Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: I’m starting to see that it is always ‘happy and harmless’, it’s a package deal.
PETER: Again, this is one of the most crucial understandings in actualism and one that clearly separates it from all of the past failed methods to find a way to become free of malice and sorrow. The pursuit of happiness has been a long and fruitless search thus far for human beings solely because everyone has put their own happiness first and being harmless second – if being harmless gets a look in at all, that is.
Once you begin to observe in yourself the malicious element of merely pursuing your own happiness you also begin to see that it is normal behaviour within the human condition, i.e. everybody blames someone else for being the cause of their unhappiness and blaming others can only be a malicious act. And then you begin to see that this ultimately ‘self’-centred focus on ‘my’ happiness is why human beings do not, and cannot, live together in peace and harmony.
Speaking personally, it was the desire to be harmless that attracted me to begin the process of actualism and it was the desire to be harmless that has provided all of the impetus to push on beyond the limits of the measly ‘self’-centred pursuit of happiness only.
RESPONDENT No 64 to No 32: I’m participating in a discussion list and suggesting that some of its members are full of bullshit.
PETER: Over the years we have had many people who have come to this mailing list with this motive. It appears that for whatever personal reasons they are moved to fabricate distortions, concoct falsehoods, contrive exaggerations, broadcast innuendo, disseminate gossip, seed insinuations, create suspicion, encourage ambiguity, cast aspersions and, if that doesn’t work, revert to rudeness and even hostility, apparently for the sole reason of preventing other people from deciding for themselves as to whether or not they are interested in actualism or to cut them down a peg or two should they be so bold as to declare that they are interested in actualism. You are not the first to play this game, nor will you be the last, because there are currently in excess of 6 billion souls on this planet with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of the current human condition.
Speaking personally, when I came across the challenge that is actualism, I could find nothing at all worthy of defending in the human condition – neither could I justify anger nor could I champion sorrow – which is, in hindsight, why I chose to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: I could not agree more with your last long sentence.
PETER: Yep. There is a simple choice offered in actualism – either stay as you are or set off on a path that is not only utterly contrary to one’s social conditioning but also goes completely against one’s instinctual survival passions. I can remember the decision as being somewhat daunting at the start so much so that I likened it to entering a tunnel with a large sign over it saying ‘Above all, do not enter here’.
RESPONDENT: I do think that I have been deterred a bit by other people on this list.
PETER: This is after all their sole aim in writing on this mailing list – to deter those who dare to get off their backsides, stand on their own two feet and begin the journey out of the human condition, from doing so.
And as you can see, they will literally stop at nothing in their efforts to intimidate anyone who shows any interest whatsoever in actualism.
RESPONDENT: But I also remember when I first discovered actualism, and the numerous PCE’s that followed.
PETER: Despite all the bluff and bluster of the nay-sayers who would have you live your life according to their beliefs and their principles, there is a wonderful freedom in realizing that there is nobody standing in the way of freedom – a fact that is made startlingly evident in a pure consciousness experience.
RESPONDENT: I am certainly curious of the motives that anyone has who speaks against the intent to be completely free of malice and sorrow.
PETER: I find it useful to remember the vehemence to which past discoveries have been resisted by those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Those who dared to question the teachings of the church in the Dark Ages were labelled heretics and burnt at the stake and the beginnings of the scientific revolution that was to sweep through Europe was marked by fierce resistance both from the churches and from intellectuals and fellow scientists who had a vested interest in maintaining the ancient beliefs and archaic superstitions.
The recent discovery of the means to bring about an actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow is likewise being resisted and those who choose to be pioneers in this business will invariably bear the brunt of the wrath and scorn of those who have taken it upon themselves to be defenders of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: In short, I see absolutely nothing wrong with giving full attention to each moment of being alive with the intention of becoming fully happy and harmless.
PETER: I remember thinking at one stage how very odd it was that I was feeling guilty because I had made being happy and harmless the most important thing in my life. I soon tracked it down to the fact that I was feeling guilty for not feeling sad. As I mulled it over, the perversity of this feeling of guilt really began to set in – if everyone held on to this guilty feeling then nobody would ever become free of sorrow, which would mean that human suffering would never ever come to an end – which meant that if I held on to my guilt about not feeling sad, I would never be free of sorrow.
Needless to say, very soon after I stopped living my life in accord with the morality of those who have a vested interest in maintaining not only their own emotional suffering but that of all of their fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: So far no one has supplied a decent argument to give reason to find fault with this.
PETER: No, no one. I found that all I needed to do was work my way through the list of objections and eventually I came to the conclusion that the repertoire of the nay-sayers is not only limited but is inconsequential as well.
