Selected Correspondence Peter
How to Become Free from the Human Condition
PETER to No 7: Following on from your last post, I have been musing about the ‘life’-bit of ‘Life, the universe and what it is to be a human being’. ‘Life’ is one of those words that has many nuances in the English language, and it seemed a useful exercise to dig into the various meanings in order to make sense of what life is. When I came across Richard, one of the first things I did was buy a good dictionary. The meanings of words are so perniferously abused, particularly in spiritual writings and speech, that Richard was most particular in his choice of words and often searched for alternatives to both the normally abused and spiritually abused words. Astoundingly, the accurate meanings of words seems to make no difference to many who read his words – for them, the word ‘non-spiritual’ means ‘a new form of spiritual’ and ‘down-to-earth’ means ‘spiritual life while here on earth’ and ‘actual freedom’ is no different at all from the pseudo ‘spiritual freedom’ of turning away and escaping into a fantasy land.
This is exactly why Alan has said that what he does is read, read, read and for a bit of relaxation, stick his feet up and read a bit more. A superficial reading of Richard’s words will miss the point completely for one will ignore the uncommon words and disabuse the more common words and get stuff-all out of it. When faced with something so radically new, a condition known as cognitive dissonance is evident in most. This is exactly why I have compiled a Glossary of terms on the Web-site and tried to separate the sensible dictionary definitions and interpretations of words used in actualism from the hackneyed, non-sensical NDA-jargon and misrepresentations of the Venerated Ones. At the moment I’m going through the glossary again, doing some editing in preparation for the new Actual Freedom Trust website that Richard and Vineeto are busy with. Which brings me back to ‘life’ again, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to both write to you about life and do a bit for the Glossary at the same time. (...)
But actualism provides the solution to the Human Condition and ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the path to the door marked Freedom from the Human Condition. By continuously asking oneself this question, and doing whatever is necessary to substantiate happiness and harmlessness in this moment, one begins to disrupt the continuity of one’s emotional life and weakens its stranglehold and dominance. The exclusive attention paid to this moment of being alive actually reduces the tendency to dwell on past emotional memories or be emotionally occupied with future events. This has the effect of shrinking one’s life to this moment only – which is the only moment I can experience being alive. Thus one gradually eases out from having an emotional life and begins to live this moment, and this moment, and ... The aim is to string more and more of those moments together, and one day you get to lay in bed at night time and say ‘What a perfect day I had!’. And then the aim becomes to string more and more of those days together and you find that you are on a path that frees you from malice and sorrow. And then you find yourself living a Virtual Freedom – ‘virtual’ as in ‘that is so in essence or effect, although not recognized formally, actually’. And then you know that your ‘life’, as you knew it, will never be the same again – in fact, it is soon to end completely and not a trace of the old ‘me’ will be able to surface ... ever again. Virtual Freedom is the first step – ‘self’-extinction the next.
The final relevant definition points to attaining a new Life – as in being Born Again or becoming Enlightened or Self-Realized, whereby one takes on a new imaginary identity in an new imaginary life – thus becoming ‘freed’ from the state of sin (or life in the real world). For those not so dedicated to the pursuit of a spiritual New Life there is the more secular version offered by some therapists whereby the aim is to strengthen, en-richen or empower one’s existing ‘life’ such that one wins more than loses, one overcomes adversity, one fights for one’s rights, one becomes better, stronger, more powerful, more self-fulfilled, more self-centred, etc. Both approaches fail to address the fact that human beings are programmed with an instinct to survive that makes fear, aggression, nurture and desire an integral part of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is the only approach to the human dilemma that addresses this fact – every other approach, avoids this fundamental fact.
Actual Freedom is the third alternative to the traditional acceptance or the spiritual avoidance of one’s lot in life. What an excellent thing to discover – the chance to actually do something about one’s lot in life – to become happy and harmless.
So, this may have been of interest to you as it relates to your ‘it seems that still there is something that could be called ‘immortality’ in a certain sense of this word’ comment.
RESPONDENT: I have a question regarding the role of the passions in actualism. I currently have two conflicting images of what the actualism method entails. One idea involves throwing myself heart and soul into the process of self-immolation, co-opting every aspect of the self in order to direct its passionate energy toward the goal. The other involves living sensibly without much passion until the ‘organs’ of malice and sorrow gradually atrophy like unused muscles.
Which is the better approach?
PETER: Rather than offer an intellectual answer perhaps I would refer you to the track record thus far of those who have tried the approaches you outline.
Thus far there have been several people who have come across actualism and have apparently opted for the all-or-nothing method as in ‘throwing myself heart and soul into the process of self-immolation, co-opting every aspect of the self in order to direct its passionate energy toward the goal’ and none have reported success in becoming free of the human condition – on the contrary many continue to be afflicted by the human condition to varying degrees be it by being sorrowful, becoming angry, feeling resentful or of blaming others for standing in the way of their freedom.
By way of contrast the track record of those who manage the sensible approach of doing both at once – being passionate about being free from the human condition by doing whatever they can to become free of malice and sorrow until the moment comes when they become actually free from the human condition – is that all who are doing so report that they have benefited from what is a win-win situation, in that they all report the benefits of living virtually free of the debilitating feelings of malice and sorrow, benefits not only for themselves but benefits for all of their fellow human beings with whom they come in contact with.
