Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter

How to Become Free from the Human Condition

PETER: I don’t want to pre-empt your own experiential observations about the sorrowful feelings but in my own investigations I discovered that feelings of malice is more readily discernible than feelings of sorrow. Speaking metaphorically – malice can be experienced as being peaks or flare-ups of emotion, sadness can be experienced as valleys or troughs of emotion, whereas in general the constant plain or milieu of human feelings is one of seriousness and sullenness. The other observation I have made is that sorrow in the form of the feeling of compassion – the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering – is the essential emotion that binds Humanity together, and hence binds ‘me’ to Humanity. Which is why I described sorrow as being a strongest emotional tether to break free of.

RESPONDENT: What I just wrote to Vineeto fits well with what you wrote:

[Peter]: ‘I have been having so much fun lately that feelings of ‘me’ not deserving this kind of playfulness are emerging quite often.’ Re: helping people 14.10.03

I have had people tell me that they hope my ‘childish view’ on life lasts (insinuating that I should grow up) and one even wished me ill when I did not agree with his sorrowful view on life. Tall Poppy Syndrome is it called? I think I see what you mean Peter.

PETER: I remember one of the things I found telling in my early days of being an actualist was the realization that so much of what human beings regard as entertainment is rooted in malice and sorrow. Be it sad music, love songs or angry music, novels that are historical rehashes of old grievances, romantic novels, action films, video games, soap operas, news reports, competitive sports, and so on. I remember going through my CD collection and being astounded at the bitter-sweet feelings that most of the music engendered – so much so that I soon hustled most of them out the door.

As I said to No 52 in my most recent post to him, it is important to feel the quality of any feelings of malice and sorrow that surface before you nip them in the bud in order that you have an experiential understanding as to how and why the feelings and emotions that arise from the instinctual passions operate. By conducting your investigations in this scientific way, you feel the feelings as and when they are happening which means you neither repress nor dissociate from your feelings, and then get back to feeling good as soon as possible, which means you neither indulge in nor become overwhelmed by your malicious and sorrowful feelings. 

An intellectual understanding of the human condition is one thing – at best you know in theory what to look out for. But if you really want to become free of the human condition there is no other way but fully committing to a hands-on moment-to-moment attentiveness as to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive – which means fully committing to being here as a mortal flesh and body in this world of the senses, with all that this involves.

As for the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, you only need to observe the revolving door of spiritualists who come to this list and head straight for Richard in order to cut him down a peg or two. And it is fascinating to observe how they are so convinced that they, and their ilk, are right – that the meaning of life is somewhere hidden in the ancient mumbo-jumbo of Eastern spirituality – and that we actualists are wrong, so much so that they have not the slightest interest in what is being talked about on this mailing list. They provide a wonderful opportunity to observe first-hand how holding on to any religious or spiritual belief or philosophy actively stifles any possibility of even considering the idea that something new has now been discovered – that it is now possible for any human being, so inclined, to become free of malice and sorrow.

RESPONDENT: Vineeto and others: I have been working with the Actual Freedom material for only about three months now and would like to provide a personal update: I have been both reading a lot of material ... sometimes several times ... and applying: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ throughout the day.

PETER: I can relate to reading things several times over. When I first came across Richard, he had just purchased a computer in order to be able to word process his journal and print it out. As the editing was finished, I had a copy of his journal as sheets printed on his inkjet printer in a loose-leaf binder and this was added to with several of the later chapters as they were produced. I have a distinct memory of sitting down with the journal and spending hours going over and over a 4 or 5 sentence paragraph, trying to understand exactly what it was that he was saying. In hindsight, this now sounds somewhat extreme but overcoming cognitive dissonance is the lot of everyone who attempts to ‘wrap their mind around’ something new.

This will become less of an impediment over time as more and more people from different backgrounds and different life-experiences write about the process of actualism. Not only will there be an increased variety of ways of saying the same thing but also there will be an increased confidence and comradery that comes from the knowledge that other fellow human beings are daring to tread the same never-trod-before path.

RESPONDENT: My early erroneous conclusion was that I could just jump in and use the process and would be that. I noticed, however, an underlying, solid reluctance to apply the process. I even found it very difficult to even remember what the question was! I finally got it imprinted into my brain.

PETER: Yep. I can relate to that one as well. I found it quite amazing to discover that ‘I’ ran on automatic almost all of the time – so much so that there was no possibility of being aware of how I was experiencing being alive. Great slabs of the day would pass by without me remembering to be aware of whether or not I was enjoying being alive or not. Even if I did remember, I often found it difficult to accurately describe how I was experiencing this moment, as I would usually come up with an intellectual response such as ‘I am concerned about …’, rather than the more explicit feeling response such as ‘I am feeling anxious’ or ‘I am feeling scared about …’.

It is good to remember that being constantly aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive is not a natural thing – after all, ‘I’ have so dominated the stage, for as long as I can remember, that glimpses of ‘self’-awareness only occurred rarely and erratically. It takes a good deal of conscious effort to establish asking the question until it becomes habitual and it takes a good deal of stubborn intent until it becomes a constant automatic silent question each moment again.

Because of these quite natural difficulties, beware of beating yourself up when you miss out asking the question because the very moment you become aware that you haven’t been aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive, you are right back on track again.

RESPONDENT: I then began to activate the investigation phase ... ie anything that appeared as an obstacle, right then, that prevented me from being happy and harmless. This was and is to some extent now the difficult one. This great reluctance surfaced time and time again. This came as a surprise since I also thought myself to be open to self-exploration. Nothing could be further from the truth. I recounted to myself how ... even in my past spiritual pursuits ... I would gloss over or skim quickly through a teaching that pointed to personal exploration. I discovered also how I have always felt pursued, chased, caught, dominated and even haunted by negative feelings of guilt, fear, inadequacy. And ... how these feelings dominate my days ... colour and cloud my life. In the early stages of investigation of these mental-emotional states ... I noticed my habitual response ... ‘don’t even go there!’ Yet I persisted.

PETER: What you are experientially discovering are the morals and ethics that have been instilled into you by your parents and peers – ‘It is not good to feel angry’, ‘It is not right to feel jealous’, ‘Why can’t you be quite like your brother’, ‘If you don’t stop doing that I’ll …’ and so on. The imposition of morals and ethics is a necessary process in every child’s development given that every child is by nature a passionately driven being, which means that your awareness of when, how and why these morals and ethics operate is yet another experiential discovery of the universal nature of the human condition. Name them and feel them as they are happening but don’t judge them, for it is vital to remember that what you are starting to become aware of is the instinctual passions themselves and these passions are universal – in no way uniquely personal.

