Selected Correspondence Peter
‘I’ and ‘Being’
RESPONDENT: Your best has lead you to where you now are has it not, Peter?
PETER: No. If it had been up to ‘me’, I would be still striving to become rich and famous ... or Divine and Glorious.
RESPONDENT: Who, (or what), was ‘it’ up to in the final analysis if not a ‘you’ Peter doing your best, (in whatever moment you found yourself)?
The last piece of writing on the ‘actual I’ is Richard’s, who lives what he says as an ongoing experience.
What ‘I’ had when I met Richard was a firm memory of this third I – what I am as an actuality – experienced in a PCE that I described in my Journal. From this experience it was obvious that these other imposter ‘I’s had to leave the stage and the first one to tackle was the spiritual ‘I’, for that was my latest identity and the one that initially stood in the way of my freedom.
Spiritual teaching has it that there are only two ‘I’s – normal and spiritual. Hence the spiritual teachers use questions such as ‘who is thinking?’, ‘who is feeling angry?’, etc., which are aimed at conditioning the hapless victim to immediately dissociate from their wrong thoughts and bad feelings and revert back to being a superior transcendental spiritual identity. The Advaita gurus, in particular, seem to be fond of using this ruse as a standard ploy. (...)
RESPONDENT: Do I now reinforce a desperate alien psychological or psychic entity by entertaining my dilemma? I.e.: not to wank, as you so nicely describe, (whatever that means)?
PETER: Having a dilemma sounds good to me, because a dilemma presents a challenge that can always be resolved.
As can be seen from the definition, wanking is endemic in the spiritual world. I know, for I wanked with the best of them.
RESPONDENT: By entertaining I mean give credence and substance to these delusional entities ... This is not good sense to me unless one moves on beyond the process ... and this is spiritual in nature if I fail to savour the actual along the way, (which you seem to be thoroughly engaged in).
PETER: It is not a matter of you giving credence and substance to these delusionary identities – they already have credence and substance.
‘Who’ you think and feel you are is given credence by your peers, family, friends and society.
‘Who’ you think and feel you are is given substance by your genetically-encoded animal survival passions.
‘Who’ you think and feel you are is very, very real and it takes considerable effort to become virtually free of the insidious influence of these identities – let alone become actually free.
To do this is to be totally engrossed in the process of actualism – you don’t ‘move on beyond the process’ at all, you stick to it until the process has run its course and culminates in ‘self’-immolation. Any experiences of ‘savouring the actual’ are only possible in what are known as Pure Consciousness Experiences – in which case there clearly is no ‘you’ thinking and feeling that you are savouring, but only the eyes, ears, nose, skin and mouth savouring.
GARY: Only the most determined and assiduous questioning of oneself will reveal the passionate folly involved in trying to remain an instinctually-driven human being living in the Human Condition. Actualism involves the ever-fascinating business of investigating ‘me’ at depth. This is in marked contrast to the ways in which, in the past, I have tried various ‘self-improvement’ plans through various kinds of therapies and even by following scriptural injunctions and focusing on eliminating my ‘character defects’.
PETER: Personally, I find watching Oprah Winfrey very revealing for the show blatantly exposes the utter self-ishness of all spiritual belief and self-love therapies. ‘Me’-ness is what it is all about – be it a loving ‘me’, a grateful ‘me’, a stronger ‘me’, a giving ‘me’, a satisfied ‘me’, a whole ‘me’, a content ‘me’, a God-realized ‘me’ or whatever.
As a popular, rich, powerful and influential Guru, she leaves Rajneesh, Krishnamurti & Co. for dead. (...)
GARY: I seem to be in the stage right now where I am reaping the rewards of practicing the method of actualism. Yesterday, for instance, I did experience first some irritation and then some anger. It was a rather uncomfortable experience. But the interesting thing is that I realized how seldom and how rare it is for me to experience this uncomfortable emotional state. I was interested to learn when this had all started, what had triggered it, and why I was apparently so down on myself. I made a rather stupid error at work, but actually the feeling of irritation had started some time before that. The ego kind of takes over first, and I start pouring responsibilities on myself, expecting myself to be perfect, and then KAPOW! ... irritation and anger. It is fascinating and interesting to see this process at work and it tells me where I get off track and what I can do about it. And, yes, the advice to ‘keep one’s hands in one’s pockets’ is invaluable, as the feeling of anger and irritation is so malignant and so deadly it is apt to spill over in interactions with other people if one is not careful of it.
