Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: A classic description, if ever there was one, of the extreme act of dissociation that is necessary for anyone who aspires to become ‘supremely conscious’ in order that they can realize that they are ‘the Eternal’. You might notice that I’m not nit-picking words because the author has twice used phrases that unambiguously point to dissociation –
RESPONDENT: That’s true. Is it important? I don’t think so. I guess it’s important if actualism lead to ‘the one true way’ to freedom, but I thinks those claims are inflated.
PETER: Well it may not be important to you but I remember being staggered when I first became aware that Eastern spiritualism actively advocates dissociation and that the revered spiritual practices are practices designed to encourage and enhance dissociation.
When it first struck me that meditation – sitting in a quiet place with eyes closed and retreating from the world of the senses in order to allow one’s mind to imagine all sorts of things – is in fact going ‘there’, the antithesis of being here in the world of the senses, I was astounded. I clearly saw that spiritualism was about retreating from, or dissociating from, being here, whereas actualism is about being here – being here doing whatever I am doing now, so much so that there is no separation, or distinction, between the doing of it and what’s being done.
RESPONDENT: Whatever your opinions are about meditation being a tool for realisation you cannot deny the health benefits of stress reduction to pick one example.
PETER: Of course not. Dissociation is a well-known way of coping with stress and its relative effectiveness is well-documented. I practiced dissociation for 17 years and it was a darn sight better than being a participant in the senseless, grim and desperate battle for survival that goes on in the real world. Then I serendipitously came across someone who had managed to free himself of the human condition in toto – both from the grim real world and the dissociative spiritual world. I found the offer too tempting and my inclination to dissociate fell by the wayside the more I was happy being here and the more I was able to live and work harmoniously with all of my fellow human beings.
PETER: No need to say anything about repressing emotions – the failures are well documented and obvious. This third way is to neither repress nor express. From experience I would say that exactly this doing nothing to dispel, avoid, deny, escape from, repress or express creates a tension and ‘self’-awareness that is the very situation that causes ‘something’ to change. And then that change is not of ‘your’ doing – it happens at a level deeper than your normal consciousness. No need for esoterics – it is a change in the brain’s software programming – the brain becoming free of the pernicious effects of the social identity and instinctual self. This was very well illustrated by Alan’s recent post about lust disappearing – in hindsight he noticed the feeling had gone! No ‘doing’ that Alan could point to, no specific event – but gone never the less.
RESPONDENT: Yes, this has been called by some mind-fullness or being watchful.
PETER: I take it that you are referring to those who follow the teachings of Mr. Buddha, or have you in mind another mystical teaching? If so, then they are not referring to what I am referring to. Any similarity is merely superficial as spiritual seekers practice such a shallow form of awareness that they merely skate on the surface, so to speak. The avowed aim of their awareness is to find their ‘real’ self, ‘true’ self, original face, divine soul or whatever other name the deluded watcher assumes. And, of course, the watcher makes the ‘grand discovery’ that it is both divine and immortal!
RESPONDENT: The impulse is there but the mind decides to take a new course not responding using the software of an old habitual response.
PETER: A mind practicing meditation always seems to take the same course – love, bliss, oneness, timeless, formless, spaceless, oceanic, heart-opening, ... divine, immortal, ... Home ...at last! Imagination, given full reign, leads to delusion. It is well documented in psychiatry but the spiritual form is deemed too sacred to touch – who wants to rock the boat, just in case there is a God. Most of the ‘psychs’ are busy meditating anyway.
RESPONDENT: It is the process of looking with interest, introspection.
PETER: Yes, for most meditations I’ve done and from others’ descriptions it’s a bit like looking in a shop window and you say, look at that thought – it’s not me, I’m ‘over here’ watching and waiting for the bliss to kick in.
RESPONDENT: Since ‘the watcher’ is also a complex self-sustaining thought, sometimes it becomes transparent to this introspection and leaves the drivers’ seat.
PETER: The watcher sometimes ‘leaves the drivers seat’ for something much Bigger and Grander – the truly sought-after state when one ‘becomes’ the bliss, when there is no watcher, when the watcher and bliss merge into One ... love, bliss, oneness, timeless, formless, spaceless, oceanic, heart-opening, ... divine, immortal, ... Home ...at last! Imagination, given full reign, leads to delusion.
If one follows the directions and methods of the Eastern Teachers, the path is well mapped and leads to Enlightenment. Using Richard’s method one can easily become Enlightenment but one would have to turn a ‘blind eye’ to the horrendous consequences of the Master-Disciple business. If you are willing and able to do that, pursue the spiritual path and become ‘the watcher’, by all means.
I always like being conscious of doing what is happening – one is then in the only place one can be – here; and when your here it can only be now. It’s the very cutting edge ... to be in the Actual World.
RESPONDENT: I was recently reading Time and they had an article about meditation and the mind and such. One part of the article talked about how scientist monitored the brain activity of buddhist monks while they meditated and they found that these people had high activity in the part of the brain where happiness is experienced like nothing they had seen before. The subject title is all in fun, but I wonder if an actualist can produce similar results. Just something I was thinking about.
