Selected Correspondence Peter
Sincere Intent, Pure Intent
RESPONDENT: The words most used by my companions were ‘we had no fault’, we were just standing in the Disco, when they began to hit us, the reason being someone within our group looked at somebody’s girlfriend. I’ve asked myself what is the proper conduct when someone hits you with no apparent reason and what would be the response both to the outer and inner (self) world? It is obvious the fact that you cannot be happy during the time and after the hit, the life of this ‘flesh and blood body’ being at risk, what can one do?
The impulses I’m talking about are the automatic response of the body’s defences to a dangerous situation, the instinctive programming designed to face it, ‘fight or fought’. And if so why not using it if one’s life is at stake, even with the risk of harming other person’s lives?
Is there a better way, that of being harmless? Being harmless, but dead? It is important to say that nobody hit me or had the intention of hitting me, but there were 6 persons beating one of my friends, the one who presumably looked at someone’s girlfriend. I couldn’t just stare so I’ve entered between and tried to calm them, explain it was a misunderstanding; they started hitting me, my friend got away but I’ve received the remaining hit-points.
Was ‘the belonging to the group’ responsible for my injuries, the wrong perception of the aggressors, their mood for violence or my infatuated friend? The general question is how would you respond to a situation when someone is using physical and/or psychological force in obtaining from you something they believe is right, being that a cod of honour, a property good, an idea, desired behaviour, etc.
I’m aware I’ve received my education, set of beliefs, behaviour through power, violence & lies used by my peers and society in order to digest something they thought as right but which was evident error to my common sense. I remember I could do nothing as a child but to cry, be permanently furious, sad and in despair for their conduct. The oldest memory of the world I recall is from the age of 2. I didn’t like the taste of a cup of milk, but my parents forced me to drink it despite my protests, saying at the bottom I’ll find a frog. Of course I didn’t believe it, yet I had no choice but to drink the milk, secretly hoping to see the frog...
I like it that you wrote of your experience and that it brought up so many questions for you. My advice and experience, for what its worth, is to make it your business to seek answers to these questions – not just intellectually but experientially.
The experience of the 5 years since the actualism method has been made available to all has demonstrated that the intent or impetus to investigate the dark side of the human condition – the instinctual passions of fear and aggression – has to come solely from the readers’ own insights based on their own lived experiences. Without this intent or self-motivation, any attempt to have a free and unfettered discussion about the full extent of the human condition can only result in instinctually-defensive reactions such as apathy, denial, resentment, disassociation, resistance or even outright hostility coming to the fore.
RESPONDENT: Is knowing oneself a by-product of one’s intent of becoming happy and harmless or a necessary condition?
PETER: For a start I prefer to use the expression exploring one’s psyche rather than Socrates’ ‘knowing oneself’ for the reasons I have outlined above. Secondly, the intent to become happy and harmless is something you either have or don’t have. In other words, if you don’t have it you need to uncover and rediscover it by removing what prevents you having intent in the first place. From my observations and discussions with a good many people over my lifetime, I would say that every human being has an innate desire to live with his or her fellow human beings in peace and harmony – it is simply that this intent is buried beneath a world-weary cynicism or, in the case of those who follow Eastern spiritualism, has been deliberately relinquished for the sake of their own personal pursuit of spiritual glory.
The search for peace on earth – the possibility of human beings actually living together in peace and harmony – has always simmered beneath the surface throughout my life. This urge was a prime motivator in my abandoning the real world and immersing myself in spiritual communes for a good many years. The reality of the dream of living in peace in a commune was failure – as it always is and always has been. The reason for this I discovered only later – to live in utter peace and harmony is impossible for two instinctually driven beings let alone a community of instinctually driven beings. After my long experiment in communal living ended I settled for being a lone goody-two-shoes spiritualist only to discover that one day I lost my spiritual cool and got overtly angry with someone. It was a bit of a shock at the time as it made me realize how much ‘I’ needed to be in control in order for ‘me’ to feel superior to those beneath me in the spiritual hierarchy.
When I came across actualism two things made so much sense to me that I was really forced to sit up and take notice.
The first was the simple statement that the animosity and despair that plague the human species is the result of the instinctual passions that each and every human being has been genetically encoded with – not, as is universally believed, due to insufficient goodliness or Godliness in the world. That common sense explanation accorded with my personal experience of a suppressed anger that lay lurking beneath the surface of my prized spiritual identity.
The other simple statement that grabbed my attention was something I read in Richard’s Journal –
I took this as a personal challenge because living with a companion in utter peace and harmony was always something I yearned for, and always something I had failed to do. And I knew that if I could live in peace and harmony with one other person it would be the proof that the actualism method worked – the proof that I could actually change.
Along with a lifetime yearning for peace on earth, these two statements served to fire up my intent to become happy and harmless. The understanding that my feelings of animosity and anguish had a physical cause and not a metaphysical cause gave me the intent to abandon my spiritual identity, and the challenge of living with fellow human beings in utter peace and harmony gave me the intent to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless.
The process of becoming happy and harmless involves an exploration of what is happening in my psyche at this very moment – a momentary exploration that was first set in motion by making the effort to form the habit of asking myself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ Once I had got rid of my spiritual goody-two-shoes feeling of superiority it was then relatively easy to become aware of any feelings of animosity and resentment as they arose and then to dig in deep down to the core instinct of aggression – the thrill of killing was how I experienced it.
Feelings of melancholy were about the limit of my personal feelings of sadness I became aware of in everyday life, but feeling sad for others was stickier territory that required more exploration. When I came to really dig deep into sorrow itself I came across feelings of despair, and deeper than this I experienced levels of instinctual fear, dread and terror. It felt as though I was literally entering what I can only describe as being a truly hellish realm. The feeling of terror was an unbridled experience of raw instinctual animal fear, the self-same fear that the earliest humans experienced whilst trying to survive in a world full of meat-eating animals looking for something to kill and eat, as well as marauding groups of other humans looking for something to kill, eat or carry off. What I experienced was the very root of ‘my’ fear of death – the animal instinctual fear of survival. It’s amazing what you can discover in your psyche if you are willing to go looking.
I do acknowledge that such an exploration is a daunting prospect for many – I remember the choice to become an actualist was as if I was staring into a dark tunnel form which there was no return, or as if I was about to set off on a path that everyone else had marked ‘Do not go this way’. I guess, in hindsight, the latter was part of the attraction, part of the dare.
For those enabled with the sincere intent to become happy and harmless the process of becoming free of the human condition is a thrilling adventure – thrilling rather than fearful provided you resist the temptation to take yourself too seriously. Should you want to get a taste of the nature of these explorations I recommend reading Peter’s Journal as it is thus far the best comprehensive personal account written of the process of becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow.
As you can see, the actualism method of exploring one’s psyche – in vivo, in situ, ad momentum – is totally different in intent, in scope and in intensity to Aristotles ‘self’-serving spiritual admonishment to ‘know thyself’. Becoming an actualist means deliberately making a complete break from the past – in other words stopping believing that there is anything useful to be found in the words of Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Heraclitus, Hume, Kapila, Kant, Nietzsche, Patanjali, Plato, Plotinus, Sartre and co. just as nothing useful is to be found in the so-called sacred words of Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Jesus, Krishnamurti, Lao-tzu, Mahavira, Meher Baba, the Pope, Rajneesh, Rama, Ramana Maharshi and co.
