Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: But it’s gone beyond theory now and into actuality? The proof of our misuse of thought is collapsing this very environment and the physical actuality of that, confronts us everyday. Mankind’s erroneous theories have bolted and cannot be contained by merely shutting the gate afterwards, and haughtily looking down our actual nose at mankind’s silly imaginings. The imagination is a force to be reckoned with, it can manoeuvre arms and legs into all sorts of mischief. It has wrought life threatening havoc on this planet!
PETER: Okay, before I get into detail, it may be useful to look at how it is possible to ascertain what is fact and what is theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, psittacism, speculation, feeling, intuition, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true.
The first step would be to at least entertain the idea that the notion you have about something may not be factually correct. It would be good to put one’s real-world and spiritual-world cynicism aside and crank up a bit of naïve curiosity at this stage, even if you have to pretend an innocence, a not knowing when you ‘really do know’... To do so would be a blow to one’s pride and the way I dealt with that was to turn it on its head and say that I would be really silly to continue believing something that was not factual. The next obstacle is the moral and ethical stance I have – if I think it is ‘right’ or ‘good’ to believe this particular issue then I will not even bother to investigate it. Again, I refused to let arbitrary moral or ethical judgements stand in the way of wanting to know the facts for that would be silly and beneath my dignity as a supposedly intelligent, supposedly autonomous, supposedly free human being.
So, you crank up a bit of naïve curiosity, clear the decks of pride, morals and ethics and you are ready to take a clear-eyed look at the particular issue. I can offer a few clues as to ascertaining facts based on my experience which may be useful. This is bound to end up a long post but you seem to be a reader which is a very good thing for someone interested in an actualism. I am putting in words a process I have done so many times it has become automatic, so it is best to regard this as a schematic outline rather than a fixed approach. But I do see a few elements common to any investigation –
So, taking a deep breath, we plunge into Environmentalism, using the above outline as a touchstone. I’ll try and keep on track but, in fact, all these elements tend to overlap, as one makes an investigation into a particular issue that may run from hours to weeks to months, or even years in some cases.
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: Not at all. Following one’s intuition is to act the way you know, or feel, is right. I have been reviewing a book by a spiritual Guru who teaches following one’s intuition, listening to one’s inner dialogue, etc. and what this means is acting from one’s instinctual passions. Following one’s intuition simply is what everyone does and it means that everyone is instinctually driven to act aggressively and fearfully, blindly seeking a futile fulfillment and solace in nurture and desire.
As for pure intent, there is a glossary of terms on the Actual Freedom web-site that I compiled and Vineeto has collated relevant writings and correspondence – in order to avoid confusion, encourage contemplation and aid thinking about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. It was my next project after writing my journal, as it was apparent to me that my spiritual training had stifled enquiry and muddled words and thinking to such an extent that nothing made sense anymore. It is essential to first make sense of the Human Condition we find ourselves in as human beings in order to become actually free of it. Hence The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary – a common language or words firmly based on dictionary meanings in order to clearly communicate and share our experiences.
But one does have to read, and read, and read – it is a prerequisite for an actualist. When I first met Richard I took everything he was saying in spiritual terms for I knew nothing else and it was only by reading his journal over and over again that the penny started to drop and the sparks started to fly.
As it says on the Cabot’s paint tins – ‘If all else fails – read the instructions’.
RESPONDENT: Watching one’s self in action, then, is insightful, leading to permanent change.
PETER: No. It does bugger all. Denial plus acceptance equals no change. To be a watcher is to be a wanker.
RESPONDENT: You close your eyes to complexity and call it simplicity. Fun game isn’t it? It has all kinds of other applications too!
PETER: My investigations into my own psyche – the human condition in action as ‘me’ – led me to understand that I was merely inculcated into believing that life is full of complexities. As such it took a good deal of effort to get in touch with my naiveté such that I could firstly intellectually understand and then experience the utter simplicity of doing the business of being alive.