The awareness of one’s own morals and ethics is a big hurdle to negotiate as they form a goodly part of one’s social identity. If one allows oneself to get stuck here, there is no way to discover the further layers of one’s identity that lay lurking beneath – that which is often referred to as the dark side of human nature. You will have noticed the essential piece of advice that Richard has offered when you allow yourself to start to feel the dark and invidious feelings – keep your hands firmly in your pockets – meaning don’t act on these feelings, simply become aware of them as they are happening.

The brutish survival instincts were an essential component of the predacious phase of the evolution of animate life on this planet and you will come recognize that they are not only redundant but you will also experience that these very passions ultimately stand in the way of you being able to live with your fellow human beings in peace and harmony.

RESPONDENT: Now, somehow, for the most part my attitude about the process has shifted. Most of the times now, there is an eagerness to investigate ... a certain excitement clicks in. In this regard, what has helped is an intent or deep resolve to face what ever it is ... to refuse to run and hide.

PETER: Persistence rewarded, hey.

Another hint that was passed on to me that I found useful was to remember not to take yourself too seriously. This is the trick to turn fear into excitement – and excitement is having fun. Excitement is a felicitous feeling when excitement is the thrill of becoming more happy and more harmless.

RESPONDENT: When I stand firm and face the feelings ... with the attitude and approach to want to understand ... not to demolish the feelings ... but really to be open to truly feel the feelings, to understand the meaning ... to desire to get at the very root of what is creating this block or obstacle that occludes, obstructs and prevents real or actual freedom in my life. So the fear and aversion of doing this very personal process of examining any and every obstacle that stands in the way has lessened. And for me this is quite significant.

PETER: Again I can relate. For me the most fear I encountered was prior to deciding to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless. After that the fear turned into the excitement of the thrill of discovery – and there is lots to discover.

RESPONDENT: I do want to bring up a concern that has been going over and over in my mind. I don’t know what to do with it ... so I’ll just spit it out and maybe it will dissolve in the ethers of cyberspace! Here it is...

Richard claims to be the first one on the planet to experience Actual Freedom: How can he or anyone know this to be a fact?

PETER: Well, for a start there is no evidence to the contrary. Richard himself has done a good deal of trolling through the writings of others and all he has ever found is evidence of people who have experienced a spiritual freedom of the soul and not an actual freedom from the soul. I have also satisfied myself that this is so by my own investigations – I remember at one stage realizing that not only was Richard the only one who was actually free of the human condition, he was also the only genuine atheist on the planet.

In other words I take it as a reasonable assumption of fact because there is, thus far, not a skerrick of empirical evidence to the contrary.

RESPONDENT: Maybe there was a culture eons ago that discovered this ... maybe just one person ... and maybe the culture was in no way receptive to Actual Freedom ... so this individual kept it to his or her self.

PETER: Contrary to popular belief, speculations such as ‘maybes’ or ‘what ifs’ are not empirical evidence – no matter how many speculations or how many speculators there are.

I don’t know whether your reference to ‘a culture eons ago’ refers to the widely-held notion that there was somehow a Golden Age or that at sometime, somewhere on the planet, there existed a peaceful tribe of uncorrupted innocents. If so, there is no evidence that supports this notion in any way – the archaeological and anthropological evidence is that all tribes and all cultures were deeply fear-ridden, dominated by superstition, enraptured in mythology, fiercely territorial, and so on. I fail to see such tribes and cultures as being fertile ground for someone to be able to take the time and make the effort to become free of malice and sorrow.

The other notion – that maybe someone became free of the human condition and kept it to his self or her self – has been floated before but it is my experience that this theory lacks any credibility – simply because the intent needed to become free of the human condition is pure in that one does it not only for this body but for ever other body. Or to put it another way, the very process of wanting to become harmless is motivated by a genuine concern and caring for all of one’s fellow human beings and this alone makes the idea of keeping the discovery of an actual freedom to oneself a red herring.

RESPONDENT: And, even if Richards claim is true ... why make it? I mean no disrespect ... but I would like some feedback from anyone ... including Richard ... so I can go on with my life!!!

PETER: I remember that I could not but write my journal in order to tell others that the actualism method worked in that it produced down-to-earth results – that it was possible to live with a companion in utter peace and harmony and that it was possible to be virtually free of malice and sorrow. To imagine that one could keep an actual freedom to oneself beggars belief.

While on this topic, I’ll just add a note of sensible caution. In my early days of being an actualist I was so enthused that I would often talk about actualism to people who were not interested in anything else but battling it out in the real-world or who were so convinced their spiritual beliefs were right that they could not even conceive that what I was saying had nothing at all to do with spiritualism. I soon discovered that it pays to be prudent as to whom, where and when it is appropriate to discuss the discovery of an actual freedom from the human condition.

One other piece of sensible piece of advice I gave myself came from my time of exploring the dark underbelly of piety and morality – and that was to ‘never goad a fanatic’. I do like the leisure and the pleasure of being able to report my successes and share my experiences in using the actualism method here on this list from the safety and comfort of my own lounge room.

RESPONDENT: And Vineeto ... and all others ... thank you for all your helpful words of instruction, explanation and encouragement.

PETER: Speaking for myself, t’is always a pleasure.

RESPONDENT: I have made some progress in some areas ... (although as yet I have had no PCE during this period). The progress I have had is slow ... but fairly steady and undeniable. I will describe this progress in two areas: externally (sensory awareness of my outer environment) ... and internal (awareness and exploration into thoughts-feelings ... basically anything that seems to stand in the way of being happy and harmless right now):

External: Before actualism, I had begun a practice of just noticing what was happening outwardly: the colors the shapes: and even a tiny bit of the purity of the scene observed ... just for a millisecond ... before my own beliefs and instincts set in to ‘color’ the scene. During the past four months ... I have stepped up my interest and intent ... and attentiveness more and more to the ‘outward scene’ (mostly visually ... but sound and touch as well ... to a lesser degree). An example may be in order: Now ... I notice when I stand up, I see my feet and hands swinging forward and backward as I walk ... as well as nearby objects swooshing past. When I walk into a room, I notice the continually changing shapes of doors, windows and furniture. As I stop, I notice my own brown hands still swaying a bit at my sides (left-over walking motion). Many times, what occurs to me at this point is, how could I have missed all of this ... how could I have failed to notice this ... all of these years... And then back into the scene ... being here and now ... as much as possible. And the colors ... many more colors ... more vivid! (there was a time ... maybe just 10-15 years ago when I barely noticed colors). So I do find myself more and more here and now and in this body ... as opposed to mindlessly drifting from thought-feeling to thought-feeling ... scarcely aware of surroundings.

