Selected Correspondence Peter
Honesty and Integrity
PETER: Two facts served to shatter my veneer however. One was the failure of yet another relationship and my acknowledgement that I was equally responsible for its failure and the other was an outburst of anger one day that demolished my self-image as a being a peaceful man. Both these incidents nagged me, for it made it obvious that despite my beliefs and fine ideals, I was being insincere and hypocritical, i.e. I was sprouting one thing and doing another.
When I came across actualism I was presented with the challenge of doing something practical about my insincerity and hypocrisy and the challenge was to devote my life to becoming actually happy and actually harmless. Thus it is that sincerity – the ending of hypocrisy – is both the starting point of actualism, the driving force on the path and the end of the process of actualism.
RESPONDENT: No ... It’s honesty that needs to be cranked up (that is as I see it), sincerity is what is left when you live in Actual Freedom on the ‘net’ I think it is appropriate to refer to that as ‘Virtual Freedom’.
PETER: The problem with the word ‘honest’ is that it has a connotation that is tainted in the spiritual world. As I wrote in my journal about my investigations into malice and sorrow –
Because of this I much prefer to use the word sincerity, which has a connotation of being honest with oneself, rather than demanding honesty from others. Given that actualism is solely concerned with changing oneself, it would be extremely foolish to not be honest with oneself, which is why sincerity is both the starting point of actualism, the driving force on the path and the end of the process of actualism.
As regards to ‘sincerity is what is left when you live in Actual Freedom’ – from my own experience of living in virtual freedom, from many pure consciousness experiences and from a fine-tooth observation of Richard, I found that when you no longer nurture malice and sorrow in your bosom, an actual innocence negates the need to crank up sincerity in order to counter the natural human tendency for duplicity.
RESPONDENT: Now, somehow, for the most part my attitude about the process has shifted. Most of the times now, there is an eagerness to investigate ... a certain excitement clicks in. In this regard, what has helped is an intent or deep resolve to face what ever it is ... to refuse to run and hide.
PETER: Persistence rewarded, hey. Another hint that was passed on to me that I found useful was to remember not to take yourself too seriously. This is the trick to turn fear into excitement – and excitement is having fun. Excitement is a felicitous feeling when excitement is the thrill of becoming more happy and more harmless.
RESPONDENT: Yes ... this is a helpful hint. In the past, I would take on the attitude that I had to accomplish a particular spiritual goal by ‘hell or high water’. I do believe now that one can be softly vigilant and diligent in applying, eg: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’.
PETER: I found it useful to distinguish between being sincere about wanting to achieve a goal and being serious about it – serious as in grim or sombre. When I realized how silly I had been in taking on a precocious spiritual identity and all the nonsense that implied, I could no longer take myself seriously and that meant that I could hardly take seriously any further whittling away at the beliefs that made up my social identity.
I found having a sense of humour an essential asset in the process of actualism and no more so that when I found myself stubbornly holding on to a belief or moral or ethical stance. I would often find myself chuckling and saying to myself ‘Come on, this is silly’.
PETER: In my later years as a Rajneeshee I plunged head-on into expressive type therapies and found them lacking in substance. I was also shocked soon after to find myself overcome by anger one day and started to be aware that all of my spiritual colleagues suffered from similar slippages. Not only did these type of therapies lack substance but they simply did not work long term to alleviate anger or sorrow. There was a particular group who followed the ‘I am all right as I am’ path of ‘self’-love and these people had no qualms at all about expressing their anger at others, nor about being sad and spreading their sorrow to others.
Suppression doesn’t work, emoting doesn’t work, nor does transcendence; otherwise there would be peace on earth by now.
GARY: One extremely useful and practical thing I have learned from actualism is how to put emotions in a bind: one can put them in a bind when they come up by neither expressing nor repressing them. Any emotion or passion, indeed any movement, can be brought to the full light of a sensuous awareness and looked at as-it-is. One need neither give vent to the emotion nor suppress nor repress. One can also instantly appraise the probable consequence of those actions were one to take them and at a glance determine for oneself what is happening in the moment. When one’s emotions are put in a bind this way, a curious thing happens: they literally dry up – run out of steam – run out of gas – crash and burn. Any particularly vexing emotion or problematic situation can be dealt with in this way. With repeated use of this technique, I have found myself becoming much less emotional. When emotions come up, I can keep my hands in my pockets, observe what is happening, and determine how to get back to being happy and harmless in the moment. When the emotion is experienced fully, the energy is dissipated and gradually exhausted. With each succeeding experience like this, something is happening in the emotional part, the primitive part of the brain (speculation here), something which, given time, persistence and repeated practice, spells doom to ‘me’. I am experiencing a thrill even as I write these words this morning, because this is something that is entirely new, unheard of before, so far as I can determine. It is exciting to be talking like this, experimenting with these things, trying them on for size.
PETER: An excellent description. Just in case anyone missed the opening sentence – ‘One extremely useful and practical thing I have learned from actualism is ... ’ The only way this method can be effective, as in producing lasting results, is if it is combined with an active investigation of the beliefs, morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that form our social identity – ‘the guardian at the gate’ that prevents one from having a clear-eyed look at the emotions and passions in action. This method needs to be combined with labelling the emotion or feeling and understanding its source and this is where reading the web-site is essential. Richard spent years investigating and exploring the human condition and my investigations were subsequently so much easier because I was able to read what he had written and pick his brain for information. My particular discoveries combined with Vineeto’s are now available for others to read so this process becomes even easier again for those following.
