Selected Correspondence Peter
But it goes way past spiritual belief when the imagination snaps the synapses, commands the body, which then physically stomps on the environment? To me, it is just as much a leap of the imagination to believe that mankind’s malice and sorrow, war and suicide, doom and gloom, is the culprit. I know myself that this flesh and blood body has also damaged this eco system by wanting, going out and getting, too much of a good thing.
PETER: What I came to see was that any resources I used or possessions I owned I had to pay for which meant I had to work for – i.e. sell my time to someone else in return for money. This realization was a slow dawning but I did have the sense to have a vasectomy after having two children, and soon adopted the quality-not-quantity approach to possessions. After meeting Richard I pushed the envelope a bit more, eventually trading my car for a new-age typewriter and reducing my work hours to a minimum in order to devote myself to the business of actualism as much as possible. Nowadays I find myself living a life of indulgent consumption that borders on hedonism yet at a level that would be easily be possible, sustainable and feasible for all human beings on the planet. To be an actualist is to become an ideal and model citizen of the world.
RESPONDENT: I am wondering if what you are talking here about is the investigation of emotions and feelings coming from the social norms by labelling them as sensible or silly? After labelling them, have you experimented by acting against your social norms (Acting against our religious / social conditionings and taboos to investigate the rush of emotions that follows such experiment, for example)? If so, did such action break through the psychological power of the norm and did it give you more encouragement to investigate them more deeply?
PETER: I think the first thing to be taken on board about actualism is that it is not about changing the world, it is about changing oneself. The traditional approach of people who see wrong or bad in the world is to join a crusade or revolutionary movement aimed at bringing about some sort of social, political or spiritual change to the world. Hence we have an enormous amount of angst, despair and vitriol generated by well-intentioned groups or movements clashing with other well-intentioned groups or movements, all determined that their way is the best, that they are right, or that theirs is the only way of doing things.
The traditional movements to change the world are passionately fuelled by people’s frustration at not feeling free to do what they want – of having to obey, and feeling straight-jacketed by, society’s morals, ethics and values translated into rules, laws and regulations. Thus one sees on television not only out and out warfare, terrorism, violent protests, etc., but even in so-called peaceful countries, there is a good deal of frustration, aggravation, annoyance and anger directed against the ‘government’ or various organizations for doing wrong thing or not getting it right. In the local community where I live there is an extraordinary amount of conflict, either overt or covert, as to the rights or wrongs of the actions of those with different beliefs or values and at the people employed to uphold the laws of the land.
A bit I wrote at the time of seeing the futility of attempting to rebel against or change the way the world is –
RESPONDENT: Now about Richard’s method, he calls it ‘tried and tested’. If nobody objects, I would say, at least you, Vineeto and Alan have tried it sincerely. If success is to be defined by achieving Actual Freedom, then you have not succeeded by your own admission. I guess then it is Richard and maybe Vineeto and Alan. I do not know anybody else in the running. So, by my count, it is one definite success (Richard), two may-be-successes (Vineeto and Alan) one not succeeded yet (Peter).
PETER: If nobody objects? You’re free to indulge in whatever fantasies you want. Have you ‘placed’ yourself in the Freedom ranks yet, or are you happy to remain on the sidelines as a resident critic and ‘keeper of the score’? You could consider a move from ‘scorekeeper’ and ‘critic’ to participant, or would that be too radical a move? Is there a saying that goes something like ‘There are those who do and those who merely criticise?’