Given that you have said you have two conflicting ‘images’ of what the actualism method involves I can only suggest reading further on the Actual Freedom Trust website and following the conversations on this mailing list as you will find that there has been a good deal written about the down-to-earthness of actualism that will help you make up your own mind as to what it is you want to do.
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.
PETER: Indeed. History is littered with the bodies of those who were foolish enough to question the belief of others. Whereas actualism is utterly safe, because the only beliefs you need to question to become free of the human condition are your own.
RESPONDENT: Well, safe is a stretch. Once one questions beliefs to this sort of extent, it’s a one way street.
PETER: It sounds as though you have got the gist of what is on offer in the process of actualism.
RESPONDENT: Radical shifts in perception are usually a one-way street. That’s one of the reasons they’re radical.
PETER: Actualism involves much more than a ‘shift in perception’, it involves the deliberate dismantling of one’s social and instinctual identity, a process which will not only bring about a change in your thoughts and feelings but also your actions. Whilst questioning and challenging the beliefs of others is by no means a safe and sensible thing to do, questioning your own beliefs is safe in that the only thing you are doing is diminishing your own miserable and malicious ‘self’. This process is utterly safe because ‘you’ are in control of the extent and pace of the process of your own ‘self’-investigation – only ‘you’ can challenge your own beliefs, no one else can.
You can escape your fate and become the master of your own destiny – the experience of actualism is that no one is standing in the way of you becoming free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had several experiences where I’ve gone through some long torturous internal analytical process, to find at the end that in my thinking I had clearly had my head far up my butt. It’s almost dizzying to look back on some of my processes and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’
PETER: It is so refreshing to be able to be naive without being gullible – it’s one of the many benefits of lived experience not squandered by giving up in acceptance, or giving in to cynicism.
RESPONDENT: This much I have learned over the last few years. Refreshing, yes, and a relief too. Quite pleasant to drop the heavy burden of our masks, our ‘responsibilities’. What were we dragging that baggage around for anyways?
PETER: Because thus far there were only two alternatives, being normal or being spiritual, there was no other choice because you are born with instinctual passions and conditioned to be a social identity. Whilst being an identity can be experienced as wearing a mask, I experience it more as ‘I’ am a fraud – particularly so because I have experienced that purity and perfection is possible.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been amazed at the chameleon like characteristics of Buddhism ... that’s the primary factor in its spread. It always struck me as odd that Tibetan and Zen flavours bear almost no resemblance.
PETER: There have been some examples of spiritualists who even manage to absorb some of actualism into their spiritual beliefs and some have even started to teach their own personal hodgepodge version of actualism to others. What they don’t realize is that they stand out like dog’s balls because they come across in the vein of spiritual teachers – seeking power and authority by questioning and probing the beliefs of others while blithely never daring to question their own beliefs. The reason they don’t dare question their own beliefs, as you put it so well, is that ‘Once one questions beliefs to this sort of extent, it’s a one way street’.
RESPONDENT: Oddly enough, the principles of AF are similar if not identical to how I interpreted Zen in my early days of study. It has that pure direct simplicity that I thought the Zen guys were trying to convey. Then they got tangled up in much dogma and it started to stink to me. Before you jump on this statement, I must re-emphasize the ‘how I interpreted’ fragment. Or perhaps I was projecting my own view on to their offerings... Who knows, and it’s all moot anyways.
PETER: I do recommend spending some time dipping into the spiritual teachings that have lead you up the garden path in past years. I found by deliberately doing this, I learnt a good deal about what makes ‘me’ tick and came to understand exactly what is seductive about spiritual teachings. I also learnt how deeply rooted spirit-ridden beliefs are within the human psyche and how they fit hand in glove with both our social identity and our instinctual identity. Dismissing beliefs or swapping beliefs is not the same as investigating and demolishing beliefs.
Exactly as in my building work, it was not enough to know that something failed – I needed to also know why it failed so I wouldn’t repeat the same mistake again.
PETER: That ‘religion is the greatest obstacle’ is a spiritual-world psittacism often trotted out by spiritualists in order to separate their own spiritual-religious practices from that of the herd.
RESPONDENT: Well of course. I tend to lump ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ together. Regardless of the dogma, they tend to smell the same to me.
PETER: It takes a good nose to sniff out spiritualism precisely because of its chameleon-like character. As your investigations proceed you may well be surprised at the extent of its almost complete infiltration into every aspect of Western society. I know I was.
RESPONDENT: Are you discriminating between spirituality and religion? As I said, I tend to lump them together (in one big compost heap), but if you have anything to say on the subject, I wouldn’t mind hearing/reading it.
PETER: I certainly discriminated between spirituality and religion for some 17 years. I gave up both real-world materialism and religion for spiritual communes and Eastern spirituality. For me at the time, there was a world of difference between religion and spirituality, they were chalk and cheese. For 17 years I experienced that there were only two alternatives until I happened upon actualism. What I discovered was that I could not just throw away a lifetime of conditioning overnight but that it took a great deal of meticulous effort and a constant attentiveness to become aware of how insidious this programming was such that I could weed it out.