PETER: I recently watched a television show along the same lines as the article you are referring to and what struck me was the inanity of people seeking an ethereal happiness by deliberately cutting themselves off from the world, a pursuit which stands in stark contrast to the utterly down-to-earth aim of an actualist – to become actually free from the human condition of malice and sorrow in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. A dissociated happiness is, after all, dissociative.
RESPONDENT: Is it the ego that is experiencing it self as having an ego? In other words is the watcher (not to use a spiritual term I just can’t think of better way to put) the ego or is the watcher consciousness that has an ego layered over it?
PETER: Have you ever done any meditation? The reason I ask is that if you have you might well be able to answer the question yourself from your own experience.
RESPONDENT: I have never done any serious meditating no, but in the little I did I always got confused about what the hell was going on. Hehehe. From what you are saying I gather that the ‘watcher’ is not consciousness, and that it disappears as the instinctual identity in an actual freedom. So when I feel like I am watching myself act, it is really myself that is watching myself? I am taking baby steps.
PETER: If I read you right, you have come across the common conundrum that many people have when mulling over actualism – how can ‘I’ become aware of ‘I’, or how can ‘I’ change ‘I’ or how can ‘I’ eliminate ‘I’?
Personally, I didn’t get too hung up about such questions. Maybe because I am a practical, down-to-earth person, I figured that if I wanted to change then it was up to me, if I wanted to be free it was up to me and if I wanted to become aware of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ operate then I have a brain whose function is not only to be aware of things but also to make sense of things.
In short, spiritualists regard thinking as the root of all evil and hence they abandon clear thinking and common sense in favour of refined feelings and imaginary scenarios. In contrast, actualists acknowledge the fact that the instinctual passions are the root of all human malice and sorrow and in doing so they are then free to engage clear thinking and common sense in order to come to their senses.
PETER: Put briefly, the idea of meditation is to cut off from sensate experiencing and to stop thinking (as in become the watcher) and allow imagination and affectation to take over … and lo and behold … a new very-grand ethereal-like alter-identity emerges.
Personally, I don’t favour using the terms ego and soul as they are terms that have such historical baggage that their meaning has become so confused as to be often meaningless – in those cultures yet to be afflicted by Eastern Mysticism, someone who felt themselves to be God-on-earth would be regarded as the ultimate ego-maniac.
RESPONDENT: Or virgin born saviour of the world. That is if the bastard existed at all. People like confidence and security. Every culture somehow assimilates those experiences into itself.
PETER: I remember when I abandoned my spiritual beliefs I discovered two distinct layers of fear.
The first fears were to do with being an outcast, not belonging to a group – quite valid fears given the history of ostracization and even persecution that those who have left religious/spiritual groups have been subject to … and are still being subject to.
The other level was far, far deeper – an atavistic fear that unless one looks to the Heavens one will end up in Hell and if one should turn one’s back on God then one will indeed incur wrath of God, be it a He, She or It..
PETER: PS. Dissociation – an example in the words of a George Harrison song – ‘But if I seem to act unkind, it isn’t me, it’s just my mind.’
RESPONDENT: That is a good example. Personally I would not throw that one out for the fact that it is such a good example.
Dissociation – an example in the words of a NIN song – ‘There is no you there is only me’. Because I think he is talking about himself. I like to listen to that song because it makes me reflect on the situation with a beat.
PETER: The reason I used a George Harrison lyric as an example of dissociation was that he was well known for his Eastern Mystical beliefs. I know nothing about NIN or the author of the lyrics but on the face of it ‘there is no you there is only me’ takes dissociation a step further into solipsism.
RESPONDENT: Stories can provide a non-linear mechanism of information conveyance in those cases where purely intellectual discourse fails (re Gary and I faith/belief). Despite our efforts to break free of our ingrained programs, we still have a socio-cultural-language basis. The stories can often carry a lot of information in a very small package.
PETER: I don’t know what you mean by a ‘non-linear mechanism of information’.
RESPONDENT: Just that a handful of words can convey a meaning greater than the sum of its parts. This predisposes a commonality of ‘socio-cultural-language’ between the sender and recipient. Analogous to the old saw – ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’. Even if I may have eliminated all my programming, any statement I might make to my neighbour will likely carry more implied content than to a Zulu tribesman, for instance.
PETER: My experience was that it took a great deal of conscious effort to take my social-cultural-spiritual bias out of language such that I was able to understand the written words that are used to convey the process of becoming free of the human condition. It is common to all spiritual teachings to disparage the written word as a means of communication and to encourage affective feeling-only communications such as satsang, communal prayers and meditations and the like. To describe a room full of people sitting silently with their eyes closed as communicating with each other is clearly nonsense. What in fact they are doing is retreating from the trials and tribulations of communicating with their fellow human beings and imagining a world where ‘we are all one’. Seventeen years on the spiritual path was sufficient experience for me to notice that spiritual beings were just as lost, lonely, frightened and cunning as real-world beings. The myth of peace and harmony between spiritual beings is just that – a myth.