Eventually I got to the stage where I refused to be so silly as to be hooked into their beliefs and swayed by their opinions any more –actualism makes sense whereas spiritualism does not make sense and nor does it even claim to make sense.
The other aspect of the objectors’ approach is that they use an array of tactics specifically designed to intimidate those who they regard as their opponents. Verbal intimidation is a well-known way of provoking fear in others and as such is one of the most powerful means of maintaining psychic power over others. It is useful to keep this in mind when reading intimidatory posts – whilst one may be able to easily see that their objections are silly, it is possible to still be affected by the intimidatory nature of their postings.
The most effective way I found of dealing with this is to keep in mind the purity and perfection of the pure consciousness experience of the actual world … or at least to keep in mind that these people are, de facto, championing malice and sorrow by the very act of objecting to others who have set their sights on being happy and harmless.
PETER: I never found anything healthy about cynicism. From what I remember, it’s not only a lead weight on one’s shoulders, it’s like walking around immersed in a grey fog of one’s own making. <snip>
RESPONDENT: I have no disagreements on this issue of cynicism as a dead end or the pits and in addition, self destructive. None.
RESPONDENT: I already have my interactions with AF to thank for curing me of sarcasm and cynicism. Maybe I was ready to lose it but you all exposed it enough for me to see its deleterious effects and enable me to remove it. And for that, I thank you.
PETER: It’s essential to have a good clear-eyed look at how feelings spoil not only your own happiness but also to be attentive as to how your feelings impact on others. Cynicism tends to be an inner affliction spoiling one’s happiness whereas sarcasm is an outward expression – something that one inflicts on another person, something that impacts on their happiness.
As an actualist, I always put the aim to be harmless towards my fellow human beings first and my aim for happiness second, because it is impossible for me be happy unless I am harmless. For anyone who is sincere about peace on earth it is essential to put becoming harmless first … and then increased happiness invariably follows.
In the case in point, if one stops being sarcastic, as in expressing bitter or wounding remarks to others, then one has more chance of being happy … which in turn means that one has less reason to feel cynical …which in turn means one is less prone to be sarcastic and so on … until both cynicism and sarcasm eventually disappear as if by magic.
It’s a fascinating business to see, and experientially understand, how feelings are interlinked, how they produce an endless cycle of ups and downs, how there is a continuous tendency to wound and then feel wounded, how there is a seesaw sequence of excitement and boredom … and so on.
PETER: I’ll repost a U.G. Krishnamurti quote that Richard recently posted to you as you might have missed its significance first time around –
I have also watched several videotapes of U.G. Krishnamurti with gatherings of his followers and I particularly remember him being scornful and dismissive of an elderly gentleman who had made the effort to travel a good distance simply to ask him a question. I found his action to be offensive – far from harmless.
RESPONDENT: I don’t think UG has any doctrine that says he should act in a certain way, whether that is harmless or free from anger.
PETER: That’s precisely my point, and the reason I said U.G. Krishnamurti was a dead-ender. He makes no claim to be either happy or harmless, nor is he happy and harmless, so I saw no point at all in following him or trying to emulate him because I have always been interested in the possibility of living with my fellow human beings in peace and harmony.
RESPONDENT: You certainly don’t have to condone his behaviour.
PETER: I neither condone nor condemn his behaviour – despite his reports of what he thinks and feels, he is simply a fellow human being who has landed in some sort of weird psychological state. And nor do I condone nor condemn those who follow him – it is but a testimony to the desperate lengths that many people go to in their search for the meaning of life. I know this well, because I have literally sat at the feet of a few shamans and snake-oil sellers before I became an actualist.
RESPONDENT: Harmlessness; what is the actualist definition of harmlessness?
PETER: How about – ‘Effortlessly living with one’s fellow human beings in utter peace and harmony’. That’s the challenge I set myself and I started with proving that it was possible to do this with one person and then I worked on the other issues that prevented me from living in utter peace and harmony with all of my fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Do you eat meat and therefore kill life to sustain your own? Do you unsuspectingly step on insects or do you unintentionally hurt someone?
PETER: I was a vegetarian in my spiritual years – it was the ‘done thing’ to do – but when I stopped believing in spiritualism I stopped believing in vegetarianism. It then became obvious to me that the most conspicuous carnage that has occurred and is still occurring on this planet is the carnage that is wrought by human beings on other human beings as well as that which human beings inflict upon themselves. I then set my sights higher than conforming to righteous dietary ethics and focussed my attention on the more pertinent issue – stopping being antagonistic towards my fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Will you kill or injure to defend your life and or property?
PETER: Life, yes, property no – I have insurance that covers what few goods I have.
RESPONDENT: Do you live under the law that protects you at the point of a gun?
PETER: If you mean: are the police in this town armed – yes, they are. Such is the human condition that without them this ‘peaceful’ part of the planet would rapidly devolve into barbarianism and anarchy.