PETER: Something Richard said that I found useful was to practice bringing my visual awareness to the very front of the eyeballs. I found this is the best ‘I’ can do to mimic ‘self’-less seeing – there is less of the feeling of ‘me’ looking through the eyes and more of the feeling of the eyes seeing. In this way you also avoid the risk of becoming ‘the observer’ watching ‘the observed’, but more closely mimic what you actually are – the universe sensately experiencing itself as a thinking and reflective corporeal human being.

Whilst sight tends to be the most dominant of the physical senses for most people, there is a wealth of sensate enjoyment to be had in the other senses. The business of sustaining oneself – eating food and drinking liquids – is a rich sensorial experience in itself as the tongue, in concert with the mouth and nose, is capable of detecting an extraordinary range of distinct tastes and flavours.

The physical world we humans live in is often replete with an extraordinary variety of sounds we hear set against the background of the ever-present stillness. As such, an increasing auditory awareness is accompanied by an increasing awareness of the vast milieu of stillness that exemplifies this physical universe.

The human body’s external skin is the largest of our sensorial receptors, capable of detecting a range of sensate experience, be it warmth or cold, hardness and softness, wetness or dryness, roughness or smoothness and so on. The human body also ‘swims’ in air rather as marine animals swim in water, which means that one’s skin is always receptive to the movement, temperature and humidity of the very air we breathe and move through. And with each breath we take, sensors in the nose are continuously monitoring the ingoing air for the smells, fragrances and odours given off by the physical objects around.

It does take stubborn intent and a good deal of effort to deliberately poke holes in the veil that ‘I’ as a psychological and psychic identity invariably impose over the actual world – to free one’s sensual awareness such that one can begin to experience that the actual world is indeed a pure and perfect bountiful paradise.

RESPONDENT: I’ve been having a lot of success in dealing with any emotions that come along, but when no emotions are present and I’m very much enjoying this moment of being alive, I’m still very conscious of my sense of self (identity) and my instinctual sex drive.

PETER: In the first phase of the actualism method – when I was still continuously aware of being a socially-ensnared and instinctually-driven being – I was constantly motivated to be very best ‘I’ could be, to be virtually happy and harmless, i.e. virtually free of malice and sorrow. With this in mind, I continually prodded myself to never settle for second best – to always make the effort to up the ante from feeling good about being here right now, to feeling really good about being here right now, to feeling excellent about being here right now. What this upping the ante did was serve to expose whatever it was that was preventing me from being virtually happy and harmless – those that remained lurking beneath the surface whenever ‘I’ settled for remaining within ‘my’ comfort zone.

RESPONDENT: OK so if I read you correctly there are not particular categories of insight which need to be explained before they can be discovered … I suppose this is what I am concerned about.

PETER: When I first came across actualism it took me a good deal of time and effort to come to an intellectual understanding of what was on offer. Only when I gave up holding on to my spiritual identity was I able to fully jump into the process of actualism and only after getting a handle on using the method did I start to have experiential understandings of my psyche in action which in turn can that produce life-changing insights.

In my experience there are two aspects to the insights an actualist has on the path to becoming free of the human condition. The first aspect is an intellectual understanding of a particular issue – something that is relatively easy for those of us who are following Richard’s lead because he has written so much about the human condition and how to become free of it. Having an intellectual understanding is a precursor to the most important part of understanding, experiential understanding.

Once I made the decision to become an actualist, I threw myself into increasing my intellectual understanding which meant reading and listening to what Richard has to say on a particular matter and then doing my own thinking and contemplating on the matter. I also found putting my thoughts down into written words was a great aid to clear thinking. I developed the habit of writing down my own understandings in note form as I was contemplating and I also wrote a personal journal and entered into correspondence with other people about actualism.

My experiential understandings came solely as a result of asking myself, each moment again, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and becoming aware of exactly what it is that is preventing me from being blithe and benign in this moment. The answers that came from the running the question gave me experiential understandings about the human condition in general and about the devious nature of my social identity and the stygian depths of my instinctual identity in particular.

Whenever I experience my psyche in operation as-it-is-happening, it is as if a light is turned on and all of a sudden I can clearly see a facet of my social persona in action or my instinctual passions in operation as they are happening. This clear-eyed awareness has the potential to produce an insight of such intensity that it is life changing – and my sincere intent to become free of the human condition in toto means I can never go back to being the same as I was before.

So, intellectual understanding always comes first – as in ‘Ah, yes, that makes sense’. If you don’t have an intellectual understanding of the over-arching nature of the human condition, then you will have no idea what you are looking for when you ask yourself ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’

Then, provided one makes the decision to devote one’s life to becoming happy and harmless, one moves on to stage two: logging up on-the-job, real-time, experiential understandings of your own psyche in action that can then lead to insights that are both life-changing and identity demolishing.

The most difficult thing to grasp about the actualism method is it’s utter simplicity – and I don’t say that lightly.

RESPONDENT: I have spent the last decade seeking happiness in one form or another, yet it was right here in front of my nose, and I could not see it.

PETER: Yeah. I spent seventeen years trawling the materialistic world seeking happiness and found the whole search for happiness via security, money, status, fame and power decidedly weird. I then spent another seventeen years in the spiritual world and eventually found the whole search for spiritual security, status, fame and power even weirder. Coming across the third alternative was indeed serendipitous.

RESPONDENT: Will particular insights relating to identity, sexual desires, etc prove as elusive as mastering the emotions...

PETER: Maybe it is just your choice of words, but I wouldn’t describe the actualism method as ‘mastering the emotions’ as this could give the impression that actualism is about suppressing or controlling one’s emotions, which it is not. As you know, in actualism one becomes aware of any feelings, emotions and passions as and when they are happening with the aim of minimizing both the invidious and aggrandizing emotions so as to be able to foster one’s felicitous feelings.

My experience was that once I threw myself totally into the process, insights did not prove elusive, rather they came in direct proportion to the intensity and focus of my investigations.


RESPONDENT: Although I had one PCE proper, most of the time I seem to be triggering near PCEs where my identity seems not to want to budge and the instinctual passions are waiting in the wings.

PETER: As I have said before on this list, I personally do not favour using the term near PCE as one is either having a PCE or not – a miss is as good as a mile. I much prefer the term ‘excellence experience’ for those times when I am feeling really excellent about being here.

RESPONDENT: OK. I’m still getting the hang of the various states I’m experiencing and how to describe them.

PETER: And the only reason I make such precise distinctions myself is so I can be scrupulously honest with myself about how I am experiencing this moment of being alive.


RESPONDENT: What I’m wondering is if there are any underpinnings of these two particular things which can be exposed in some way ... are there beliefs I’m not aware of yet, or some other thing to work on that I have missed?