Your description adds to a growing body of evidence that the process works, and I would only add another comment for others who may be reading. Anyone who regards actualism as a process designed only to eliminate emotions is missing the point and needs to read more. If anyone attempts merely to eliminate emotions without having a goal to be free of the Human Condition they would only end up in some non-feeling zombie-like state – perhaps dwelling in some rationalist cold no-man’s land. The aim of the method, so well described above, is to reduce the insidious effects of both the savage and tender passions and aim for the felicitous feelings, such as feeling fine, feeling good, feeling excellent, etc. Until the whole of the psychological and psychic identity is extinguished one is still a feeling being but this process, if undertaken with sincere intent, serves to weaken and diminish one’s identity and eventually facilitates its immolation.
One’s own integrity combined with the memory that purity and perfection is only possible in a ‘self’-less state will always serve to prevent one from entering into imaginary delusionary states of Actual Freedom. The immediate and readily obtainable aim in the initial stages of actualism is to get to a Virtual Freedom from the human condition. It could well be described as learning to walk before you fly, lest you fall into the ‘I am already That’ trap. Another way of putting it is you always keep your feet on the ground, lest you end up with your head in the clouds.
PETER: I am not making a moral or ethical stance in this – it was common sense for Great Britain that Germany and Japan had to be resisted.
GARY: That is the commonly accepted view. I am reminded in this connection, however, that in school we were taught the same thing about the Kaiser and German militarism in the First World War. I recently was browsing a book in the book store about WW1 wherein the author developed the interesting thesis that the English were actually responsible for the start of the war in that they consistently provoked the Germans and their allies and deliberately and with malicious intent engaged in the kind of sabre-rattling and expansionist policies that goaded on the war, with the resultant bloodshed. This is quite the opposite from the usual view. Actually, I would say that since every human being inherited the blind instincts that nature genetically endowed all sentient creatures with as a rough and ready software package for survival, that all the human beings that lived at that time were responsible for the war and what happened in the war, that would include the pacifists, the isolationists, the politicians, the priests and ministers, rabbis, gurus, and every sane, normal human being living on the globe at the time. Maybe that seems to be going a bit too far? What do you think?
PETER: I just brought the whole issue of who is responsible for all the wars conflicts, acrimony, suffering and pious high-mindedness back to me and my feelings. If I got angry how could I blame others for getting angry? If I could be overcome by a murderous rage, as in wishing another obliterated, feeling jealousy, wanting revenge or wishing retribution or justice, how could I blame others for having the same feelings or even acting on them? If I was feeling sanctimoniously superior, how could I blame others who hypocritically took the moral high-ground while preaching that others were to blame for the ills of humanity. How could I remain a follower of a spiritual Guru while condemning others for belonging to spiritual/ religious groups who fought each other over which sanctimonious viewpoint or self-righteous group was right and which was wrong? And the one that really challenged me personally was – if I couldn’t live with other human beings in peace and harmony, how could I blame others for not being able to do so? In other words, the only way there is going to be peace on earth is for me to prove it is possible.
As I wrote in my journal –
PETER: I see it is proving to be a wealth of information while no doubt being a handful at times. I also gleaned a wealth of information from my work in the market place during actualism, as well as being able to observe how I was experiencing a challenging and changing kaleidoscope of people, things and events. What I found was that as my malicious and sorrowful feelings diminished, I was much more able to easily do what was sensible and appropriate for the situation and that this sensibleness and appropriateness eventually became effortless.
As effortlessness set in, ‘I’ was more and more redundant as ‘I’ was no longer needed to be ‘in control’. When this stage is reached there is a delicious ‘slipping out from control’ that happens and then I really get to have fun being effortlessly happy and effortlessly harmless.
GARY: ‘Effortlessness’ is a very good way to describe it. Once one grasps the folly of remaining a passionate feeling being, the emotional faculty seems to just run out of steam or fall flat from lack of use. One is no longer pumping up one’s emotional muscles.
PETER: Just to make it clear for anyone else who may be reading this – the stage of effortlessness only occurs as a result of making the supreme effort to be happy and harmless. And anyone who thinks that being happy and harmless is easy, need only try for themselves to experience the obstacles that need diligently removing from the path.
GARY: A curious change begins to take place. I am still in the midst of this change and so there are certain parts of it that are not entirely clear to me. But the daunting or fear-evoking elements of it appear to be subsiding, being replaced by an increasing sense of ease and comfort. My experience of emotions, if they do arise in the head and heart, is that they are recognized at once and fall flat, without needing to be expressed or suppressed. It is indeed a process that involves no effort from ‘me’. Indeed, if I get hooked by an emotion, it is ‘me’ in all my glory, and the experience can be pumped for all the information possible about this particular emotion or feeling, and the corresponding belief or attitude that may be associated with it.
