Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: The most direct way to induce a PCE, of course, is by practicing actualism – asking yourself, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ There will often be serendipitous opportunities occurring when you are not feeling worried, stressed, anxious, annoyed, melancholy or such, when a brief lull can occur in one’s normal ‘self’-centred perception and a sensuous appreciation of the purity and perfection of the actual world seeps in. When this happens you get to directly experience that there are in fact three worlds – an illusionary real world, a delusionary spiritual world and an actual world that is incorruptible in its perfection.
The aim of asking oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is to develop a fascination with the immediate-only business of being here. A self’-less sensuous appreciation of being here is often likely to happen when one is not busy with one’s feelings but when one brings one’s fascinated attention to the very surface of the eyeballs as it were, to the very surface of the skin, to the eardrums when hearing, to the nose when smelling, to the taste buds in the mouth when eating or drinking. Whenever a PCE happens you get to directly experience the freedom from the human condition that is being freely offered on the Actual Freedom Trust website.
RESPONDENT: Well, I’ve had plenty of experiences that seem similar to what you describe, and I wasn’t always stoned when they happened. Here’s a trick of mine... I find quite often that when walking around, even out in the woods or such, my head is turned down towards the ground, and my thoughts are off on some carousel. When I can catch myself doing this, I stop and turn my head up, and open my eyes wide, and forcibly look at the world with all my vision, the full hemisphere. It’s always astonishing when I actually see everything that is really around me. It certainly makes me realize how much the sum of our sensory input is taken for granted. There must be some psychological/ physiological basis for that: we must somehow desensitise to the stimuli, and need an ever increasing fix... bigger TV, more and richer food, louder music, etc. It wasn’t that way so much when we were children.
PETER: The psychological/ physiological basis for desensitising to sensory stimuli – if I can paraphrase your description – is ‘you’, the psychological and psychic entity that has parasitically taken up residence inside you, the flesh and blood body that your parents named No 38. ‘You’, the thinking and feeling entity, relentlessly monitors the sensory input and continuously maintains a thinking and feeling response to it. I use the words relentless and continuously deliberately for this monitoring process is instinctual in nature – it is genetically programmed in all animal species. Subsequently whenever you touch something, there is always a ‘me’ thinking and feeling as though ‘I’ am touching something as opposed to the direct sensation of nerve ends responding to stimuli. This is what I mean by – a self’-less sensuous appreciation of being here is often likely to happen when you are not busy with ‘your’ thoughts and feelings but when you brings your ‘self’ to the very surface of the eyeballs as it were, to the very surface of the skin, to the eardrums when hearing, to the nose when smelling, to the taste buds in the mouth when eating or drinking.
By its very nature, ‘I’ cannot experience a PCE but by making the aim of ‘my’ life to become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are ‘you’ are actively creating the very circumstances for a temporary experience of the purity and perfection of the actual world to occur.
And just to once again draw attention to the difference between actualism and spiritualism – you may have noticed that those who suffer from solipsism would claim there is no flesh and blood finger, (no body), no physical sensation (only affective feeling) and no material object that the finger is touching (matter is illusionary), just ing-ing happening. Solipsism is a condition that happens to those who retreat from the world of people, things and events and become so enamoured with their own thinking and feelings (ing-ing) that they become so totally ‘self’-centred and ‘self’-obsessed that they are compelled to deny the very existence of both their fellow human beings and of matter itself.
RESPONDENT: Or is my identity bullshitting me again?
PETER: Speaking personally, I never saw any sense at all in splitting ‘me’ and ‘my identity’ into two parts. I had tried that in my spiritual years and saw that it was a wank.
Actualism – the sincere intent to become happy and harmless – will evince a ‘self’-awareness that then generates the necessary changes so that you incrementally become more happy and more harmless, in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. It’s a profoundly simple scientific process – detect cause, eliminate cause (as in instigate the necessary change), eliminate effect.
All ‘you’ have to do, if you really want to do it, is do it.
RESPONDENT: Sometimes I use incorrect terminology, all those identities, self’s, me’s, mine, I’s ... I will try to refer to the AF glossary in the future. The intent was something like: Or is my identity attempting to maintain its existence at all costs?
PETER: I can only suggest re-reading the first piece I posted from my journal again and considering again the utter simplicity of the potent mix of being aware of how I am experiencing this moment of being alive combined with the single-pointed intent to change such that I become as happy and harmless as possible.