Also, I wanted to say that any kind of off-colour emotional experience of this sort is evidence of ‘me’ – all traceable to the sense of identity. One can find one’s identity writ large across any emotional experiences of this type. What I have found is that any emotions all boil down to one’s identity. It’s like Vineeto said in another post recently: ‘What’s all the fuss about?’ If there is any fuss, it is always about ‘me’ – that I am this type of person, or I must be treated this way by others, so on and so forth. Richard’s discovery that the Human Condition is typified by being an identity is a major groundbreaking discovery. I’ve never run across anyone anywhere saying it in quite this way with such radical implications. Eliminate the identity in toto and there is no more pain, no more suffering, no more malice and sorrow, and no more need to go off half-cocked into delusory spiritual and metaphysical realms.
One is freed to be here now as this flesh-and-blood body only, enjoying the most ordinary things. The most ordinary, everyday experiences are like a king’s ransom. The fact that I am not quite there yet does not invalidate the whole method. The fact is that it works and one can see it working in one’s daily life. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Through practicising the method, one becomes incrementally more and more free from debilitating emotions and passions. I am increasingly unable to fathom why most people I see are so attached to remaining passionate and emotional beings.
PETER: Just a few observations on your last point that may be useful to consider. The first thing is that very few people are interested in peace on earth. Materialists’ obsessions and desires are focussed on power, money, sex, family, security, busy-ness, complaining, frustration, competitiveness, achievement, etc. Spiritualists’ obsessions and desires are focussed on becoming all-powerful, seeking inner peace, sucking up to God by whatever name and achieving Immortality.
Should someone have a mild interest in actualism then cognitive dissonance initially serves to curtail understanding and if anyone does begin to understand then passionate resistance can set in. As you know, it does take a good deal of stubborn effort to overcome both these hurdles and fully take on actualism.
While freedom from the human condition is available, and has always been available, for every one, it will not be for everyone – particularly in these pioneering days.
RESPONDENT: Another thought, are there feelings that are specific to a belief? For example if I believe I am a callous cold person then I seem to be able to create the associated feeling. It seems though, that the feeling is really based on whatever gave the belief its authenticity in the first place.
PETER: Aye, indeed. When first one begins to question beliefs a flurry of feelings and deep-seated emotions surface – some very strongly and fiercely. One can experience this from the other end as it were – should one be silly enough to question someone else’s belief. The animosity and vitriol that Vineeto and I experienced on the Sannyas list is testament to this, and the wars fought to defend beliefs and the crusades to impose one’s beliefs on others are the global equivalent. This self-questioning, this questioning of the very beliefs that constituted who ‘I’ felt and thought ‘I’ was as an identity, bought forth the fear of ‘my’ survival and was simultaneously an enormous blow to ‘my’ pride – ‘my’ self-esteem.
‘I’ am my beliefs, my feelings, my imaginations, my dreams, my passions, and they are ‘me’. They are not actual but they are real. What I can do is do everything possible to ensure their demise in order that I, this flesh and blood body may be free.
The trick is to regard it all as the Human Condition, something ‘I’ was taught and programmed to be. Taught as in programmed since birth, programmed as in genetically programmed with a set of survival instincts – fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
As one gets on in life and has sufficient experience on can look with clear eyes at who one is and decide to change if one wants to. To change one’s identity is a relatively simple operation – many change from ‘normal’ to ‘spiritual’ – to change to ‘actual’ simply involves wiping the whole program back to the empty hard drive to discover what one is, not what others decided you should be. In removing the social identity one is able to see that one is a sensate, reflective flesh and blood animal. Eliminate the instinctual animal passions – your animal heritage, and you’re free of malice and sorrow ... you then have achieved your destiny and escaped your fate.
So, in answer to your question, it’s a bit of both. One tends to tackle what is on the plate at the time, what issue is apparent at the time. It may well be sex that is a major issue, relationship, disciple-hood, being ‘good’, or whatever. It is not essential to sort all of it out – a bit of cleaning up can be done after the event but sufficient has to be tackled to give one confidence and surety that life without a ‘self’ – without ‘me’ – is the only alternative you will settle for – to live the Pure Consciousness Experience, 24 hours a day, every day.
