and go.
PETER: This Eastern spiritual method of denying one’s own bad feelings of malice and sorrow, and accepting that they just come and go, means that one avoids the possibility and opportunity to irrevocably change oneself such that the animal instinctual passions can be eliminated altogether. This is the classic spiritual formula of ‘denial pus acceptance equals no possible change’.
RESPONDENT: There is always the compulsion to project the problem outward so I can do something about it but now I am seeing through that temptation sometimes as well.
PETER: Curiously, in Eastern spiritual teachings there is never the compulsion to look inwards so as to seek the very source of the fear, aggression, nurture and desire. One is only encouraged and taught to look inwards for the grand ‘self’-fulfilling feelings of Love, God, Bliss, Timelessness, etc. Ye shall find what ye seek ... and ignore what you want to ignore.
RESPONDENT: It is fascinating to be alive!
RESPONDENT: And I suspect that we’re never going to be able to leave these emotions behind us, they will always be there but in a less intense way.
PETER: A friend from my spiritual days once asked me about actualism and I said it was about becoming free from malice and sorrow. She looked a little quizzical, so I said ‘not being angry any more’. She said she wanted to keep her anger for she had to fight for herself to get what she wanted. I said ‘what about not being sad any more?’ She said she liked feeling sad – that bitter-sweet feeling of sorrow, a sad song, a sad love story ...
Freedom from malice and sorrow will not appeal to many.
RESPONDENT: The important thing is the relationship we have to our emotions and instinctual passions, if we can see clearly what’s going on inside of us we can eventually (or even suddenly) take full responsibility for our actions and live in a harmless way. Once again it is important that we stop fooling ourselves and dare to see what we’re actually doing. So when you talk about eliminating the instinctual animal passions do you mean that they disappear or that they still exist in our body but that we’re looking at a totally different landscape so to speak.
PETER: Not only am I talking about the elimination of instinctual passions but the ‘me’ who feels sad, angry, lost, lonely, frightened, etc. If ‘you’ maintain a separate relationship to your emotions this is dissociation for ‘I’ am my passions and my passions are ‘me’ – they are not separate. Likewise if ‘I’ maintain control over ‘my’ emotions it is ‘me’ maintaining control over ‘me’ – a task that requires almost constant vigil and on-guardness. Self-immolation, or the ending of me is the only way to be actually free of ‘my’ instinctual passions for they are one and the same thing.
RESPONDENT: I most likely won’t be part of the mailing list group for much longer. I can only deal with groups for a short time then I just want to be quiet. I am very interested in the whole ego thing so I will be responding to what I read in the magazine when I get my copy here. Just be open-minded and see what I have to say. You may not agree with any of it, which is fine, but you may also see where I am coming from.
PETER: Yes, I did note with interest your post on the subject of ego. Given that my interest is peace on earth and I like to reply in detail I can’t comment on your post on the list so I will take the opportunity to do so here.
You say you can’t hate but you obviously can still blame other human beings for as you said at the start of this post –
These feelings usually range from being upset, miffed, impatient, perhaps even angry or swing back the other way to feeling pity for them, sad, despairing, hopelessness and perhaps even depressed. If you ‘can’t hate’ which of these other feelings do you ‘still have’? When you say
do you include the human beings who are in the governments that run this world and do you include all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, despair and suicide in this wonder-full creation that is not ‘separate from your own being’?
RESPONDENT: Just because I can’t hate doesn’t mean I can’t see the facts before my eyes. I find nothing wrong with feeling many ways about things in this world. That does not for a moment make me feel separate from the whole. That would be nonsense. It saddens me deeply to see what is happening in the world.
PETER: I presume you see what I see – people being malicious or angry to the point of killing others and people being sorrowful or sad to the point of killing themselves. You have said you don’t feel hate any more and now you say you can feel deeply sad in your awakened state. It is good to find someone in an awakened state who is willing to be honest about what is going on with them and how they experience the world rather than say it can’t be put into words. I am curious though when you say that after your ego-death, if I can use that term, you no longer identify with the nightmare of ‘fear, suffering, hatred’ yet you still feel the suffering of others. Is it that you no longer think you are identified with other human beings but you still feel identified? If so, this would be in accord with my experience in that transcending the thinking self still leaves a feeling self, often denoted as an impersonal self or a grand Self.