You may then find that the simplest, most straight-forward, phrasing of your original question would be ‘am I bullshitting myself again?’ as opposed to ‘is my identity bullshitting me again?’ Common sense would then have it that your second question would be ‘am ‘I’ attempting to maintain ‘my’ existence at all costs?’ because actualism is about ‘self’-immolation and not the physical death of the corporal body called No 38.
You might have noticed by now that I make no distinction between I and ‘I’ when I am being a normal human being. I do intellectually understand the distinction – t’is writ large all over the Actual Freedom Trust website – but the only way I, or indeed anybody else, can actually experience this distinction is when ‘I’ am not strutting the stage as it were – when ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance during a pure consciousness experience. To attempt to split yourself into two parts while remaining an identity is an act of dissociation – vis –
This is the whole thrust of the spiritual search for freedom – split yourself into two identities, become free from ‘I’ as ego and Realize that ‘who’ you really are is ‘me’ as a disembodied soul. The spiritual process is to practice dissociating from ‘I’ as a personal ego, and from the illusion of a grim reality, whilst simultaneously aggrandizing the real ‘me’ until I get to the delusionary state of thinking and feeling I am best mates with some God or other or, in the Eastern tradition, thinking and feeling I am God Himself or Herself.
Whilst none of this is a problem – the tradition has been going on for thousands of years – t’would be a pity for someone who is genuinely interested in becoming actually free of malice and sorrow to unwittingly continue on with the age-old habit of dissociation.
No 37 recently put the whole issue of dissociation very succinctly –
PETER: You may then find that the simplest, most straight-forward, phrasing of your original question would be ‘am I bullshitting myself again?’ as opposed to ‘is my identity bullshitting me again?’ Common sense would then have it that your second question would be ‘am ‘I’ attempting to maintain ‘my’ existence at all costs?’ because actualism is about ‘self’-immolation and not the physical death of the corporal body called No 38.
You might have noticed by now that I make no distinction between I and ‘I’ when I am being a normal human being. I do intellectually understand the distinction – t’is writ large all over the Actual Freedom Trust website – but the only way I, or indeed anybody else, can actually experience this distinction is when ‘I’ am not strutting the stage as it were – when ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance during a pure consciousness experience.
RESPONDENT: This helps a lot with my hitherto slippery interpretations of all the I’s, me’s, etc.
PETER: I always figured my experience as a pioneering actualist would be useful to others, which is why I sat down and wrote my journal when I did, and why I often make reference to it when writing on this list.
GARY: You wrote, in part, and I’m snipping most of the post to zero in on one particular part:
This part here got me to thinking about the whole process of identification. As I have been focusing my awareness on how I am experiencing the present moment of being alive, I am sometimes aware of the movement of my thoughts and feelings in the direction of forming some sort of identification with other human beings. I think a very rudimentary form of instinctual programming is going on when this occurs. The lost, lonely, frightened entity that is ‘me’ – the self that is ‘Gary’ – seeks this safety in numbers and attaches himself to all manner of groups, movements, ‘friendships’, and identifications with others. There are many, many layers to this identification process (ethnic identity, tribal identity, family identities, etc.) but I think what you have eloquently pointed out in your post is the biological imperative at work – the evolutionary advantage, perhaps, to identification – the propagation of the genetic material and the survival of the species.
PETER: The whole purpose of the actualism method is to track down and find the identity who has been taught to be a social identity, and all that implies, and who has been programmed by blind nature to be an instinctual being, and all that implies. The way to discover the nature of this identity is to become aware of the implications of thinking and feeling oneself to be a social-instinctual being and, needless to say, the most pertinent implications are manifest as malice and sorrow. Thus the quickest and most effective way of eliminating this thinking and feeling parasitical entity is to starve it of ‘his’ or ‘her’ nourishment – the feelings of malice and sorrow.
GARY: I was sitting in a staff meeting yesterday afternoon, one of the rare times when the entire staff in the whole building gets together for a training, and I was sitting there looking at the other people and in my mind I was thinking about the whole issue of ‘fitting in’, where, if anyplace, I fit in. Or, don’t fit in, as the case may be. And I found myself looking at another man and thinking ‘Yes, I like him. I’m a lot like him’. And there was this process of identification with that other individual going on and it occurred to me that the whole thing was a bit absurd, you know. Why does one identify to begin with? This is an extremely important question that I encountered in the actualism writings, a question originally posed by Richard, but one that I have often asked myself.