Personally, when I met Richard’s discovery, I found it refreshing to come across a clear no-nonsense description of the human condition together with a coherent description of how to become free of it – and all of it written in dictionary definition words that said what it meant and meant what it said. It was a refreshing and radical change from the spiritual teachings I had followed for all those years.
But again, breaking free of my spiritual conditioning did take a while. I remember, after many months of listening to Richard, I was so fascinated by actualism that I wanted to know what was the hidden secret behind it all. If it meant Richard had come from another planet and a spacecraft was going to land and take us away, then I was in to it. It seems so silly now but I was so spiritually indoctrinated that the word was not the thing and that there was a secret message behind the words that I could not conceive that someone would have the audacity to not only say what he means but to mean what he says.
There is no secret message behind the words of actualism for it unabashedly points to an experience that everybody has had in there lives – a pure consciousness experience – and it explains the very simple, but at first difficult to put into operation, method of achieving that same tangible pure consciousness experience of freedom from the human condition, 24 hrs. a day, every day.
I might just end with a tip for beginners and that is to start the method of becoming attentive by focussing on obvious things and good examples are being grumpy about the weather, being upset about the traffic or being annoyed by what someone else says or does. This way you become used to becoming aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive and begin to notice what it is that is preventing you from being happy and harmless right now.
But to get back to your point about being able to live the ‘clear, direct experience’ that mind-altering drugs sometimes produce as a permanent on-going down-to-earth experience. My experience is that the process of actualism works in that it progressively removes the impediments that form the gulf between ‘normal’ ‘self’-centred affective experiencing and ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiencing. This allows one to get to a stage of being virtually free of malice and sorrow, living in a state where feeling excellent is normal and where drug-free pure consciousness experiences are common.
Just as an aside, it is interesting that actualism also produces results that far exceed the other traditional aspect of Eastern religion – the practice of meditation. The intense practice of meditation can also produce other-than-normal-world experiences. Because meditation involves the gradual and deliberate shutting down of one’s sensate experiencing of the physical world and the intentional enhancing imaginary-affective experiencing, it most often results in altered state of consciousness experiences, especially those of the consciousness-aggrandizing type. I have also had pure consciousness experiences from meditative practice but it is clear from talking to others that these are rare exceptions and by no means the norm. Again from experience, a virtual freedom from the human condition is so stress-free, enjoyable and peaceful that there is no need to seek relief in quiet periods of ‘getting out of it’ – a practice which does nought but heighten the traditional dichotomy between an ‘inner’ peace and a stress-full ‘outer’ life in the marketplace.
RESPONDENT: Dynamic meditation helped me get the first PCE and other Osho’s meditations helped me get consequent PCEs. That is a fact, take it or leave it.
PETER: What you said in your post was – ‘Osho created situations in which we could get PCEs and hence have a bench mark to work with’. What I pointed out was that Rajneesh aka Osho created situations in which his disciples could get Satoris – brief glimpses of an Altered State of Consciousness whereby one experiences oneself as Divine and Immortal, Spaceless and Timeless. Given that he has been dead 10 years he obviously knew nothing of what Richard is saying for it was only 7 years ago that Richard discovered a state that is beyond the delusion of Enlightenment. It was only 3 years ago that he used the term Pure Consciousness Experience to describe a self-less state that is devoid of any delusions of Divinity, Immortality, Divine Love and Divine Compassion. Even you had not heard the term PCE until a few months ago and obviously have difficulty in comprehending the fact that it is 180 degrees opposite to an ASC.
RESPONDENT: Based on these experiences and one of Osho’s discourses I read early on made me write the statement that Osho was creating situations for us to have PCEs. I know this statement is a proposition. I could type some of Osho’s long discourses and try to say something in favour of my proposition, like you did in favour of your proposition. But no, I will not waste beautiful spring days on this task.
PETER: I simply decided to find out what Rajneesh actually said on the matter and post it for clarity, but if you’re not interested – so be it. I’m not merely presenting a proposition – that would be a waste of time. I posted what the man you regard as an authority said that he was offering his disciples – no need for interpretations, propositions, or speculations – his own words.
RESPONDENT: However let me say a little bit about me so that you know where I am coming from. I took Sannyas 2 years ago. I did my first dynamic a little less than 3 years ago. Put together I have done about a year of dynamic and 1 year of Kundalini. I have been to Poona twice, once for 3 days and second time for 2 days. I never saw Osho, never met him. However, Dynamic and Kundalini, in the privacy of my home, have been extremely useful for me. What I wrote is based on my experiences with Osho’s meditations within the time period I mentioned above.
PETER: If what you are saying is that you are new in the disciple business and haven’t been in it long – then great. Having discovered Richard who is the only one to break out of the delusion of Enlightenment you are indeed ahead of the pack – a very good place to be.