Here is a bit from my journal that is relevant to your comment. One of the particular events that twigged me to the utter simplicity of being what I am was making breakfast one morning and realizing that I had done this about 17,000 times in my lifetime and would continue to do so until I died – that, after all, the doing of everyday events such as this are what being alive is actually about.
RESPONDENT: You are just upset and angry because you haven’t found the peace you’ve been looking for. You don’t want to believe in spirituality anymore for personal reasons and so you are trying hard to make others feel just like you do. It’s very simple. You don’t need to complicate it. Stay in peace.
PETER: Well, your very first assumption about what I was writing was correct but this assumption about my motives is not. 50-50 is about right for intuition. I was aiming to post a short post for those who dislike words and reading but you have made an assumption about me that is wrong in fact so I will respond. As I have already said, I came to the spiritual path after becoming disillusioned with the ‘real’ world, i.e. I stopped believing in the ‘real’ world any more. One dark night of the soul, I saw that the ‘real world’ was but a nightmare and, as I had been reading my first-ever spiritual book at the time, the idea of a greater Reality seized me in its grip. This process of real world disillusionment and attraction to a greater Reality seems a very common transition from real world to spiritual world – a common story to many seekers. (...)
As for ‘you are trying hard to make others feel (upset and angry) just like you do’ I will have to drop your rating down to one correct out of three assumptions. It is my experience that whenever I point out the fact that the ages-old spiritual search has lamentably failed to bring peace on earth, and point out why, many people feel upset and angry. They take any questioning of spiritual belief very personally and I see a direct connection between these reactions and all the upset and anger, conflict and war that exists between the many spiritual groups on the planet. For me, this was bought home most tellingly when I became aware that I was willing to fight others in order to defend my beloved teacher. In fact, I was willing to kill for, or die for, my beliefs and the depth of my feelings and the sheer insanity of my passion shocked me profoundly.
PETER: Well I think this will be the last in this series of book reviews, for I’m inclined just to skim through the rest of Mr. Lowe, only briefly demolishing his ‘fresh and unique’ re-interpretations of Eastern religion and philosophy. It’s interesting that his ‘ordinary spiritualism’ serves only to strip away the aura of mystique that has been deliberately created and maintained by the shamans about what it is that the ancient texts are actually saying. He does the usual thing of saying that one needs not to read the words and try and make sense of them, that one needs to put aside the mind, etc. but, to me at least, he manages to exposes more than is usually considered wise about what the Truth is, in fact.
So, let’s demystify the mystique of ‘some of the key facets of Paul’s perspective’
PAUL LOWE: Choicelessness and Being Present
Go with the feelings, the intuition, not with the mind. That is choicelessness. All that I have said about choicelessness applies to presence as well. Presence is being in this moment with acceptance, including all the facts and disconnecting from them. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Put so clearly, choicelessness is a choice made by one’s feelings, a decision solely based on the emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Deciding anything this way is guaranteed to produce an utterly selfish and self-centred result or decision, not the best decision, the most appropriate and most sensible. In deciding ‘not with the mind’, the spiritual claim of choicelessness can be best described as thoughtless and senseless, selfish decision making.
As for ‘being present’, it is clear that the Eastern religious philosophy is to ‘choicelessly’ accept and then disconnect from the facts – facts such as the physical body, one’s emotions and thoughts, one’s physical surroundings and other people, the fact of one’s mortality, etc. If being ‘present in this moment’ is so good then why would one want to disconnect from the facts that are evident in this moment. Why would there not be delight in thinking, delight in being conscious and alive as a flesh and blood human being, delight in this paradisiacal planet floating in this wondrous universe?
If this is not the case, in this moment, then why would one not want to do everything possible to evince delight, happiness and harmlessness? Why would one want to continue to practice denial, acceptance and ‘disconnecting’ as the East have done for millennia? The results of these religious practices are readily evident in the present cultures of the East, where poverty, corruption, duplicity, hypocrisy, repression, violence, arrogance and greed abound.