It’s such a grand thing to do, to dare to wipe the slate clean of the past, to dare to stand on your own two feet, to dare to explore, to reveal, to uncover, to demystify, to discover – to dare to discover the facts of the matter of what it is to be a human being.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know if this is valid in relation only to the ‘social identity’ but I have observed that interesting reactions happen only in some circumstances and thus I am enabled to see parts of ‘me’ that are usually hidden from conscious awareness. I found it also useful to try and look at me through another person eyes. In the above circumstances ‘I’ am exposed but unlike others I make the effort to keep the lights on and fully experience it. This is ‘my’ pure intent at this moment.
PETER: Just the other day I had a visit from a man who I have known from my spiritual years. I always enjoy chatting with him, and particularly so because he is one of the few people I know from that time who is still actively searching. He even became interested in actualism for a while but he could be said to be a spiritual-experience junky because he had an altered state of consciousness experience and ardently wanted more of the same. As such the proposition that spiritualists are searching 180 degrees in the wrong direction had no appeal to him at all.
He started to talk about a TV documentary he had seen regarding the latest relativistic cosmological theory which proposes that the universe we humans sensately experience is but one of many universes, aka ‘quantum fluctuations’, that could have, or indeed have, arisen from the ‘background quantum vacuum’. Given that I had also seen the program and that this is currently a thread on this mailing list I was interested in chatting with him about the sense he made of relativistic cosmology. In short, I found that he baulked at any attempt to talk about the sense of the notion because he was enamoured with the whole theoretical construct in that it opened up the further possibility of all sorts of further imaginary scenarios.
One aspect of the TV program that I particularly remembered was the on-going discussion amongst the relativistic cosmologists as to why this universe ‘came into being’ and not one of the infinite number of other randomly possible universes that could have ‘come into being’ out of the background quantum gravity. The conclusion that seems to be prevalent is that ‘this universe’ has occurred solely in order that human consciousness could exist – in other words, the cosmologists’ imaginative ‘reasoning’ came to a conclusion that is utterly anthropocentric. At the end of the program one of the scientists related an anecdote where an audience member supposedly interrupted a cosmologist’s lecture and declared that she knew that the universe sat on top of a giant turtle’s back. The cosmologist responded by asking the woman ‘what was the turtle standing on?’, to which she replied ‘you can’t trick me – it’s turtles all the way down’. As the program ended the final image was of a stack of turtles, on top of which sat not the universe but the figure of a human being.
It occurred to me that the ending exemplified the ‘self’-generated obsession that human beings have that consciousness is primary and matter is secondary, so I pursued this line of conversation with my guest for a while. At first he had some difficulty in acknowledging that matter does exist separate from (his) consciousness, then he had difficulty in making a distinction between (his) consciousness and matter. As the conversation moved on it became clear as to why he was having such difficulty. He said he once had a spiritual experience of an ego-less state whereby his own consciousness merged with ‘everything’, as he put it. When I asked him if everything had a capital ‘E’ as in ‘Everything’ he sheepishly acknowledged that it sometimes did – I say ‘sheepishly’ because he knows I am an actualist. His liking for relativistic cosmology – or subjectivistic cosmology as it would be more accurate to call it – was immediately obvious because any metaphysical theorizing that gives credence to the ‘self’-aggrandizing fantasies of ‘self’-centred consciousness would be intuitively appealing.
Given that he had had an experience of an expanded ‘self’ consciousness and indeed was even teaching this to others, it became obvious that it was futile to pursue the topic further so I made us coffee, he bummed the makings of a cigarette from me and we put our feet up for a while. The conversation then turned to the subject of searching for the meaning of life and he made the comment that he had always been driven to make sense of life even as a young boy and that he thought that this was a prime motivation for human beings in general. I agreed with him and said that I had written a book about the sense I had made about the human condition because I thought it might be of interest to others.
As the conversation continued it emerged that what he was interested in was making sense of the possibility of a higher form of consciousness as in an overarching Consciousness that transcends the grim reality of everyday existence. I then said that I had also been attracted to this until a series of events that began with the death of my son and culminated with my meeting Richard led to me abandoning trying to make sense of this ‘self’-centred fantasy and completely reversed my focus to becoming vitally interested in making sense of why the human condition is typified by endless wars, conflicts, arguments, sadness, despair, escapist fantasies, failed hopes and impossible dreams.
Bringing the conversation closer to home I said I wanted to know why I couldn’t live with at least one other person in peace and harmony and that I had used this as the starting point of my investigations into the human condition. We both agreed that there is no more difficult a testing ground than this but he was wary of pursuing the subject further as the very subject appeared to be too close to the bone.
Afterwards I reflected on the vast gulf between his intent and my intent in wanting to make sense of life – his is a search for the True Meaning of consciousness, whereas mine is wanting to experientially understand the malice and sorrow that is inherent to the human condition such that I can become free of it. It seemed to me that while we both were driven by the same motivational impulse to make sense of things, our focus and our intent were indeed poles apart.
This chance meeting appeared to me to encapsulate the differences in intent between an actualist’s search for meaning and the traditional search for meaning, which is why I mentioned it in the context of our discussion as it may be of use to you given your years of being on the spiritual path and your own spiritual experiences.
RESPONDENT: I am well aware of the search for meaning enterprise. This is especially intense during adolescence, many of my classmates and friends were interested in philosophy (Cioran, Nietzsche), psychology, the Great Artists and even bits of eastern spirituality. But I also remember discussing this theme with my then girlfriend after a sex encounter on a roof-top while gazing at the stars. I remember we were aware that after this initial search for meaning and questioning of life, most people get stuck in the petty worries and schemes of everyday living. I remember saying that I will not become one of them, a blasé, never.
It is funny to see that from all those who began to enquire into life and its meaning, only two (as far as I know) remained committed to their goals till this day. One is a former international Olympic medallist in chemistry who is a yoga trainee for some years now, living a totally ravaged and disorganized life close to the point of mental breakdown. The other one was the school ‘black sheep’, who is now a philosophy graduate.
As for my situation, I understand your point and your friend interests but they are not part of my current intentions. I’m not regarding PCE as an escape from my day-to-day ‘grey-rose’ work-home-clubs-sleep numb existence (an ASC with a different stamp on it). I’m not searching for an altered poppy-smile state here, my interest is located in living the facts of life day-by-day whatever the cost.
PETER: Yep. I have had many pure consciousness experiences that startlingly revealed that the meaning of life is abundantly apparent in the actual world of sensate experiencing and that it is clearly not to be found within the human condition, be it in grim reality or in the fantasy world of a Greater Reality, by whatever name it masquerades as.
RESPONDENT: And I’m not a half-measure man... I usually go till the end. It’s amazing that this AF stuff is something consistent in whatever direction I explore it, even though afterwards it seems at best insane.