Given that you have been on the list for a while now I’ll let you in to some inner-circle secrets. Actual Freedom, as you already know is completely non-spiritual and is in fact a front for the I.H.S. (International Hedonists Society). The I.H.S. grew out of the N.H.S. which was established by M. Python, H. Wilson, T. Beatle and L.S.D in England in the 60’s. The Indian mystics M.A.Rijuana and M.E.D.Tation attracted many of the followers away but it is currently enjoying a clandestine revival using the A.F.T. as a front. The original N.H.S. charter extolling the virtues of H.H (Happiness and Harmlessness) was derailed by esoteric and meta-physical influences but is now firmly back on the rails, sailing full steam ahead, has a full tank of petrol, is soon to turn the corner and then you won’t see it for the dust of the mixed metaphors left in its wake. So, your interest could not have come at a better time for both the organization and yourself, as the revival is in full swing. You are definitely right about Richard – he is the genuine article. He has demonstrated an unswerving ability to remain totally happy and harmless despite the severe provocation of Web mailing lists and the abounding cynicism of ex. N.H.S. members. I did, however, manage to draw level with him for several hours at our last competition where, despite the extreme provocation of no less than 6 eager spiritual-ist volunteers, I managed to remain both happy and harmless. I almost had to apply some effort in the last 10 minutes but I managed it right to the end un-assisted. A deep breathe and I leaped up on the top step of the dais, arm in arm with Richard, claiming my share of the trophy. It’s definitely a tough business, this being happy and harmless – the training is gruelling, the opposition relentless and uncompromising, the social ostracising palpable – but the delicious slide into an anonymous, selfless happiness and harmlessness is delectably delightful.
PETER: I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I agree with you about the above.
PETER: Which makes me wonder what you are doing on this list. I noticed the other day you wrote on the Sannyas list that you had joined the ‘Actual Freedom (does it sound nightmare?) mailing list’.
It’s such a fascinating thing to be a human being and make sense of the Human Condition. To look at the facts of the business of being here, and compare them to the story we have been told, the script we have had written for us, the fairy-tales we have been spun, the ‘truths’ we have been told are Absolutely True... ‘just trust me, have faith, and surrender to me and, ... one day, ... there will be a Golden Future’.
I gave up waiting for Godot, the Second Coming, the New Dawn, the New Millennium, the Apocalypse, the End, or the New Bhagwan ... who I see is the latest Guru on the block.
I know it is inconceivable to you that there is now a way to get out of all this mess – as it was to me at the start. But I was curious enough to find out for myself, and it seemed eminently sensible to investigate whether the things I believed to be ‘true’ were facts or not. Did they work and had they ever worked? What was actually being said, what was being promised? Had the promise been kept?
So, you are attempting the impossible to ‘try to bridge a gap’, or to use the local vernacular ... pissing into the wind. There is no such thing as a bridge between the Spiritual World and the Actual World. They are two separate, distinct dimensions. The spiritual world is other-worldly, ethereal, dreamy, affective, emotive, imaginative, idealistic, unrealistic, ever-hopeful, non-sensical, delusionary, spirit-ridden, mythical, mystical, shamanistic... The actual world is sensate, tactile, tangible, palpable, corporeal, material, sensual, obvious, factual, sensible, pure, perfect, peaceful, eternal, infinite, delightful, pleasurable, ambrosial, hedonistic and happening right this very moment, under our noses as it were.
RESPONDENT: Are you STILL happy? (Is there such a thing as being stuck on happiness – I think so).
PETER: Yes, it seems it is a permanent affliction by now, bordering on an inherent addiction. So commonplace is it in my life that it requires no effort, no excitement, no looking for it, no trying. It is a delight to be alive, there is a tangible, palpable underlying well-being – and I get to do enjoyable pleasurable things as a bonus. Those extras sensation-al activities such as eating delicious food, smelling and drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, strolling through town or trolley-pushing through the supermarket, or a romp with Vineeto, tip the ever-present sensate pleasure of simply being alive over into rampant full blown hedonism. So ingrained is malice and sorrow in the Human Condition that the life I lead now would have been inconceivable to me 2 years ago, yet now it is the effortless norm. So much so, that I ‘take it for granted’ that I will have a perfect day when I get up in the morning. The ease comes from this very being able to ‘take it for granted’, for perfection is intrinsic to the actual world.
Now, in this new scenario, ‘I’ as a social identity am totally redundant and ‘me’ as an instinctual ‘self’, no more than an occasional whiff of nuisance. There is a final break yet to be made, an extinction, a self immolation, and it is one of the reasons I write on the list – to facilitate this end, to avoid being stuck where I am now.