PAUL LOWE: We have a possibility now to disconnect from the past. The past is doomed to repeat itself because it is only capable of projecting itself on to an old familiar future. All thought that is based on the past and can only restrict future possibility. <Snip> The greatest intimacy lies in not knowing. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Classic New Dark Age double-speak. And this pearl of wisdom comes from someone who is presenting a fresh and unique re-interpretation of religious and philosophical ideas that are over 2,500 years old. To project these ancient ideas, thoughts, fantasies and fairytales into the current situation in which we now find ourselves is an act of appalling ignorance and desperation. The greatest delusion lies in actively promoting ignorance as a Virtue.
Of course, Mr. Lowe is talking of an intimacy with God – the greatest delusion. His recipe for human intimacy is to share one’s ‘inner dialogue’ – the emotive outpourings that are so common in spiritual groups and communities typify this therapeutic approach to sharing and togetherness.
To promote disconnecting from the facts and allowing ourselves to be ‘who we are, as we are’, i.e. an alien identity residing within the flesh and blood body, is to prevent intimacy and continue alienation, separateness, fear and suspicion. ‘Not knowing’ what the other entity is thinking or feeling promotes the continuation of intuition – the use of a form of ‘psychic radar’ to sense out the other person. To overcome this alienation the common cure is to promote the feelings of love, nurture and duty – a method of relating taught to every human being since birth. This obviously fails to ‘bridge the gap’ on a personal human level, so one is then encouraged to feel a universal or unconditional love – an unfocused love which leads to an even greater distance being formed between flesh and blood human beings as ‘holier than thou’ feelings always set in with fantasy.
This vain attempt at intimacy by promoting the feelings that arise from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions of nurture and desire has always offered fickle and fleeting success at best. Feelings of love and hate, giving and selfishness, forgiveness and retribution, etc. come inseparable in pairs and the constant seesawing of emotions in human relating makes actual intimacy an impossibility. At best, a mutual compromise is reached, a set of peace-agreements is established as to ‘safe’ grounds, ‘space’, ‘separate lives’, secrets and deals. This way of living and relating is but a sad and sorry second best as to what is actually possible when the feelings arising from the instinctual animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are absent. With no emotional or psychic ‘radar’, no intuition or suspicion, no ‘emotive sharing’ or fights to pump up excitement, no ‘late night bargains struck’, no wars and no ceasefires, no fear or aggression operating, a direct sensate intimacy is deliciously and palpably evident.
RESPONDENT: This will be your new name, Swami Anand Deleeto. Will it be difficult to pronounce? Anand means Bliss and Deleeto means clean, wiped away. The bliss of wiping away.
PETER: Ah, yes. The feeling of leaving the ‘normal’ world behind – to take on a new name, a new identity and a new role – the spiritual seeker – and to join a commune of fellow seekers. The Club.
RESPONDENT: It is such a bliss to silence the endless stream of words. Sometimes one has to do it again and again because the words keep coming. The words are so alluring, perhaps I am missing something, one thinks. So one stops a bit and looks and listens, but after a while one sees that it is only a repetition.
PETER: Ah, Anand Deleeto. I see here that Sw. No 27 is alluding to silencing the ‘endless stream of words’ from the actual world, from this very computer. He is advising you that it is boring repetition, and not to get trapped in it. But I guess if you bother to wade through the words you will make your own evaluation. I just like it that there is now an alternative to the ‘Tried and True’ spiritual path. I would also point out that the Tried and True is the ‘Tried and Failed’ in that it has been persuade by millions, if billions of people for millennia with only .0001% achieving Enlightenment and the countless religious wars, cleansings, perversions persecutions, tortures and repressions are the inevitable result of the whole spiritual – i.e. spirit-based – belief system.
RESPONDENT: The mind can only endlessly repeat thousand year old arguments. There is nothing new under the sun. It is all a futile exercise like moving furniture around in an empty room.