And I have not encountered this question anywhere else, because seemingly no one wants to examine it at depth.
PETER: No. Because if one examines this process of identification at depth one comes across a deep need that is instinctive by nature and if one digs deeper into the full range of instinctual animal passions, the experience can be shattering, to say the least. Those who have dared to take even a brief look at fear have often been so traumatized that they then practice dis-identification or dissociation, à la Eastern spiritualism, fearfully declaring ‘I am not the body but ‘who’ I really am is a disembodied spirit-like being’.
The only way to eliminate identification is not via dis-identification and dissociation as is commonly practiced but to eliminate the social/instinctual identity altogether – which is brand new territory. Welcome to brand new territory.
GARY: So I think there is this bonding or forming alliances process going on all the time with human beings and, like the animals you cite, these alliances shift and change with the shifting winds. And there is this importance that people place on ‘relationships’ with others. Whereas, the longer I am at this actualism thing the more my experience is one of freeing myself from this process of identification, freeing myself from this whole absurd business of identifying with others, and really for the first time in my life looking into what is actually going on in this business of identification. It is interesting to see how the socialization process unfolds and how society is constructed, but from a very early age we are taught that we are social creatures and that we ‘need’ other people, and that ‘no man is an island’.
PETER: And this socialization process – the equivalent of an adult chimp training a young chimp to obey the rules and not run off – was very essential in the early hunting-gathering days of early humans. But given that an increasing numbers of human beings now do their hunting and gathering in the local supermarket, the species has moved on somewhat from ‘what can I eat, what can eat me’ crude survival mode. It’s just time to stop believing the old fairy tales, get our thinking up to date and get rid of being driven by crude survival mode passions.
GARY: I am finding this traditional wisdom to not be the case and I am finding that I ‘need’ other people less and less, but then that is considered pathological, according to the wisdom of humanity, and people who don’t need friends, or who don’t need to belong to a group, or a religion, or a social club or something are judged to be oddball loners or disgruntled misanthropes.
PETER: When I started to become free of malice and sorrow, I found my emotional bonds or ‘neediness’ with other people became noticeably weaker. The most noticeable effect of this was that I lost my former spiritual ‘friends’ because I was no longer a member of a group of fellow believers. As I progressively became free of malice, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where the ills of the world were blamed on others. And as I became progressively free of sorrow, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where being here was regarded as a miserable business and where it was firmly believed that succour or relief could only be found by retreating ‘inside’. There was a period of time where I felt an outsider or a loner but recently I had occasion to meet quite a few old friends at a social event and all feelings of being an outsider and a loner had totally disappeared. I had a pleasurable time with a group of fellow human beings, regardless of their beliefs, gender or cultural conditioning.
My experience is that autonomy leads to neither isolation nor ostracization as I feared it would at some stage, but if it is pursued diligently and persistently it leads to an actual intimacy and ease with all of my fellow human beings – and I, once again, experienced the peace on earth that already, always exists.
GARY: A short while ago I found myself wondering whether I have ‘schizoid personality disorder’ and it was an unsettling experience because it was like being a college student again and reading the abnormal psychology text and wondering if you fit into these categories or not, you know, and it dawned on me that this too was a process of identification where I was judging my behaviour as either ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It is possible to live completely freely, completely autonomously, and in harmony with one’s fellow humans, but one must necessarily examine one’s identifications rigorously. They are part of the whole instinctual package needing deletion.
PETER: There is no doubt that an actual freedom from the human condition is an abnormal condition by all of society’s standards. Whenever I considered this I only had to turn on the television and see what was considered normal and it only served to confirm my intent to become free of being normal. The other thing I discovered was that everybody else is so absorbed with his or her own identity that nobody notices how different, and not-normal, I am.
There is a delicious anonymity in being autonomously here in the actual world, as you would know from your own PCEs. And from each of those experiences you glean a bit more information and gather a bit more confidence to once again gnaw away at the social/instinctual identity who stands in the way of a permanent, uninterruptible experience of peace on earth.
PETER: The issue of worthy or unworthy seems to me to be a bit of a side issue. The main question is what do you want to do with your life?