P.S. I’m going to cheat on the brevity score by adding a postscript bit from my journal that describes my experiences at the time of tackling spiritual beliefs and loyalty issues. It may be useful –
RESPONDENT: Here are a few examples – in all cases here, what is stated for actual freedom is the completely same thing as what is taught by Goenka-style Vipassana. There is no 180-degree difference when most of actualism’s assertions are also asserted by the folks who are *supposed* to be 180 opposite.
No God in Vip., this becomes clear after practice.
PETER: And yet your claim that there is no God in Vipassana is contradicted in the question and answers of a link you provided in your subsequent post as being an authoritative source of Goenka-style Vipassana –
I do realize that it is hard to conceive that actualism is 180 degrees opposite to spiritualism, and particularly so if one remains fixated on finding similarities rather than daring to set aside one’s beliefs and predilections for a while in order to be able to clearly discern the differences.
Having trod the spiritual path for many years I had the advantage of being able to draw on my own experiences of spirituality in practice rather than attempt to discern the differences by wading through the oft confusing and never straight forward spiritual mythologies, legends and teachings. As such, I was able to draw upon a multitude of personal experiences in the form of anecdotes – which is why I do appreciate anecdotes as they often can serve to shed light on an issue that is intellectually baffling.
Which leads me to an anecdote I recently heard about the practice of meditation. Recently I watched a documentary entitled ‘John Lennon’s Jukebox’ in which Donovan (a sixties folk singer) was reminiscing about meeting John Lennon in India at Maharishi Yogi’s ashram. Evidently John Lennon was keen on a girl called Prudence but she was told to do three days of meditation. Whilst John was waiting for her to come out he penned a song that went ‘The sun is shining and the grass is green … dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?’
The lyric struck me as indicative that mediation (in whatever form) is a deliberate act of retreating from the world of the senses – i.e. that spiritualism and spiritual practices is 180 degrees opposite to the utterly down-to-earth application of actualism whereby one literally and figuratively comes to one’ senses.
RESPONDENT No 32: No 80 questioned or thought whether or not the part of the brain with monitored high activity involved in producing happiness for the Buddhist monk while meditating is also involved in producing (a-caused) happiness for an actualist asking ‘Haietmoba?’ while apperception is operating. From your answer I can’t see any clear or implied ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’.
PETER to No 32: From what I saw on the television program, I have no doubt that the Buddhist monk felt happy when he meditated – I didn’t need to see an image of increase in neural activity in one part of his brain to tell me this. I have experienced the very same thing whilst meditating – often I would feel blissful feelings and I presume these feelings resulted in increased neural activity in parts of this brain as well. From what I understand, any feeling that a feeling being has results in increased neural activity in some part or other of the brain, but it is not a subject that interests me at all, quite frankly. Peter to No 32, 25.3.2005
RESPONDENT: So, for the record – you are NOT willing to answer this question?
PETER: If you care to look back at the original question I was asked – ‘if an actualist can produce similar results (to the high brain activity measured when Buddhist monks meditate)’ – you will see that I did answer in that I pointed to the fact that the aim of these monks is to find an inner feeling of bliss whereas the aim of an actualist is to be happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are. To put it plainly, the questioner wanted me to compare chalk and cheese.
RESPONDENT: Are you to say that only feeling beings have neural activity? I am laughing right now as I type :)
PETER: You are apparently laughing at a joke of your own making because this is not what I said. What I said was –
RESPONDENT: The spiritualists have their happiness backed up by scientific fact.
PETER: Indeed, I have even read reports that scientists have discovered a so-called God-spot and are now debating whether this is a sign that God is an imaginary construct or whether God put the God-spot into humans so they would know of His/Her/Its existence.
RESPONDENT: What would happen to an actualist who underwent the same study?
PETER: No doubt the neurologically-obsessed would indulge in all sorts of fantasies dressed up as theories and speculations in trying to make sense of the effects of the instinctual passions, all the while ignoring the obvious root cause and the practical remedy now being pioneered.
RESPONDENT: If no actualist is willing to undergo this study could we not conclude that Actualists are unwilling to look at the facts, while spiritualists are? This is absolutely absurd, but that is what is being propagated here. Peter, what you are saying makes complete sense, but both you and Richard are unwilling to open to such a scientific study. This would also give people much more information about actualism and what it can do...
PETER: Okay, let’s take a walk in your speculations.
Let’s suppose that a Buddhist monk and I were to have a ‘happiness shoot-out’ in matching MRI machines and let’s say he has more brain activity in certain areas than I do. Would that mean that the happiness he achieves by turning his back on the world and sitting in meditation is better than the happiness I experience in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are? If, on the other hand, I register more brain activity than he does in certain spots, then what does that mean? Given that this is not the first time you have raised this point on the mailing list, perhaps you could elaborate on precisely what ‘information’ such a ‘shoot-out’ would provide ‘about actualism and what it can do’ and of what value it be to those who are interested in the down-to-earth business that is actualism.