RESPONDENT: What is the actualist definition of harmlessness?
PETER: There is no ‘actualist definition’ of harmlessness other than what the word means.
You will notice in the definition I gave you above, I simply re-adjusted the dictionary definition of harmlessness to mean ‘living with one’s fellow human beings in utter peace and harmony’ so as to give it a more down-to-earth meaning and to make it more specifically relevant to what I can practically do to bring an end to human malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Is this possible?
PETER: Yes – despite the overwhelming conviction that peace on earth between human beings is but an impossible dream, being harmless and living in peace with one’s fellow human being can be an actuality.
RESPONDENT: Where do you draw the line?
PETER: The expression ‘the buck stops here’ comes to mind. Or ‘somebody has to be the second and the third and so on’. Or ‘why not me?’ As you can see, I didn’t draw a line, I just moved the pointer to me.
RESPONDENT: Presently one may not be displaying anger or harmfulness but what happens tomorrow one can never know unless one lives in a bubble.
PETER: While not yet actually free of the human condition, I am virtually – as in almost completely – free of malice and sorrow. As such, I don’t wonder what will happen tomorrow for the simple reason that I cannot remember the last time I felt angry, felt resentful, felt aggrieved, felt annoyed etc. Why should tomorrow be any different? I am not hiding from the world, I don’t live in a bubble, I am not self-deluded – I am a down-to-earther, living in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are
RESPONDENT: Richard, in all his self-aggrandizing glory, states that today was a perfect day and tomorrow will be as well. As to why one would make such a statement, I wouldn’t know unless one were trying to sell something, actualism and his method, in order to perhaps give his best shot at his stated altruistic goal of world peace, through his method.
PETER: There is another explanation of course and I don’t know whether it has occurred to you.
PETER: If I read you right, you seem to be discovering that these feelings are what initially prevents one from ‘jumping in’ to actualism and doing what is necessary in order to become happy and harmless. This business of actualism is the challenge of a lifetime and to be a pioneer in the business is utterly thrilling.
RESPONDENT: Hmm. I think your reading depends on thinking that I was talking about the ‘self-loathing’ relating to feeling guilt and shame – which is not as big of a problem for me – since I gave up belief in ‘free-will’ years ago.
PETER: Feelings of guilt and shame arise from the morals and ethics that every human being is invariably inculcated with during our childhood years. Maybe you could expand on your ‘belief in free-will’ as I don’t quite understand the connection with feeling guilt and shame.
RESPONDENT: I’m pretty much past that particular gate – and I’ve been benefiting from the amorality of actualism for quite a while.
PETER: As actualism is not a belief system, a teaching or a philosophy, actualism cannot of itself be moral, immoral or amoral.
Actualism is a process that only starts to operate when someone devotes his or her life to the task of becoming happy and harmless. In the process of becoming happy and harmless, it is par for the course that the societal morals and ethics will be exposed as being not only contradictory and hypocritical but also unliveable and unworkable. As one becomes more happy and more harmless, these ‘tried and failed’ morals and ethics fall by the wayside in favour of common sense and consideration for one’s fellow human beings regardless of who they think and feel themselves to be.
To put it simply, the unliveable morals and unworkable ethics designed to curb human malice and sorrow become utterly redundant when replaced by the sincerity, naiveté and the genuine intent to become actually happy and actually harmless.
RESPONDENT: The biggie for me now is the down and dirty aggression, rage, fear – all those instincts we try to repress and cover over with good feelings. The other major investigation is catching the tender emotions in action just as they arise and to see how they ‘hurt’ – which is much more subtle.
PETER: Yes. This was the first major concern for me as well – and hence the first area of investigation as well. I do find it somewhat bewildering that so few people have been interested in taking up the challenge of becoming harmless. For me it was such an obvious thing – something I always put first because happiness follows from it. You can’t have one without the other, in fact. It seems that despite all the ‘stop making war’ noises, despite all the ‘good’ and ‘loving’ people in the world, only a small percentage of those who have come across actualism are interested enough in peace on earth to stop being angry, to stop making war with their partners, to stop hurting others, to stop blaming others, to stop beating themselves up, to stop riling against having to be here, and so on.
The way I see it, tackling aggression must be the first biggie for any actualist – it has to be numero uno. And the hardest thing for many who have trod the spiritual path is to firstly acknowledge that they do get angry, let alone allow themselves to fully feel the feelings.
It’s good to remember that actualism is not about not feeling. The actualism method is specifically designed to get one in touch with the full range of one’s feelings for the first time in one’s life, and this is impossible if repression and denial are allowed to rule the roost.
RESPONDENT: So I have now modified the question to ‘Am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ This has been quite useful in reminding me to experience rather than feel this moment.