RESPONDENT: I think what I want to do with my life is only apparent from one moment to the next and that seems to be constantly changing but it seems to do with being curious, seriously curious about the workings of self. I had actually decided to end this ego self 10 years or so ago but because it was self trying to end self without a ‘relentless inquiring attention’ there was bound to be failure. Now with the aid of ‘How am I question...’ more of the moments are caught rather than the usual see one moment then skip a few moments and get lost in self intellectualization again. Curiosity I think, needs to be given complete leeway.
PETER: I was trained as an architect but on graduating found working in an office to be too removed from the building site where the business of building buildings actually happened. Consequently I became an architect-builder-carpenter as my interest was more in the practical implementing of a idea.
When I came across Richard I had spent 17 years on the spiritual path attempting to end the ‘ego-self’ but was ready to abandon the effort. I had begun to have some Altered State of Consciousness experiences but the suspicions and doubts I had of the Master-disciple business, the God-men’s lifestyle, how they were with their women, etc., meant that Enlightenment was losing its attraction. I was also becoming more and more aware of the fact that Eastern Spirituality is nothing more than Eastern Religion. I soon came to see that there were two identities preventing me being happy and harmless – the ‘normal Peter’ who was father, man, architect, etc. and the ‘spiritual Peter’ – the believer, searcher, superior one, etc. So I set about dismantling both these ‘I’s by actively challenging the beliefs, feelings, emotions and instincts that gave substance to both the psychological and psychic entity that was ‘me’.
What I increasingly discovered was that the brain of this flesh and blood body has an inherent ability to be aware of itself, an ability of apperception. When I ask ‘What am I thinking?’ or ‘What am I feeling?’ or ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ it is this apperceptive awareness that can provide the answer. It was enormously difficult and bewildering sometimes at the start but as fact replaced belief, clarity replaced confusion and sincere intent replaced ‘open-ness’ and listlessness, ‘what’ I am – not ‘who’ I am – gradually emerged and became apparent. At first, the whole exercise can feel like a weird ‘self trying to dismantle self’’ exercise, but soon one realises that it is fact dismantling belief, apperceptive awareness dismantling self that is happening.
RESPONDENT: In other words, the result of having an instinctual primitive self is to suffer and rooting out the cause of suffering in whatever form is essentially a learning about the active and accumulated influence of that primitive self which is the ending of it.
PETER: Of course, ‘the learning’ you describe would not be the normal usage of the word. The learning I experienced was more of an un-learning of all the teachings, Teachings, beliefs, conditionings, etc. that made up ‘Peter the Sannyasin’, the father, the man, the lover, the ...
It was a self-demolition process – hence the fear and angst that arises. When I first started, it quickly became apparent that I had to throw all I knew out the window, wipe the slate clean and acknowledge that what ever I thought I knew was really what others had told me was true. It is impossible to throw the lot out at once, but this was the attitude I adopted. This is easy to see in one’s work or in learning something new when one tries out for oneself, find out what works, adapts and changes. But when it comes to the Human Condition this means being willing to question the Revered Teachers – the mythical Wise and Holy Ones and their teachings.
Thus it was that ‘Peter the spiritual seeker’ was eventually demolished and then one can get at the instinctual primitive self – the root source of the primitive instinctual emotions of fear and aggression.
The path to Actual Freedom is not a learning but a self-immolation, and the first phase is the demolition of one’s social identity – the ‘guardian at the gate’ if you like. To ‘learn’ or redefine Actual Freedom words is but to ‘clip-on’ a bit of knowledge to one’s already dearly-held beliefs.
PETER to Alan: We have been having such fun lately playing with these schematic diagrams and noted how good it is that they represent the freedom process in another ‘language’ – no spiritual terms or esoteric concepts are involved. Simply a matter-of-fact look at the circuitry and programming that has formed and sustained the Human Condition for tens of thousands of years. It occurs to me that we have been having such a good time with the instincts lately, and the diagrams do well to explain the pivotal role that the primitive ‘animal’ brain has in human behaviour. But we should also not lose sight of the fact that we have a psychological entity as well – that little man, or woman, in the head who thinks they are running the show. Who we ‘think’ we are as distinct from who we ‘feel’ we are. Both have to go, both usurp the throne, both have to expire.