Before you answer, I suggest that it would be useful to consider that scientists have an ingrained habit of measuring something, then speculating about the nature or cause of the measurement and then presenting the measurement as evidence that their theory is fact. Pretty soon other scientists are wont to take up the theory by taking more measurements of different things and speculating that they too are related to the theory and are thus ‘further proof’ of the initial … or speculate that the initial theory needs revising and hence more scientists are then able to take more measurements, construct more models or do more studies to support the initial theory or to support one of the newly emergent sub-theories. Sometimes this self-perpetuating chain of theorizing can keep a theory alive and running for generations upon generations until someone finally dares to touch base with common sense and challenge the status quo.
No doubt you will see the relevance of what I am saying given that you are apparently demanding that the proof of the success of something that is utterly new in human history be based upon the scrutiny of scientific theories that are based upon a paradigm that has as its mantra that ‘it is impossible to change human nature … because this is the way it is, this is the way it always has been and this is the way it always will be’.
RESPONDENT: But anyway, No 32 repeated a question that had not been originally answered, or secondarily answered. You have no speculation on the matter?
PETER: At one stage I did become interested in the research being done on the human brain and its workings, in particular the empirical evidence of the ‘quick and dirty pathway’ of the instinctual impassioned response that precedes and predominates, and very often entirely prevents, a clear thinking reasoned response to either an actual or perceived danger. Due to this interest I produced several simplified schematics in order to explain the core scientific neuro-biological basis of the workings of the human instinctual passions. Apart from this empirical evidence, I have generally found the bulk of the neuro-biological research with regard to human emotions and human behaviour to be utterly dominated by speculation and presuppositions all firmly based upon traditional misunderstandings of the human psyche. In other words, the speculations and suppositions that masquerade as being fact are proposed by scientists trapped within the human condition attempting to make sense of the human psyche based on an archaic paradigm of superstition and mythology about the nature of the human psyche.
In short, actualism requires thinking outside the box, something that is impossible if one persists on remaining an inside-the-box-thinker … or persists in giving credence to the speculations of other inside-the-box-thinkers.
PETER to Alan: When I first came across Richard’s Journal, I remember acknowledging that the Tried and True, the safe and sane, The Holy and Sacred and the comfortable and numb, all pointed to a second-rate life. For some people the ‘normal’ simply proves to be unsatisfactory, for whatever reason, and up until now there has been only one solution to remaining normal – an escape into an imaginary, well-trodden, ‘spiritual’ world steeped in ancient, primitive mysticism and ‘holier than thou’ feelings. For me, at this time, it was also important to do a bit of backtracking, a bit of stocktaking, as it were, to take the time and contemplate exactly what I wanted from life. To set my own goals as distinct from simply following what I had been taught, what was ‘expected’ of me, and what blind nature had programmed me to do and be. My life, what I thought and felt, had been decided by others and my instinctual programming. I was feted to be part of a suffering Humanity – it was unavoidable.
This acknowledgement of the facts of the situation meant there was no-one at fault, no one to blame, no ‘evil spirits’ responsible, no guilt, no shame, no ‘right’ suffering, no denial necessary. It is the way-it-is, but this simple acknowledgement meant that my happiness was in my hands. Having gathered sufficient life-experience after 49 years, I was able to strike many things off the list of what was supposed to bring peace and happiness, both in the ‘normal’ world and the ‘spiritual’ world. I have written of having what my father had worked all his life for by my mid-thirties – wife, two kids and two cars – and still I wasn’t happy. A decade later, being a dedicated follower of fashion, I found myself deep in the spiritual world, having blissful Satoris and Altered State of Consciousness experiences and still no peace and happiness. A synthetic peace and happiness were available, but only at the cost of turning away from the world, turning away from living together with a woman in peace, harmony and equity, turning away from the delights of sex, and turning away from the facts of the Human Condition. The ‘inner’ imaginary world was peaceful while the outer world was a dread-full illusion, a place for ‘right’ suffering and full of heathens and non-believers, a place one ‘passed through’ before going on to an afterlife.
This is clearly evidenced by the protective aura that it is necessary for the spiritual people to maintain when dealing with the ‘real’ world. They do indeed have their heads in the clouds and are in complete denial of the physical fact that what they are is a mortal, sexual, flesh and blood body.
To quote Mr. Mohan Rajneesh on the need for a ‘protective aura’ –
T’is fascinating to dig into the words of the Enlightened Masters and see exactly what it is they are proposing, exactly what it is they are offering. In this passage it is clear to see the denial – ‘I don’t see that the problem is within you’ – the blame on the other – ‘the problem is coming from the outside’ – and the solution – ‘after meditation one has to create a protective aura’.
Or to put it in plain English – practice sticking your head in the clouds by meditating and pretend the real world doesn’t exist – and if you happen to be unfortunate enough to have to venture into the real world then develop a ‘protective aura’ whereby you can keep your head in the clouds while dealing with other people who are ‘not meditative’.