PETER: Yes. I can relate to that. I was always wary that I may be kidding myself that some belief or moral or ethic had disappeared out of my life and I would often do what I described as sweeping out the cupboard. I would deliberately check over some issue, looking for deeper layers or something I had missed. But life is excellent at throwing up opportunities in the way of people, things and events that serve as a challenge to your happiness and as a prod to how harmless you really are. The only thing you have to be is sincere, but then again while it may be possible to fool others, to fool oneself is really silly.
GARY: There is a shift back and forth between the sensuous apperceptive awareness and the ‘normal affective being’. One day this week I was experiencing the most painful sense of alienation, loneliness, and angst, all rolled into one. But the remarkable thing is that the next day these feelings vanished completely and hardly make any sense at all.
PETER: (...) As a bit of an aside, I’m reminded of a discussion I had some time ago when I happened to explain the process of becoming happy and harmless. As I described the process, the woman I was talking to said ‘but that’s being dishonest’. I was somewhat taken aback because in no way was I pretending to be happy and harmless, as in ‘positive thinking’ or just trying to ‘look on the bright side of life’ – what I was doing was sincerely and scrupulously investigating and examining all of superficial reasons and all of the root causes of my being malicious and sorrowful in the first place.
My efforts to explain the sincerity of my intent fell on deaf ears because the woman had spent years immersed in therapy programs whereby expressing one’s feelings, whether it be anger or sadness, was upheld to be ‘being honest’. Someone who believes that being angry and being sad are signs of honesty and virtue can only see someone who is both happy and harmless as dishonest and evil.
RESPONDENT: I have just taken your lead and purchased my own computer... I want to write down my story... but I don’t know how it will unfold as yet... essentially it will be for myself... or should that be for the demise of myself ...???
PETER: I do find it odd that I now write as a hobby given that it was never an interest, I was not a great reader of books and struggled with English at school. I always thought that those who wrote and taught were not necessarily those who did things well. I chose the doing things well path but it is delightful to mix the skills these days. I remember buying the computer and setting it up and wondering what I was doing and more particularly how and where to start. So I took a note pad out to the balcony with a cup of coffee and sat down .... ‘As I sit on the balcony of our small flat contemplating life, I am moved to start writing my story.’ ... and away it went.
It proved to be an amazing introspective process ... to see that all ‘I’ am is nothing more than the sum total of the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms that I had been instilled with since birth. To see that all ‘I’ am is automaton from a social and genetic assembly line, both fettered and fated to be malicious and sorrowful, is such a blow to one’s pride. But naiveté and genuine intent produces such an honesty that one finds oneself gladly ‘spilling the beans’, so to speak. To conduct a review of one’s history, one’s actions, thoughts and feelings in the light of being ensconced and trapped within the Human Condition is an extraordinary ‘inner’ journey that beats any other form of therapy hands down. One literally puts oneself under a microscope and amazing discoveries are there for the making – things one was avoiding, things one was ignorant of, things one dared not to look at, things no one had told you, things that were completely different from what you assumed and believed to be so. This is the very business of an actualist – it is only by making this ‘inner’ journey of discovery by oneself, for oneself, that one is able to become free from belief. You get to find out what you are as distinct from ‘who’ you think and feel yourself to be – the ‘who’ that others and blind nature have programmed you to be.
PETER to Alan: For those willing to consider the possibility of an actual freedom, the next step is to tap into pure intent – an intent to make it something one is willing to dedicate one’s life to and a purity such that one will settle for nothing less than the purity and perfection so obviously experienced in a Pure Consciousness Experience. If it is possible for a brief time it must be possible as a permanent state – purity and perfection is possible as a flesh and blood human being, it requires one’s sincere intent to become a ‘self’ consuming passion in life.
As an ongoing experience one moves into a state of Virtual Freedom whereby one goes to sleep at night time knowing one has had a perfect day and that tomorrow will also be a perfect day. This perfection is not the perfection of Actual Freedom but a 99.9% perfection and the hic-ups or stumbles are so minor and brief, that they fail to daunt one on the journey. Serendipity abounds and a fascination with life activates delight and sensuousness as one does all one can to mimic the perfection and purity that becomes increasingly apparent all around in the physical world. One’s mind, more and more freed of imagination and the chemical influence of instinctual passions, is capable of great clarity, and as apperceptive awareness replaces self-centred neurosis one knows one’s days are numbered. By this total and sincere dedication to what is actual, pure and perfect, one abandons control, so to speak, whereby the very process of self-immolation is set in motion – then it is not a process that one has any control over, it is happening by itself.
The ending of ‘me’, when seen dispassionately, is the amygdala doing its survival thing – one encounters surges of chemicals from an obsolete program playing out its death throes – fighting for its very survival as it is programmed to do. This last stages of the ending of ‘me’ is both a psychic and psychological affair, thus accompanying the chemical rushes (fear) one also experiences the psychological equivalent (angst), but one is committed by now – there is no ‘back door’, no turning back, no phoenix to rise from the ashes. ‘My’ end is nigh.