PETER: Anand Deleeto, here he is obviously referring to the Ancient texts and myths. Indeed within the spiritual world there is nothing new under the sun. Rajneesh himself talked endlessly about all sorts of Masters and all sorts of other religions and teachings and was a master at telling old myths, stories and legends
What I am talking of is outside of the spirit-ual world. You see, I am an atheist – I live in the actual world where Good Spirits and Evil Spirits, Gods or Demons simply do not exist. They are but a collective fantasy of the psychic world. These Spirits or ‘energies’ – all generated in the psyche by a fear ridden ‘I’ do not actually exist.
So, No. 27 has told you, there can be nothing new under the sun and that this is the best we human beings can expect. To be born into a world where everyone is fighting and squabbling and you end up doing it yourself because ‘this is the way it is’. And there is a ‘reward’ for our suffering ... we simply turn away, go inside and imagine there is a ‘somewhere’ better or a ‘someone’ who is looking after me. Surely there has got to be something better under the sun, and there is. An actual freedom from sorrow and malice is now available if you are interested.
RESPONDENT: Slowly, slowly one gains courage. Be brave, Anand Deleeto, trust your intuition. It was not there before, it is not there now. Dare to wipe away and enjoy the bliss.
PETER: On the spiritual path, Deleeto, you will be admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings. You will be encouraged to sit silently and go within to encourage a stilling of personal thoughts in order to begin to feel Bliss and Oneness. In short, you will give full reign to your feelings and emotions. ‘You’ who you feel you are will become grander and grander, bigger and bigger, and if you really work hard at it, one day – POP! ... you will realize that you are GOD!
So if you trust your intuition, trust your feelings – you are but doing a wonderful job in keeping your ‘self’ in existence – from ‘self’ to ‘Self’.
For me, I knew my ‘self’ was the problem and eventually saw that to blow it up in self-aggrandizement was to be going 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
But this is just what I have found. You will obviously make your own observations and judgements as to what you do with your life-time on earth.
It has been nice to drop you a line (... or a post, as it is these days), Deleeto.
It was really just to give you a couple of sites to check out if you are ever interested, and have the time ... but then I got off on one of my raves again.
But then again, if you are true to your name, you won’t even be reading this, but maybe someone else will, and maybe they will be intrigued.
PETER: I remember once being time-keeper for some meditations in Buddha hall and watching people meditate and wondering what was going on inside everyone’s head? Strange, to watch hundreds of people sitting isolated with their eyes closed, going inside and imagining ‘feeling connected’. There were indeed a few variations on a theme, no doubt. But the aim was the same – find that ‘blissful inner state’. That is, after all, the common aim of all ancient Eastern spirituality.
RESPONDENT: You should have wondered about your own head as you still should...
PETER: Indeed, I wondered about both my thinking and my feeling – both my logical imagination and my irrational intuition. Both drove me to distraction, both drove me to lash out, both plunged me to despair, both plagued me, both dominated me, both bound me in shackles. Both inhibited the ability of my brain to function sensibly and both inhibited my ability to be here, now in this ambrosial, paradisiacal actual world.
RESPONDENT: Enlightenment is simply knowing yourself and being natural and unpretentious.
PETER: I don’t know what your aim in life is, but, as a general observation it seems to me that many people have ‘watered down’ the original search for freedom to mean acceptance rather than change. For me, I saw that what I hoped to achieve on the spiritual path – Enlightenment – became less attractive the closer I got. So when I came across Richard I decided to try something new. I then set some realistic goals – living with a woman in peace and harmony and becoming happy and harmless. These I saw as eminently achievable in a short time, such that I could then live the fruits of my efforts, as this flesh and blood body, before I died.
RESPONDENT: But then again, you are British ... It is difficult to find a British person who is natural and does not act ‘gentlemanly’.