RESPONDENT: Also, I think that there is nobody in heavens stuffing our physical bodies with some recycled immortal souls.
Therefore my brain or this personal entity manufactured by the brain based on the social blueprint has arisen at random, by chance only, depending on which sperm participated in the beginning of the life. My personality was determined by the physical features of this brain.
PETER: Well, this sounds a bit like the little man inside the sperm theory, i.e. who I am depends on which sperm of the millions got to fertilize the egg. Certainly genetic information was passed that determined my physical characteristics but my social identity was purely the result of information inputted into the brain after birth.
‘Who I feel I am’ is essentially instinctual, fated by blind nature; ‘who I think I am’ is essentially social, fettered by nurture.
It’s just serendipitous that I came across Richard who had managed to escape his fate and realise his destiny – to be free of the Human Condition. Millions upon millions of humans have devoted their lives to escaping the Human Condition but were ultimately diverted by the alluring promise of immortality and instinctual desire to save their own souls. Richard is the first to actually escape from the Human Condition and he has laid a trail of over a million words for those interested in emulating his feat.
RESPONDENT: Also, this personal entity has had no choice where and when it would arise. In this sense there is no difference between me and other humans. ‘I’ could have been any of the humans living in the present, past or the future. (Therefore my personal identity, in this light, becomes not so ‘personal’ at all).
PETER: I think it is useful to keep the conversation to simple facts of the situation we find ourselves in. I have no conscious memories before the age of about 2 to 3 years and by then I was well and truly fated to be ‘me’ and well on the way to being fettered to become the social identity ‘I’ am. The crucial point is that as I developed as a conscious, independent being – not everyone else – but me as this flesh and blood body, I had a constant feeling of being an alien, an outsider who never quite fitted in. Most of my life was devoted to searching for freedom from the shackles that I felt were binding me and preventing me from living fully. The other aspect of the search was altruistic in that I always was attracted to causes, ideals and movements that promised an end to violence and suffering for humans – in short, peace on earth.
The first ‘I’ is indeed no different than any other of the 6 billion others on the planet – instinctually programmed and socially trained to be a member of the species and therefore bound to and trapped by the Human Condition. The second ‘I’ is formed by transcending the normal ‘I’ and becoming a new spiritual identity – the traditional escape into the delusion and fantasy of Divinity and Immortality.
But there is a third I – and that is what the actualist seeks. An end to the ‘who am I’ and ‘why do I exist’ questioning, the recognition of the fact that I do exist as a mortal flesh and blood body and the experiential discovery of what I am.
RESPONDENT: When I am dead there will be no time whatsoever because there will be no consciousness of ‘not being here’.
PETER: When you are dead, your sense of ‘being here’ will cease, as a direct result of you not being here – as in dead, finished, deceased, passed away, expired, extinct, stuffed, finito, kaput, no more alive. But time will go on, exactly as it does when your consciousness of ‘being here’ ceases during deep sleep every night. Given this discussion seems to be focussing on what happens before and after No 7, a bit on time from the Glossary might help focus on No 7, as you are now, here on earth, right now.
PETER: Just a comment on something that you replied to Richard –
RICHARD to Respondent: What I discovered, when the ‘painting painted itself’, was that actuality ruled the roost, as it were, and magically manifested perfection ... such as to leave me, as I remarked (further above) standing in amazement and wonder, marvelling at this magical creativity.
RESPONDENT: This is most interesting, I have always told anyone who asks me ‘how did I do that’ that I am not doing it, it is as much a mystery to me as them. In fact, pride or modesty only hinders free flowing creativity. [endquote].
PETER: I had a particularly startling realization of this some 10 years ago in watching the design of a building emerge from the drawing board and realizing ‘I’ was not doing it. I then claimed that the design ‘just happened’, that it had ‘nothing to do with me’. Then some two years ago I was again doing a drawing and became aware of the fascinating process of my brain in action as it sorted information, assessed options, tried and rejected solutions and finally settled on the best course of action, all things considered. A bare awareness of ‘me’ not doing it, but of the process happening by itself.
Soon after, when I presented the design to the client, I could not help but notice that when parts of the design where rejected or modified I felt defensive and started to be upset about their rejection of what I regarded as a perfect design. I realized it was far easier to dismiss praise than to dismiss criticism and that, however subtly, ‘I’ was claiming the extraordinary creative functioning of this body’s brain for ‘me’.