PETER: Well, I did it the opposite way. I became vitally interested in ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ And if that meant I was feeling angry, sad, melancholy, lacklustre, depressed, then I would track back to find out what it was that bought on that feeling. What was said, what happened, when did it happen? I wanted to understand feelings, their source, how they worked, what caused them to kick in, etc. Only by understanding them, could I begin to get free of their insidious grip. I also knew that until I was rid of the source of feelings entirely – ‘me’ – I would have to live with them. So best to understand them and best to aim for the felicitous and innocuous ones – and feeling happy and feeling harmless are surely the best one can aim for of the feelings.
RESPONDENT: In fact, for some time, I was also trying to do the same as you described. The problem was that I was already feeling happy most of the time. This happiness was generated by ‘winning’ over most bad feelings, by simple spiritual techniques like Vipassana and deep breathing. Indeed, compared to most people around me, I was much happier. But I was finding myself stuck with this and somehow I had a feeling that there was nothing positive about it. It was just an absence of ‘bad’ feelings. Especially when I realized the trap of love and gratitude. But now with this the direct experience in my fold, I decided not to worry about ‘me’ being happy or not. Instead, let me enjoy whatever moments I am able to, of sensate experiencing. Perhaps it is too early. It may be just be a childish enthusiasm on my part. Let me see how long it lasts.
PETER: For me the clue was in my aim to be happy and harmless. Even in my spiritual days I wouldn’t have described myself as unhappy. Probably that I was reasonably happy, particularly when things were going well. But what I had to admit, almost force myself to admit, was that I was not harmless. Well-meaning, yes, but when push came to shove, or when things weren’t going my way – certainly not harmless. My inability to live with a woman in peace and harmony was ample testimony to this fact. When I read Richard’s journal for the first time it was the first chapters on ‘living together’, ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ that pricked up my ears. It was to prove to be my test of fire.
I asked myself a simple question. ‘Could I live with a woman in peace and harmony?’ The honest answer was ‘no’. The next question was – ‘Why not?’ The answer to that question took me off on a 12 month investigation into the beliefs, emotions, passions instinctual programming, morals and ethics of gender, sex and living together. As a man, I was fascinated to discover the extent that my social and biological programming actively conspired to prevent anything remotely resembling intimacy – hence the need for the feeling of love to bridge the chasm. As a practical example – the feelings of male superiority, again the result both of social and instinctual programming, was a shocking thing to discover in myself – but it is universally a part of the Human Condition. It is a belief, covertly reinforced by men, and it is a feeling but not a fact, and therefore possible to eliminate. It proved, for me, to be a large and necessary step to live with a woman in peace, harmony and equity. This step towards intimacy was the direct result of being in touch with my feelings.
Actualism is the practical implementation of scientifically and historically proven facts – a radical departure from the myth of spiritual celibacy, transcendence and ‘watching’. It is implementation, not avoidance. It is involvement, not detachment. It is change and action, not acceptance and procrastination. It is sensible, not silly.
So, to be reasonably happy is relatively easy. To be totally harmless – to have no instinctual fear or aggression – to be actually free of malice and sorrow is an evolutionary leap. The stakes are high in this game ... but so are the rewards.
I am not at all discouraging you from ‘enjoy(ing) whatever moments I am able to, of sensate experiencing’ – quite the contrary. What I am pointing to is a way of having more of those moments and then stringing more of them together and one day being able to live that way 24 hrs. a day every day – in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
PETER: I remember this being a wonderful moment when I finally realized I was becoming free of having a social conscience where I was continually beholden to others’ moral and ethical judgements. It is obvious, in hindsight, that this only happened with the knowledge and experience that I was becoming harmless to others around me and thus realized, with confidence and surety, that their assessments were biased and false.
GARY: It is exciting to see that one is becoming harmless to the others around one. My partner reiterated to me recently that she feels I have become much more good natured and easy going lately, much easier to be around. I ascribe this change to my investigations into ‘me’ using the actualism method of becoming happy and harmless.
PETER: Yes, the only way to be happy is to be harmless. I went through many years where I adopted a spiritual ‘holier than thou’ identity in which case it is always someone else who was evil or ignorant or responsible for my sorrow or anger. I was in total denial of my own manipulative feelings and actions, my own anger and resentment and my own part in conflicts and disagreements. It was only when I started to take notice of the occasional bleed-throughs of malice that I was forced to do something about it. For me being able to live peacefully and harmoniously with my fellow human beings is the most powerful motivation in taking on actualism and in seeing the process through to the end.