RESPONDENT: When you see what is real, and the false is still acting on the world, you do all you can to help stop that process. And that is what it is: A process of misunderstanding based on a false belief brought about by the ego dream. I know at the core of all those people doing all the things that cause suffering is the same being I am. I know that by going through what I did changed all that for me and it can change it for everyone.
PETER: But curiously enough you still say you suffer as in ‘it saddens me deeply to see what is happening in the world’. I presume this deep sadness for others is a suffering for others as in feeling compassion for others. This again would be in accord with the transcendence of a personal self and personal suffering to a state of being an impersonal self who then feels sorrow for others – an impersonal, non-identified suffering. Again this is in accord with my experience – the ending of personal psychological suffering is not the end of suffering for then one has the experience of suffering for all of humanity, a psychic suffering, whereby misery and pain can literally drip off everything. My experience in the psychic world is that this type of suffering can be far deeper than one’s own personal suffering for one then takes on everyone else’s suffering. No wonder the Enlightened Ones are driven to save the world and desperate to entice others to join them in their crusade, for underpinning the Divine lays, ever lurking, the desperation of universal suffering – often referred to as the Diabolical.
Of course, there is no Divine or Diabolical, bliss or despair, malice or sorrow or any of the instinctual passions in the actual world. All these feelings and beliefs, ideas and fantasies exist only because they are the psychological and psychic machinations of a wayward identity within the flesh and blood body. These feelings may well be real, and are felt to be so because of the chemicals that surge through the human body from the reptilian brain ... but they are not actual, as in existing in the physical world.
RESPONDENT: Instead of them inquiring into our experiences, they go on and on exclaiming themselves to have got it right and the rest of us to be wrong. That doesn’t set the ground for talk between equals.
PETER: Nowhere have either Vineeto or I exclaimed ‘to have got it right and the rest of (you) to be wrong’. A fact is a fact – it stands on its own as it were – it is neither right or wrong. To me it is far better to live one’s life based on facts rather than beliefs – then one is free to judge things as ‘silly’ or ‘sensible’ firmly based on facts.
Simple things like – if you want to live with a woman (or man) it would be good to do so in peace, harmony and equity. In the case of Vineeto and I, we had a contract to look at everything (in ourselves only – not the other) that was in the way of that being possible. And within 12 months we succeeded – and one of the first things I had to throw out was ‘right and wrong’.
Also, it was a trap for me when I would put what Richard was saying into the ‘right and wrong’ basket. It was a recipe for conflict, and a vain attempt by ‘me’ to justify ‘my’ knowledge, ‘my’ experience – in short, ‘my’ very existence. And beneath it all, ever-lurking, lay pride.
As for ‘equals’, on meeting Richard, I quickly had to abandon the principle. Here was a man who was happy and harmless, had a knowledge of the Human Condition that is unprecedented in human history and who knew the delusion of Enlightenment from the inside. I settled into his lounge-room and lapped up all I could – to find out ‘a new way of walking’ – as someone posted the other day – upright, free, independent, beholden to no-one. Happy and harmless.
I freely acknowledged I had a lot to learn and that he was a far superior human being. He is, after all, free of malice and sorrow, and I unabashedly set out to learn all that I could in order to emulate his freedom.
RESPONDENT: here is a suggestion from someone who is very bored with your combination of ignorance and arrogance and the long boring letters that I have to delete. Go to One.List.com a very nice site where you can start your own list.
PETER: Speaking personally, I often found in life that if I became very bored with something, was very fearful of something, or was very offended by something, it was the very next thing in life I needed to investigate, tackle, explore, find out about – in order to rid myself of these very emotions such that I became happy again. Of course, this may not be the case with you, you may well be happy with your life and your chosen path.
And yes, we do have our own mailing list, anyone can get to it from our web-site.
I’m just here fishing for any other intrepid pioneers who may be dissatisfied with the results obtained on the spirit-ual path, and are ready and willing to explore and investigate the Human Condition a little deeper.
RESPONDENT: Peter, what you are describing here, between your excessive discursive pronouncements is simply... taking responsibility for one’s feelings. And I know, it is not popular, widely accomplished, frightening, etc, etc,... BUT IT IS HARDLY NEW!!!! New for you obviously.