Being full-on into actualism, it became yet more evidence of the cunningness of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ inevitably claim even the experiences as ‘mine’. Of course, I was also on the alert for what things made me annoyed and why. Once I got rid of the instilled morals that made me ignore the signs of unwanted feelings and emotions, a whole other side of ‘me’ became evident. Malice tops the list, with being sad second. ‘Don’t do that, stop it’ drilled in as a child, runs very deep. ‘Don’t mope around looking miserable’ is another.
Simply by breaking free of these moral and ethical barriers one is then able to have a clear-eyed look at one’s very psyche ‘in operation’ and that very investigation, if conducted with gusto and sincere intent, is the ending of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: The fear that we are nothing can rarely surface. As soon as some doubt starts to arise it is blocked so we never see what is really going on. We add all sorts of other identities to our own false sense of self to help us feel we are in fact who we think we are. We cling to ‘our’ family, ‘our’ country, ‘our’ race, and on and on always trying to build up walls of ‘us’ against ‘them’. There is in reality no such entity. All wars, all hatred, all suffering ultimately comes from that process.
PETER: I see you are claiming there is no such entity as ‘our own false sense of self’ thereby obviously implying that either there is a real sense of self or a real self. The great realization in the spiritual world is that there is a false self who is an illusion because ‘it’ lives in the illusionary physical world but there is a Real self who lives in the Real spiritual world.
The spiritual view is that ‘I’ as the thinker is the issue and then one is extolled to actively encourage ‘me’ as the feeler to run rampant. My experience when I started to run with the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ was that it was feelings which continually and relentlessly emerged as my experiencing. Thus ‘I’ needed to feel grateful for being here in order to transcend the underlying feeling of resentment at having to be here at all, and ‘I’ needed to feel love in order to bridge the gulf that ‘I’ as an alien entity feel between ‘me’ and other human beings. ‘I’ feel compassion for others as a way of being able to indulge my own feelings of sorrow and ‘I’ feel indignant when someone else suffers injustice as ‘I’ really like a good fight. ‘I’ am ever fearful of what others think of me or feel about me, ‘I’ am ever on guard, ‘I’ am ever ready to defend myself against having ‘my’ feelings hurt. ‘My’ ploys are many in the battle with others – confrontation, withdrawal, snide remarks, denial, a bit of undermining, a bit of cutting down to size, a bit of a whinge to someone else – ‘I’ can be as cunning as all get-out in these battles, if need be.
‘I’ readily believed in the spiritual beliefs and wallowed in the blissful feelings as a welcome escape from everyday reality and the promise of an after-life was poetry to ‘my’ ears and salve to ‘my’ heart. ‘I’ felt deep-down that there was no hope for Humanity and no hope for me, and from these feelings were born a desperate belief in an after-life as an escape from the despair of life on earth. The list goes on and on as ‘I’ fight it out for survival with others in a grim world, and ‘I’ will ultimately do anything to stay in existence. ‘I’ am rotten to the core – the combination of animal instinctual passions and an ability to think and reflect make the human animal not only malicious but cunningly malicious. This lethal combination allows the human species not only to wage wars, inflict genocide, rape, murder, torture and pillage to a scale unprecedented in any other animal species but allows for the psychic warfare and power battles, blatant denial, fantasy escapes, corruption, deception and deceit that is endemic in all human interactions.
It soon became obvious to me that freedom from being an identity – social and animal-instinctual – was the only way to get free of this constant emotional churning and the constant selfishness of indulging in denial and fantasy escapism.