I would assume as more is written and published debunking the myths of spirituality that it may be easier for future generations to see through the myths and legends of spirituality, but at the moment spirituality is the predominant influence in all human social programming. Human beings have come to accept that their instinctual ‘self’ or ‘being’ is a soul or spirit that has a life independent of the physical body and can even survive the death of the corporeal body. Because of this all-consuming belief the only way out of spirituality is the extinction of the soul – the ending of ‘being’ and the becoming of what you are – a mortal flesh and blood body.
It is one thing to read about other people’s discoveries and other people’s debunking of spiritualism and to agree with them, it is another to deliberately set off on a path that leads to ‘self’-immolation. Because of this, an actualist has to make their own investigations into the insidious nature of spiritual teachings and the influence of spiritualism on their own thinking and feeling so as to incrementally free themselves of all spiritual beliefs, concepts and feelings.
PETER: Nowadays it is not necessary for seekers to spend years on the spiritual path because so much of the spiritual teachings are available on the Net to be read at leisure without the need to become involved in a group or embroiled in a cult. It is also possible to join any one of many spiritual mailing lists in order to assess the effectiveness – or ineffectiveness – of the teachings in producing harmonious and peaceful communities.
There are ample opportunities for a present-day seeker to check out for themselves the followers of almost any spiritual teaching, to assess the quality, range and tone of discussions and by doing so make your own assessment as to whether or not the followers are living the teachings and if they are, what effect it has on their daily lives.
Given the doubts you have raised in this post about actualism being a cult and your, I can only suggest that you take a clear-eyed look at spiritualism as it works in practice in order that you can move on from doubt to making an assessment one way or the other. The important thing about asking questions and having doubts is to find definitive workable answers and nowadays the Net makes it much easier than having to troop off to the East as was needed in the old days. As I remember it, living in doubt and not-knowing is the pits.
There is such a joy to be had in devoting yourself to something one hundred percent.
RESPONDENT: I have no doubts about the ‘cult of AF’. There is absolutely no evidence to that suggestion. I’ve looked at spiritualism and I reject it categorically. Your point about the purpose of questioning/doubting is well taken. Also, I do recognize the importance of commitment and intent to any of this work. While I can browse my way through a world’s worth of information, at the end of the day, the plain old hard work still must be done.
PETER: My misconception appears to have come from reading your words and taking them at face value. You said, among other things –
RESPONDENT: However, they are leading a simulation of the originator’s way (that’s what the word ‘virtual’ means after all), so it is possible that they have suspended some measure of their common sense in order to ‘be like Richard’. I can’t really ascertain that, but if that were the case, then they are dancing around the edges of cult-ness.
PETER: When you say ‘however ... it is possible …’ and ‘I can’t really ascertain that, but if …’, that to me means you have doubt, i.e. you are not sure, not confident, or it is not your experience. In other words, to me, what you wrote expressed that you had doubts, which is why I responded as I did.
Perhaps this is an example that throws some light on the feedback I sometimes get – that I am putting words into the mouths of correspondents that they didn’t say or that I am misinterpreting what they say. I am not saying I always get things right but I can only respond to the words someone says.
The other example that comes to mind – although it has nothing to do with this current conversation – are correspondents who say things like ‘I agree, but …’ which to me means there is not a mutual agreement as to the facticity of what is being said but that very often the correspondent is objecting to the proposition being offered by saying ‘but’. In this case, what can often happen is that the correspondent will ‘dig their heals in’ and begin a standoff of principle as to ‘who’s right and who’s wrong’. Such reactions usually prevent any common sense discussion and further investigation as to what are the facts of the matter and the resulting feedback is that of me ‘being aggressive’ or ‘being confrontational’ or ‘always wanting to be right’.
You may have noticed this tendency is common to many discussions – I know it was one that plagued all of my conversations and interactions until I came to see it in action and worked to break the habit. What I realized was happening was that I was emotionally defending my beliefs and convictions, very often without thinking about what I was defending at all. When what ‘I’ said or felt to be right or true was questioned or contradicted ‘I’ immediately felt threatened, the defence and/or attack mode automatically kicked in, and any chance at sensible conversation flew out the window.
Sometimes, in a vain effort to keep the peace, I would feign to agree with the other outwardly whilst covertly holding on to the conviction of my rightness, thereby ensuring the truce so gained was nothing but a temporary lull in my ongoing battle with others. The only thing I found that worked to end this cycle of conflict and ceasefire was to make the effort to establish what were the facts of the matter so that my common sense was able to operate in lieu of ‘my’ automatic emotional reactions of defending ‘my’ beliefs and convictions.
This process is what is meant by questioning beliefs and replacing them with facts – this is the actualism method in a nutshell and the resulting common sense discussions on this list illustrates why and how it works in practice. Peace and harmony between human beings is possible.