PETER to Alan: Another musing I had the other day concerned the common view of the word freedom as used in spiritual circles. Freedom is seen as an event, usually termed Enlightenment, whereby one miraculously escapes from the illusion of the real world, its problems, concerns and worries and is magically re-united with one’s Source from whence one came from originally. Thus ‘I’ am no longer lost, lonely and frightened for I have come Home and am overwhelmed by feelings of Divine Love. Thus one leaves the ‘real’ world and emerges into the ‘divine’ world – an illusion based on an illusion. The process usually undertaken is to devote oneself to living the ‘divine’ life, in preparation for a final ‘crossing’ over whereby one becomes Divine. This is, of course, all played out in the fantasy world of passionate feelings and has not a fig to do with the actual. Enlightenment is but a shift of identity from normal, afraid of death to Divine and believing one’s Self to be immortal.
The path to an Actual Freedom is to devote one’s life to being the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being, and if undertaken with scrupulous integrity, will inevitably and inexorably lead to one’s self-immolation. This final act will be one of self-sacrifice for it is evident from the Pure Consciousness experience that only ‘I’ stand in the way of the perfection and purity of the universe being experienced as this flesh and blood body called Peter. This full-blooded devotion, as in ...
... has recently resulted in heady glimpses and experiences of the infinitude of the physical universe. These experiences of vastness and limitless freedom offer tantalizing previews of an inevitable destiny after ‘my’ extinction and have had the unmistakable ring of the authenticity of my first ‘self’-less PCE. The other clue as to their genuineness is the recognition of the seductive parallel of the Altered State of Consciousness whereby ‘I’ am tempted to instinctually grab to become the experience. Thus, ‘I’ become infinite and eternal, whereas in the PCE it is startlingly clear that it is the universe that is infinite and eternal, and what I am is this mortal flesh and blood body, well able and equipped to think and reflect and go oooh and ahhh at the perfection and purity that is obviously apparent when ‘I’ cease to rule the roost. But that won’t happen to me – it’s but a cheap cop-out once you have tasted the actual.
These glimpses are the direct result of this boots and all approach and send a thrill up one’s spine, a tingling in the skull, or an involuntary wobble of the head. It’s fascinating to see that the fear that was there in the days of thinking about the end of ‘me’, or trying to imagine the end of ‘me’, is now replaced by a physical thrill as in – this is what I am doing, or this is what is happening. This is no esoteric explanation and has parallels in the prosaic activities that involve fear or danger whereby, when you get to the stage of actually doing something rather than thinking or worrying about it, one is then too busy with the doing of it that one has no time for fears or worries. And it’s not as though the experience is frantic, or too much – I am at present doing normal things like doing a job, earning a living and reporting, as accurately as I can, on what is going on inside with ‘me’ as it happens. Utterly down-to-earth, normal and anonymous.
PETER to Alan: The path to Actual Freedom is not at all attractive for there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – no phoenix arises from the ashes to claim the glory, no acclaim of adoring disciples, no wonderful overwhelming feelings, no fame, no recognition, no power – neither overt nor covert. Extinction is extinction. It is for this very reason that one needs a goodly dose of altruism.
In my experience there is yet another quality which may well be as important, if not more important, than altruism in evincing self-immolation. This quality is integrity –
Having experienced this integrity of innocence, benevolence and undividedness in pure consciousness experiences it then becomes a prime motivation to experience it 24 hrs. a day, every day. The absence of conflict, confusion, deceit and duplicity – the absence of both the social and instinctual entity that are in constant battle has to be experienced to be understood. One cannot understand it unless one experiences it although it certainly helps if one is prepared to risk rocking one’s boat. By digging into one’s self one is certainly much, much more likely to induce a pure consciousness experience. By doing nothing, one gets nothing in return. Unless one investigates, one never finds out. Unless one changes, one stays the same. Unless one is motivated by integrity then one will remain a very, very cunning entity either fighting it out in the ‘real’ world or travelling on the spiritual path of self-discovery seeking self-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement.
Being guided by integrity or being guided by sincere intent ensures that I will not deceive myself, that I will be honest with myself, that I will not settle for second best – that I will not stop until I live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs a day every day, until I am irrevocably free of the Human Condition.
Ah well. It was a bit of a rave again. I am trying to put into words my thoughts and experiences of the direct path to Actual freedom as opposed to Richard’s experience of travelling through the dementia of Enlightenment and out the other side. At the moment of self-immolation the instinctual and traditional urge to become a Saviour kicked in and it took him some 11 years to rid himself of the delusion. For ‘me’ there will be no fame, glory, glamour or glitz – simply extinction. T’is no wonder that denial is so endemic and integrity so scarce.
But for those willing to launch themselves on the path to Actual freedom the incremental rewards are such that one is driven on by success, integrity and naiveté. It does take a wee touch of courage to ditch the familiar old programming from the brain, to wipe the hard drive clean of all the old rotten corrupted programming but, as is evident in the pure consciousness experience, an actual freedom from the human condition in total is the inevitable result.
RESPONDENT: I have clearly identified that I am both a lunatic and an unhappy producer of suffering, and so your statements have attracted my full attention. I would like to read the Journals you describe. (...)
PETER: Good to hear from you. The lunatic definition I heard from the chief executive of Continental Airlines who joined the company when it was well on its way to its third bankruptcy crisis and he was trying to change the ‘mind-set’ of the employees. (...)