You are firstly inventing a ‘false sense of self’ and then you go through a process that leads you to declare ‘there is in reality no such entity.’ Thus your real self is then free to blame the ego or false self as the reason for ‘all wars, all hatred, all suffering’ . Thus your real self survives as an increasingly dissociated and disembodied entity and meanwhile ... ‘all wars, all hatred, all suffering’ continue given that the real culprit has got off scot-free
‘I’m sitting ... I am saying... I mused... I first came across... my reactions. I am looking... When I first met ... I was full ... I felt that... I naturally assumed... I had... I leapt... I realised... something far more radical – the total annihilation of the ‘self’. I remember... dawned on me... I was in for – the end of ‘me’. I thought,... The end of ‘me’! ... But I had... free myself... I had determined... as I stood... my son. I had decided ... I propositioned... I do appreciate... all I am saying... my experience... I wrote in my journal of my battle... I still found myself defending... I, and everyone... I had been reading... I found ... I found... I used... to make... to me... I was able to... I realized... I had met... I was obviously... tom! I reached... I thought I was going... I only had to... I lived... here I was... I remember...to me... I mind... I thought... I saw... I was thinking... I was... I ruled ... I somehow knew ... my head... my belief... drove me on – I was... in me...I realized... I no longer...I knew I could not... on me... help me... I could... my own intelligence... I have got it right... I knew... I have been such a fool! ... I recognized... bound me... given me... I then realized... I came to realize... I would be a greater fool... I often saw... on myself... I realized... my life... I was after... I started... in me... I got further... I began... I had begun... my role... I would see myself... It seemed to me... I also had... to myself... in my desire... to me in my situation... I would try... I saw that... I had no power... I would not want... I tried to... this path is anathema to the ‘self’... in myself... in me... I be seduced... I had reached... I had glimpsed... my life... In my experience... I was becoming... I was busy arriving...’
Obviously this path has not made the slightest dent in this ego.
PETER: Just thought I would do both of your posts tonight...
Have you ever tried to write a personal story about yourself without the first person pronoun I? It is very difficult. If I used the word coconut instead of I, it comes out looking pretty weird – coconut sitting.., coconut is saying..., coconut mused... Royalty use the term ‘we’ as in ‘We hereby declare ...’ to denote that they are above the ordinary and speak as kings/queens. Religious leaders declare they have found the Truth, or Love and then go on to talk about it thus avoiding the use of the personal pronoun. Of, course it is then God, Truth speaking and not them, they are but ‘humble messengers’. What a load of rot! Now, that is what I call Ego-maniacal!
And yet when a flesh and blood human tells his story...
So all encompassing is the belief in God, be it Eastern or Western versions, that anyone who challenges the belief is said to be egotistical, yet someone who calls himself God is seen to be free of ego!!
It will take a while, but it will be so good when we are free of these nonsensical concepts and beliefs ...
P.S. In this post you may have noted I have continued using I as the personal pronoun for me, this flesh and blood body. Whenever I refer to the psychological entity, I use the notation ‘I’ – who we think we are, and when I refer to the psychic entity I use the term ‘me’ – who we feel we are.
PETER: Have you ever tried to write a personal story about yourself without the first person pronoun I?
PETER: What do you call yourself then?
RESPONDENT: No 11, this one, this writer...
PETER: Well I must admit you (sorry the writer) have thrown me (oops ... a personal pronoun) into a quandary. In the interests of keeping us on the same level in that the writer (meaning you) doesn’t think that I am being superior or egotistical, I will adopt your terminology. By the way, does the writer (meaning you ... suppose we call you writer 1 for clarity) adopt the terminology ‘the speaker’ when the writer 1 is speaking to others. Krishnamurti used this terminology while lecturing.
PETER: Just some comments on the quotes you posted –
PETER: The presence of a psychological and psychic entity within the body creates the illusion that the physical world is an illusion, responded to with instinctual fear and aggression. ‘I’ look out through these eyes, ‘I’ hear with these ears, ‘I’ smell, ‘I’ touch, ‘I’ smell and as such ‘I’ feel lost, lonely, frightened and revert to extreme cunning in order to remain in existence (hence the insidious belief in, and pursuit of, a fictitious apparent after-life).
However, all is not lost. It is now possible to eliminate both these entities, ego and soul, and directly and intimately experience the physical universe with ‘senses bristling’, completely free of both psychological and psychic fear.
PETER: After your last posts I thought you had disappeared over the proverbial cyber-hill. I like it that you have come back and challenge what I am saying. What Richard, Vineeto and I are proposing is new, radical and preposterous to people – to those in the ‘spiritual’ world and those in the ‘normal world’. To point to a third world – an actual world of perfection and purity, that is ever present, right here, right now. It deserves every challenge and scrutiny.
RESPONDENT: Challenging one’s belief systems and not believing anything until it is your own personal experience is a worthwhile thing to do.
PETER: Agreed. I would only add, after ‘taking care of business’ such as shelter and food, it is the only worthwhile thing to do – if one is to become free of the Human Condition. Anything that stood in the way of my being happy and harmless became my business, my obsession.