RESPONDENT to No 23: Initially I puzzled a lot over matters such as the effect of environment, mates, etc on this process, but after a while realized that it was just getting in the way. I don’t think I’m going to ‘get’ those answers until I’ve ‘arrived’, so the most judicious plan is to just keep plowing away, and stop demanding understanding. And, I asked myself if any sort of rationalization or justification (positive or negative re AF) was going to affect my determination to apply the method... the answer was no, so I’d better give up on some of the wanking. This is not to say that the analytical processes (dialog, ferreting out my programs, etc) are not valuable... they are, but sometimes they can consume too much energy. Once again, I am speaking for myself here... ymmv. Respondent to No 23, 13.10.02
PETER: My experience is that the only way I ever understood something fully was by the trial and error doing of it. Thinking about what to do and how to do it were the first steps, but then plunging in and doing it was essential to know if what I thought was the right way worked in practice. With hindsight that is what I did in the first year of actualism – I tested out Richard’s observations about the human condition by making my own investigations of my own psyche in action.
But where I tend to differ with what you are saying is that I did demand an understanding from my investigations – and not only an intellectual understanding but an experiential understanding. What I found was that each understanding became like a stepping-stone on the path to becoming happy and harmless. Each understanding of what made ‘me’ tick, of what prevented me from being happy and what stood in the way of me being harmless, allowed me to more and more freely delight at being here, doing this business of being alive.
After some 15 months of success with this process of ‘self’-investigation, I took some time off work, bought a computer and sat down and wrote down the understandings I had come to in the form of a journal. This is how I started –
As you can see, understanding or making sense was crucial for me in the process of actualism. This did take time and effort and in the early days of ‘self’-investigation so much was ‘on the table’ that often it felt like all I could do was put one foot in front of the other. If I read you right, this is what you mean when you say –
This way understanding will come by the trial and error method of doing it and this will eventually produce an experiential understanding rather than an intellectual-only understanding. Once you are into the trial and error phase of investigation and experimentation then it’s a hands on business and then life-changing changes invariably come from abandoning that which doesn’t work and pursuing that which brings success.
So when you say ‘I don’t think I’m going to ‘get’ those answers until I’ve ‘arrived’, you may well find that ‘getting’ the answers as an experiential understanding is what will bring the life-changing changes necessary for you to become free of the human condition.
That was a bit long winded but you have probably got the gist of what I am saying. The process of actualism brings incremental success in the way of experiential understandings, which invariably lead to tangible changes.
PETER: In hindsight, these investigations I conducted not only confirmed the facticity of what Richard was saying but also confirmed the fallacy of my own beliefs and none more so than my understanding of the universe. Contemplating the physical nature of the universe – as distinct from investigating and contemplating the nature of ‘my’ psyche – can not only triggered memories of past PCEs, but this type of ‘me’-out-of-the-way contemplation when combined with a softly-focussed wonderment of the sensual nature of the universe provide a potentiality that can evoke the onset of a PCE.
RESPONDENT: Speaking of which ... I’ve recently gone through a painful time in my primary relationship, and in the process peeled back a lot more layers of the onion. It has been very educational, and also offered more proof of the efficacy of the AF method. I have little remaining scepticism. It has dawned on me that HAIETMOBA is running most of the time, almost sub-consciously, and I detect and probe ever more subtle emotions and responses of all types. I also realized that the percentage of my day where I feel excellent is continually increasing. Most amazing. Now, however, I think it’s time to put some energy into inducing some real PCEs to reinforce the results to date. I’m using all the techniques I’ve gleaned from the site to that end.
PETER: One of the techniques you may have come across is the questioning of dearly held beliefs.
Everybody has some core beliefs that serve to prop up their identity and these will vary slightly according to gender, culture, age, vocational training, and so on. Anyone who becomes interested in being happy and harmless will, sooner or later, come smack up against one of these beliefs. Sooner or later one of these beliefs will appear, rather like a boulder, on the path to being happy and harmless. And from observation of others who have been interested in actualism, it is clear that unless this belief is abandoned, willingly and deliberately, then that person will remain essentially unchanged by the process of actualism.
Whilst I do acknowledge that abandoning one’s pet beliefs can be daunting – one’s very identity as a (… fill in the blank space) is at stake – the resulting palpable sense of freedom can oft evoke a pure consciousness experience of the perfection and purity of the infinite and eternal universe. This is what happened to me and I know this is what happened to Vineeto. And the curious thing is that during the process of actualism, I knew what I had to do next, I knew what belief stood in the way of my becoming more happy and more harmless – simply because the issue would not go away.
RESPONDENT: I had meant to respond earlier to this post, but our area was hit with a nasty ice storm, which knocked out power (and internet access) over a large area for most of a week. It did afford the opportunity to experience instinctual fear, as tree limbs came crashing down on the roof repeatedly... that elicited a response that could only be from the lizard section of the brain. It was followed then by the fabricated worry response, which anticipated with dread the next limb. Anyways, it was an interesting (as in the Chinese curse?) observation of the whole range of fear responses.
PETER: Careful observation will reveal that the worry response emanating from instinctual fear is not fabricated – as in made-up or manufactured – but rather it is directly associated with the automatic instinctual response. The genetically programmed thoughtless instinctual response together with its immediate feeling aftermath, whether it lasts a few minutes or a few hours, are inseparable and any attempts to intellectually separate them can only result in dissociation.