As I said in my journal, I found Richard’s Journal to be a priceless guide to freedom. Evidently I said after first reading it that it was the last book I needed to read! I ended up reading it dozens of times as the first reading was so overwhelming that it is impossible to take it all in – so shocking would be consequences if one could.
I found I would take it a bit at a time and use it as a touchstone to begin musing and contemplating a particular issue I was grappling with. To merely skim the surface is to miss the point – I found the deeper I delved the more insights and realisations I had and the changes which at first were merely intellectual eventually became experiential. In other words, the complete elimination of a dearly held belief of mine meant the actual elimination of that ‘bit’ of me, a step by step path to freedom. If done with intent and honesty the process is at first quite scary, fearful and can be accompanied by a few wobbles. But it soon becomes thrilling and eventually a total obsession and then your cruising. So good luck ...
RESPONDENT: To relate and commiserate through all the problems and complaints ... but it is just as easy to gain humour, entertainment through co-operative exploration. This can be done for the same purpose ... to remove the aloneness?
It was fun recently to turn a whole group around from the type you described to a more sensitive and analytical social group. I simply acted without a self and watched how others became encouraged to do the same.
PETER: Are you saying you managed to facilitate a group Pure Consciousness Experience, or was it one of those group feel-good sessions?
My experience is that most people, when asked directly and individually, do not want to become happy and harmless for it involves becoming free of their passions for malice and sorrow. Further, most people who have a PCE quickly delete it from their memory for varying reasons, or claim the experience for themselves – as in ‘I feel like I am the universe and the UNIVERSE is ME!!!’
Groups are for groupies.
RESPONDENT: It has little to do with wanting to self-immolate and peace on earth ... this is, however, a possible by-product?
PETER: Then what you describe was not a self-less state, for in a PCE the utter insanity of human beings fighting horrendous wars and not living together in peace and harmony is startlingly apparent and glaringly obvious. So much so that a sincere human being will do all he or she can to facilitate living the PCE, 24 hrs a day, every day, for their own peace and for peace on earth. In the PCE it is evident that there is no self in existence as an alien entity or spirit inside one’s body. It is also evident that it is because of this absence, albeit temporary, that one’s sensate experience is one of purity and perfection for this is the very nature of the physical universe, the actual world. Thus in order to live the PCE, 24 hrs. a day, every day, self-immolation is an essential, not a by-product. Up until now the shamans have cornered and collared this experience for their own power and authority but Richard has broken the mould. A handful of pioneering actualists are following, which is what this list is about.
RESPONDENT: It made me realize that people, myself included, like to hide in the group, to connect, to solve problems, to feel a part of a bigger picture, and therefore feel stronger, more important, more relevant etc...
PETER: Hi everyone,
Another ‘new millennium’ message that is worth thinking about –
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s (the incarnated Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, the Holy Lord, the Gentle Glory, the Compassionate, the Defender of the Faith, the Ocean of Wisdom, the Wish-fulfilling Gem) New Millennium Message
With Wisdom like that, let’s not hold our breathe for peace on earth. (...)
One of the most interesting aspects of the wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom is the de-bunking of mythical heroes, both ancient and current. The Peter I was 3 years ago still held the spiritual Masters in awe, the great philosophers in reverence and unquestioningly accepted the theoretical scientists as being in touch with reality. It was only a matter of overcoming my trepidation, and laziness, in order to investigate the facts and sense of what the philosophers and theoretical scientists were proposing before they toppled from their ivory tower perches. The spiritual Masters were a different kettle of fish as in order to become free of spiritual belief, one needs to break free from the psychic power of the spiritual world.
There is most definitely an aura or psychic field that surrounds the Masters and God-men – this is the very source of their power. Underpinning this aura is an almost tangible and palpable fear that locks one in to unquestioning faith, unwavering belief and unswerving loyalty. All of the ancient texts offering salvation or redemption have parallel stories of eternal suffering or hellish realms for those who are non-believers. I remember passing through an intense phase of fear-induced dreams when one of the Masters I had ‘betrayed’ was hunting and chasing me all night long – to pull me back into the fold, ‘or else’.
Once one has seen a fairy tale to be nothing other than a fairy tale it is impossible to go back to believing, if one is at all sincere. Then it simply becomes a matter of riding out the storm and dreams are sometimes outlets for the storm to surface. Realizing these fears to be nothing other than chemically induced fantasies is the clue to keep going. I always figured that whatever emotion-backed thoughts went on in my head, or whatever emotional-backed sensations that occurred in the body, were real but not actual. What is actual is what I can sensately perceive – the rest is nonsense.
The business of not only leaving the fold of a particular spiritual Master but of leaving the whole spiritual world is not for the faint of heart. One can pass through some hellish psychic realms on the way to freedom. One needs to become free not only of mythical Gods and the beguiling Good, but free from the pernicious Devil and the awful Diabolical as well.
What a thrilling adventure – a journey into one’s own psyche is a journey into the human psyche for ‘I’ am Humanity and Humanity is ‘me’. And on the path the God-men and Gurus, Lamas and Popes, Geniuses and Heroes topple off their thrones like nine pins, to become mortal flesh and blood human beings merely suffering from an overdose of megalomaniacal dementia.