PETER to No 3: I thought it might be useful to look at instinctual aggression and see what the state of play is within the human condition. It is a topic that spiritual people are unwilling to look at for they are usually so identified with being pious, feeling self-righteous and being so proud of their sanctimonious achievements as to be totally unaware of their myopic viewpoint. Some New Dark Age spiritual teachings integrate cathartic exercises as a way of expressing anger and hostility in the belief that catharsis is effective in reducing aggressive behaviour in spite of the many studies that provide evidence that catharsis encourages and reinforces angry and hostile behaviour rather than reduces it. But, apart from paying a bit of nominal lip-service to the more modern concepts of societal conditioning, the Ancient Wisdom of all spiritual teachings is firmly rooted in the belief that instinctual aggression was a result of being overcome by evil spirits.
I went searching on the Web for information on instinctual aggression and found it to be a not very popular topic of discussion. One article I came across offered a summary of the basic psychological theories of aggression and I thought it might be useful to post some relevant sections. The author writes –
Gilula and Daniels (1969) describe the frustration theory of the origin of an aggressive drive state. According to this theory, aggression is a drive condition that comes from interference with ongoing purposeful activity. A person feels frustrated when a violation of his hopes or expectations occurs, and then he tries to solve the problem by behaving aggressively. Frustrations can come in various forms such as threats to life, thwarting of basic needs, and personal insults. <Snip>
According to this argument, the expression of hostility should decrease the likelihood of any further aggression if there is no further frustration. This view is consistent with the catharsis theory of aggression. Many people believe that aggressive acting-out behaviour reduces aggression and hostility, and most theories of play therapy for children are still based on this notion. With this type of therapy, the frustrated, angry, hostile child behaves aggressively, and supposedly this aggressive behaviour reduces his level of hostility and aggression
The social-learning theory of aggression described by Gilula and Daniels (1969) implies that not only can aggressive behaviour be non-cathartic, but that aggressive behaviour will tend to increase the probability of later aggression. This theory is based on the assumption that aggressive behaviour results from child-rearing practices and other forms of socialization and not from some inner drives, whether instinctual or frustration-produced. Aggressive behaviour can be acquired merely by watching and learning, often by imitation, and does not require frustration.
Aggressive behaviours rewarded by a society usually reflect the basic values and adaptive behaviours of the group. The social-learning theory of aggression suggests that control and reduction of violence requires changes in cultural traditions, child-rearing practices, and parental examples. Aggression cannot be reduced by catharsis according to this theory. Aggression engaged in to let off steam would only be increased due to emotional activity and new learning experiences.Aggression and Catharsis by Billy E. Pennal, Ph.D. © 1975
The first issue that I found interesting was the up-front distinction made between aggression and assertiveness. This distinction is the fundamental premise upon which all psychological studies of aggressive behaviour are founded. It is universally accepted – i.e. held to be a fact – that human beings need to be aggressive towards other human beings in order to survive – to assert one’s rights, to get one’s way, to survive in the struggle, etc. To walk this fine line of socially acceptable behaviour whereby ‘Aggressiveness infringes upon the rights of others, whereas, assertiveness prevents others from infringing upon one’s own rights’ requires constant vigilance and ‘self’-control. One is forever tip-toeing around and attempting to balance varying conflicting rights, morals and ethical values –the only possible result being a sad and unsatisfactory compromise for all involved. Nobody wins, everybody loses and everybody pays the price of having to continue the battle another way on another day or by feeling resentful at losing or having to surrender. Unless one is willing to look at both aggressiveness and assertiveness, whether overtly or covertly expressed – the whole package – it is impossible to be free of malice.
I don’t intend to comment on the three psychological theories of the basis of aggression in detail for the whole issue is well documented on the Actual Freedom Trust website, but rather I posted them for information and contrast.
All of the traditional solutions within the human condition to bringing an end to malice and sorrow have been found wanting. Despite the well-meaning efforts, none of the ploys, constraints or noble feelings have managed to bring an end to human malice, for aggressiveness is indeed a genetically-encoded instinctual passion and is ultimately ‘self’-centred – based upon the instinctual animal self. These instinctual reactions result in thoughtless, inconsiderate and utterly self’-ish and ‘self’-centred emotions, feelings and actions. The modern way is to dare to eliminate this instinctual ‘self’ – the redundant wiring in the reptilian brain that automatically causes this flesh and blood body to blindly react to people, things and events.
What I have discovered on the path to Actual Freedom is that layer upon layer of aggressiveness is revealed when one begins to become aware of malice in operation in one’s own psyche. All of this malice can ultimately be sheeted home to a ‘me’ inside this flesh and blood body who feels attacked, who loves to fight, who likes to blame others, who likes to see others suffer, who thinks he is right, who likes to feel superior, who feels resentful, who is ever on-guard and who feels and thinks he needs to be in control. It takes an enormous amount of naiveté and sincere intent to dare to let one’s guard down and acknowledge the rottenness of the instinctual passions that are programmed in this body. Both naiveté and sincere intent are gleaned from the pure consciousness experiences we have all had in our lives and these experiences form the very basis of the inherent knowledge we all have that there must be something better than normal life within the human condition.