PETER: As an actualist, if you have got the hang of feeling good for most of the time, then raise the stakes to wanting to feel excellent all of the time. This simple act is enough in itself to allow whatever impediments remain to your being virtually happy and harmless to emerge in the day-to-day, everyday business of being alive.

RESPONDENT: Yes I have been approaching this point lately, getting used to feeling good most of the time, and no longer being satisfied with it … now wanting to take it to the next level.

PETER: I found that I had to raise the stakes myself, despite my own inertia not to do so and despite the fact that I was obviously heading off in a direction that no-one else was heading or was interested in heading.

RESPONDENT: All of these experiences were triggered by pulling out the rug from under a particular belief or set of beliefs, and when I get to that near PCE state with identity and sex drive intact, it’s troubling being so conscious of their presence in my mind, but not knowing how to investigate them in such a way as to provide the kind of whoosh of results that investigating emotions can achieve.

PETER: I can relate to the ‘whoosh of results’ that you talk about – I had many realizations in the early days of my investigations that were both utterly thrilling and fundamentally life-changing. I did however get to a stage when the work involved in actualism produced what seemed to be less dramatic results … but then I noticed, and appreciated, the less drama-filled, more down-to-earth, consequences of setting my sights on being happy and harmless.

RESPONDENT: This is true. Difficult to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, though :)

PETER: The squeaky clean thing about actualism is that you can’t explain it to anyone who isn’t interested in becoming actually free of malice and sorrow.


PETER: Often after doing some work or meeting some people, I would suddenly become aware of the fact that I had not got upset about something that I would have normally got upset about or I had not taken offence about something I would have normally taken offence about. In other words, I could see that the process of actualism was working in that I was not only feeling happier about being here but that I was actually becoming more sensitive to, and caring of, all of my fellow human beings.

RESPONDENT: I have been finding this in the last fortnight or so ... being less selfish than previously, I seem to have a more genuine interest in the well being of others, while being unattached from the results of any action I may render for their sake.

PETER: I remember thinking early on when I started to become fascinated with how I was experiencing this moment of being alive that I had become completely ‘self’-obsessed and I started to feel I was being selfish by doing so. Then it became apparent that by becoming ‘self’-obsessed I was also becoming aware of the extent of my invidious feelings towards others – be it annoyance, blame, chauvinism, aloofness, contempt, envy, competitiveness, haughtiness, or whatever. By assiduously weeding these feelings out of my interactions with other people, I came to more and more recognize other people as fellow human beings … and genuine care and sincere consideration emerged.


PETER: The other check I ran upon myself to confirm my progress as to whether I was becoming more unconditionally happy and unreservedly harmless was to conduct a review of the events of the day before I went to sleep at night time. Had I had an excellent day? If not, how long did I wallow in my unhappiness or how long did I hold on to my grievances before I got back on the happy and harmless track again?

RESPONDENT: This is a good idea. Thank you, I will give it a go :)

PETER: You have to have some way of measuring your own progress and only you can do that because only you can chart the down-to-earth changes that the actualism method is producing.


PETER: As you are probably discovering, it is impossible to investigate the source of one’s misery or the source of one’s annoyances whist one is firmly in the grip of these feelings for ‘I’ am these feelings in these times – there is no separation or distance possible when ‘I’ am in the grip of either the invidious passions or the beguiling passions. However, as soon as ‘I’ get back to feeling good or feeling excellent – and note that these are felicitous feelings we are talking about – it is then possible to apply some clear thinking in order to find out what triggered me feeling melancholic, aggrieved, vindictive, all-powerful, all-wise and so on.

Once you have firmly set your course to devote your life to becoming happy and harmless, nothing can go ‘wrong’ as it were. The very fact that you are vitally interested in being alive in this world as-it-is with people as-they-are presents you with all the opportunities to investigate whatever it is you need to eliminate whatever stands in the way of achieving your goal. And, as you have probably already twigged, it is never a ‘what’ that prevents you from being free of malice and sorrow, it is always a ‘who’ – and further, that it is never a ‘somebody else’ who is preventing me from being free, it is always ‘me’.

RESPONDENT: I think I understand ... because of the very nature of actualism (facts instead of beliefs, refusing to ignore one’s problems any longer, etc) the insights will probably continue as long as the sincere investigation does … well until ‘I’ go ‘pop’ :)

PETER: My experience is that they continued apace until I became virtually happy and virtually harmless for 99% of the time, until ‘I’ cleaned myself up as much as ‘I’ possibly could. And only you will know when that happens.


PETER: And from your second post on the same thread –

[Respondent]: ‘Will particular insights relating to identity, sexual desires, etc prove as elusive as mastering the emotions...’ [endquote].

RESPONDENT: Since asking this it has become quite obvious what the nature of those two desires is, thanks to your advice. That was definitely the pointer I needed. I think if I hadn’t had that to focus on when examining the nature of desire, it might never have become obvious. Ironically this is one of the things about actualism which is so hard to grasp without putting it in practice … you read it so many times but it doesn’t mean anything just reading it … yet later, in practice, it’s seen as being such a crucial difference to whether one finds success.

That’s also why it’s so hard to communicate the essence of actualism … it must be experienced to be fully understood.

At least, this is how it seems to me.

PETER: Yep. An intellectual-only understanding is a limp squid by itself. Unless you try something out you will never know if it works, how it works and why it works. Similarly, unless a theory is empirically proven to work in practice it remains a hoped-for supposition, unless one’s own beliefs are experientially understood to be nothing more than beliefs they will continue to hold one in their vice-like grip and unless an insight produces a tangible change in one’s life it is merely a ‘self’-indulgent wank.

Contrary to popular belief, Existence does not provide. Unless ‘I’ get of my bum and do something, nothing will happen … and nothing will change.

Nice to chat about such matters.

RESPONDENT: I’ve been having a lot of success in dealing with any emotions that come along, but when no emotions are present and I’m very much enjoying this moment of being alive, I’m still very conscious of my sense of self (identity) and my instinctual sex drive.

PETER: In the first phase of actualism – when I was still continuously aware of being a socially-ensnared and instinctually-driven being – I was constantly motivated to be very best ‘I’ could be, to be virtually happy and harmless, i.e. virtually free of malice and sorrow. With this in mind, I continually prodded myself to never settle for second best – to always make the effort to up the ante from feeling good about being here right now, to feeling really good about being here right now, to feeling excellent about being here right now. What this upping the ante did was serve to expose whatever it was that was preventing me from being virtually happy and harmless – those that remained lurking beneath the surface whenever ‘I’ settled for remaining within ‘my’ comfort zone.

RESPONDENT: I am happy to report some success using this method of continual prodding, even when already feeling good ... investigating, investigating, investigating and finding that there are still things there, even if only the strong sense of the identity, then starting to contemplate what my identity is.