PETER: I too was initially attracted by the down-to-earth sensibility of actualism – it simply lays out the facts of what it is to be a human being, points the finger at the root causes of the malice and sorrow inherent within the human condition and offers an utterly simple, and demonstrably obvious, path to becoming free of it. And I can relate to the seemingly insane bit for I would often, after listening to Richard or reading some of his writings and being struck by its consistency and sensibleness, experience my head spinning afterwards as I realized that what he was saying was diametrically opposite to what people believed or imagined to be ‘the Truth’ about the root cause of human belligerence and suffering.
RESPONDENT: Actualism is like gravity, the closer you get, the harder it is to resist.
RESPONDENT: I am fascinated by the idea that actualism uses some of the basic software elements of the ‘self’ (altruism and desire) and ... hocus-pocus: the ‘self’ vanishes provided there is a connection with the purity of the Universe.
RESPONDENT: But I also wonder whether desire and altruism also disappear together with fear, nurture, aggression, egoism and narcissism when the process is completed.
PETER: I can certainly affirm that all of the instinctual passions and their consequences disappear completely in a PCE, and from my own experience of living in a virtual freedom from the human condition for some 6 years now I can report that, whilst altruism is still a motivating force in my life, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire have all but become ineffective … and from 7 years of close observation of Richard I can confirm that not a skerrick of them is observable in action in someone who is actually free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: What specific desires have you lost along the way, if you can nominate just a few? Desire for me is the most shadowy item in the actualist bookstore.
PETER: This is what I wrote about instinctual desire in The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
Before I became an actualist, I had a good deal of experience of the failure of materialistic pursuits to bring me happiness, let alone allow me to be harmless. The instinctual passion of desire most prominently manifests as the desire for wealth and its associated power over others, the desire for fame and the adulation of others, the ceaseless accumulation of possessions and property always seemed paltry pursuits. Whilst I had previously found these pursuits wanting, as an actualist I have come to experientially understand the brutal and senseless instinctual passions that underpin these desires.
Once I came to experience raw instinctual survival fear and consequential aggression, the deep-seated emotions that arise from instinctual drive began to lose their affective power, so much so that I no longer harbour any moral or ethical objections to material wealth per se. Nowadays I am appreciative of the tangible benefits of the safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that are the by-products of wealthy societies.
I have also had a good deal of experience of the failure of spiritual pursuits and I have already written about this extensively so I won’t go over the territory again, other than to say that I discovered the spiritual world to be an incestuous cesspool of self-gratification.
The most primal instinctual passion is the desire to procreate – to impregnate or be impregnated, depending on one’s gender. Of all of my investigations into the human instincts this has proved to be one of the most rewarding as not only have I succeeded in disempowering the brutish and senseless sexual drive such that I am now free to enjoy the sensual pleasures of sex but I have also freed others from my sexual predatoriness. In hindsight, the investigation into instinctual sexual desire has been one of the most fruitful aspects of my investigations into the instinctual passions as it has not only opened the door to being able to live in peace and harmony with my partner but it also help attune my senses to the myriad of sensual delights of everyday living.
One desire, however, still remains active and persistent and that is the desire to become actually free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: And I’m not sure whether Richard is running on altruistic auto-pilot. For if he’s not on auto-pilot, then what motivates its actions? (based on your own experience of PCEs).
PETER: In a PCE, ‘me’ and ‘my’ instinctual passions are temporarily in abeyance. With the whole affective faculty temporarily inoperative, neither selfist nor altruistic feelings are present because everything is experienced as being utterly perfect in the actual world of the senses.
In a PCE, consideration for one’s fellow human beings is an effortless consequence of the total absence of instinctual malice and sorrow. This consideration is effortless in that it is not a product of any moral or ethical requisites whatsoever and nor is it a product of the tender half of the instinctual passions. And further this consideration is not passive in a PCE as one taps into the intrinsic benignity of the universe itself and as such, one literally wishes the best for each and every one of one’s fellow human beings.
My observation is that Richard’s effortless well-meaningness is the inevitable outcome of his being free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: It is possible to start from aggression and egoism and become Alexander the Great or to use nurture and narcissism and become God-on-Earth or to develop egoism and desire and be another Rockefeller or to use desire and narcissism and become a top-model or to strengthen desire and altruism and ...
PETER: Yep. It all boils down to intent – ‘what you want to do with your life’ is another way of putting it.
RESPONDENT: Indeed so, intent is the human freedom of choice.
PETER: I realize that the issue of freedom of choice, aka free will, has been the subject of philosophical debate down through the ages, but as an actualist none of it makes sense to me. Once I started to become aware of the extent to which the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire constantly influenced both my thinking and my actions, the very notion of freedom of choice became almost risible. What I did notice, however, was that there was one constant thread that ran through my life and that was, and still is, an innate caring for my fellow human beings and it is this that has caused me to be uninterested in certain things and events and yet vitally interested in others.
In hindsight, it is not that I have deliberately chosen to do certain things and not do others in my life, it is more like I have not been attracted to certain opportunities that arose and yet have been attracted by other opportunities. And often by the time I discovered that I was attracted by an opportunity, I found that I was already doing it, despite whatever qualms and reservations I may have previously had.
The business of being alive is very simple and becoming an actualist only simplified the business further. I ended up with a single aim that was in total accord with an intent I always had in my life – to be happy as well as being able to live in harmony with my fellow human beings. As such, I didn’t so much make a choice to become an actualist, it was more like not resisting the ‘gravity’, to use your analogy.
RESPONDENT: Software (the psyche) can be modified, upgraded, deleted, transferred, shared, etc., you can function in many different ‘modes’ (altered states) but can ‘you’ function with no software at all?
PETER: The only answer to this question that is worth its salt is an experiential answer. The very nature of the question itself demands an experiential answer – and that is the dare implicit in actualism.
RESPONDENT: Do the senses and thoughts of a successful actualist work together in perfect harmony with altruistic intent but with no desire attached to them?
PETER: Speaking as an actualist, I found that I had to put wanting to become happy and harmless above every other desire in my life – anything less than a 100% commitment only invites failure.
RESPONDENT: In my view altruism and egoism are not separate from each other, they are the two faces of the same coin, of the same archetype, like good/bad.
PETER: Whilst this may be your view, altruism is not a selfish action, else it is not altruism.
I also know from experience that altruism is an instinctive drive within human beings. When I first heard of my son’s death my first reaction was a gut reaction to swap places with him – to give my life in order that he could live again. This was a visceral gut-reaction and one that is well evidenced as being common to all parents when faced with similar situations. When I came to see the lifeless body in the coffin I again had an altruistic impulse and this time it was to devote my life to find a way to ending the angst that each and every successive generation has to go through in trying to make sense of the human condition we are all unwittingly born into. It was exactly this impulse that eventually lead me to accepting the challenge of following in Richard’s footsteps such that a way will be established for future generations to become free of the malice and sorrow endemic within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: As with any other archetype, this particular one is made of two opposites, one directed outwards and one inwards. Aggression/Fear and Nurture/Desire may be included in the same category. Altruism is measured by the person who receives it not by the one who gives. If I measure my altruism it may very well be in fact a measure of my disguised egoism (as in spiritual practice). These are my reactions, hope they are only thought reactions.