PETER: It is a good opportunity to examine that hoary old platitude ‘taking responsibility for one’s feelings’.
I always wondered what was at the core of it? What it really meant?
Let’s stick to some practical personal examples – those that concern the actual world of people, things and events.
I had a number of relationships with women in my life that all degenerated to the point where neither I, nor my partner, were happy. I saw that my feelings, be they jealousy, anger, sullen withdrawal, resentment or whatever, were not only making me unhappy, they were directly causing my companion to be unhappy. And that further, on many occasions the feelings I had towards her were malicious (albeit psychically conveyed). To ‘feel’ anger towards someone is to be malicious – one does not have to resort to physical or verbal violence.
When I began to realise this I was so horrified that I withdrew from relationships altogether. It was only when I met Richard that I decided to do something about my feelings and emotions. Eliminate them entirely so not only could I live happily – free of sorrow, but that I could live 24 hrs. a day with someone else and not cause unhappiness in other – free of malice.
In my work, if I made a mistake I would admit the mistake, endeavour to fix it, and then make sure I didn’t do it again. With a feeling such as anger, there was nothing I could do to fix it afterwards, except do my damnedest to make sure I didn’t get angry again, ever, in the same situation. And then, when I saw anger again in another situation I would do exactly the same thing. My aim was to eliminate anger in me. It was useless to say sorry, beg forgiveness, and sheer hypocrisy to say ‘I take responsibility for it’ and then not do all I can not to have it happen again.
Many spiritual people even claim their right to be angry, and insist on ‘loving’ themselves for it rather than feel the guilt that usually follows. The other classic is to claim the ‘right’ to be angry back – enshrined in the ‘normal’ world as Justice, or defending one’s right.
The claim of ‘taking responsibility for one’s feelings’ has to be seen for the cop-out it is, if one is to be serious about becoming free of malice and sorrow, and if one at all cares about one’s fellow human beings.
By neither expressing or repressing, having a sincere intent to experience the purity and perfection as evidenced in a PCE, a pure consciousness experience, it is now possible to eliminate both sorrow and malice from one’s life to the point where they are virtually non-existent. I say this from personal experience not theory. Then, and only then, is it possible that a final self-immolation will occur – (of both ego and soul).
PETER: Eastern philosophy and religion deny and negate the innate intelligence and common sense operation of thought while giving full and unbridled reign to the affective and imaginary faculties. ‘Get out of your head and into your heart’ can be translated into ‘give up common sense and you can imagine and ‘feel’ anything you want to’. Feelings of Love, Oneness, God, etc. abound – varying only by the particular belief system one is influenced by at the time.
Hence Christians ‘see’ and feel Christ, Buddhist ‘see’ and feel Buddha, scientists ‘see’ parallel universes, etc. etc.
PETER: And feelings and emotions form part of the ‘self’ – they are who we feel we are and as such ‘form a world of their own’ – very real and very substantial in that we kill and die for our passionate heart-felt feelings – and yet to date they have got off scot-free. It is significant to realise that feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts – a fact easily observed in one’s ‘self’ is given sufficient awareness.
RESPONDENT: If you are experiencing some other personality in this space of being that you call witnessing, as far as I’m concerned you are not just witnessing! There is no personality in this space what so ever. There is no me in this space! There is just witnessing! Feelings are nothing more than subtle thoughts, and I’m not talking to you about thoughts,
PETER: Feelings are indeed nothing more than subtle thoughts, but it may be useful to dig in a bit deeper here rather than gloss over this. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts. To give you a practical example – once Vineeto was late for an appointment and I started to think why she was late. Very soon the underlying emotion grabbed hold and soon I was feeling jealous and the longer it went on the more it raged. It is the feelings and the underlying emotions that are the cause of our sorrow and malice as human beings and yet we stubbornly refuse to even acknowledge that they may be the problem. We still insist on following the Eastern Religious and philosophical notion that it is thinking that is the problem. Hence the doctrine of no-mind!
It is the feelings and passions that we humans kill and die for.
RESPONDENT: I’m talking to you about what I experience when there are no thoughts! There is no female or male in witnessing just being! I have taken the time to read some of your long winded postings, and as far as I can see you are talking about spaces of the mind that you are experiencing whether that be body mind spaces or pure mind spaces and there is no difference really! Mind is mind! In witnessing, there is no-mind! I am in no way negating the intelligence of the mind, the mind is useful! I am saying there is being beyond it!