This was bought home to me, yet again, today when Richard came up with another visual description that particularly struck me. We have been writing a lot about the survival instinct lately, and it can be seen as the body’s defence mechanism – ‘fight or flight’ in the face of danger. Humans also have, in the neo-cortex, a well developed psychological and psychic defence system – evident in psychological fear such as worry and anxiety, and psychic fear such as ‘feeling something out’, as in intuition, gut-feelings or sensing the ‘vibes’. People have a constant ‘ring’ of defence around themselves, protecting what is inside the ‘ring’. Some people do groups, therapies or have ‘sharings’ in order to be vulnerable and open to temporarily breach the defensive ‘wall’ or shell. But, in fact, there is nothing to defend. There is nothing in the centre of the circle. We imagine ‘ourselves’ to be something solid, tangible – a solid ring like a coin – but, in fact, there is nothing inside. ‘We’ are nothing more than the defensive outer ring.
The most astounding thing about a PCE is the total lack of any ‘self’ whatsoever. There is emptiness inside, no sense of ‘I’ or feeling of a ‘me’. Nothing ‘inside’. Just this sensate body only, firmly located in time – right now – in an actual, pure and perfect paradise – right here. An earthly, earth paradise that is perfect – how could it be otherwise? How could this physical universe be anything but perfect, anything but pure? There is no good or evil in a cloud, in the sky, in a breeze, in a keyboard, in this finger, in this very flesh.
Richard’s visual representation of who ‘I’ am and the fact that there is no core of ‘me’ – as in a being, an entity, a Peter inside this body – sat me on my seat for a while. It’s ‘old’ territory, the subject of more than a few realizations, more than a few words from this very keyboard, but again it struck me as fresh and obvious. I had written a post to you a while ago where I had experienced myself as nothing more than an illusion but I didn’t send it as it seemed a bit trite and could be misconstrued in spiritual terms. The buggers have used, and abused, most words so I erred to caution. My experience this afternoon after hearing Richard’s description was that not only am ‘I’ an illusion but the very ‘one’ who is in the way of experiencing the PCE as a constant on-going state. I am busy defending ‘nothing’, and have been doing so for a long time now. There is nothing to defend. There is nothing inside. And the memory of the Pure Consciousness Experience is the factual evidence that this is so.
So Alan, as you can see, I am having a good time. It’s a process of clunk, clunk, yes, yes. Wearing out millennia of programming, breaking free of a vast morass of sorrow and malice. And life is excellent! I am back to being an architect again which is opportune as I am currently buying a new 19’ monitor. This one is fish-bowling – the text sort of bends into the screen to the right and gets narrower and narrower. And Office 2000 is on the shopping list as well. Winter sunny days are upon us here and they have a crystal-like quality, with a welcoming warmth to the sun. What a joy.
PETER to Richard: Without the need to struggle to exist, and with no ‘me’ to defend, being here is indeed effortless. It requires no ‘me’ to be here for I am perpetually here anyway. ‘I’ play no part in pumping my heart, breathing, thinking, sleeping, eating, walking, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching – ‘I’ am but a dinosaurial-redundancy ... a passionate illusion, ripe for extinction.
My experiential answer to Willie Shakespeare’s famous question – ‘to be or not to be?’ is that being an identity, be it social or animal instinctual, is a bummer – whatever way one looks at it. As this ‘skin’ of identity falls away I am more able to be me, this flesh and blood body, having no relationship or continuity with ‘who’ I was when I started this process. One does indeed step out of the real world and into the actual world leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, as you put it so descriptively. There is yet to be a passionate act of extinction and more and more I have stopped waiting for it to happen – so perfect and easy has life become.
RESPONDENT: For my taste, explaining of physics and biology of mind is an important task in itself even if its importance may pale in comparison to the task of achieving Actual Freedom.
PETER: Yes indeed. The modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics, with regard to the human brain and how it functions, have revealed two very fascinating aspects –
RESPONDENT: Sorry but I mistook. I am not different from the Eastern religious followers as you defined. It’s a mistake. It maybe confuse you like Zen ;-) ‘I am different’ is a right version. Sorry for my poor English.
PETER: I suspect you may have a mild case of ‘definiendum dementia’. As for me, I am even more Zen-fused and be-mystified.
But I liked what you wrote to Vineeto in your third post to this list –
What you and I have been doing in our correspondence is digging a bit deeper than the usual superficial and the mere pretence and getting down to the facts of the situation. It is uncomfortable stuff, confronting and bewildering and threatening to No 14 the dreamer, or No 14 the disciple, or No 14 the ... But these No 14’s are the ones that have to go for the genuine No 14, the flesh and blood body, free of an alien psychological and psychic entity to roam free and upright in this actual world of sensual delight where peace, harmony, benevolence and a pristine purity are rampantly and intrinsically abundant.