Have you ever observed a conversation between ‘meditative’ people? There is usually constant complaint about the trials and tribulations of the real world and an unintelligible jargon exchange of clichés and ‘sharing’ of feelings that passes for conversation and communication. The classic situation is the really deep meditator who simply closes his or her eyes and zones into their inner world in the midst of everything. When the going gets tough ... the meditator simply turns ‘inward’!
Thus it is that there are two worlds – the ‘real’, as readily evidenced on T.V. or in the fights and squabbles that break out in this very block of flats where I live, and the ‘spiritual’, as evidenced by the ‘protective aura’ of half the population of the town I live in. They do indeed live in another world – an inner world of their own making. To turn away from the real world to the spiritual world is but to be twice removed from the actual world.
What an amazing thing it was to discover that there is an actual world of purity and perfection that is here, now and happening, now. It has not to be invented, imagined, propped up, contrived, trusted in, believed in, conceptualized or connected with. The physical universe is infinite and eternal and, as such, incomparable in its splendour. To live a life imagining that there is a something else or somewhere else is to miss the main event – that which is happening now, this only moment I can experience of being alive.
The need to step out of the real world and into the actual world is a vital necessity for becoming happy and harmless. As with most things in life, deciding to make the first move can be the most difficult thing, but if it is taken sincerely one soon begins finding the fears are imaginary and entirely ‘self’-imposed. A full-blooded, hearty commitment is needed to ensure success, for to fly in the face of Ancient Wisdom is no small thing to do. But as success eventuates, so does confidence grow and quite soon one passes ‘the point of no return’ when it becomes impossible to consider returning to a life of malice and sorrow. By then one is on a slippery slope whereby one often attempts to put the foot on the brake and slow things down a bit – but by then to be free is already one’s destiny and one actively acquiesces in one’s own demise.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Similarly, in Buddhist Vipassana meditation the meditator is instructed simply to note whatever arises, letting it come and go. This heightens the distinction between the flow of thoughts and feelings and that which observes. Deikman, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at a U.S. University, on ‘Awareness’
PETER: There is nothing quite like the practice of sitting in a quiet room with one’s eyes closed (or unfocused) and looking inside to, firstly, disassociate from the bodily pain caused by forced stillness, and then to imagine that one is separate from the flow of thoughts and feelings. This imaginary shift is achieved by concentrating one’s thoughts on good and warm feelings which eventually can bring on states of divine feelings and bliss, and away one goes ... This heightened distinction between the mortal and human inevitably results in feelings that are Divine and Immortal – and since ‘I’ am that awareness, per se, then ‘I’ must be Divine and Immortal.
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. Deikman, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at a U.S. University, on ‘Awareness’
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.
RESPONDENT: Enlightenment has nothing to do with being spiritual. Enlightenment just means living in awareness and consciousness. It has nothing to do with spirituality.
PETER: Enlightenment as it is spoken of in the East and by Osho involves a permanent shift or alteration in consciousness wherein one becomes Love, at One, Eternal, Timeless, or whatever other word is used. As I understand it, Enlightenment is the goal of the spiritual search, the very aim of being a Sannyasin. Maybe you are on the spiritual path for some other reason.
RESPONDENT: Just because you meditate, do not eat meat or drink alcohol and do not use cuss words do not make you spiritual. It only makes you egoistic and holier-then-thou.
PETER: I don’t meditate at all, it is too good being here in the actual world to sit with eyes closed trying to ‘go in’. What I experience 24 hrs. a day is a state of bare sensory awareness that far exceeds anything I achieved after days of meditative effort. And I have this experience while eating meat, smoking cigarettes, having sex with Vineeto – and walking into town on a balmy summer’s evening for a late night sweet and coffee afterwards. Laying on the couch, watching TV, or typing these words – the sensate experience of doing what is happening in this only moment of being alive.
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: You relate to my experience as a belief. It isn’t a belief for me.
PETER: I fully understand. When I was on the spiritual path I had many experiences that re-inforced the feelings I was having of ‘coming home’, of having found ‘peace at last’. And to consider what I was experiencing as a belief was, at the time, inconceivable. It was only when the master died and I really saw that I was in an Eastern Religion, that I began to see that I believed in the Master and His teachings. Exactly as a Buddhist believes in Buddha and his Teachings and exactly as a Christian believes in Jesus and His Teachings. It was not even then a great problem – I could just move on if I wanted to ... but then I realized that the passionate believers are the very ones who fight the religious wars still raging on this planet. Then I started to question what it is that we believed and why we humans need to believe ... I use the word ‘we’ deliberately as I was enquiring into the Human Condition i.e. common to all, not special in ‘me’.
It made it clear what I was questioning, tackling and eliminating. It also avoided me taking it personally and defending ‘my’ existence to ridiculous lengths.
RESPONDENT: Finding that which is not of the world, but which the world is of, took away my identification with my personality / I / ego. It was not an amazing thing to me, ‘cause I have known all along that I had to get out of my own way to be free. So finally I managed that, with the help of Osho.