I met a friend of ours lately who has had some inklings that Vineeto and I were ‘doing something different’ with our lives. We got chatting and I said that it was about being happy and harmless. She seemed interested but when I said this meant being free of malice and sorrow she seemed doubtful. When I asked her wouldn’t you want to be free of sorrow she said she really liked to feel sad occasionally. Unperturbed, I asked her about being free of malice and she said that she liked to get angry, to defend herself, to make her point. She said she wouldn’t have survived in her life without her anger. I asked if she had ever been in physical danger and she said no, she just wouldn’t have survived ... And so it was that the conversation rapidly moved on to the weather – (or El Nino as it is now called – all our weather forecasters here talk Spanish now – La clouda, Ill Stormo, coldo fronto, etc.)
PETER to Konrad: And all this is actual, sensate – as evidenced by the physical senses – not merely cerebral or affective. You know, things like the smell of a woman’s armpit during sex, the feel of the breast or bum, the way you can tease a nipple to hardness, the fresh unique journey that is each sexual encounter as a literal salubrious smorgasbord of sensuality unfolds as wave after wave of pleasure engulfs us both. To feel a woman as equally sexual such that you don’t know who is thrusting or who is wiggling or where you end and she begins. To ride wave after wave of pleasure of such intensity that ejaculation is but a side order, not the main meal. And after ... to lie back and chat about how it was for each of us, to compare notes, to discuss the nuances, pleasures, particularly delicious bits, or just to lay back in that state where all the cells of the body are sexually alive and tingling and drift off into a delicious half asleep state. To drift off entirely or to eventually surface and wobble to the shower where you realise that to have hot water on tap to pour over your body is a simple pleasure that rivals any. Then maybe a cup of freshly ground coffee and a post-coital cigarette, and wonder what other pleasures are next, and in what order they will come. Hedonism has got nothing on this. Freedom is this and much more, Konrad, much more. Can’t I tease you into considering the possibility of living in paradise, here, now, on earth.
It is a paradise not only of physical pleasure as it also offers a stillness and purity wherein one is no longer driven by the instincts, where the mind is a perfectly clear and delightful and playful thing and the usual feelings of fear and aggression are replaced by a consuming sense of well being and benignity. And loneliness disappears as one immensely enjoys ones own company. Good Hey....
So Konrad, unlike the other metaphysical and philosophical theories of freedom this one works and delivers and as such easily rebuffs charlatans and frauds. The proof is in the actual and in my experience if you can prove an end to malice and sorrow in equitable one-on-one companionship you have ‘put your money where your mouth is’. There is no greater test of fire than sexual freedom and equity, than for man and woman to live together in utter peace and harmony – not in theory but in practice.
The Gurus have failed to deliver, they have had their day. The old ancient, long dead ones have eschewed morals and ethical precepts for their followers who have fought horrendous wars as to the Rightness of their masters or own particular God’s vision. And as for the modern Gurus, I know them well to be pretenders. I have seen the despair that ravages their private lives and those around them. The chaos and duplicity of their personal lives, their sexuality, their treatment of women, the psychic powers and the entrapment, surrender and eventual total emotional dependency and enslavement of their disciples is but a sad useless re-run of all that has gone before. No wonder the spiritual or religious pursuits require bucket-loads of faith, trust and hope – it is needed in the face of its continual failure to produce the goods – peace on earth.
So, of course actual freedom will have no gurus, no pretenders as the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. The Americans say: ‘can you walk the talk?’ Australians say: ‘Can you put your money where your mouth is?’ And its success will be that it is actual, it does work, it does bring change that is tangible. So I will watch with amusements your attempts at hobbling a bit of actual freedom talk into your philosophy – you are doomed to failure, but what the heck! What I am saying to you is that Enlightenment is finished, now that Richard has exposed it from the ‘inside’. Discipleship and the Spiritual Path are also finished and Vineeto and I have exposed the fraud that it is anything other than Eastern Religion masquerading in sheep’s clothing. So maybe, just maybe it is worth while considering that everybody (including yourself) has got it 180 degrees wrong. Not just a bit wrong but all wrong.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.