Two days ago this caused a PCE which lasted a good two hours, and I was able to bring it back when I felt my sense of self returning by further contemplating ... in particular on that occasion I was struck by the fact that my work colleagues in their interactions with me, have a concept of who they think I am, when in fact I am just this body. With my identity present I can recognise the idea intellectually but it does not strike me like it did during the PCE.

A most enjoyable experience, rather eye opening, and best of all it made it clear that any time I’m not in a PCE there’s something to work on, and the direction in which I need to head is more obvious now.

PETER: Yes. Whenever you notice that you are not feeling happy about being here in the world as-it-is, or whenever you notice you are feeling annoyed by people as-they-are, then there is work to do. Label the feeling as precisely as you can, feel the feeling and get back to feeling good as quickly as you can. Then – after the emotional storm has passed – make your investigations as to what triggered your feeling sad or feeling annoyed, why the feeling was triggered, and what you need to do to change if you are to prevent such invidious feelings from being triggered in similar situations. I found it useless to try and make any sense of what is going on whilst in the grip of a feeling or emotion because sense is nowhere to found whilst in the grip of passion.

However when you notice you are feeling good there is equally vital work to be done and that is to crank up your felicitous feelings – your joie de vie if you like – about being here in this moment of time in the cornucopia that his verdant planet actually is.

Whilst both of these aspects of the work of an actualist are of equal importance, it is imperative that one puts the cart before the horse – the commitment to being happy and harmless means that one is then committed to investigating and eliminating anything that stands in the way of fulfilling that commitment. (...)


RESPONDENT: All of these experiences were triggered by pulling out the rug from under a particular belief or set of beliefs, and when I get to that near PCE state with identity and sex drive intact, it’s troubling being so conscious of their presence in my mind, but not knowing how to investigate them in such a way as to provide the kind of whoosh of results that investigating emotions can achieve.

PETER: I can relate to the ‘whoosh of results’ that you talk about – I had many realizations in the early days of my investigations that were both utterly thrilling and fundamentally life-changing. I did however get to a stage when the work involved in actualism produced what seemed to be less dramatic results … but then I noticed, and appreciated, the less drama-filled, more down-to-earth, consequences of setting my sights on being happy and harmless.

RESPONDENT: This is true. Difficult to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, though :)

PETER: The squeaky clean thing about actualism is that you can’t explain it to anyone who isn’t interested in becoming actually free of malice and sorrow.

RESPONDENT: Or even explain it to someone who isn’t aware of malice and sorrow in their lives – which is probably the majority. I had to really become aware of it before I could see the need to do something about it.

PETER: Actualism will have no appeal whatsoever to those who are in denial that they have malicious or sorrowful feelings. One has to freely admit that one has a problem, or is a part of the problem, before one is ready and willing to do something about it.

I wrote specifically about an incident where I lost my cool and became angry in my spiritual years. It was one of the many events in my life that continually spurred me on to find a way of actually ridding myself of anger. And two years after that my search paid off – I found actualism.

Good, hey.

RESPONDENT: I would be fascinated to hear what types of practices you do beyond HAIETMOBA, what types of progress you make, if any.

PETER: The whole point of asking oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ was to overcome my inherent lack of attention as to how I am experiencing this very moment, the only moment I have ever been able to experience being alive, the only moment I can ever experience being alive, and the only moment I will ever experience being alive.

By remembering to ask myself the question, I was for the first time in my life starting to focus my attention on being here and subsequently upon how I am feeling about being here, right now. I recently related it as narrowing the focus of my attention down – firstly to this, my only life, by progressively eliminating any of the spiritual fairy tales of a ‘life’ after death and then to this very moment, the only moment I can actually experience being alive … all by the utterly simple process of remembering to be aware of how I am experiencing this moment.

It is a struggle at first as I, like everybody else, had a lifetime’s ingrained habit to overcome – the habit of wallowing in past memories, daydreaming, tripping off into fantasy worlds, settling for being comfortably numb, indulging in philosophical discussions or concocting future scenarios and then vicariously living them out in my own imagination. But once I got the gist of becoming aware of what was happening in this moment and how I was feeling about what was happening … or not happening if that was the case … in this moment, I soon came to the stage where this awareness became so automatic that I could not turn it off and then I could no longer escape from the fact that this is the only moment that I can experience being alive.

So to answer your question, there is nothing ‘beyond HAIETMOBA’ – bringing one’s attention to how one is experiencing this moment of being alive – focusing one’s attentiveness on this moment of being alive is both the means and the end to an actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow.

RESPONDENT: I suppose I am very much reminded of Richard’s journal entry (excuse the paraphrase) that it was after six weeks of experientially considering ‘what am I in relation to other people?’ that he achieved actual freedom – rather than HAIETMOBA itself.

PETER: If you re-read the passage in question you will find that the reason Richard asked what turned out to be a seminal question (for him) was that Richard, the identity was apparently ‘putting out’ some – dare I say it – vibes to another person such that the other person wanted to become his disciple. It’s not that ‘he’ asked himself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – it’s that ‘he’ was constantly aware of how ‘he’ was experiencing this moment … so much so that this very awareness ultimately led to ‘his’ demise.

RESPONDENT: Are you fully committed to achieving an actual freedom?

PETER: Of course … I was fully committed the moment I fully devoted my life to becoming happy and harmless.

At the start of the process of actualism the means to becoming free from the human condition is to be as happy and as harmless as one can be in this moment and the end goal is to become actually free form the human condition.

I never separated one from the other at the start because for me they were inseparable.

RESPONDENT: I have not fully committed to achieving an actual freedom yet. But I have fully committed to achieving a virtual freedom at least.

PETER: Is not a full commitment to a partial success by definition only a partial commitment to total success, and if this is the case surely the best outcome would only be partial success? Whilst partial success is not be sneezed at in that you do get to live a life that is way, way beyond normal human expectations anyway, I personally set my sights higher than that right at the start.

RESPONDENT: Many people have pointed out the fact that no one but Richard has achieved an actual freedom yet – but I think they fail to realise (1) that virtual freedom must be pretty damn pleasant anyway and (2) fully committing to an actual freedom means going beyond a lot of fear, no doubt moments of raw unadulterated fear but also a subtle lingering fear.

PETER: If I had taken heed of the naysayers and had settled for forever remaining an instinctual ‘being’, I would never had had the gall to set off down the path to becoming actually free of the human condition which, in hindsight, means I would never have become virtually free.

RESPONDENT: I expect there could be a lingering hesitation for anyone who achieves a virtual freedom. I mean let’s face it, a virtual freedom is probably like having one’s cake and eating it too... a position usually considered too good to be true.