Just as an example of real-world beliefs about aggressiveness in humans, I came across this review, which I thought worthy of posting –
The last sentence had me rolling on the floor – if only he knew!
It’s interesting to dig around and to see the real-world views on aggression and to see what the psychiatrists and sociologists, theoretical biologists and evolutionary biologists, are making of instinctual aggressiveness. The spiritual search is based on the notion that ‘you can’t change human nature’, hence the search for one’s divine (non-human) nature or true Self – and the same premise operates in the real-world, hence the continual need to be ever on-guard, lest one runs amok.
What I found was that the harmless part of wanting to be happy and harmless was the key in pushing myself beyond what I considered safe limits – beyond the normal definition of aggressiveness into questioning the need for ‘me’ to be assertive in order for ‘me’ to survive, to get what ‘I’ wanted, to get ‘my’ way in every situation. In order to move into these areas of ‘self’-examination it is clear that one needs to firstly investigate and abandon the moral and ethical restraints that cause the welling-up of feelings of shame and guilt simply for having felt these savage passions in the first place. Guilt and shame are crippling and debilitating feelings, an integral part of one’s instilled social identity.
To go beyond these feelings is a daring action and a clue is to see one’s inner investigation as an investigation of the Human Condition in operation in one’s own psyche. To see the instinctual passions as no fault of yours; you are not bad or evil for thinking these thoughts, for having these feelings, for being blindly driven to want to act this way. Keep your hands in your pockets, neither expressing nor repressing the passions, but observing them in action inside – knowing that what is going on is only in your head and your heart.
What fascinating explorations – to see how ‘I’ operate and to actually feel ‘me’ in action. This seeing, this investigation, is the very ending of ‘me’ for all the mystique, mystery, cunningness and deviousness is exposed to the light of sensible understanding.
There is an enormous dare in being here, in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are – free of the instinctual passions, held to be necessary in order to survive, and free of the crutch of having ‘God by one’s side’ for protection.
Well, enough for now. I just wanted to write a bit about the putting into action of actualism – for to treat it as a philosophy is to miss the main event and thereby completely miss out on the rewards of becoming actually happy and harmless.
PETER to No 3: Just as a bit of an aside, but it something that has just come to mind. I always put harmless before happy in my priorities because I realized quite early on that it is impossible to be happy unless one is harmless. The realization that twigged me to this was when I finally stopped wanting Vineeto to change and I finally stopped doing battle with her – trying to get ‘my’ own way. In hindsight, putting being harmless before being happy was the beginning of altruism – the only passion capable of countering the innate narcissistic craving.
The other issue about putting becoming harmless first is that fear and aggression are simply opposite sides of the same coin. The survival instincts are essentially attack and defence mechanisms – stand and fight or cut and run – or at their most basic in the animal world – ‘what can I eat ... what can eat me’. It is my experience that the way to eliminate fear is not to try to become fearless but to concentrate on becoming harmless. By progressively eliminating aggression towards others you take the very wind out of fear thereby simultaneously progressively eliminating fear of others as well.
It takes extraordinary naiveté to do this and it is only possible if you have experienced the actually occurring benevolence that is the very nature of this astounding universe we humans live in. This direct experience of ‘self’-less purity and perfection is ultimately the beacon that will guide you. The words on the Actual Freedom Trust website, the journals and the screen saver are but a proposition – the proof of the pudding is one’s own PCE and this ‘self’-less experience then becomes one’s own touchstone. Provided ‘you’ don’t personally covert the experience as ‘my’ precious experience or crave it as an escape route for ‘me’ to get out of being here in the world as-it-is, you will merrily go about your business of instigating, then co-operating and finally agreeing to ‘my’ demise.
I’ve wandered a bit again, but does that make things clearer? My aim in writing is always to encourage others to at least set a minimum goal of becoming virtually free from malice and sorrow but never to make light of the difficulties of such a pioneering ground-breaking endeavour. The magic on the path to freedom is that the rewards come initially from ‘my’ efforts, are then continued to be reaped with ‘my’ ongoing willing co-operation, and can only be made permanent by ‘my’ immolation.
As such there are no real dangers in actualism – you can start or not start, you can take on a bit or you can take on the lot. This ensures you never get more than you can handle and also that you can stop whenever you really want to. It’s just that stopping can lead to a sense of failure which in turn can lead to feelings of resentment, blame, anger or sorrow and these undercurrent of feelings mean you will end up losing some of your hard-won gains – which is what I was alluding to in my comment to Gary.