RESPONDENT: But this has nothing to do with going beyond the mind’s frontiers, it just gives the mind something entertaining to do while life goes on!
PETER: For me, once I realised that I didn’t want to be a God-man and that I didn’t believe in an after-life (a better place ‘somewhere else’), the spiritual world of feeling love and God began to crumble. Then, one day, it dawned on me that I was actually alone in the world, and if anyone was going to get me free it was me. And the only tool ‘I’ had was my intelligence. And what I discovered was that there is a third I – I as this flesh and blood body.
It is this third I, this flesh and blood body only, that is able to think and reflect and sensately experience the purity and perfection of the actual world but – and this is the crunch – only when ‘I’ who I think I am (ego) and ‘I’ who I feel I am (soul) depart the scene.
PETER: But to do this, to take the first step, ‘I’ have to have the courage to question all of the ‘truths’ and Ancient Wisdoms that are the very substance of ‘humanity’ and ‘my’ very bondage to ‘humanity’.
RESPONDENT: To take the first step for me was to be attentive to the urging inside telling me there was more to this life than only what I sensed and saw.
Somehow my genes remembered where I came from. This urging has been with me for my whole life. As I grew, and learned the way of the world, I felt myself going further and further away from myself. The nagging insisted. I realized I stood in my own way, which means I had become my personality. I have returned. I didn’t question any beliefs, my nagging was enough and now I have no questions and no answers other than the immense wellbeing of knowing my truth.
PETER: Another post from you. The trouble is I have to reply in words, what to do ...
Yes, I can relate to your description very well. What you are describing is the feeling of ‘coming home’, ‘realizing I am That’, ‘finding my inner peace’, ‘finding God’ etc. The terminology varies between particular religions and spiritual philosophies but all point to an ‘inner’ peace and a ‘communion’ with some form of supreme being or energy.
My experiences led me to challenge the belief in a supreme being and an after-life as well as my ‘inner’ experiences and spiritual identity – and this questioning led me inexorably to the actual world of purity and perfection, delight and innocence. And the amazing thing is, it is under my very nose as it were, all ‘I’ – both ego and soul – had to do was get out of the way. (...)
PETER: We now communicate using the dictionary definition of words (a world-wide accepted standard) – and it is always clear what she says and means, and vice-versa.
RESPONDENT: Oh my, and this you do here too, talking dictionary definitions. What do you do when you want to share something which is not defined in the dictionary? What do you do when you come across two different definitions of the same word?
PETER: The English language is an amazingly descriptive one and we have yet to have a discussion where we wanted for words to describe something. It may take time but as long as we stick to the fact that words are meant to mean what they mean – the basis of human verbal and written communication – it is always clear in the end. As for two definitions, we simply qualify which one we are talking about.
For me, I always knew that ‘I’ didn’t want to be pinned down, ‘I’ didn’t want to be clear or direct ... for ‘I’ was an impostor, an alien – lost, lonely frightened and very, very cunning.
And ‘I’ can only wilt and wither in the light of clarity and scrutiny. This is why I write, this is why I welcome scrutiny, to cause the extinction of any remaining entity, any duplicity, any malice, any sorrow.
PETER: We have had a good bit of de-bunking of the spiritual lately on the list, so I was interested to come across a piece on Awareness written by a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at California University. It indicates very clearly that spiritual concepts are not confined to those living in Ashrams or those following Gurus on the so-called spiritual path. The professions involved in studying the psyche, consciousness, human behaviour, brain functioning, etc. have a deep-seated and inherent spiritual viewpoint – after all they are studying the ‘spirit’, the ethereal entity that dwells within every human body. Jung and Freud, for example, were both steeped in Eastern mysticism, but then again, so is the whole of Western science and philosophy. Science and philosophy only emerged from the incestuous bosom of the church in Europe in the Middle Ages and, after some valiant attempts at independence, eventually came under the fashionable influence of Eastern religious thought in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
So, it’s useful to shine our torch on the ‘mainstream’ and see what is on offer in comparison with the words of the Gurus that can often be too easily dismissed as the more ‘lunatic fringe’ of Eastern spirituality.