PETER: Indeed. But what I have more and more discovered is that, whilst prior to becoming an actualist ‘I’ was constantly anywhere but here and anywhen but now, I now find that the ongoing attentiveness I found so hard to get going at first has now becomes so effortlessly automatic that there is no escaping the fact that this is the only moment I can experience. This has lately led to glimpses of what I call the ‘end’ joke – that I have unwittingly been a player in a game, a very real game and an instinctually vicious game, but a game nevertheless and that only by coming to my senses can I be free of ‘being’.

As you would know, having glimpses and having realizations is one thing, actualizing them is another.

RESPONDENT: I would like to hear more about the dynamics of your alternative. How does it ‘work’?

PETER: As I have indicated, the first step is to fully take on board the modern discoveries that ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are is nothing other than a social identity overlaying an instinctual identity – and that both are nothing more than operating programs in our brain.

This alien identity, or ‘self’, stands in the way of the already existing purity and perfection of the actual world becoming apparent and this is made startlingly clear in the ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience or peak experience.

From this experience one is clearly able to identify this alien entity as the source of one’s malice and sorrow, and one merrily sets in motion the process that will lead to living the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs. a day, every day.

The first step is to actively demolish the first layer, one’s social identity – all the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms that each of us have been programmed with since birth. In my case it was Peter the son, Peter the man, Peter the father, Peter the spiritual believer, Peter the good, Peter the bad, Peter the builder, etc, etc. It is only when I had substantially eliminated or deleted this program that I could clearly look at, and sensibly investigate, the core instinctual being that is ‘me’.

This second stage is where all seekers, up to now, have been seduced into denial of the ‘bad’ instinctual passions of fear and aggression and attempted to transcend them in order to develop a new spiritual identity based on the ‘good’ passions. It takes sincere intent to avoid this atavistic seduction and instinctual grasp for survival (nurture) and self-aggrandizement (desire) and to dig deep to actively eliminate the insidious robotic influence that the instinctual passions have on one’s actions and thinking.

Finally the day comes when the whole program becomes so shaky and so nebulous that it crashes as one sees and experiences the fact that ‘who’ I am is nothing other than an illusion, given substance and credence by the chemical surges from the ancient instinctual brain.

This de-programming works exactly like the delete button on your computer. As you see something being redundant, preventing you from being happy now, or causing you to make someone else unhappy – delete! If it comes back again, see what it is, name the feeling, root around, see if you can function without it, delete it and empty the recycle bin this time. And get back as quick as you can to the sensate, sensual enjoyment of this moment of being alive. Each deletion and subsequent tangible freedom from malice and sorrow gives you the confidence to delete a bit more and soon you find yourself actively searching through each experience to see what is preventing you from being happy and harmless here, now, in this only moment you can be alive.

‘Self’-immolation is such an adventure ... and such fun.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

RESPONDENT: I’m quite new to the spiritual scene, I have been studying Andrew’s teachings for about four years now and that’s actually the only experience I have, apart for being a human being, of course. What I mean is that before I came upon Andrew’s teachings I hadn’t been searching or looking very deeply either, so I’m glad that the teachings have served me as a way into a hopefully sincere investigation of life and the human predicament.

PETER: In my experience, one needs three essential prerequisites to become actually free of the human condition.

  • A burning discontent with life as it is
  • A stubborn bloody-mindedness not to stop until you find an experiential answer – as opposed to an intellectual or feeling answer.
  • The memory of a pure consciousness experience, a temporary experience of ‘self’-lessness, whereby the utter peace, purity and perfection of the actual physical universe is sensate-only experienced – to act as one’s burning ambition in life.

RESPONDENT: You really got me thinking, through Andrew’s teaching I’m (or I was ... don’t know anymore) convinced that there is a god, higher consciousness or whatever we want to call it, something bigger than ourselves. But now I’m leaning more towards letting it be a total mystery, there might be or there might not be a god. So let us concentrate ONLY on that we can work with, namely human existence on this earth. But I guess the trick is that we have to be able to see every aspect of humanity as it is before real change is possible ... and I suppose that’s what you’re doing in your theory (or fact) of the human basic instincts.

PETER: In my experience, it is essential to have at least a glimpse of humanity from the outside, as it were. In a pure consciousness experiences it was as though I had stepped out from the real world, complete with all its grim reality and spiritual fantasies, and emerged into the actual world.

One particular experience I remember well was bought on by an intense period of contemplation about the human condition – and my role in it. During this time, I remember driving up the escarpment that encircles the lush semi-tropical coastal plain where I live. I stopped and looked out at the edge of the greenery, where a seemingly endless ribbon of white sand neatly bordered it from the azure ocean. Overhead great mounds of fluffy white clouds sailed by in the blue of the sky. Right in the foreground stood a group of majestic pines towering some thirty meters tall. I was struck by the vastness, the stillness and the perfection of this planet, the extraordinariness of it all, but ... and the ‘but’ are human beings! Human beings who persist in fighting and killing each other and can’t live together in peace and harmony.

It was one of those moments that forced me to do something about myself, for I was one of those 6 billion people. (...)


RESPONDENT: But on the other hand ... there IS a lot of crap in the spiritual scene, people are far too naive and gullible ... that’s why the likes of you are needed, Peter, someone to rock the boat so to speak ... or in this case sink it to the bottom ... haha ...

PETER: Yes, a substantial part of actualism – the process by which it is possible to become actually free from the human condition – involves a clear-eyed look at both real-world and spiritual-world beliefs, morals, ethics, values, ideals, concepts, theories, philosophies, practices, etc. But one only looks at what others are doing, and feeling, as a way of questioning these behaviours and feelings within one’s own psyche.

After all, it is essential to fully take on board the fact that the only person you can change is you.

One of the substantial rewards for sticking my neck out, and rocking my boat, is that I am able to check what feelings, emotions and passions I encounter, name them and begin an investigation aimed at getting answers. This way I see the human condition in action in me and thus I am forced to do something about them

RESPONDENT: Do you really mean that you disregard every aspect of spirituality, aren’t there some insights that can be won within the spiritual traditions?

PETER: I have eliminated every skerrick of spiritual belief for it is but a belief, albeit an almost universal one.

Any passionate insights won within the spiritual traditions are always invariably taken as spiritual signs and affirmations of one’s selfish beliefs, unless they are sensible insights of doubt and dis-belief in which case they are summarily squashed. Even PCEs can be seized upon by the ‘self’ and turned into epiphanies, satoris or awakenings in order to further fuel one’s spiritual narcissism and give credence to one’s impassioned imagination of being a Saviour of humanity.