PETER: I am not denying your experiences at all. It is the aim of the spiritual world to locate the ‘being’ beyond mind. It is well documented. In the version you are following, with the Ramana Maharshi lineage, one discovers that one is That. In other lineages or paths one discovers one’s ‘original face’, the Source, Existence, Unconditional Love or whatever. Despite everyone’s insistence of having a personal realization or a having found ‘my’ truth, the experience in the Eastern no-mind tradition is a common feeling (an emotional backed thought) of Self aggrandizement – of being bigger, vaster, grander than one’s ordinary self.
It is indeed a wonderful state – it took Richard 11 years to dig his way out of his Altered State of Consciousness. I only had some briefer, but nevertheless telling experiences of this state, which is why I know very well what you are talking about.
But in the end it is only a feeling. There is no ‘other world’. There is no God. There is no ‘Universe’ as in ‘the Universe is taking care of me’. All these things are but phantoms of our imagination, given credence by the fairy tales passed down for millennia.
I see in your last post you have now become ‘the universe experiencing itself as a human being’. Is this some ‘miracle conversion’ perhaps? seeing you talk of seeing us as ‘like born again Christians’? Hallelujah ...!
Your experience is that you feel that you are ‘the Universe experiencing itself as a human being’ Polar opposites – 180 degrees opposite.
Despite your frantic insistence to the contrary, and now your twisting of words and wayward adopting of terminology – we are talking of two vastly different experiences.
The spiritual experience (ASC) is cerebral-affective and the PCE experience is sensate only.
The spiritual experience (ASC) gives credence to the psychic entity within the body resulting in Self-aggrandizement – to realise you are That, to become The Universe ... albeit temporarily trapped in a human body ... but when ‘your body’ dies ... then ‘you’ are freed!
The PCE is an experience when one realises that both the psychological and psychic entity stand in the road of one’s destiny – to be the physical universe experiencing itself as a human being ... when the entity dies ... then you are actually free!
Many, many people read what Richard, Vineeto and I are saying and all say it is the ‘same thing’ as the mystics have been saying. I was attracted to Richard initially on the same basis and it took me many months to understand the difference. I was, however, more attracted to the down-to-earthness of it. Things like being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony, sorting out sex, being happy and harmless...
RESPONDENT: Testing. You’ll grow out of it!! Hopefully
PETER: The amazing thing about eliminating feelings, emotions and instincts is that they are then finished, kaput, finito, gone, stuffed, finished, never to return.
So, no, I won’t grow out of it, or return to ‘normal’, nor will I become Divine, to go ‘somewhere’ else.
I will be this flesh and blood body, happy and harmless, until I die and then I will be finished, kaput, finito, gone, stuffed, finished, never to return. Good Hey.
RESPONDENT: Let me get this straight. Are you saying you have no feelings, emotions or instincts?
PETER: The amazing thing about running ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ as opposed to being a ‘watcher’ to this moment of being alive is that one is inexorably drawn to eliminate anything in the way of one’s own happiness in this moment – the only moment I can experience being alive. If I was happy ten minutes ago, it is of no consequence if I am not happy now. If I am not happy now, then I have something to look at, something to root around in, something to discover. Inevitably the root of my unhappiness will be some belief or psittacism (parrot-fever), some instinctually driven pattern, that is causing me to feel fearful, angry, melancholy, peeved, guilty, resentful, etc. And searching, finding, investigating, understanding, contemplating upon and realizing will have the same effect as one does when one shines a light in a dark corner – all becomes startlingly clear and obvious, and eventually the feeling, emotion or instinct withers and dies, never to return.
It is a scary process, for these feelings and emotions are ‘who’ we ‘think’ and ‘feel’ we are – one is demolishing one’s very ‘self’. This is the reason that most people will firstly deny that it is possible to eliminate them, (much, much safer to merely watch one’s ‘self’ and cultivate a superior spiritual Self) or if they do allow the possibility that it might just work – they ‘head for the hills’.
When I met Richard I remember thinking ‘What if he is right?’ and ‘What if it works?’ It would mean the end of ‘me’, extinction, finished.