PETER: (...) To argue degrees and apportion blame is to miss (or avoid) the point.
IRENE: For most of my life I had looked automatically for an authority in the field of human interests, whom I believed to be better equipped and more knowledgeable than I, which of course was very understandable and sensible to do in the first 10 or even 20 years of my life, as I had not developed my own integrity enough yet and there was still a lot to learn from others.
PETER: I take it from this that Richard was an authority figure for you given that he was Enlightened when you met and you were a spiritual seeker. I further take it that after leaving him you now reject him as an authority figure and blame all who listen to him as blind followers of a Guru. What interest is it to you what others think of Richard? What is your interest in comparing us to followers of Hitler. I smell sour grapes or a woman scorned or wounded pride, but I could be wrong.
IRENE: But now I can say that my integrity can stand proud on its own, although this doesn’t mean that I am closed off to another’s input and remarks about me, on the contrary, I always check them for value, as I wouldn’t want to overlook anything!
PETER: I find that checking things out for facts far better, because I tend to only value that which I want to value – things like praise, sympathy, emotional support, appreciation, etc.
IRENE: Even when they do play an attacking or defending role with me, I find that I am not disturbed by this at all and therefore emotional reactions simply do not come up any more, so I there is nothing at all that I have to get rid of, exterminate or otherwise repress or suppress. These days I can virtually instantly discern the understandable reaction of the other as a natural human defence of themselves.
PETER: Above you had said that you accepted emotions and feelings as good and now you say you don’t have any anyway. Exactly what is your teaching – you seem to have a bet in each way. Are you advocating a middle road – an actual freedom with a bit of belief and femaleness thrown in or is it just a freedom for women only?
As you can see you get no support from me for the philosophy of retaining human conditioning or instincts. I remember being astounded when you said you would seek love again even though you acknowledged it could bring great suffering in the event of your partner dying or leaving. You said you would welcome the suffering. Well, not for me – my chest is still bruised from feeling and suffering the universal dread!
IRENE: For a start, I don’t see you being malicious and sorrowful at the core of your being. It’s your defence of this core of your being that lashes out when triggered, justified by your mistaken beliefs and interpretations of yourself and of women. Ignoring them means that you cannot ever rely on yourself and must therefore rely on another or others to keep you under control. This dependence on others for your own survival comes at a price: you must sacrifice, compromise your integrity in order to be safe and kill or die for the survival of your group.
PETER: Yes, we are all wired with a survival instinct, a will to survive, that consists of feelings of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Rather than treat the symptoms with therapy, morality, ethics or transcendence I have chosen the path of eliminating the disease – to actively pursue the elimination of the animal in me. Sure it’s radical, but I and countless others over the centuries, have diligently pursued the other solutions to no avail. Besides, it is such a fascinating adventure to participate in at my time of life. I’ve done all the normal things very well, investigated them all, so I’m trying something different now. It does mean I’m on my own, but then again I always was. The curious thing is that I no longer ‘feel’ lost, lonely or frightened on my own or have the need to ‘feel’ part of a group to survive. My interactions with all I meet are therefore not driven by animal survival instincts. It’s so good to be rid of bad feelings and the need to maintain the good one’s in order to keep it together. The bad feelings are hard wired in us (fear and aggression) and up until now the idea of abandoning the Good, Right, Sacred or Holy has been absurd. These feelings – and the point of a gun – are all that has held it all together to get us to our present state of development as a species.
It is only possible to eliminate the good when one has eliminated the bad and the bad is a biological and neurological problem located in the primitive lizard brain. But you know all this and have experienced many times a ‘disconnection’ from fear and aggression that is apparent in the peak experience when all is obviously benign, perfect, pure and pristine – with not a skerrick of fear or aggression apparent anywhere.
PETER to No 5: Good to get a note back from you. I am always both surprised and delighted to get a post back from anyone. This business of determining the facts of living as a human being rather than simply living a life believing what we have been taught and what every one else believes is the truth or the Truth is a challenging and confronting business. It is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee. It takes guts, determination and sheer bloody mindedness to fly in the face of Ancient Wisdom. One will be admonished for madness, warned against being foolhardy, cut down to size and ostracised by friends and society at large. But once there is a crack in the door, once a belief is seen to be nothing other than a belief, once the facts become evident ... it is hard to continue to believe.
Pride was the big one for me – ‘How could I have been such a fool?’, ‘Surely I am not that stupid?’ or ‘How could I be that wrong?’ I turned it on its head and used my pride to say – ‘I’ll be a pioneer, one of the first in a new adventure’, ‘I’ll find out the facts for myself, come what may, and I’ll let nothing stop me’, ‘I simply refuse to live a second-rate life’, ‘It’s my life and I’ll do what I want to, rather than what I have been programmed to do’ ...
Then, no matter what the result, life becomes a genuine adventure, a sincere search, as distinct from the usual wandering around in the dust and mould of the ancient temples looking for a new version of Ancient Wisdom to hang one’s hat on. One can see it in the New Dark Ages quite clearly as the ‘latest discovery’ such as Tibetan Tantric Tarot, Summerian Shamanic Shiatsu, or my personal favourite – Heliotropic Holistic Healing. To call this trolling through the trash cans of Eastern Mysticism ‘discovering’ or ‘exploring’ is a blatant abuse of the words.