RESPONDENT: At the end of your last post to No 15 you wrote ‘Thank goodness there is now an alternative to this impassioned madness.’ I’ve heard plenty of criticism in your posts but I have yet to hear what this ‘alternative’ is. Could you please clarify this grey area for me?

PETER: I listed some pre-requisites for anyone to be interested in this third alternative in a recent post to No. 14, but perhaps the most significant requirement is a burning discontent with your life as-it-is. For me, this discontent meant I could not stop searching for freedom, peace and happiness – no matter what. When I had finally run the gamut of the spiritual world, I could only acknowledge that success on the spiritual path meant I was becoming more isolationist, I found myself blaming others for faults and attributes I could no longer ignore in myself, I was turning away from the possibility of an intimate one-to-one companionship and I was abandoning the hope of getting to the bottom of my failure to uninhibitedly enjoy sexual play.

When I finally saw the utter selfishness of wanting the power of God-realization for myself, it was such a blow that it was enough incentive to look elsewhere. What attracted me to this third alternative was that it meant I could bring an end to malice and sorrow in me – as opposed to spiritual transcendence and ‘self’-gratification. That it would be possible to become actually free of the human condition, here in this actual palpable sensual world – as opposed to a spurious spiritual freedom in a non -tangible, feeling-only imaginary world

A brief summary of the method to achieve this freedom –

The key to freedom from the Human Condition is the unique capacity of the human brain to be aware of its own functioning. Human beings are thus capable of being aware of both what they are thinking and what they are feeling – the instinctual passions in operation. This ability is commonly known as self-awareness.

In recent decades, this capacity to be aware of our instinctually sourced feelings has been complemented by the scientific studies of the neuro-biology of the human brain that are heralding the beginning of an empirical understanding of the genetically-encoded instinctual passions. These scientific studies, firmly based on empirical observations, make nonsense of the traditional denial of the existence of instinctual animal passions in humans and the ancient belief that we are born ‘innocent’.

‘Self’-awareness is possible in human beings in that we have the ability to develop and cultivate an awareness of both the feelings arising from our social conditioning of beliefs, morals and ethics one has been instilled with since birth and the feelings and emotions that result from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions in operation. What one is ultimately attempting to do is to achieve a pure ‘self’-less state and this involves observing, investigating and eliminating ‘who’ one thinks one is and ‘who’ one feels oneself to be – a radical procedure, to say the least.

This particular aspect of awareness is not a natural phenomenon, nor one practiced on any of the traditional spiritual paths, and needs to be actively cultivated and persistently practiced in order to ensure success. As such, one needs to proceed with a bloody-minded persistence the likes of which one has not mustered before. To do so, one needs firstly to establish a simple, unswerving and primary aim in life – a sincere intent to become happy and harmless, as one experiences in a pure consciousness experience, for 24 hrs. a day, every day.

The method of becoming happy and harmless, 24 hrs. a day, every day, is both devastatingly simple and ruthlessly efficient. One needs to continually ask oneself the question ... ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ ...

The continuous asking of this question is the key to cultivating and developing ‘self’-awareness but it does require persistence and perseverance in order to ensure success. The essential method is to undertake a total investigation into anything that is preventing one from being happy and harmless now – after all, if one’s aim is to be happy then one needs to be happy now, not at some time in the future, nor some time in the past. The question to ask oneself is – ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ This moment is, after all, the only moment I can experience being happy.

Any emotion such as anger, frustration or boredom that is preventing my happiness now, has to be traced back to its cause – the exact incident, thought, expectation or disappointment. At the root of this emotion is inevitably found a socially-instilled moral, ethic or belief or a crude instinctual passion. This very action of awareness, investigation and understanding of these morals, ethics, beliefs and the animal instincts ‘in action’ and how they prevent one from being happy and harmless actually weakens their influence on one’s thoughts and behaviour. The process, if followed diligently and obsessively, will ultimately cause them to disappear completely. The idea of undertaking this process being, of course, to eliminate the cause of one’s unhappiness, or the cause of making others unhappy, so that one can experience life at the optimum, now. If one is happy now, then good. One can then ‘raise the bar’ to feeling very good, then excellent, then ... perfect.

The method soon presents success incrementally, as freedom from beliefs and instinctual passions is indeed a freedom that results in increased peace and harmony for oneself and in one’s relating with one’s fellow human beings. The method does bring up fear and resistance, because one is dismantling one’s very ‘self’, those very beliefs and passions one holds so dearly.

It sounds so simple, but very few people are even willing to take a small step along the way. Most people would seemingly like their life to be better, but faced with the prospect of actually having to do something themselves, or having to change the way they are, they soon sneak away, only to re-run the old ancient ‘tried and failed’ methods.

Of course, the major fear is that it will work and ‘I’ will ‘be’ no more.

PETER: I see you are beginning to have some interesting experiences digging into yourself.

RESPONDENT: Thanks. It is very warm here, too. Unusually warm for New York in December (65F)!!! I have got an urge to investigate/ watch myself for quite some time. Actually, reading Osho books have triggered this in me 10 years ago back in Poland, as far as I remember.

PETER: From my experience my ‘digging into myself’ has had two distinct phases.

  1. The spiritual search

Conducted over some 17 years and involving living and working in ashrams, countless hours of meditation, therapy groups, listening to various masters, and reasonably extensive reading. The culmination occurred after a period of living alone when I had a what would be described as a substantial Satori experience wherein I experienced a lack of ‘self’ such that I was ‘Love’ and ‘at one with Existence’. It was an extraordinary heartfelt experience and I experienced a distinct shift of my identity from the head to the heart. It was indeed Glorious. The problem was that having experienced the workings of the spiritual world and met some of the Enlightened Ones, I was able to question – ‘was this what I really wanted?’ The honest answer was no.

I had seen enough to know that a system of slavery (discipleship) was inherently flawed and a system of surrender to God-men or Gurus was little more than dictatorship. Admittedly for the supposed Good rather than Evil, but it was still institutionalised insanity never the less. The experiences I had in meditation, in the presence of masters or self-induced, involved little more than a transcendence of the base emotions and instincts in me such that I caused a shift of my identity from the head to the heart, from the ego to the soul. This shift is well known as an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC). Therein lies the fatal flaw with the spiritual search as ‘I’ as an identity remain intact – in fact now Super Inflated by grand feelings into believing that I was God or at One with God. And yet another Guru would emerge into the world and had I been a successful enough Guru yet another Religion would have been born with all it’s horrendous ramifications.

  1. The search for an Actual Freedom

Having met Richard and quizzed him extensively and read his writings, it became painfully and shockingly obvious that I had merely scratched the surface of becoming free. The first essential step was to question all that I had taken to be the Truth, a process that was to demolish entirely any pride I felt about ‘my’ achievements and realizations on the spiritual path. I discovered that it was necessary to eliminate the ‘self’ in its entirety – both ego and soul, both who ‘I’ thought I was and who ‘I’ felt I was.