PETER: No ... a false assumption. That’s what I like about the Net. I am totally anonymous and the only way to communicate is by words – energy, body language, appearance, intuition – all fail. There is only a fellow flesh and blood human being typing these words. As for acting ‘gentlemanly’ I find words like benign, considerate and innocent to be more appropriate. However, I do call a spade a spade, a fact a fact, which occasionally has the effect of causing offence in some people who prefer to continue to believe rather than acknowledge facts.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Introspection and Subjectivity
When we use introspection to search for the origin of our subjectivity, we find that the search for ‘I’ leaves the customary aspects of personhood behind and takes us closer and closer to awareness, per se. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: So, we have an introspective search going on – a looking inwards for the real ‘me’. We leave the rotten old ‘me’ behind and the physical, mortal body and the real world and go off looking ‘inside’ in a search for the origin. And we come closer to awareness per se; in other words, not an awareness of something but awareness itself. This act of being aware – awareness itself – takes precedent over and supersedes the customary aspects of personhood – such as mortality, sexuality, fear, aggression, sorrow, malice, resentment, growing old, etc.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: If this process of introspective observation is carried to its conclusion, even the background sense of core subjective self disappears into awareness. Thus, if we proceed phenomenologically, we find that the ‘I’ is identical to awareness: ‘I’ = awareness. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: Thus, as one carries this process on to its conclusion, any personal sense of self disappears as the new ‘I’ becomes the watcher of the other ‘I’ – the one who is selfish, self-obsessed and neurotic, and this new watcher has got nothing to do with the flesh and blood body and its sensate experience, instinctual passions and fears. One proceeds phenomenologically as in
Thus ‘proceeding phenomenologically’ is to abandon facts and common sense and opt for pure intuition and as such we opt out of the real world of people, things and events and we become the awareness of these phenomena. Thus ‘I’ am not my feelings, ‘I’ am not my thoughts, ‘I’ am not my body, ‘I’ have nothing to do with the real world – ‘I’ am awareness only.
All this does nothing but more strongly confirm that ‘I’ am a disembodied entity who has taken up residency in this flesh and blood body. At its most basic this new stripped-down ‘I’ is really just the awareness of what is going on around me. Thus, the real world appears as an illusion or a picture show that ‘I’ am watching, initially from inside this body, but then even this bodily phenomena disappears into awareness itself. Thus ‘I’ = awareness = nothing at all to do with the real world of people, things and events and most definitely nothing to do with this flesh and blood body. Complete and utter dis-association is the result.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Who observes the observer? Every time we step back to observe who or what is there doing the observing, we find that the ‘I’ has jumped back with us. This is the infinite regress of the observer...often presented as an argument against the observing self being real, and existent. But identifying ‘I’ with awareness solves the problem of the infinite regress: we know the internal observer not by observing it, but by being it. At the core, we are awareness and therefore do not need to imagine, observe, or perceive it. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: Ah, he has solved the problem by abandoning ‘observation’ as in scrutiny, examination or sensible evaluation. This is the classic Eastern Mystical approach exhorted by the Ancients and mimicked by countless Gurus, would-be’s and wanna-be’s, down the ages. The last sentence is laughable, as when one abandons sensible observation and sensorial perception one is left only with the possibility of unbridled imagination and unfettered feelings running amok. Ask anyone to describe something which they can neither see, feel, touch, smell or taste and they will have to revert to guesswork – as in intuition or imagination.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Knowing by being that which is known is ontologically different from perceptual knowledge. That is why someone might introspect and not see awareness or the ‘I’, concluding...that it doesn’t exist. But thought experiments and introspective meditation techniques are able to extract the one who is looking from what is seen, restoring the missing centre. A Deikman, Awareness = ‘I’
PETER: The fascinating thing is what is seen has cultural variations, influenced by whatever thought experiments and introspective meditation techniques are taught to the inner journeyers. One is told (usually in seductive, poetic terms) what to look for and what to ignore – no wonder one finds God by whatever name and ignores the mere mortal ‘customary aspects of personhood’ that one was seeking to extract from in the first place.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.