It’s a tough call, looking self-extinction in the face, but it sure beats a life of pretence and being hung in the superficial.
I have no other interest in the discussion other than looking at and discussing the facts of the Human Condition that we humans find ourselves trapped in. We humans have endlessly sought solutions ‘within’ the Human Condition – never daring to question the Human Condition itself. We have all looked in the same old places and at the same old solutions that have obviously failed to deliver anything remotely resembling peace on earth. We have forever believed and trusted that Ancient Wisdom would provide a solution to the horrendous mayhem and suffering that we humans inflict upon each other. We have huddled together in fear and trepidation around the temples and God-men, unwilling to strike off on our own to question, discover, uncover, investigate and find out for ourselves exactly what it is to be a human being.
This is why both this list and the writings are unabashedly iconoclastical. There is no solution to be had in spiritual or religious pursuits, in fact any belief or faith actively supports, ‘nourishes’, enhances and embellishes the very problem – the psychological and psychic entity, the ego and the soul.
It is obvious that the solution has to lie outside of the Human Condition – it is the whole of the Human Condition itself that we have to become free of in, order to find an actual personal peace and facilitate an actual global peace.
RESPONDENT: If you accept where you are, and are comfortable with it, you won’t see what I am trying to say.
PETER: Hardly an hour goes by that I don’t marvel at the innate common sense in this human brain and the serendipitous events that led me out of the spiritual world and revealed the actual world that was sitting here all along, under my very nose as it were. The only way to experience it permanently its to get rid of all illusion, both real world and spiritual world, both ego and soul.
RESPONDENT: I agree.
PETER: Oh No 8, you are on record as saying –
No mention at all of the ending of soul but you definitely mention that your identity still goes on. Given that one’s identity consists of both ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are, your experience is limited to the traditional spiritual shift of identity or altered state of consciousness. In this newly awakened state of consciousness one’s personal self, together with the unwanted thoughts and feelings, is transcended as one realizes one’s ego was living a nightmare. Grand feelings of salvation and gratitude swoon in as one feels saved from physical death and feels One with All and above evil and evil thoughts.
This soul-full illusion of a higher self is a fantasy construction built upon the original illusion of self – the psychological and psychic entity that dwells within the flesh and blood body. An illusion built upon an illusion is a delusion.
PETER: But at least we have agreement that you and I live in different worlds. Who you are is ‘a Being of Light having a human experience’ just passing through, so to speak, whereas what I am is an earthling – a corporeal, flesh and blood, mortal.
I am still waiting for you to materialize on my porch for you claimed – ‘I can move, at will, to any ‘location’ I so choose, dissolving and recombining these atoms and molecules into any form I choose, now that’s the freedom I talking about. Practical Freedom 101.’ Or do I merely add you to the long, long list of ‘Beings of Light’ who eternally proclaim and promise ... but never have delivered?
RESPONDENT: Wow man ... you really believe, This is it. You remind of the book ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’. Supermen, that is all mankind can aspire to. Don’t you think that is kind of arrogant?
PETER: ‘Who’ everyone thinks and feels they are is a non-physical ethereal entity trapped inside a flesh and blood body. Thus ‘I’ see out of these eyes, ‘I’ touch with these fingers, ‘I’ hear through these ears, ‘I’ taste with this tongue and ‘I’ smell through this nose. Thus ‘I’, as spirit, feel forever isolated from the physical sensual actual world that is happening this very moment. This is the very reason that ‘I’ feel lost, lonely, frightened and feel the world to be a grim and alien place.
This spirit ‘I’ has two parts – a social identity commonly termed ego and an instinctual identity commonly termed soul. By following Eastern religious practices, one transcends, or rises above, the mortal grubby ego and one gets to feel one is one’s instinctual self which can, provided one looses all grip on reality, lead to the full-blown delusion of being a pure Spirit or God-personified. For a normal flesh and blood mortal human being to call himself or herself God-on-earth is the height of arrogance and fantasy escapism.
RESPONDENT: I have experienced dropping a personal ego to then find later that I was hiding in a spiritual ego so I can relate to what you are saying about taking on a new spiritual identity.