I’ll just offer a comment on the matter of observation as it is relevant to all who have been attracted to Eastern spirituality or Eastern philosophy at some point in their lives. Vineeto and I have often discussed the fundamental differences between the Eastern practice of self-observation and the actualism practice of ‘self’-awareness as well as reflecting upon how difficult it was in the early days to stop being a dissociative observer and start becoming aware of exactly how I am experiencing this moment of being alive.
The fundamental difference between the two practices is due to the diametrically opposite intent of each of the practices – the aim of the spiritual practice is to cultivate a dissociated identity in order to avoid feeling the full range of instinctual passions, whereas the aim of actualism is to instigate radical change in order to become happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
Perhaps an example of how the actualism practice of ‘self’-awareness works in practice will serve to make this difference clear –
No philosophical umming and ahhing, no dissociating from unwanted feelings, no remaining aloof, no blaming others and so on – just the simple momentary awareness of the feelings that were preventing me from being happy coupled with an intense yearning to change in order to become actually harmless, come what may.
PETER: Awhile ago I wrote to you of an extensive study done documenting our ‘natural’ human propensity for inflicting suffering on others. I am interested to hear what you made of the study and what your conclusions are.
RESPONDENT: Yes I am aware of this propensity in me. Before I felt I was into debate in this mailing list. I don’t like debate. It’s a kind of fighting by using words to me. And the reason why I felt I was into debate is my fear that maybe I am defeated, maybe I am wrong. So I was inflicting this my fear on others here.
PETER: Great. It is so rare for a spiritual seeker to acknowledge this simple fact. All the spiritual teachings are in complete denial of the instinctual passions imprinted by blind nature on human beings. They, in fact, teach the theory of ‘you are not the body and you are not the mind’ so as to turn away from this simple fact. Thousands of years ago these instinctual passions were seen as good spirits and bad spirits that ‘invaded’ the body but for us to continue to follow this philosophy and belief-system is to defy intelligence.
As for debate, that is what this list is about – words, discussions, facts, view points, experiences. There is no sitting in silence, energies, ‘you know what I mean’, ‘I feel you are ...’ etc, nor is there any philosophy or need to believe, trust or surrender. The trick is to see that what we are debating or discussing is the Human Condition – the state we humans find ourselves in on the planet. It is not a question of right or wrong or even true or false – given the spiritual corruption of the word true, as in Truth (that which cannot be spoken of) – because it is nought but a feeling, albeit a Grand Feeling. We talk of the facts of what it is to be a human being as opposed to the ancient spiritual ‘wisdom’ and mutually-agreed social beliefs. As such, when I write, I always present the facts ‘on the table’, and then it is completely up to the other what they do with the facts. This can have the effect of a seemingly confrontational debate, but who would have it any other way. It is not only your peace we are talking of, but peace on earth. The stakes are enormous and ‘treading softly’ or being ‘meek and mild’ is seen for what it is in the face of 160,000,000 million killed in wars this century alone. It is time to end this madness – so write on, write on.
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.
ALAN to Vineeto: On my way to cash & carry this morning I was continuing to contemplate the realisation which I had about a fortnight ago – ‘I’ was all that was standing in the way of peace on earth. I suddenly realised (‘got’) that ‘I’ had to go in ‘my’ entirety to achieve actual freedom. Not almost all of ‘me’, not 99%, not just the beliefs, but every single smidgen of the personality which considered itself to be Alan.
PETER: The ‘not 99%’ bit twigged me, as I take it the 99% comment relates to my last post to you where I used the phrase in connection to Virtual Freedom.
‘This process, if undertaken with a sincere intent, will inevitably lead to a state of Virtual Freedom. One then goes to bed in the evening knowing that one has had a perfect day, and knowing that tomorrow, without doubt, will also be a perfect day. Unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business.’
While it is both fascinating and intriguing to contemplate upon an Actual Freedom – what would it be like, how would it be, etc. – it must always remain unknowable to ‘me’ as I am now. The only thing ‘I’ can actually do to facilitate an actual freedom from malice and sorrow is to get myself to a state of Virtual Freedom as rapidly as possible. This involves ridding myself of my social identity and instinctual-based sense of ‘self’ as much as is ‘humanly’ possible. To get to the 99% stage is what ‘I’ can do to facilitate ‘my’ demise. There is work to be done and plenty of it, for continual perfect days are well beyond normal human expectations anyway – for one becomes virtually happy and harmless, 24 hrs a day, every day. Depression, sadness, loneliness, boredom, resentment, anger, animosity, annoyance become but vague memories as ‘I’ become less and less substantial, less of the one who is experiencing, less of the one who is controlling, less of the one who is thinking and feeling. Apperception, naiveté and sensate experience replace confusion, doubt, fear and alienation.
The other facet to the path to Actual Freedom – to the 99% stage – is that realisations are clearly seen for what they are, sudden and dramatic flashes or glimpses of a belief exposed as merely fictitious and not factual. These realisation have a feeling ‘high’ associated with it, as a sense of liberation and startling clarity is affectively interpreted and experienced. While extremely useful and ‘par for the course’, as beliefs are exposed and eliminated, it is what one does with the realization, what action or change is evinced, that is important and significant, not the realization itself, per se. One needs to be aware of realisation addiction, to put it bluntly, as one can spend an inordinate amount of time and effort looking or waiting for them and as such ‘not being here’. They are but curiosities and will eventually subside – to have had their day, exactly as will the rest of impassioned feelings and irrational imagination, if peace is one’s aim. A personal peace in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are, that is.