PETER: I find your use of the word ‘identification’ interesting. It seems to me that you feel free because you don’t ‘identify’ with your personality / I / ego. Does that mean you are free of being sad, lonely, melancholy, peeved, angry, jealous, confused or is it just that you are not identified with these feelings?
PETER: I do understand the seduction of meditation – going to some quite inner blissful space away from the real world. But it all shattered one day when during a Vipassana group I had a brief pure consciousness experience (PCE) soon after a sitting, and the question dawned on me ‘Is this really the meaning of life – to sit in a corner with my eyes shut trying to hide from the ‘real’ world?’ ‘Is this really the answer – the more hiding and turning away, the better?’ Meditation took on a new meaning for me after that experience, and I quickly lost interest in any temporary feelings induced by self-torturous methods.
As for the second part –
For me, the way to go ‘deeper into my senses’, was to eliminate everything that was in the way. What I found I really had to do was go deeper into my feelings to discover the root emotions that are their source. Neither repressing, nor expressing. To sit with them, investigate, root around, find out there source. This method has the advantage for men of being able to get fully into their feelings for the first time and for women to be able to examine their feelings rather than being run by a basketful of them all at once.
It’s a great adventure to investigate ‘who’ you think you are and ‘who’ you feel you are and to finally discover ‘what’ you are ...
To come to one’s senses both literally and figuratively.
PETER: You seem to be having some fun with all this, I certainly am. I always wanted to be able to discuss these matters in my spirit-ual years, to get down to the bare bones of things. To be able to question absolutely everything and anything, the lot, without fear of getting my head ripped off, being sent to Coventry, or told I was being ‘negative’. And to be able to look at things without the typical straight-jacket of ... ‘right or wrong’, ... ‘good or bad’.
By the way, is this new format of writing okay? I would welcome some feedback. It is easier for us, but is it clear your end?
So, to get back to where we left off –
The great thing about asking yourself ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is that it works. Which is why I write about it with such aplomb, which others merely see as arrogance.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I do the same. Make my distance’, follow my perceptions, express my self, learn. all I know is what I know at the moment, and when I follow it I see it change. Sometimes that is scary, sometimes not, but it’s never stagnate, unless I don’t express.
PETER: The query I would have with this is – ‘make my distance’. In many spiritual paths we are advised to ‘be the watcher’, to become an ‘observer’ of one’s actions and thoughts. This ‘watcher’ then is merely ‘watching’, unconcerned about ‘changing’ the feelings, emotions and thoughts that go on – with their resulting ‘ripples’ with others, or lack of peace and harmony in you.
PETER to No 12: You didn’t comment on what was the main point of the story – a disciple’s willingness to kill, and be killed, for the love of his Master. How do you stand on this? What were you willing to do, if the National Guard came over the hill? <snip> I usually dislike hypothetical questions but this situation was very real and evidently only days away from happening, according to some reports.Peter to No 12, 7.2.1999
RESPONDENT: As one who was there, in residence, full time for over four years, all I can say is I’m not there now and I am no longer able (or willing) to answer hypothetical questions or comment on ‘some reports’.
PETER: Why are you responding to me then, if you are ‘no longer able (or willing) to answer hypothetical questions or comment on ‘some reports’? Are you taking up No 12’s point that because I wasn’t there at the time I can’t ask myself this question. Are you denying the facts of what I am saying or merely indulging in ‘point scoring’. I remember No 11 had me 3-nil at one stage in point scoring and now seems to have disappeared over the cyber-hill.
RESPONDENT: You say it ‘was’ very real... that’s the operative word, WAS, as in not presently happening in this very moment, and not coming from your own experience of being there at that time so it is meaningless as well as a waste of time to speculate.
PETER: I spent a lot of time in the last two years contemplating on life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. My motive was two-fold – to find a personal peace on earth for me and to find a solution such that peace on the planet could actually eventuate rather than remain forever a dream.
In order to do this I had to stop ‘turning away’ from the world as it is. This meant to abandon the methods prescribed by the Ancients of closing my eyes and going ‘in’ to find an ‘inner’ imaginary peace. The peace I sought was such that it was liveable in the world as it is, in this lifetime, here, now, as this flesh and blood body, 24 hrs. a day, everyday. In short – the genuine, down to earth variety rather than the ethereal, spirit-ual, feeling version that is commonly sought after.
To do this, my ‘meditation’ became of the down-to-earth variety as in –
As I said, I usually find hypothetical questions not very useful, but given this was a situation that I could very well have found myself in, it was very a appropriate one for me to ask myself. In exploring into my ‘self’, I wanted no dark corners unexplored, nothing fudged over, all the ‘evil’ to be exposed.
I was exploring all the facets of the Human Condition, this collection of beliefs and instincts that are common to all human beings. The lot, every single bit.