If one is sincere about searching, discovering and exploring it makes scant sense to recycle the flotsam of Ancient Wisdom, but if you do dare to be different, to really question, ... be realistic about the consequences. The lot of the trail blazer is not easy or comfortable, but it is such good fun.
PETER to No 7: But to see Actual Freedom in spiritual terms and to see it as mere Guru-bashing is to miss the point entirely of what is being offered here on this List and in the writings. What is required of an actualist is to undertake a complete, thorough and clear-eyed examination of what it is that is being taught by these God-men and exactly why it has been, and still is, so seductively attractive. This process, if undertaken with scrupulous sincerity, will bring one to the realization that the whole of Ancient Wisdom is based upon various myths and imaginary fairy tale beliefs of life after death. This spirit-ual belief in an after-life is constantly fuelled and fired by the survival instincts and, as such, is a passionately held belief given credence by hormonally-charged hallucinations and delusionary states. ‘I’, the parasitic entity that dwells in the flesh and blood body, will do anything to survive, will actively and passionately do anything to stay in existence – anything to deny the fact of physical death. So passionate is this belief that millions, upon millions, upon millions of human beings have killed for, and died for, their own particular version of this spiritual belief. The very survival instinct within human beings is directly responsible for the continuous carnage of warfare on this planet – all pursuit of a fairy-tale of life after death for ‘me’ who lives inside this flesh and blood, physical, mortal body.
RESPONDENT: Nice talking to you Peter. (I think it is my first direct mail to you). BTW, I have read your journal and enjoyed it a lot. That was how I was introduced to the Actual Freedom site. That time I was looking for someone who had broken away from Osho’s organized religion called sannyas.
PETER: And what you found was someone who has broken away from the spiritual world entirely and headed off in the other direction. I wrote the journal as the story of my journey out of the spiritual world and into the actual world. But you have to get out of the spiritual world first, there are no shortcuts – there is no clip on a bit of ‘actual’ and motor on the spiritual path. The spiritual path is for the Luddites who selfishly settle for the ‘feeling’ of freedom – a pathetic substitute for the actual. Not for the boots and all, sincere actualist, who will settle for nothing less than an actual freedom.
I like what you have written. You are obviously beginning to be concerned with ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ It is a question that will bring you to being concerned with, and interested in, all sorts of aspects of the Human Condition. It is useful to remind yourself continuously that who you think and feel you are is a social identity, that you had no part in the forming of, and that you are an instinctual being by birth. These facts can free you of the need for guilt, blame, resentment and the like. The Human Condition is common to all, whatever nationality, gender, intelligence, etc. The point is to look around at the Human Condition and see if you like it or if you want to get free of it. Then you look at how the Human Condition operates in you and you set about eliminating it – becoming free of it. It’s a fascinating exercise – one that is brand-new, never been done before and never been capable of being done before, for humans have had to operate on survival-mode up until now.
Another point that helped me to get free from the spiritual was the realization that Richard is no Guru – in fact, the discovery of an actual freedom from the Human Condition is only possible because Richard broke free from the delusion of Enlightenment and Guru-ism. But he is an expert, an authority on Actual Freedom. He is an ordinary flesh and blood mortal human being, as am I, and as is everyone on the list. Actualism is for anyone who is willing and interested – it requires nothing special, nothing extra-ordinary other than sincere intent.
RESPONDENT: I dare to question God (or the concept of God) and I’m not blaming anybody, God, myself or my fellow beings. I’m just stating the obvious; life on this planet is pretty miserable, that’s a fact. Let’s do something about it! But you’re obviously blaming spirituality for the mess we’re in.
PETER: You have lost me here because the statement I responded to indicated that you believed in a creator God, and any belief in a spiritual force, energy, sustainer or creator will only serve to maintain ‘me’, as a spirit dwelling in the flesh and blood body, in existence. Any belief in a spirit world will inevitably cause the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness to end up in an altered state of consciousness. One’s personal self may well come to an end but one’s Impersonal Self emerges triumphant and glorious. This is not the fault of spirituality per se, but the lack of honesty and integrity of the individual seeker who willingly surrenders to the seduction of self-aggrandizement.
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 – ‘I had, and still have, all the feelings about the way this world is ran by our governments’. 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 ‘you no longer see any part of this wonder-full creation as being separate from your own being’, 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’?
An interesting point of view. What Krishnamurti had to say was so ‘very important for people to hear’ that it was okay to deliberately conceal a long standing affair with his friend’s wife and engage in subsequent long and bitter legal battles against his friend in order to suppress any knowledge of it becoming public. Sort of a ‘don’t look at the finger, look at the moon’ argument or ‘I’m only a poor humble messenger but my message is pure gold.’ Do you not take a stand, presume a position, make a judgement on Krishnamurti by refusing to pass a judgement yourself and leaving it to others?