But I figured I was on a search to find freedom, in this lifetime, as this body, and if this was the cost – so be it. The alternative was more of the same, obviously second-rate life, or going back into the spiritual to search where I had already looked fruitlessly for 17 years.
After all, the definition of a lunatic is someone who endlessly keeps doing something despite the fact that it doesn’t work.
So, yes. The last time I was angry was some 2 years ago and the last time anyone got me upset was 18 months ago. I can’t remember the last time I was sad, and even melancholy has disappeared from my life. I actually enjoy being alive, and in the last 12 months have come to like my fellow human beings – and not to react to them out of fear (with its partner – aggression).
After all – to be happy one needs to be harmless, to be harmless one needs to be happy.
This process of eliminating feelings, emotions and instincts one does oneself – one does not wait for some mythical Divine intervention. Hence it is essential to rid oneself of the belief in a God, an after-life, an Existence that is ‘looking after you’ ... all an ‘escape route’ for the very ‘self’ you are aiming to eliminate to stay in existence.
Only when one has done all one can do eliminate one’s very ‘self’, when one lives in a virtual freedom, is it possible that a final, and irrevocable, death of the psychological and psychic entity – a self-immolation – will occur.
This virtual freedom – obtainable by anyone, given sincere intent – far exceeds the wildest dreams of what is possible to experience as a human being, as I have described in my journal.
So, I hope this gets it a bit straighter for you. I know it is difficult, if not downright inconceivable, that everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong. It took me months and months, but I always remained ‘open’ to the possibility that it might be the case. And it sure explained a lot that was wrong, and why after all that time and diligent effort spent on the spiritual path, I could not honestly claim to be either happy or harmless.
RESPONDENT: Me, for example, I like most of my beliefs and feelings and stick to them. ... What struck me most was that you do not admit the feeling of love or other positive emotions. The feelings are stronger or poorer, more or less helpful, but why to dismiss them altogether? Perhaps I had not so many ups and downs in my life so that I am sceptical towards a perpetual, not to say antiseptical happiness, like a boring paradise.
PETER: Firstly, hello. Good to talk to you. I do appreciate your comments on the book and can well understand that you found it a little difficult to understand and somewhat confronting. I will reply to some of the points you make.
I too found it more difficult to conceive of living without the Good emotions, but I could not deny that while they offered hope of bringing peace and harmony, in practice they failed again and again. They were for me a dream that remained unfulfilled. Love would always turn to hate or jealousy; enthusiasm and hope would lead to disappointment and despair, etc. It is my experience that the Good emotions and feelings always come in a package with the Bad ones, hence our need for morals, values and ethics to hopefully ‘keep the lid’ on things.
To advocate the deliberate understanding, exposing and elimination of emotions and feelings is of course quite radical, but I see nothing else that works.
What I have found on eliminating them is that they formed a program of neurosis in me which prevented the underlying benevolence, purity and stillness that is evident in the physical universe from having any chance to become apparent in me.
To experience delight 24 hrs. a day, every day, to experience the freedom and happiness as a constant, permanent, effortless, sensual experience, no matter where, no matter when. The easy movement, the wind, the smells, and the sights. To have that rather than sorrow, sadness, frustration, and the other human emotions. To find a way to actually increase delight and diminish malice and sorrow is to fly in the face of ancient wisdom, but what the hell!
For me concentrating on little things like not getting upset about the weather was a good start. It always seemed pointless to allow myself to get upset by the weather. It is a fact, cannot be changed, and yet my mood, my enjoyment of the day was dependant on it being sunny or raining. Once I had eliminated this, I tried something else – maybe trying to not be angry about something or someone in particular. I found that to see things as silly or sensible rather than right or wrong, good or bad, etc. was useful. I found each step worked – that I experienced more delight and less malice and sorrow – which is the aim of the exercise after all.
So, once again I do appreciate your comments and understandings. No one else has replied or commented on the book so fully – I think it is too confrontational for most, and many of my friends have spent years on the spiritual path and are not pleased or even willing to have their beliefs challenged.
It’s such a pleasure to talk of these things with you – I personally found the challenge to be happy and harmless very daunting at the start but I just nibbled away at it bit by bit. And as you can see from the book it took a while to get my head out of the clouds and come to my senses. I would welcome further discussion if you wish.