PETER: The altruistic desire to ‘self’-immolate obviously has nothing to do with egoism – it runs far, far deeper than that. Whilst those who have had children would readily relate to the innate human altruistic impulse, this whole enterprise is work in progress and each individual who devotes his or her life to becoming free of malice and sorrow will obviously do so only by accessing their own sincere intent to do so. In other words, the ball is in your court.
RESPONDENT: I am noticing colour and shapes more. I am noticing thoughts, feelings with more of an interest and curiosity ... and with less fear and aversion. I am less at odds with life; more comfortable with being here. AF is an opportunity to encourage this process ... even up the bar a bit. I just finished reading most of Alan’s journal. Great stuff! Toward the end of part two, Alan was speaking about effort and efforting ... and when he became aware of this within ... it stopped ... and he became more present ... more alive (my words). Upon reading his words, I instantly became aware of efforting in me ... and this helped me to relax ... and my physical senses became more acute.
And this efforting in me is so strong ... this conditioned impulse to get, to achieve. And to observe this efforting ... is to invite an easing up of it. My teacher once asked: ... ‘Do one’s eyes try to capture ... to get light in order to see?’ So ... as I see it, this lessening of effort invites a kind of fresh receiving into one’s experience. Anyway ... glad to be here ... more and more.
PETER: I don’t know who your teacher was, but such so-called wisdoms, or dimwitticisms as I like to call them, are rampant in Eastern spiritual teachings. Such teachings are specifically designed to widen the already existing rift between the ‘me’ as a spirit-like entity and what I am – this flesh and blood body – thereby validating ‘my’ existence as being separate from the corporeal mortal body in which ‘I’ have temporarily taken up residence. Such teachings are meant to encourage the aggrandizing of ‘me’ and ‘my’ ‘self’-centred thoughts and feelings whilst simultaneously denigrating the wonders of the workings of actual flesh and blood bodies as well as the delights of sensate experiencing. Following such teachings is indeed effortless, not only because it is eminently fashionable to do so, but also because all ‘self’-centred activity is instinctual – being ‘self’-centred comes natural to all human beings.
Actualism, on the other hand, requires effort like you have never known effort before –
Becoming happy and harmless is an utterly down-to-earth pursuit and, as with all down-to-earth pursuits, no effort = no result. Or, to put it another way, dreaming is effortless but actual change require actual effort.
RESPONDENT: I am beginning to practice: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’? I have some questions about this: I find myself asking this question to myself during the day. Is this just a mental thing? that is ... just asking these words over and over again. Do I tune into the body and ‘listen’ for any sensations that arise? I am afraid of doing something just mental for fear it will provide just mental responses ... eg thoughts giving birth just to more thoughts. Do you understand what I am asking? Thank you.
PETER: Yes, I do understand, but you do seem to still insist on putting the cart before the horse.
If we can just backtrack to our previous conversation you will notice that you mentioned you were fascinated with intent –
In the same post, I also made the following comment –
The question I would ask is what is your intent – your committed aim – when you ask yourself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
Why are you asking the question? What is your motivation when you ask the question? Do you have a purpose when you ask the question? What are you looking for when you ask the question? What type of answer are you looking for? What do you do when you come up with an answer?
You might notice that all of these questions are to do with intent.
For an actualist the importance of intent is obvious – if you are practicing a method specifically designed to facilitate your becoming less harmful and more happy, and you have no intent to become less harmful and more happy, then any attempt to be attentive as to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive will be an aimless practice, a meaningless practice, an ineffective practice and a fruitless practice, or to use your words – ‘just a mental thing’.
RESPONDENT to Vineeto: Actualism won’t spread like a chain letter till we ‘actually care’ enough to learn how to observe and examine human instincts without ‘investigating’ them as though they are criminal.
PETER: Your comment ‘till we ‘actually care’ enough’ caught my eye as I recently had a wide ranging conversation with someone about the topic of caring and sensitivity. We soon fell to swapping stories about certain events in our lives which proved to be significant in widening our outlook from purely self-centred to including a concern for the antagonism and despair that we both saw as inherent to the human condition. I particularly enjoyed the conversation, not only because my friend was willing to relate his stories but also that it set me thinking about the topic in general. As such I thought it worthwhile to share some of my stories of the significant events that served to set me caring about what is often called the ‘plight of humanity’.
The first event of significance happened to me when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My parents had bought a television for the first time and I developed a habit of sneaking into the living room and watching it with the sound turned down after they had gone to bed. One night, as I sat on the floor in front of the set, a documentary about the Nazi extermination camps came on. For a little boy who had a sheltered life in a ‘fortunate’ country that had never directly experienced a war fought on its territory, the sudden appearance of irrefutable evidence of what human beings were capable of doing to each other was both shocking and appalling. Not a loss of innocence but a loss of ignorance.
The next event of significance was leaving the working class suburbs that I had lived in all my life and heading off to other side of town to go to university. I was then confronted with the inequities of class, privilege, power and wealth that typify every society and again this left a lasting impression. In the middle of my studies at university, I travelled by ship to London to do a practical year in an architect’s office, stopping off in Durban, South Africa. Durban was a wealthy seaside holiday town for Whites during the Apartheid years and I remember seeing a little dark-skinned boy peeking through a gap in the fence of a Whites-only amusement park on the sea-side promenade. Bus stops had shelters for Whites-only and restaurant toilets had signs that said Whites only. Again the extent of man’s inhumanity to man was shockingly evident.
When I eventually got to Europe and travelled around I remember being taken aback not only at how old and ‘set in aspic’ human culture is but also of being aware that literally every square metre of Europe’s soil had been drenched in blood from millennia upon millennia of almost continuous tribal warfare and reigns of terror imposed by autocratic and theocratic regimes.
Travelling overland on my way home to Australia, I left what could loosely be termed ‘civilized Europe’ and travelled through what was largely at the time a dark, feudal, tribal, superstition-ridden land between Europe and Asia to eventually arrive in the mayhem of an over-populated India. Here I was confronted by poverty the likes of which I had never seen before as well as levels of squalor and disease that were mind-numbing. An incident I found particularly disturbing was being confronted in the streets of Madras by children thrusting the leprosy-ridden stumps of what remained of their hands at me, shouting ‘please Saab’ and begging for money.
From Madras I then flew from a poor, unhygienic, unhealthy and over-crowded India to a wealthy, clean, healthy and sparsely populated Australia in a matter of hours … and the sudden contrast was shocking, to say the least. I remember musing for a long time at what seemed the inherent unfairness that I should be born into a position of privilege whilst billions of my fellow human beings were born less privileged than I. In the end the experience had such a profound effect on me that it was one of the reasons that led me not to pursue a materialist life – the other reason being that I had observed first-hand, and experienced first-hand, that accumulation of possessions and wealth with its subsequent power are by no means prerequisites for happiness.
The next significant event in my life was marriage and child-rearing, both of which failed to quell by what was now a underlying discontent – a background sometimes-subtle, sometimes-more-evident feeling of ‘Is this all there is to life?’ In hindsight, it is quite a radical change to leave the childhood family nest and strike off on one’s own into the world at large and discover by trial and error and circumstance that, to put it bluntly, ‘the real world sucks’. And not only that, it was evident to me that everybody else was more or less in the same boat – everybody’s happiness was both conditional and brittle and harmony amongst human beings was surface-deep at best. Again in hindsight, this lack of contentment with materialism meant I was ripe for the next turning point in my life.