RESPONDENT: It is late at night so I am going to respond to a point which is important for me, it may not be important for you. I *think* you do not just cause ripples, you are capable of causing shock waves. I am sure you are not aware of that.
PETER: There is nothing more shocking to one’s ‘self’ than a discussion about facts vs. beliefs given that ‘who’ one is, as a social identity, is nothing other than the beliefs, morals ethics and psittacisms one has been instilled with since birth. There is nothing more shocking than seeing the fact that that ‘who’ one feels oneself to be deep inside is nothing but an instinctual animal ‘self’ – exactly the same ‘self’ as Mr. Ape and Mr. Chimpanzee have. The challenge is to discover what one is and the process is initially a shocking one. But soon shock turns to fascination and the thrill of discovery soon takes over.
RESPONDENT: I am concerned about that. That is one among many other reasons that I did not correspond with you much. I am *not sure* but these shock waves could cause damage to other people.
PETER: Bit of a double twist here. I understand that you do not correspond with me much because of the damage it could cause ‘you’. I assume that others are on this list because they want to be, and will have their own interpretations. The wonderful thing about this mailing lists is there is always the delete button, the unsubscribe option or the ‘don’t bother to read’ option, or the ‘just skim over’ option ... I do write knowing others will read what I write, but I do write to you.
RESPONDENT: You are probably at such an advanced stage that one ‘bad’ thought from you could cause that. To some extent, I guess we all do that. Me too.
Again, this is all a speculation on my part but it is important for me so I thought I will say it.
PETER: I would not have used the term advanced as it can imply progress towards attaining something for oneself. As you know, the path to Actual Freedom is progression towards self-immolation – a process of investigation and discovery which results in diluting, diminishing, weakening, reducing, withering and eventual total elimination of both the psychological and psychological parasitical entity that dwells within this flesh and blood body.
As for my one ‘bad’ thought causing damage to others – as I’ve repeatedly said my aim is to be both happy and harmless which is why I went to the trouble of explaining what I did in my last post. And which is why I then went on to explain the way that it is possible to eliminate frustration, anger, violence, retribution, peevedness, annoyance, etc. by digging down inside oneself and discovering their roots.
PETER: This process, if undertaken with a sincere intent, will inevitably lead to a state of virtual freedom. One then goes to bed in the evening knowing that one has had a perfect day, and knowing that tomorrow, without doubt, will also be a perfect day. Unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and being harmless, virtually free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. The challenge of virtual freedom is to be the best one can be – to mimic the perfection and purity of the actual as much as one can while remaining ‘human’ – an alien entity and not a free flesh and blood body. Then, and only then, does one have the confidence and surety to step out of the real world and into the actual world – leaving one’s ‘self’ behind.
RESPONDENT: Now I’m getting worried Peter ... ‘to mimic the perfection of the actual...’ is that what it’s all about? There’s no real possibility to manifest freedom on the planet so we have to do the next best thing; namely pretend that everything is perfect and then eventually we might stumble on the real deal. Is this something equivalent to spiritual practice!?
PETER: A poor attempt at a bluff. This is clearly not what I am indicating, nor what is on offer. Did you conveniently ignore the ‘then and only then’ bit as a way of avoiding –
You’re obviously getting worried for your objections are getting sillier, pettier and more frantic the further this post goes. You even manage to shoot yourself in the foot with this argument by belittling the spiritual practices that you have previously been busily defending in this post. May I suggest a little more careful aim in the future?
It’s a tough business defending the indefensible, for any belief, by its very nature, is ultimately indefensible. No wonder the final fall back position is that the Truth cannot be put into words or it cannot be explained – for such is the nature of fervent belief and blind faith, both are indeed beyond comprehension, sensibility and sanity.
RESPONDENT: And how can we know that the next day and the day after will be perfect even when we’ve left ‘the self’ behind? It might in fact be a total disaster and we might become extremely depressed or whatever. Is the ultimate state really to be perfectly happy all the time?
PETER: You can’t know until you have experienced the perfection and purity of the actual world in a pure consciousness experience. If you have already and can remember it then you and I both know that your question is yet another furphy. But if you steadfastly believe that human existence is meant to be a suffering existence then you will forever cut yourself off from finding out.
The key to the ultimate ‘self’-less sate of purity and perfection is to maintain an equal focus on the ‘harmless’ bit of becoming happy and harmless, for one can never be happy unless one is harmless. This harmlessness is an unconditional harmlessness in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are – not hiding away in some spiritual community of like-believers, run on strict moral and ethical codes in order to keep a lid on undesirable behaviour. Actual harmlessness is not an ideal, as in pacifism, but comes from having no identity or person ‘inside’ who can feel offended, feel attacked, who is constantly and fearfully on-guard and ever-ready to defend or attack.