PETER: Just a note, a bit of musing. I’ve always been a bit sceptical of the experiences of ego death that have been described to date as we know that an Altered State of Consciousness was the inevitable result – even in Richard’s case in 1981. It was some 11 years before he experienced the second-stage – a soul-death, if you like. In all cases to date the experience of psychological death have been passionate experiences of Love, Divinity, Timelessness, Unity, Oneness and Bliss.
What we are aiming for is neither passionate calenture leading to awe, Eternal Union and Heaven, nor psychological despair leading to dread, Eternal Oblivion and Hell. The aim of psychological and psychic death is to come to the actual – here and now. As such, the experience of this death of me will be, or should I say, I assume will be, a sensate experience – physically orgasmic in nature, exactly as physical death will be as the senses close down. The connection between sex and death is very strong and many of my PCEs have resulted from the very physical sex act and the resulting orgasmic experiences bringing me right here to the actual world of the senses.
‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is dangerously effective in relentlessly bringing one to one’s senses as both the cerebral and affective perceptions – ‘my’ perceptions as a social identity and instinctual being – fade into insignificance. Not only do they fade but they are experienced in everyday life of virtual freedom as illusionary, i.e. experienced not intellectually dismissed as in the spiritual deceit of ‘I am already perfect, all I have to do is realise it!’. My answer to these people is – ‘do you, in your imagined perfection, live in peace and harmony with another person?’ ‘Do you get sad, melancholic, peeved, irritated, upset, bored, etc.?’
One is constantly confronted with the experiential fact that the actual is far more extraordinary and magical than anything felt in feelings or imagined in thought – it is, after all, actual and all happening this very moment. This very actual-ness – as in experienced by the senses i.e. physical, and not merely passive, as in happening this very moment – will be the death of ‘me’.
PETER to Alan: For me, it was such an adventure to get to the bottom of the stifling mystery, the conspiracy of silence, the moralistic mumbo-jumbo and beliefs that actively prohibit free sexual enjoyment and a direct intimacy between any couple, be they normal or spiritually inclined.
Which brings me back to people-as-they-are – (a feeble attempt to round this rave back to some semblance of order). Whenever Vineeto and I talk or write of becoming free of the Human Condition, we are often seen (judged?) as being judgemental or attacking and not tolerant or respectful of the other’s position. In considering this, the only sense I make of it is that we are threatening in that we are putting into practice the concept that one can become free of the Human Condition – i.e. how human beings think, feel, believe and imagine themselves to be and how they are instinctually programmed by blind nature to function. Now any sensible investigation of the Human Condition involves observation, investigation, comparison, contemplation, consideration and judgement. One has to come to a conclusion as to what is silly and what is sensible, otherwise the whole exercise is merely intellectual wanking. Having made a judgement as to what is best, then action is required – one is compelled to action, unless one wants to settle for second-best – but that’s another story. So no bleatings of ‘you’re being judgemental’ will work with me – it’s a furphy that’s been bandied around since morals and ethics were first chiselled in stone and devised to silence the sensible. ‘Judge ye not’ is a platitude invented by God-men and other charlatans in order that no one would question the rest of their inane platitudes. It is one of many dimwitticisms, passed off as Guru-wisdom, that have no other meaning or purpose than to keep their followers and disciples under control, humble, grateful, loyal and above all non-thinking.
But if anyone wants to remain as they are, second-rate, rooted in the past, or off in la-la land, then fine. Somewhere there is a Peter or a Vineeto who might appreciate a bit of ‘judgemental’ straight talking, a first hand account about becoming free of the Human Condition, what it’s like to challenge all beliefs, what it’s like to leave one’s ‘self’ behind. I strongly recommend being judgemental – making a judgement, an evaluation, a discernment, a decision, a finding, an appraisal, an assessment, a conclusion. At the very least one practices thinking, at best it may provoke action, at worst you may be inaccurate and need to re-assess. This is the process of learning called trial and error. One simply proceeds to what is sensible and what works, and one finds one has discovered a fact. And one can rely on a fact. It takes a little practice but eventually ‘you’ become redundant in the game as the facts start to speak for themselves.
PETER to Alan: Earlier this year I was talking to someone who was interested in Actual Freedom Trust, and the subject got on to ‘real world’ beliefs. I offered up the Endangered Species Theory as one belief worthy of discussion and investigation. He looked at me bewildered as though – ‘what on earth has this to do with Actual Freedom’. I pointed out that, if indeed one blindly believed all current fashionable fear-ridden theories, then one would have a grim view of the world as it is and one would therefore seek an ‘escape’ from the world as-it-is and not a freedom from the Human Condition – two diametrically opposite seekings. I find it telling that those who strongly support and believe these grim doomsday beliefs are most usually those of strong spiritual beliefs. The usual environmental view is of a ‘Mother Earth’ or a spiritual ‘God = Life’ belief, and humans are seen as evil consumers or defilers of Nature, seemingly just by our very being here. All of the spiritual and religious belief-systems have as their core underlying belief the concept that the world as-it-is is a grim place where humans are meant to suffer, and this suffering is only finally relieved upon death. Any belief that the actual physical universe is a grim place has, at its very roots, the animal survival instincts of fear and aggression, but this is overlaid, reinforced and ‘set in stone’ by both Eastern and Western religious beliefs.