The event that instigated this change of course was the collapse of my marriage. I was plunged into a ‘dark-night-of-the-soul’ despair as my world collapsed around me … and lo and behold, I found Spirituality. I say ‘lo and behold’ because finding God is a common occurrence after a dark night of the soul experience, so my experience was in no way as unique or as special as I though t it was at the time. A whole alternative world opened up to me and in my despair fairy tales similar to those I thought to have been weird as a kid suddenly seem to be revelations to me. Of course, my desperation at the time made me blind to the fact that what I had unwittingly fallen into was the honey-trap of religious belief largely because the stories, myths and legends were different to those of the monotheistic religion I was familiar with. At the time however, I was hooked, so much so that I left the real-world behind and plunged into living in a spiritual commune and living the spiritual life.
The next event of consequence that occurred was the ending of the Rajneesh empire in the U.S. with the subsequent revelations of despotism, corruption, murder, xenophobia and acts of terrorism. I was shocked at what blind faith en masse can manifest within the human condition – indeed the combination of faith and loyalty has produced some of the most horrendous acts in humanity’s long history of heinous brutalities. After this the order of the day for Rajneesh and Rajneesh’s followers became individual responsibility, which by and large meant an individual faith.
I have described what effect the death of my teenage son had on me in my Journal but that was a seminal event in my life in that it gave my search for freedom both impetus and urgency. I then knew it was up to me as an adult to be able to pass on – by example, not by theory – that it is possible to become free of the torments that typify the human condition.
Within a few months of my son’s death I had an insight one evening which allowed me to clearly see that the spiritual world that I had got myself into was nothing other than ‘Olde Time Religion’ albeit one of the Eastern varieties as opposed to one of the Western versions. It took a few years and a good deal more trial and error experimenting with yet more variations of spirituality before I was finally convinced that any form of metaphysical/spiritual/mystical belief is an impassioned escapist charade perpetuated by the eons-old myth that ‘I’ can survive physical death.
I then found myself at a cusp in my life – I had thoroughly road-tested the two basic alternative life pursuits that were available for a human being, materialism and spiritualism, for many years of my life and found them both to be lacking credibility and sensibility.
As I looked around I found many of my friends taking the middle path of compromise – a foot in both camps as it were. Most of them went back to materialist pursuits, some of them accumulating wealth and power by inculcating yet another unsuspecting generation into Eastern Spiritualism and Mysticism, others turned snake-oil sellers by offering healings, readings and therapies to the many who have a penchant for superstition, whilst the majority became full-time materialists and part-time spiritualists – still talking the talk but having given up walking the walk.
The death of my son had ruled such compromise out for me and the next serendipitous event proved another of life’s major turning points. It proved to be the most significant event because it presented me with the chance to put into action the legacy of caring I had built up from all of the preceding events in my life that had left me with both a burning discontent with the human condition and the impetus to find a way to finally bring an end to the tenacious instinctual grip it imposes upon each and every human being born.
Needless to say you know what that event was so I have no need to go on. I realize that this is rather a long post, but I thought it appropriate that at least someone on this list said something substantive about actually caring.
RESPONDENT: How does the chemical flood of the constant ‘feeling reality’ instantly disappear, and allow a PCE to occur?
PETER: It would seem to me that there are four possibilities to the onset of a PCE –
Whilst these categories are based on my own observations and the reports of others, I am hesitant in claiming these categorizations as being definitive, nevertheless they may serve as a good starting point for the discussion.
Before I begin I would make the point that what I am talking about is the different ways a PCE can be triggered, not different types of PCEs. Because a PCE is a temporary ‘self’-less sensate-only experience of the actual world that each and every flesh and blood human body lives in, a PCE is an experience that is common-to-all and, unlike an ASC, a PCE has no variations at all due to cultural, gender or personality influences. (...)
3. Intentionally provoked onsets of PCEs –
We now move on from the normal random, hit-and-miss, chance onsets of PCEs into something that is brand-new in human history – PCEs provoked by an actualist’s unswerving intent to become actually free from the human condition of malice and sorrow. Just to make this clear – it is the intent to devote one’s life to the business of becoming happy and harmless that inevitably provokes the onset of a PCE. Any attempt to provoke a PCE without this pure intention will only result in the frustration of failure or a head-in-the-cloud altered state of consciousness.
When an actualist fully commits to the business of becoming free of the human condition – i.e. when he or she decides to make becoming happy and harmless the most important thing in their life – this commitment marks the beginning of a process specifically designed to focus one’s attentiveness to the workings and nature of a human psyche in action, one’s own psyche. This on-going attentiveness to how am I experiencing this moment of being alive in itself generates revelations, realizations and fundamental changes that are the very provocations that guarantee the onset of PCEs.
To use your terminology, if you deliberately, with due forethought, make a total commitment to set about to poke holes in your own ‘constant ‘feeling reality’’, then something’s eventually got to give. And when a hole or crack does appear, then almost seamlessly the pure and perfect actual world of the senses appears if by magic – and as it does you immediately recognize that it is always here, was always here and has always been here. And as you ponder on the nature of a PCE you become aware that a pure consciousness experience only happens when ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance.
It is important to also take on board the fact that it is impossible to provoke the onset of a PCE if one is feeling grumpy, resentful, annoyed, frustrated or sad – or, to put it another way, if ‘I’ and ‘my’ moods are busy strutting the stage then ‘I’ am actively preventing the possibility of the onset of a PCE. The reason I mention this is that it makes clear once again that the intent and commitment to become happy and harmless are essential ingredients if one is to aspire to intentionally provoking the onset of a PCE.
The PCEs an actualist intentionally provokes are the experiential evidence that there in fact exists a third alternative world to the human created-worlds – the instinctually grim reality and the impassioned fantasy of a Greater Reality – and that this alternative is the purity and perfection of the actual world, the world of the senses. PCEs are potent opportunities for a practicing actualist to observe the persistent and perverse nature of the human condition because one is briefly free of its grip as well as being delicious occasions for delighting in the sensual cornucopia of this lush and verdant planet all we fellow human beings live on. Such PCEs serve as touchstones for an actualist, for when the PCE fades and ‘my’ ‘self’-centred reality returns, ‘I’ then know the precise nature and the scope of the business to be done in order to become actually free from the human condition of malice and sorrow.
As a footnote to this section, I would like to make comment on the seemingly fashionable ‘wisdom’ of some Eastern spiritual teachings – the wisdom of disregarding the need for commitment, rejecting any methodology and scorning the idea that any work needs to do be done or indeed can be done in order to achieve the goal of a permanent altered state of consciousness aka Enlightenment or Self-realization. From my reading and from my own experience, such teachings are disingenuous at best since all who have achieved the Exalted State have obviously done so by being singularly committed to diligently using a method specifically designed not only to intentionally provoke ASCs but also to lead to the possibility of a permanent ASC.