PETER: Ah, then you will see that the creation of a new non-separate self is merely adopting a new spiritual identity. It does take immense courage to keep peeling away at the layers of the onion and not stop at the ages-old spiritual layer as everyone else has done. To not be seduced by good feelings or scared off by bad ones in one’s search for freedom from malice and sorrow requires an intrepid pioneering spirit. The end result of eliminating beliefs is that eventually one gets to the stage of ceasing the very act of believing and an immense and palpable freedom ensues.
RESPONDENT: It is a very subtle business... and I think the danger is in stopping along the way to draw conclusions. I really like your computer metaphor of the delete button and not forgetting to empty the re-cycle bin!
PETER: Up until now, every body who has tried to delete their social and instinctual identity has stopped when they got to the bad bits and frantically grabbed for the good bits. In doing so they merely installed a spiritual program, gratefully relieved to be able to find safety again. It takes audacity, persistence and bloody-mindedness to investigate one’s own instinctual passions at their very core for one is investigating, dissecting and deleting the very core of one’s own being. It is not something that can be done without the pure intent gleaned from a pure consciousness experience. My experience is that if it’s a subtle business then you are snorkeling around on the surface, for when one goes deep sea diving into one’s own psyche the business is not subtle but so profound as to totally change one’s life, irrevocably and irretrievably.
RESPONDENT: Isn’t the fact that we can communicate like this together proof of the basic unity and understanding from which everything springs?
PETER: The belief that there is a ‘basic unity and understanding from which everything springs’ is a fundamental spiritual belief. By believing there is an energy, life-force, hidden meaning, creative force, Isness, Essence, spirit, Godliness, Universal Consciousness, or whatever, that is creating, operating or controlling within, above or beyond this infinite, eternal physical universe is succour for the soul. The only way the lost, lonely frightened and very cunning entity that dwells within the flesh and blood body can feel connected to the physical world is to imagine that it is primarily spirit based and what is physically perceived by the flesh and blood body’s physical senses. The only way to sensately experience the sensuous delights and always already-existing peace, purity and perfection of the actual world is to eliminate this illusionary entity in total.
RESPONDENT: You relate to my experience as a belief. It isn’t a belief for me.
PETER: I fully understand. When I was on the spiritual path I had many experiences that re-inforced the feelings I was having of ‘coming home’, of having found ‘peace at last’. And to consider what I was experiencing as a belief was, at the time, inconceivable. It was only when the master died and I really saw that I was in an Eastern Religion, that I began to see that I believed in the Master and His teachings. Exactly as a Buddhist believes in Buddha and his Teachings and exactly as a Christian believes in Jesus and His Teachings. It was not even then a great problem – I could just move on if I wanted to ... but then I realized that the passionate believers are the very ones who fight the religious wars still raging on this planet. Then I started to question what it is that we believed and why we humans need to believe ... I use the word ‘we’ deliberately as I was enquiring into the Human Condition i.e. common to all, not special in ‘me’.
It made it clear what I was questioning, tackling and eliminating. It also avoided me taking it personally and defending ‘my’ existence to ridiculous lengths.
RESPONDENT: Finding that which is not of the world, but which the world is of, took away my identification with my personality / I / ego. It was not an amazing thing to me, ‘cause I have known all along that I had to get out of my own way to be free. So finally I managed that, with the help of Osho.
PETER: I find your use of the word ‘identification’ interesting. It seems to me that you feel free because you don’t ‘identify’ with your personality / I / ego. Does that mean you are free of being sad, lonely, melancholy, peeved, angry, jealous, confused or is it just that you are not identified with these feelings?
PUBLISHER No 1: Of course I don’t understand actualism, I would rather meet you with a clean plate each time and let your words and beliefs stand or fall on what you actually say. It is so easy for people who have ‘the answer’ to just dump everything they hear into their own little belief system compartments and in doing so negate their own and the others’ individuality.
PETER: Personally, when I was in an Eastern religion, I was far from being an individual. I was trapped in a belief-system, was ‘in love’ with a Guru, and passion, loyalty and pride combined to ensnare me. I was en-meshed in a social group, reliant upon it for friendship, employment, meaning and identity. I was trapped into living my life by moral and ethical values which, although Eastern, were disquietingly similar to Western values of what is good, bad, right and wrong.
Only when one is freed of all social identity and the genetically-encoded instinctual animal ‘self’ is one actually free of the Human Condition. If one has any identity whatsoever, be it social or instinctual-animal, then it is impossible for one to be an individual.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.