I always liked Richard’s description that people desperately put on rose-coloured glasses when looking at the real world, seeking relief in the feelings of gratitude, ‘higher consciousness’, beauty, goodness, love and compassion. In order to do this, they start with a view of the world as-it-is based on wearing grey-coloured glasses – the real world being a fearful place of resentment, ‘unconsciousness’, ugliness, evil, alienation and suffering. The solution is to dare to undertake a process that involves removing both the rose-coloured glasses and the grey-coloured glasses, and to see the actual world for what it is – perfect, pure, sensually abundant, benevolent and delightful. One then sees clearly that one’s social and spiritual / religious conditionings and beliefs actively conspire to paint and perpetuate a grim worldview. One then sets to, with gay abandon, on the path of exploring, investigating, scrutinizing, understanding, and eventually eliminating all that is not factual and actual. The act of doing so eliminates one’s social identity – one wipes one’s slate perfectly clean of all beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms. What one then discovers – hidden underneath – is one’s biological heritage – the primitive animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
PETER to Alan: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.
Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary
The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –
Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –
There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.
An exchange I recently had with another correspondent illustrates a further aspect of spiritual belief about the actual physical world where we flesh and blood humans actually live –
Again this exchange illustrates that actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritualism. I don’t seek an escape from being here, now in the actual world – I seek to break free from all that prevents me from being here. In the case above, to do this means breaking free of the spiritual belief that material comfort is the cause of our misery – a deeply cynical and perverse view of life on earth that merely perpetuates human suffering.
We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.
Soon one finds that a switch has been made from being resentful at having to be here to resenting and wanting to eliminate whatever it is that prevents one from being here.
Being a bit lazy, I’ll post another bit from a recent correspondence that illustrates this point –
There is a world of difference from the spiritual freedom of feeling that one is here, and actually being here. It does take a bloody-mindedness to continually break from the habit of lazing back into commonly held beliefs and resentments about the impossibility of life being easy in this actual world. The only way to do this is to actively investigate and understand all of the beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms, feelings and passions that actively conspire to prevent one’s freedom. Of course, given that these dearly-held attributes are all that ‘I’ am made of, this process is actually a process of ‘self’-immolation which is why it lacks popular appeal and is stubbornly refuted and objected to by spiritual escapists.
Just a post-script to add some clarity about being here as it applies during the process to becoming actually free from the human condition. At the beginning of the process the difference between the pure consciousness experience and normal life is so extreme that the PCE clearly is experienced as being another world. Given that ‘who one is’ is a fully developed psychological and psychic entity living in a psychological and psychic construct of real-world and spiritual world beliefs, the self-less experience of the actual world has to appear other-worldly when one returns to normal. The marked similarity between the actual world and the real world is the physicality of both, whereas the vast difference between the actual world and the spiritual world is the physicality of the actual world and the ethereality of the spiritual world.
This difference gives one the clue to where purity and perfection really lie – in the self-less state, and not in the self-realized state. With this knowledge as one’s touchstone one then sets about the business of actively demolishing one’s self, and this process, if undertaken with sincere intent, means that each time one experiences a PCE the marked and startling difference between the experience and normal is reduced in proportion to the work done in the mean time. This can initially be quite disconcerting for what one sets out to do was to go ‘there’ – to the world experienced in the PCE whereas what one in fact is experiencing is the diminishing of one’s self to the point where one is coming here to the actual world and to this actual moment. It’s cute stuff and absolutely fascinating to experience. I experienced it as a half-way point – a sort of turning around 180 degrees from wanting to escape from here to there to wanting to be here. This is a literal tearing away from humanity, from both grim reality and escapist Reality. Then, as I said to No 8 –
PETER: You just said above that you have not ‘sat down and looked at your hand and contemplated upon the amazing physicality of it’. You seem to have no interest at all in a practical matter-of-fact observation – the very core of the method of actualism.
RESPONDENT: *deep bow*
This is wrong thought. It is interest that results in practical matter of fact observation, the interest that gave rise to the practical matter of fact observation that the above offering is false is an example.
PETER: *Mind the keyboard ...*
No 22, we are at last cutting to the quick of what actualism is really about – by default of course.
By what you write it is your own interest that is paramount – ‘It is (my) interest that results in practical matter of fact observation’ . This type of self-interest is born out of spiritual teachings that encourage the cultivation of an ‘I’ as an observer or watcher or witnesser. As such, what is being observed or watched becomes secondary or irrelevant and of such little concern to ‘me’ that it can even appear to be illusionary or appears to only exist when I am interested in it or observing it. This practice, as you may know, can lead to a solipsistic state where ‘there is only I’ or even to a state where you think and feel that you, personally, create all that exists.