It’s a fairly long piece, so I’ll break it up to comment on it as the Professor’s story unfolds –
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Awareness = ‘I’
We seem to have numerous ‘I’s. There is the I of ‘I want’, the I of ‘I wrote a letter’, the I of ‘I am a psychiatrist’ or ‘I am thinking’. But there is another I that is basic, that underlies desires, activities and physical characteristics.All quotes from: Arthur Deikman, Journal of Consciousness Studies: http://www.imprint.co.uk/online/Deikman.html
PETER: So, very quickly we have located the psychological ‘I’, and he defines it well. It is beyond ‘desire’, and I assume he means physical desires such as food, warmth, comfort and sex (and hot showers), beyond ‘activities’ like going for a walk, shopping, having a chat or typing a letter, and beyond ‘physical characteristics’ such as the sensately evidenced, solid, verifiable, factual, active, vibrant, tangible, see-able, feel-able, smell-able, hear-able, down-to-earth, sensual, actual world, here in space and now in time. Beyond people, things and events.
Note also the dis-association from the process of thinking, as in: ‘I’ am not my thoughts. This is to completely negate what the brain does as its business. The brain thinks, just as heart pumps blood and the liver ‘livers’ (or filters the body’s wastes or whatever it does). What absolute nonsense to deny the brain and its functioning! Basically, the human body is a walking brain and sense organs. In fact, the brain and the sense organs are one – the eyes are the seeing stalks of the brain, the ears are hearing cones of the brain, the nose is the sniffing snout, the mouth its taster and the skin its direct interface as in touch and feel. The brain and body are one and part of the brain’s job is to think and reflect. It is the sole function that distinguishes the human animal from the rest of sentient beings. How do you deny all that and shut it all down?
By sitting in the corner with your eyes closed, of course, and then go into your feelings and imagination. But I’m in danger of digressing, so I’ll put the professor back on –
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: This ‘I’ is the subjective sense of our existence. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: It sure is. Subjective as in –
And from the Oxford Thesaurus – subjective as in – ‘personal, personalized, individual, biased, prejudiced, bigoted’
The Thesaurus particularly sums up ‘I’ very well. ‘I’ can only have a subjective sense of the actual world, for ‘I’ look out through these eyes, ‘I’ hear through these ears, ‘I’ touch with this skin, ‘I’ taste with this tongue, ‘I’ smell through this nose – for ‘I’ am located inside my head. The little man, or woman, inside the head who is pulling the levers and desperately trying to control ‘the show’. Given that ‘I’ exist inside my head (and heart), ‘I’ can only have a subjective view of the world and certainly not a direct sensate experience of what is actual. But the professor is searching for a new basic ‘I’ – one that is still subjective in essence but now even more so.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: It is different from self-image, the body, passions, fears, social category – these are aspects of our person that we usually refer to when we speak of the self, but they do not refer to the core of our conscious being. They are not the origin of our sense of personal existence. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: Okay, so this ‘basic underlying ‘I’, ... the subjective sense of our existence’, has got nothing to do with the ‘I’ who is selfish, self-obsessed and neurotic, and has got nothing to do with the flesh and blood body and its sensate experience, its instinctual passions and fears. This ‘basic underlying ‘I’’ is different from the normal ‘I’ that we think and feel ourselves to be and ‘that we usually refer to when we speak of the self.’ What we see is the emergence of a second ‘I’ – a second identity. But let’s face it; the first one wasn’t so hot given what a bastard it could be at times. ‘It’ got angry, pissed off, spiteful, moody, sad, lonely ... in short it was lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. Thus a quick change of identity is a tempting option. Particularly when deep down inside we feel an alien on the planet – it’s a tough world ‘I’ live in – this real world. ‘I’ resent having to be here and forever long for better future where my dreams can come true. As you get older you realise that normal life in the real world is always a struggle and then, as you start to get closer to death, the promise of a life after death gets more and more seductive. Words like ‘core’, ‘origin’ and ‘existence’ start to resonate in the heart as one looks for meaning in life and death.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Stop for a moment and look inside. Try to sense the very origin of your most basic, most personal ‘I’, your core subjective experience. What is that root of the ‘I’ feeling? Try to find it. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: You have to remember that this is a professor of clinical psychiatry talking here and not a mystic. To find this new ‘I’, the real ‘I’, the core of ‘my’ being, one is encouraged to try to sense the very origin, to discover the root of this feeling. We are enticed to go looking inside for a new basic ‘I’ that is different from the old ugly and evil one. Can you imagine what we will find, particularly if we have a little gentle guidance and a few seductive suggestions?
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.