Peter to No 1: I did have a fascinating talk with someone who I knew as a long-time Sannyasin, who extolled to me the teachings of an Eastern Guru she was into. Basically his teachings are that ‘everything is perfectly all right as it is – nothing to do’, and certainly ‘nothing to change’ and if and when ‘something happens’ it will be ‘by Grace’. In my usual irrepressible style I said ‘oh, then you believe in God?’ She looked startled and said ‘No’. She then said the teachings (or no-teachings?) were not about God and I asked her whose Grace it was that granted whatever it was that might or might not happen. She said ‘Existence’ and when I asked her ‘is not that another name for God?’ she said ‘no, it is an energy?’ She ended up desperately pleading a case that there must be ‘something’, because she has ‘felt’ it ... so we wandered off into talking about my second favourite subject – sex.
Later on I sat by myself under the stars and mused a bit on the conversation. I thought back to the time I was passionately searching for freedom. What would I have made of some-one who said ‘You don’t have to do anything – just wait for God’s Grace’ and ‘you can’t do anything about finding freedom – and the very act of trying is a hindrance’?
It might have been a tempting cop-out, but my being ruthlessly honest with myself always prevented me from the trap of fatalism or resignation. Also, it always involved a surrendering of my will to someone or something else. To be a mere puppet in some Cosmic play, with others puling my strings, was not the freedom I sought.
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: Well, now that the old man has snuffed, we will probably never know for sure...
PETER: In reply to your comments on my story –
Yes, the idea that the guns, poisonings, buggings, vote rigging, bombings, etc. were all a device to teach us a lesson, got everyone – including Rajneesh – off the hook from examining and being responsible for their actions. Except the ‘scapegoats’, of course, some of whom are still serving long prison sentences.
RESPONDENT: It always seemed a strange idea to me, that it should all be a device, as if Osho was sitting there designing this kind of situation to teach us a lesson. Firstly, human nature is quite capable of coming up with this sort of stuff on its own, without any help. And secondly, well, I really can’t see him being bothered with it. Out of interest, what happened when your honesty caught up with you...?
PETER: He is quoted as saying – ‘I had chosen Sheela to give you a little taste of what fascism means.’ Osho
When my honesty caught up with me, it forced me to admit that I was as mad and as bad as everyone else in the world. As I wrote last year –
It meant that I couldn’t turn away any more. If there was to be an end to malice and sorrow on this fair planet – it was up to me. For ‘I’ am humanity, and Humanity is me. I could no longer be dishonest and blame others for the religious wars, persecutions, reparations, tortures, and ‘sectarian’ violence that still rage on earth.
PAUL LOWE: When you take a form, it already has built-in programs. These programs have been inherited from parents, society and thousands of years of conditioning. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: 180 degrees in the wrong direction! The spirit – ‘who’ you think and feel you are – is the program in the brain. This is easily observed in a new born infant which has a genetically encoded, but minimally developed, instinctual programming and one’s social programming begins later.
The spirit, the alien entity within the flesh and blood body, is the program, and all spirit-ual belief is part of this social programming. To get rid of the alien spirit one simply needs to get rid of both the societal and instinctual programming. One then becomes ‘what’ one is – a mortal flesh and blood body only, free of the illusion of being a spirit.
PAUL LOWE: The mind in this machine is untamed – wild. It has will and thinks thoughts on its own. Emotions can be disturbed at any time. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The spiritual people always think of themselves as being civilized or of having a higher consciousness – this feeling of superiority is the direct result of practicing transcendence. As a meta-physical ‘spirit’ only, one disassociates from, and transcends, the wild beast – the human animal body. Delusions of Divinity are the inevitable result of these spiritual practices.
PAUL LOWE: When you enter the machine, you are stuck there until you find a way out. <snip> As you enter the machine you forget who you are, that you are pure spirit. Yet it is possible to become conscious of the automatic parts of the machine and as you do, you move towards remembering who you really are, you move towards your freedom. <snip> Eventually you will be totally free within the machine; then it will start to balance itself. You and the machine will become one and you will be free to be here or to leave. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: So, each and every spirit entering a human body perversely has their memory erased and has to suffer to the point where, in sheer desperation, they turn to the Ancient fairy stories and then realize it was all God’s sick joke. Having realized this they can then sit in their Ashrams, Satsangs, meditations, therapy groups and spiritual communities and feel superior to those who have not yet got the joke.
T’would all be a joke except for the fact that any chance of an actual peace on earth is readily and eagerly forfeited for an imaginary peace after physical death or, for the rare few, the chance to become God-on-earth.
For an Actualist, a sincere interest in actualizing peace on earth is vital in order to prevent the seductive lure of ‘self’-aggrandizement and the instinctual lure of ‘self’-preservation from diverting him or her from the path to ‘self’-immolation.
PAUL LOWE: As you settle into this form you will probably find that this machine has a mind and it never stops. It thinks all the time. Without you doing the thinking, it keeps thinking on its own. It also has feelings and sensations in the body all on its own, that have nothing whatsoever to do with you. All you have to do is to be aware of being in there. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: This ancient ignorance of the functioning of the human mind, and the source and makeup of one’s ‘self’, actively prevents one doing anything about the situation one finds oneself in as a human being on this planet.
Denial and transcendence undoubtedly lead to the feeling of freedom but the feeling of freedom is but a paltry substitute for an actual freedom from the Human Condition in toto.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.