For an actualist, practical matter-of-fact observation is what it is. Objects that can be seen, touched, smelt or heard are taken to be actual – existing in fact. Events observed as happening are taken to have actually happened or be actually happening such as my fingers typing these words – and the words appearing on the screen – existing in fact. Human beings whom I meet and communicate with are taken to be actual flesh and blood human beings – fellow human beings, as in being of the same generic species. There is no room for denial, obscuration or deception in this type of down-to-earth, matter-of-fact observation.
When you apply this very same matter-of-fact observation to your own actions, thoughts and feelings by running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ the results can be stunning, to say the least. If this self-observation is undertaken with integrity and honesty, all sorts of murky and mucky things can be found in the closet of one’s psyche, prime amongst them being repressed feelings of fear, malice and sorrow. For an actualist, this is grist for the mill, for these self-centred and self-sustaining feelings and passions are what he or she is seeking to find in order to eliminate them – in order for there to be peace on earth, as this flesh and blood body, in this lifetime.
As Gary has recently observed, the discovery that these feelings – no matter how real, repulsive, ugly, unwanted or undesirable – are only feelings and are not actual, as in physical existing, and as such they can be eliminated. Actualism is not a process for the faint-hearted but the rewards are immeasurable and actual – an irrevocable end to malice and sorrow in this flesh and blood body.
PETER: Just a comment on something you wrote to Richard –
RESPONDENT: Ok; thank you; I will pass it by my B.S. filter a few times; the initial scan suggested edibility; and ... as they say... I will sleep on it.
PETER: You may well find that you are operating the old obsolete model of B.S. filter that was developed several millennia ago by the priests and shamans. That particular model only works by scanning for B.S. externally and not internally and the end result of using it over a prolonged period of time is that one ends up believing that everyone else is emanating B.S. and not ‘you’, the operator.
No 22 described what can happen when using this external-only scanning B.S. filter in his how-to-become-GOD method –
You may notice that the first premise is that the operator ‘called ‘insert your name here’’ is upheld to be absolutely and unquestionably all-empowered – i.e. under no circumstances to be the subject to B.S. scanning at all. The second point is a warning to the operator that if there is any stray B.S. – such as feelings of incorrectness and dishonesty – picked up by inadvertently pointing the B.S. scanner in the wrong direction, you should immediately dismiss these readings as false and keep pointing the B.S. filter outwards. The third point is then to claim that everything anyone else says is B.S., only you know the Truth, only you think rightly, and finally, only you exist as an absolutely and unquestionably all-empowered being, aka GOD.
Although No 22’s case is a somewhat extreme case whereupon he now imagines that no-one else but him exists, either as a physicality or as a personality, the use of the external-only scanning B.S. filter can only serve to make the operator more self-centred, more self-righteous, more supercilious, more blaming of others, more aggressive, more Superior, etc.
What many people miss on this mailing list is the fact that there is now a new model of B.S. detector available, one that is not based on the old spiritual, ‘the operator is always pure and clean’ model. This model is specifically designed for internal scanning only, i.e. it is precisely configured to allow the operator to constantly monitor his or her own operation and performance against certain criteria, in this case happiness and harmlessness.
By initially setting the dial to the minimum requirement of feeling good, the scanner will serve to pick up any glitches in the operator’s programming that throw up such things as feeling annoyed, feeling glum, feeling angry, feeling arrogant, feeling malicious , feeling separate, feeling blissed out, etc. The operator can then investigate his or her programming faults, sort out the glitches and quickly get back to feeling good. Sometimes the first investigation doesn’t fix the problem but with perseverance and diligence you can eventually get to the bottom of what the problem is precisely and why it keeps recurring such that you can eliminate that particular glitch altogether.
Then as you get better at scanning with this new model, internal-scanning, B.S. detector you can crank the dial up even further to set it at a minimum of feeling really good or feeling excellent and continue to monitor your operating system for anything that interrupts this new level of optimum operation. Nothing can escape this constant monitoring and scanning provided one is scrupulously honest with oneself – but why would one want to fool oneself if one’s prime aim in life was to eliminate every skerrick of malice and every skerrick of sorrow from me, this flesh and blood body.
This ‘self’-scanner is brand new on the market and has only been road tested by a handful of people thus far but the reported results are stunning to say the least. There is however, and quite understandably, a lot of opposition from owner-operators and salesmen of the old external-scanning model. Countless people have invested a lot of time and money in it over the millennia but the old model’s limitations are becoming painfully obvious as more of it’s failings are becoming public knowledge – it does nothing but produce a whole herd of supercilious operators all of them claiming that everyone else is talking B.S., while only they Know the Truth, that they are the Greatest, that they personally are One with God, that they are GOD, etc.
What is now readily apparent in this emerging post-spiritual era is that any version of the ancient, been around since Moses and Buddha, external-scanning model is well and truly passed its use-by-date.
Like it or not, rile against it or ignore it – what is on offer on this mailing list, and on the Actual Freedom Trust website, is a new ‘self’-scanning detector specifically designed to eliminate malice and sorrow from the operator’s own socially imbibed and genetically encoded instinctual programming. The new ‘self’-scanning method is deceptively simple –
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.