In my own case I had a substantive ASC towards the end of my spiritual years that was intentionally provoked by the diligent practice of dissociation. On the face of it, it would seem that those who teach that commitment, methodology and hard work are not required for success have a vested self-interest in maintaining their own hard-won position at the top of the spiritual hierarchy. Needless to say, the reason I have mentioned this is that anyone who holds to the Eastern wisdom of disregarding the need for commitment, rejecting any methodology and scorning the idea that any work needs to do be done will find actualism is not for them.
4. Intentionally allowed onsets of a PCE –
As an actualist moves to the stage where he or she becomes virtually free of malice and sorrow the circumstances that allow a PCE to be intentionally provoked are more and more diminished. This is so because it is the early revelations, realizations and fundamental changes bought about by the actualism method – those that are the most tumultuous and dramatic – that are the most likely to provoke the onset of PCEs. When one becomes virtually free of malice and sorrow then the invidious feelings are reduced to such an extent that one is effortlessly and unconditionally happy and harmless for 99% of the time – a change which results in a perceptible change of direction over time.
One now no longer aspires to become free of the invidious aspects of a ‘constant ‘feeling reality’’ because the intensive work of becoming aware of, exploring and investigating the malevolent and sorrowful feelings is by and large done. Rather than being interested in, and being busy with, the business of breaking free from the grip of grim reality, a virtually free actualist is able to more and more delight in being here in this place in space in this moment of time, no matter what he or she is doing or not doing – in short he or she then becomes more interested in, and more capable of, intentionally allowing the onset of a PCE.
It is appropriate to again wave a warning flag at this point. Although spontaneous unintentional PCEs can happen in the early period of actualism, given the appropriate set of circumstances, most often the onset of PCEs in this stage are intentionally provoked by the actualism method itself. It therefore follows that to expect to intentionally allow the onset of a PCE whilst still in the grip of malice and sorrow, or whilst remaining the unwitting victim of one’s own mood swings, is to guarantee disappointment and failure.
Well that’s about it from me. The answer to your question was a long one, but the question needed a detailed response in order to cover the various ways that a PCE can occur. If you have followed the gist of my response, then number three will be where your interest will lie and number four will be something to look forward to when the initial work of becoming virtually happy and harmless is done.
RESPONDENT: Because of the fact that such an ideal is based on the imposing of impossible demands, as well upon oneself as upon the world, this idealism has as a main prerequisite a very, very big ‘if only but’. Thus is the idealist readily to be known, to reside in the domain of (Spiritual) La-la-land safely to stay there while putting out a strong message for a need of supporters, and blaming others for the failure of that realization of his imagined ‘perfect world’ yet never gets down and dirty and begins to change her/himself. Thus holding on to a claim of feeling hypocrite if ‘I’ do or don’t ... is a nice excuse to stay in the comfort zone of being together with other hypocrites who all say I can only change myself if ...
PETER: Yep, you got it. But deep down, everyone knows this is a perfect world, for everyone has had a brief glimpse of that perfection at some time in their lives. These are usually glimpses in childhood or sometimes in latter-life, often induced by a sudden shock, drugs, serendipitous circumstances or in certain self-less, peace-filled situations that are known as nature experiences. These brief pure consciousness experiences are experiences that fuel the human search for freedom – they provide the knowledge that there has to be something better than normal life and there has to something better than spiritual life.
Yet these self-less pure consciousness experiences have been corrupted into self-aggrandizing narcissistic experiences of feeling ‘I am child of a God’ or even ‘I am God’. This corruption is fuelled by the spiritual belief in a life after physical death that is in turn driven by the instinctual fear of death – a potent mixture that can only lead to delusionary states of consciousness.
This is why an actualist needs sincere intent, and an intention to question everything that stands in the way of becoming actually free of the human condition, especially all of spiritual beliefs. A sincere intent means one aims for purity and perfection – for a genuine peace on earth in this lifetime – and that one will never settle for second-best.
PETER to Alan: Good to discuss with you these matters. I think the operative word here is pure, as I have discovered. The PCE offers a glimpse or window out from the ‘real’ world everyone is born into (and therefore assumes this to be all there is), and suddenly one finds oneself in the unimaginable actual fairytale-like physical universe. My experience was that each time this occurred I was increasingly able to feel comfortable, at ease, as this new ‘me’ – this flesh and blood body. And every time these glimpses had a different experience to them as I explored carefully the actual physical universe that ‘I’ had normally perceived (like every other human being) to be a place of sadness, fear and aggression. Initially the contrast between the actual, benign, safe, and delightful, and the imaginary world of churning emotions, raging hormones and consuming passions is so startling that the memory is either buried or the experience appears wondrous and awesome. With a sincere intent operating to want to live the experience of the PCE every moment, 24 hrs. every day I was able to use the time when I wasn’t actually here living the PCE to root around in the Human Condition – to investigate, discuss, read, think and contemplate on all those instinctual urges and social Truths, Wisdoms and accepted beliefs that made up the particular psychological and psychic entity that dwelled in me and which had taken ‘me’ over. No wonder humans feel alien on the planet.
So, for me the PCE sparkled like a diamond, and when it wasn’t there it meant that I wasn’t here – I was being angry, sad, impatient, proud, humble, fearful or whatever. So then I had something to do – something to firstly acknowledge existed in me and then work to eliminate it by whatever means appropriate. Neither repression or expression will satisfy anyone with sufficient sincere intent. Elimination by contemplation – rooting around to eliminate the very cause, the source. And then to have confirmation by the actual experience of emotions and feelings (both the Good and the Bad) disappearing like a strange fantasy that once played out inside my head and was taken by me to be actual by the hormonal reactions in this body. To experience it working is fascinating beyond normal belief. But then the actual always is.
I found in the end the best and surest way to invoke a PCE was to deliberately, steadfastly, and bloody-mindedly clean myself up. Free myself of the disease called the Human Condition – that mutually agreed acceptance that we are above all ‘feeling’ beings, the only trouble is the hallowed feelings are, at the core, malice and sorrow. Competition, aggression, revenge, retribution, violence, murder, rape, war and torture not to mention sadness, resentment, sorrow, depression, despair and suicide are the inevitable result of being a normal human. It was so good that I always had something to do – to clear the dirt from the diamond – to clean myself up so that I can take my rightful place, play my delightful role, doing what is happening now, as a happy and harmless human free of malice and sorrow. Confident that malice and sorrow have had their day.
But it is excellent to have something that works, a way out of the insanity of misery and violence, fear and aggression.
So that is my experience, I have written about it before but it’s nice to have the chance to write of it again. It is such an adventure and can be both weird and fearful business particularly being among the first to pioneer a method of becoming actually free.
PETER to Alan: Virtual Freedom is available for everyone and anyone who has the sincere intent to be happy and harmless. If someone is not willing to make that level of ‘self’ sacrifice then any interest in an Actual Freedom would remain a purely cerebral exercise. That is what I meant by ‘two stages’ – you sort out what it is to be a human being – delve into the Human Condition and then you put what you discover into practice. If it is not put into practice demonstratively then one is fooling oneself – as is common practice on the spiritual path. An immediate aim for a Virtual Freedom will ensure one of sincere intent – any gross grubbiness, power plays or self deception will become painfully obvious to oneself and others.