RESPONDENT: But maybe you’re talking about the foundation for happiness first and foremost and not the actual experience. It would be very unrealistic, I think, to imagine perfection as constant sensatory bliss, if that’s the case then I surely see the need for mimicking life instead of actually living it. This could potentially be the ultimate delusion, a way to create a fairytale and not living in any world other than one’s own fantasy and imagination.
PETER: As I said, unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and being harmless, virtually free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. From your objections to my statement it is obvious that you find it impossible to contemplate that you, as-you-are, would be willing to sacrifice enough of your ‘self’ to even get to this state.
Do you think that a change as radical as becoming actually happy and harmless happens by some blinding flash of light, that it is an effortless achievement that requires that you do nothing? Even on the spiritual path those who have success build a foundation of spiritual experiences and assiduously practice transcendence. The same applies for any achievement or goal in the real world.
For anyone interested in becoming actually free of malice and sorrow, it is obvious that unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and being harmless, virtually free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business.
RESPONDENT: I can contemplate being harmless but not happy 99% of the time, my view is more that we’re basically the same person (after the breakthrough) but with different priorities and greater confidence in our ability to live a sane and harmless life. Just as enlightened teachers can’t be perfect as they claim neither can one who reaches the ‘self-less state’ be perfect. There’s always going to remain some conditioning and sense of identity. The third way seems to be a powerful alternative to spirituality (now I’m bringing in spirituality again, sorry) and much more down to earth, but I don’t think it’s leading to perfection. It can help (along with other forces) to make this world a better one but I’ve stopped believing in ONE way that can save us.
PETER: It sounds to me that you are saying you have stopped believing that peace on earth is possible for No. 10, in this lifetime. I find it useful to keep this conversation personal and pointed, lest we get off the rails. Our topic is peace on earth and you do seem to agree that the only person you can change is you, you are not interested in spiritual freedom, so we are talking about peace on earth, for you, in this lifetime.
PETER: To comment on your not caring for the term harmless, as you indicated to Vineeto –
RESPONDENT to Vineeto: And as for the term harmless, I don’t care for the implications of powerlessness that I hear in this word. Reminds me of an image of an impotent over-the-hill codger.
PETER: The manifestations of power in the ‘real’ world are obvious to most – money, political power, sexual power, emotionally-wielded power, physically-wielded power.
In the spiritual world there is an ultimate power and that power is God – in whatever manifestation one believes in. Just a reminder for those who have trouble with words and meanings – ‘God:
So one could clearly say that to be God is the ultimate power in the spirit-ual world. To be ‘at One with God’ is a pretty good achievement as well, as the distinction between you and God is tantalisingly vague.
The drive to Enlightenment – to become a God-man – is clearly a drive to power. What more power can one have as a human than to be a God-man? What more authority than to be treated as a God by one’s fellow human beings? In the East, achieving Enlightenment is to reach the pinnacle of power and authority.
My personal observations from my spiritual days throw some more light on this fascinating subject –
There is no power in the actual world – it exists only in the alien entity within humans that desperately fears and fights, seeking psychic or physical power over others, firstly as a means of survival, and then as the will to power and dominance. In the spiritual world one either aims for the power of God for oneself – Enlightenment, Teacher, Healer, etc., or one surrenders one’s power to a God as a follower or disciple in return for his love and protection. The God then becomes more powerful because he has a bigger group around him and yet another religion is born...
Actual Freedom is the elimination of the very ‘me’ who seeks power over others, it cuts the very root of the whole problem that has plagued Humanity for tens of thousands of years.
RESPONDENT: For me it’s not even about being harmless – as in not hurting another. It’s about being as honest as possible with myself, and that in fact may mean not hurting another – but it may mean that someone is ‘hurt’ also.
PETER: For me, I often see the New-Age version of ‘I want to be honest with you’ or ‘I just want to share something with you’ as nothing more than I want to give you a ‘serve’. The only person to be honest with is yourself. If you are not honest with yourself then who are you kidding. It is your life you are living. It is your happiness that you are concerned about. What I found was that to become free of malice and sorrow is the only way I can be absolutely sure that I am not hurting others. They may well be offended or have whatever re-action they have but if a good, honest search around inside reveals no malice then that is the key. To really get into exploring feelings and emotions.
RESPONDENT: My own hurts tell me a lot. I learn from them a lot.
PETER: It is often said we grow and learn from our suffering. My experience is that this is in the same category as ‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’, ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’ No wonder we humans think it is inconceivable to be happy and harmless. I just decided, after I met Richard to raise the bar, set my sights beyond the normal limits. To break free of the shackles. And I found the only restriction was fear. There are no demons in the actual world and therefore there are no need for Gods. Cute, 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.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.