RESPONDENT to Vineeto: I assure you that I’m not talking about an eastern ideal or philosophy, the experience of the witness I’m describing is my current personal experience, for me it is a fact!
PETER: I have no doubt you have these experiences and that they are real. i.e. – that to you they are a fact. You may have noted that when I talk of experiences there is a clear distinction between a down-to-earth experience and an affective cerebral experience.
To give you an example of each –
When I was in Buddha hall shouting Ya-Hoo to an empty chair with thousands of others all dressed in long white robes – that was an experience of startling clarity – a brief pure consciousness experience (PCE) whereby I saw what ‘I’ was up to – ‘I’ was in a religion! This moment of bare awareness was not at all affective, it was neither good, bad, blissful or dreadful – it was just a startling realization of what this person called Prabhat was up to. After that I would walk around the Ashram and would find myself singing – ♫‘give me that old time religion, that old time religion ... it’s good enough for me.’♪♫ This experience was supported by the factual evidence of a religion – worship of a dead Master, prayer, gratitude, love, surrender, devotion, loyalty, acceptance, feeling of belonging. Also there were feelings of compassion for those not in the group and a feeling that those who left or went elsewhere were missing out or were being traitors.
The Altered State of Consciousness experience (ASC) I have written of before was where I was Love and Love was me. I was the Universe and the Universe was me. My thoughts were pure poetry and my chest swelled with the Grandness of it all. I was ‘home’ at last.
RESPONDENT: If you are experiencing some other personality in this space of being that you call witnessing, as far as I’m concerned you are not just witnessing! There is no personality in this space what so ever. There is no me in this space! There is just witnessing! Feelings are nothing more than subtle thoughts, and I’m not talking to you about thoughts,
PETER: Feelings are indeed nothing more than subtle thoughts, but it may be useful to dig in a bit deeper here rather than gloss over this. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts. To give you a practical example – once Vineeto was late for an appointment and I started to think why she was late. Very soon the underlying emotion grabbed hold and soon I was feeling jealous and the longer it went on the more it raged. It is the feelings and the underlying emotions that are the cause of our sorrow and malice as human beings and yet we stubbornly refuse to even acknowledge that they may be the problem. We still insist on following the Eastern Religious and philosophical notion that it is thinking that is the problem. Hence the doctrine of no-mind!
It is the feelings and passions that we humans kill and die for.
RESPONDENT: I’m talking to you about what I experience when there are no thoughts! There is no female or male in witnessing just being! I have taken the time to read some of your long winded postings, and as far as I can see you are talking about spaces of the mind that you are experiencing whether that be body mind spaces or pure mind spaces and there is no difference really! Mind is mind! In witnessing, there is no-mind! I am in no way negating the intelligence of the mind, the mind is useful! I am saying there is being beyond it!
PETER: I am not denying your experiences at all. It is the aim of the spiritual world to locate the ‘being’ beyond mind. It is well documented. In the version you are following, with the Ramana Maharshi lineage, one discovers that one is That. In other lineages or paths one discovers one’s ‘original face’, the Source, Existence, Unconditional Love or whatever. Despite everyone’s insistence of having a personal realization or a having found ‘my’ truth, the experience in the Eastern no-mind tradition is a common feeling (an emotional backed thought) of Self aggrandizement – of being bigger, vaster, grander than one’s ordinary self.
It is indeed a wonderful state – it took Richard 11 years to dig his way out of his Altered State of Consciousness. I only had some briefer, but nevertheless telling experiences of this state, which is why I know very well what you are talking about.
But in the end it is only a feeling. There is no ‘other world’. There is no God. There is no ‘Universe’ as in ‘the Universe is taking care of me’. All these things are but phantoms of our imagination, given credence by the fairy tales passed down for millennia.
I see in your last post you have now become ‘the universe experiencing itself as a human being’. Is this some ‘miracle conversion’ perhaps? seeing you talk of seeing us as ‘like born again Christians’? Hallelujah ...!
Your experience is that you feel that you are ‘the Universe experiencing itself as a human being’ Polar opposites – 180 degrees opposite.
Despite your frantic insistence to the contrary, and now your twisting of words and wayward adopting of terminology – we are talking of two vastly different experiences.
The spiritual experience (ASC) is cerebral-affective and the PCE experience is sensate only.
The spiritual experience (ASC) gives credence to the psychic entity within the body resulting in Self-aggrandizement – to realise you are That, to become The Universe ... albeit temporarily trapped in a human body ... but when ‘your body’ dies ... then ‘you’ are freed!
The PCE is an experience when one realises that both the psychological and psychic entity stand in the road of one’s destiny – to be the physical universe experiencing itself as a human being ... when the entity dies ... then you are actually free!
Many, many people read what Richard, Vineeto and I are saying and all say it is the ‘same thing’ as the mystics have been saying. I was attracted to Richard initially on the same basis and it took me many months to understand the difference. I was, however, more attracted to the down-to-earthness of it. Things like being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony, sorting out sex, being happy and harmless...
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.