Given the perfection and purity of the physical universe and its propensity to evolve to the best possible, it is no mere coincidence that a journal outlining the simplicity and down-to-earthness of Virtual Freedom is now available as a companion volume to Richard’s Journal. To ignore the obvious, the simple, the direct, the immediate in favour of always contemplating the future is to commit the mistakes of the past ‘tried and failed’ approaches. Not that there isn’t a future goal – Actual Freedom – but the practical and down-to-earth first essential step is the obtaining of and living in Virtual Freedom for a substantial period. The establishing of a base camp if you like.
One of the vital points about Virtual Freedom is that it gives one a realistic down-to-earth achievable aim. Virtual Freedom is an obtainable, realistic goal available for anyone – and is an essential step on the path to Actual Freedom. It seems to me that the traditional path has always put the Goal off into the future – some day I will, or maybe it will happen, or it’s too difficult, or .. With the firm knowledge that a Virtual Freedom is readily obtainable, the immediate and the actual becomes the focus, as this is, after all, the only moment I can experience of being alive – so if I’m not happy now then I have something to look at. Unlike the spiritual where one has only a ‘far off’ goal with a 0.0001% chance of success of achieving a permanent ASC, the path to Actual Freedom delivers the goods – one eliminates the impediments to one’s happiness incrementally and as such one has incremental success. The immediate and realistic aim being to get to the point where one goes to bed at night having had a perfect day and knowing tomorrow will be equally perfect. The ‘bar gets raised’ and tomorrow may well turn out to be even more perfect. This is not to deny that Actual Freedom is not the eventual aim – but ‘I’ have to do it and this is the way to do it. What ‘I’ can do is to become virtually free.
This is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual path where going ‘There’ is the only goal and consequently one withdraws from any thoughts of happiness now, and certainly any mundane considerations such as being harmless, being in the world as-it-is, living with one’s companion in peace, harmony and equity, being sensible, questioning beliefs and investigating the facts, etc.
PETER to Alan: Your conversations with Richard set me thinking about this business of self-immolation and the difference between what we are talking of and the spiritual ‘ego-death’. In my reading of the Enlightened Ones’ ‘ego death’ experiences the drama and trauma involved sounds so convincing that one would indeed give credence to a wondrous transformation such that one had found something genuine – one’s Real Self, one’s original face, the Source, Divine Love, the Truth or whatever. There is no doubt that a transformation of their identity has taken place, that they have suffered a death of their personal self – ego – and as a reward have become a universal, all encompassing, glorious Self – God by whatever name. This I have understood and have personally experienced in an hour long Altered State of Consciousness, or Satori, whereby I was Love personified, and all was Glorious and Golden. Also as the result of many Pure Consciousness Experiences and some 18 months of Virtual Freedom I well know the difference between a ‘self’-less state of Actual Freedom and the ‘ego-less/glorified soul’ state of Enlightenment.
But I still had a nag, and the nag was how to explain it schematically. It must be my architectural training, but often processes can be schematically represented in a way that aids clarity. There are about 2 million words on the Actual Freedom Trust website and many are devoted to this very difference between Actual Freedom and the traditional Pseudo Freedom, so we have come up with two schematics that set out the difference.
The schematics are too big to post to the list, so we have put them on the Actual Freedom Trust website for perusal. I suggest it would be useful for you bring it up in a second window, if possible, so as to refer to it in association with the following description. There are two schematics – the first refers to Actual Freedom, the second to the spiritual path. The first schematic is
As you can see, the title is ‘What I am vs. Who I am’, and the diagram essentially addresses the issue of the process of the extinction of ‘who’ I am – the psychological and psychic entity and the emergence of ‘what I am’ – this flesh and blood body only, actually free of ‘who I think and feel I am’. The diagram quite deliberately separates out the active diminishing and eventual extinction of ‘who I am’ – and the emergence and eventual freedom of ‘what I am’. ‘What I am’ has always been here, it is just that it has been obscured and totally dominated by ‘who I am’ – and it is only by systematically and methodically daring to peel back the layers of social conditioning, beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms and instinctual passions that ‘what I am’ is more and more able to become apparent. ‘What I am’ thus becomes incrementally freed, strengthened, gaining confidence from the surety of facts, the increasingly unfettered intelligence and the heightened senses – all actual, down to earth, sensible and verifiable experiences. ‘What I am’ is not a new creation, a new identity – it is simply what remains when the ‘who I am’ disappears in total. To put it another way, the ‘who I was’ when I first met Richard will never meet the ‘what I am’ that will emerge when ‘I’ become extinct.
Of course, one has glimpses of this ‘self’-less state in the PCE, when for a period ‘who I am’ exits the stage, or is temporarily absent, but ‘what I am’ can only be totally free when ‘who I am’ ceases to exist permanently. ‘Who I am’ is capable of resurrection or fighting back at any stage – indeed it is passionately driven to do anything possible to survive – including selling off Grandmother if need be – which is where the middle line of the diagram comes into play. This is a simple representation of the wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom – from naiveté to Actual Freedom. We have started the line with naiveté, for it surely requires naiveté to not only consider that an actual freedom from the Human Condition is possible, but that you, personally, are the one who can do it. To fly in the face of the Wisdom of the Ancients – ‘to go where no man has gone before’ in Star Trek terms, as I put it in my Journal. I conveniently ignored Richard in my dramatization as I figured that the next pioneers were plotting a brand new course – avoiding the instinctual seduction of the Rock of Enlightenment that had dashed the efforts of all before. The other point about naiveté is that the spiritually cynical and the worldly cunning, by their very attitude, exclude themselves from the adventure, and this has been evidenced by the many who have met Richard, or read a bit about Actual Freedom, and turned away.
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: 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.
PETER: If you want to be happy and harmless then nobody does it but you.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me that this inquiry is done by the self without regard for the self almost like jumping off a cliff. It is amazing how after having gathered enough information about the woes of self, the self then in its own pathetic way attempts to dismantle itself. I think though this is the point where attention plays an important role. I am finding this curiosity-lead attention to be most liberating.
PETER: We are attempting to develop a consistent ‘story’ and terminology in describing the path to Actual Freedom not as a philosophy or another ‘ism’, but to attempt to clearly communicate our experiences to each other – to swap stories and experiences on the basis of a commonly understood language. As such the ‘curiosity-lead attention’ may well be what I was describing above as the combination of sincere intent and apperceptive awareness. If your curiosity includes an investigation of the myths and beliefs of Ancient Wisdom – the foundation of the spiritual world – then a sensible, sensate experiencing will become more and more apparent. One finds oneself engaged in the thrilling business of actively dismantling one’s own psychological and psychic entity – doing what every one warns you not to do, or says is impossible to do. (...)
PETER: Once the decision is made to devote oneself to being happy and harmless one simply ‘weathers the storm’, both in the ‘inner’ maelstrom that is often evident as one dismantles the beliefs that form one’s social identity and frees oneself from the instinctual passions, and in the reactions of one’s fellow human beings to the radical course you are taking. It’s all just a storm in a tea cup, or a bit of mental and emotional drama that is but par for the course.
RESPONDENT: Well, the weather forecast is for smooth sailing. You never can trust those forecasts though.
PETER: I was talking to Vineeto last night and we were reflecting on some of the ‘rough’ and bewildering times when we wondered what we had let ourselves in for. The ‘Why can’t I just settle for being normal again?’ or ‘Why didn’t I just settle for the comfort and feel-good times of spiritual denial of facts rather than the fear that arises from exposing beliefs?’ But there was a burning discontentment that wouldn’t allow each of us to settle for second best. And what an adventure!
PETER: That’s where pure intent comes in – you can lift your head up out of what may seem a very convincing and real drama and remember the goal, what all the hard work is really about.
RESPONDENT: Just an additional point to this perfection. It is apparent in the absence of a judgmental emotional self. So I am more interested in the assertion that this world is not perfect or that I am not perfect that is more butter for the bread.
PETER: I wrote a bit in my journal that may be relevant to what you are talking of. It was at a time when I was busy with investigating love – its promise and its failure.
What I ‘saw’ is that the actual world is perfect, pure, infinite and eternal – it is just that we humans are inflicted with a soft-ware program called the Human Condition. It is made up of nothing more than beliefs and instinctual emotions, and, being software, we can delete them if we really want to. This deletion allows an incremental emergence of what is factual, what is actual, as evidenced by the senses and one’s own apperceptive awareness. The experiencing of the perfection and purity of the actual world as experienced in the PCE is essential as this provides the ‘pure’ in the pure intent. Having experienced the actual one then will be better prepared to avoid the power-crazed state of Enlightenment.
RESPONDENT: One PCE in 1976 which lasted for a few hours was actually ‘only’ tantalizing Enlightenment... Divine Love. An extraordinary and powerful phantom that only fades to nothing but memories.
PETER: For an actualist is it essential, vital and critical to make the distinction between an ASC and a PCE. If you had an experience that was ‘tantalizing Enlightenment’, it was an ASC – an Altered State of Consciousness – whereby one’s consciousness or identity shifts to becoming the feeling experience of the universe, thus one feels Love, Divinity, Wholeness, Unity – one feels oneself to be Godly. This is most definitely not a PCE – a Pure Consciousness Experience. The only similarity is that one gets a glimpse of something other than the real world – in an ASC one gets to see a golden, glowing, self-fulfilling and self-aggrandizing dream world with you at the centre of it all. All seems an illusion including one’s body, as the heart literally bulges from the chest and poetic and loving thoughts surge through one’s brain. Yea, I’ve been there and done that, and it sucks. What alarmed me most was that I would end up yet another God-man which is the inevitable result of becoming Enlightened.
RESPONDENT: I particularly liked the way Richard explained AF as being like a blind man who has his other senses heightened... as if our energy is concentrated when appropriately focused or perhaps when our inner conflicts are not allowed to detract from the purity of the moment...???
PETER: My experience of the sensate-only experience of the PCE is that there is no psychological or psychic entity whatsoever inside this flesh and blood body. There is no ‘I’ being ‘focused’ or thinking rightly or concentrating on the senses. There is no inner conflict for there is no ‘inner’ at all. With no ‘inner’ there is then no ‘outside’ to experience as feeling separate from or feeling at-one with. All affective, self-centred feeling disappears as if by magic as do all self-centred neurotic thoughts. One is able to think, and my thoughts are usually one of amazement at the physical, magical fairy-tale like universe. The contemplation upon the fact that we sit somewhere on of a huge lump of rock that hurtles through space orbiting around a sun that gives life to plants and animals, that there are cycles like days, seasons, tides, life-cycles, that there are land masses, oceans, mountains, rivers, snow, rain, that the universe is infinite and eternal and that it is all happening right here, in this very moment. The senses are literally on stalks, imbibing the sensory input from all that is happening around – and we can see it, smell it, hear it taste it and touch it and we are made of the same stuff as all around. There is no separateness, rather one is directly and sensually intimate with everyone and everything. In the PCE one is literally the universe experiencing itself as a human being for there is no self, and definitely no Self, as an entity inside the body affectively experiencing an outer world – let alone passionately imagining an inner world.
The other thing that is startlingly obvious in a PCE is that amidst this always present perfection and purity of the actual world, the human species battle it out with each other to the point of waging horrendous wars, resent having to be here at all and are generally miserable to the point of depression.
When I met Richard I decided to devote my life to the eradication of the Human Condition within me. I wanted to live the experience of the PCE – the self-less state of purity and perfection – 24hrs. a day every day. So, I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck into the doing of it. It was so liberating to be able to do something about myself and my behaviour and not allow myself to be blindly led, not to believe what others told me was true, not to merely do what everyone else was doing simply because everyone else was doing it, not to keep doing things that didn’t work and not to be automatically driven and run by my instinctual passions. To become incrementally free of the Human Condition. The amazing thing about the doing of becoming actually free from malice and sorrow is that one becomes more happy and more harmless on the way. And one literally comes to one’s senses such that the senses do become heightened, one thinks less neurotic thoughts and feels less passionately driven by one’s instinctual drives. It is a win, win and more win situation on the path to actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: Now I only want 24 hour Actual Freedom.
PETER: Well, roll up your sleeves – there’s plenty to do! You are talking about ‘changing Human Nature’, but the best thing is – you only have to change yourself and nobody else. Changing everyone else is what most people aim for – a physical impossibility.
Changing only you is eminently achievable – and scientifically verified as possible. It is possible to re-program one’s own brain from all the social programming and it is possible to evince a mutational adaptation to eliminate the instinctual passions. A bit I wrote recently explains this very point –
PETER: I use the word sincere deliberately as I think it is this sincerity that you confuse with a lack of sense of humour.
RESPONDENT: Sincerity is questioning and at the same time not being attached to anything and taking everything lightly. When you KNOW there is no attachment and nobody can destroy what you KNOW. I can make fun of Osho because even though I am grateful to him I do not take him seriously).
PETER: Sincerity in questioning is to genuinely question to the point that one finds a factual answer, even if this answer shatters all that you believed and held dear.
To question and not seek an experiential answer such that will change your life is a total waste of time, and mere wanking.
And to set limits, or stop the process at the first sign of fear, or offence, or doubt, is insincere.
And to remain unattached is to be disinterested and ensures that the questioning remains a cerebral concept rather than active, vital and on-going to the point where an answer in terms of a clear, obvious and direct conclusion. Should the aim and intent of this questioning be to become happy and harmless, one then is sincerely forced to do something to actualise the result of the questioning.
One is then forced – out of sincerity – to do something that one would not normally do – change one’s behaviour – actually demolish or eliminate a bit of ones own ‘self’ that one holds so dear.
The other benefit of continuously asking yourself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is that if your intent is to become happy and harmless then one is irrevocably forced to consider the ‘ripples’ one’s feelings, moods, words and actions have on others as this too effects one’s own happiness.
Someone wrote the other day saying: ‘is this all you offer? – I do this all the time, and it is what the spiritual people teach anyway’. All you are is anti-Osho and I’m pissed that this is all you offer.’
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.