The essential guiding principle is the pure consciousness experience or PCE. This experience is one that everybody has had in their lives wherein one directly experiences the innate perfection and purity of the physical universe free of any ‘self’ whatsoever. No ego and no soul sullies the unfiltered sensate experience of the actual. I have written of the PCE that I was able to recall, but it did take some digging to remember it, as it had no emotional imprint on my memory, such was its purity – and ‘I’ was not present as an emotional experiencer or interpreter.

The PCE is the essential reference point in the search for an Actual Freedom as opposed to merely a synthetic spiritual freedom or ASC. Even then the lure of the power and authority afforded by Enlightenment is a potent force to be battled with. The only danger that exists on the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom is that you may become Enlightened, but the path is becoming a little more well trodden now – a mere handful admittedly, but sufficient to provide written information to other intrepid travellers.

So the point of this is that it is essential to have an intent as to what it is you want to do with your ‘digging in’. What is your aim, what is your goal, what is it you want to do with your life? As with any activity or action in life an intent is essential. For me it was become the best I can be, to live in the state I experienced in the peak experience (PCE) as a constant 24 hrs. a day, on-going experience. To be the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood mortal body, free of any psychological and psychic entity whatsoever.


PETER: In reply to some of your thoughts – some of my thoughts and discoveries –

RESPONDENT: Some of my thoughts:

  1. Your method is not new, but I admit it is great. It is not popular because it requires guts. To examine your past as it influences your present. To ruthlessly examine all opinions, belief pattern, emotions, addictions, fears, manipulations, imaginations, devotions, inferiority complexes in light of a pure, pristine experience of perfection of this life at this moment. One needs to have a courage to stand alone.

PETER: At first I thought there was nothing new about running the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ until it dawned on me one day that when I was not feeling good then I had something to look at immediately, something to investigate, some feeling that was the cause of my unhappiness. It gave me something to do! I had some work to do – to ‘get down and get dirty’, go digging around in there. Look in all those corners I dared not look at before. Gather some courage and look into both the ‘good’ feelings ‘I’ hold so dear and the ‘bad’ ones lurking underneath. After all we only need love and compassion because we feel malice and sorrow – resentment and despair.

The answer lies in eliminating both the ‘good’ and the bad’ feelings – for we only need the good ones because we have the bad ones.

It soon became obvious that to be happy and harmless meant that all sorrow and malice had to be eliminated in me – not merely covered over by ‘good’ feelings in order to evince an actual freedom from malice and sorrow rather than a synthetic one.

But do see it as the Human Condition – as a ‘bummer of a birthmark’ – it’s just the way we humans have been programmed with beliefs and instincts. That way it becomes delicious fun and a thrilling journey through the human psyche. And it all just goes on in your head anyway. Oft times I would think I’m going mad as ‘I’ was actively dismantling my own self.

But then I’d find myself making coffee and toast the next morning ... and wondering what’s next?

PETER: I broke my reply in two as it got dauntingly long. You just raised such good points to explore and we can but just ‘skim the surface’, but it may give you a flavour of questioning, challenging, exploring if you are interested to pursue these things for yourself.

RESPONDENT: Another story is that Zen practitioners might become too addicted to the practice itself that is just supposed to train them to become one’s senses. It is like, first you go to school, but you should not remain there forever. Right? I like Zen in its simples form, (wherever you go – there you are) I discard all sutras, temples etc as an burden. It is like, first you go to school, but you should not remain there forever. Right?

PETER: If you mean by ‘go to school’ the place where you were imbibed with the teachings that the teachers tell you – then that is where we all start.

We humans all come in to the world for the first time and others who have already been here before us tell us how it is.

This teaching begins with our parents and continues on at school and is reinforced by the peer group that we belong to.

When I studied architecture, others told me what it is to be an architect, how to do it and how the system worked. I found myself at the end of my studies, sitting in an office and not really knowing anything about what went on except what I had been taught. And I began to realise that the teachers who had taught me were full-time teachers and had very little experience in, or contact with, the real world outside of academia.

I soon got out of the office and on to building sites in order to find out what really went on. I began to realise that what I had been taught was only the established, accepted way of understanding and doing things. But the more I found out the more I could go with what worked for me, what was sensible, what was easy, what was simple, what was fair to all, what bought delight.

In the end I found the way that worked for me bore no resemblance to the way I was taught.

I eventually developed the intent and desire to apply the same approach to the rest of my life – find out what makes me happy and go for more of it, and, more scary, to eliminate the ‘me’ in me who takes offence, so that I am harmless and bingo ... I am here in a paradise that has been here all along. I just needed to question what everyone told me as the only way to be, and get rid of the animal instincts of fear and aggression.

And it was serendipitous to come across Richard because he is such an expert on Enlightenment and Actual Freedom. I could pick his brain, so to speak.

Get stuck in and check it out. Try it. See if it works. Go out and find a woman and try living together in peace and harmony. Try to eliminate anger in me. If that worked – what about jealousy? Wow! ...what’s the next thing to get free of ...

With Richard, it was so good to find someone who ‘walked the talk’ as No. 11 said the other day, rather than a teacher who was simply telling me the same old stuff that obviously didn’t work.

As kids we all went go to school to learn how things are and then we left school to hit the world. It took a while but eventually I came to use the opportunity of being a grown-up to find out for myself rather than simply continuing to believe and follow what I had been taught.

That’s all that I have been saying ... but everyone wants to go on believing what they have been taught by others. ‘This is the way it is and cannot be otherwise’. ‘The Truth cannot be challenged’ ... ‘this is the way we humans have been since time immemorial.’ ‘You can’t change Human Nature...’

Not much room for anything new with this lot ringing in your ears, hey.

I looked around and saw if this ‘humanity’ is the direct result of the teachings of school and church then maybe, just maybe everybody has got it 180 degrees wrong (as Richard happened to whisper in my ear one day).

I used anything I could to get free of the clutches of humanity – rebelliousness, refusal to surrender to anyone, refusal to give up, refusal to accept life as it is, bloody-mindedness, stubbornness as well as my naivety, sincerity, and integrity. Whatever I could use to get free I did, I broke all the spiritual rules and psittacisms, all the holy and sacred no-no’s, all the rules. Eventually all the feelings of a separate ‘me’ wilted and died in the face of the purity and perfection I found being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. That purity and perfection that I had experienced in my peak experience 12 years ago.

It beats any ‘feeling’ of ‘coming home’ or ‘being love’ by a country mile, because it is actual.

I’d better stop, it’s time for a coffee that Vineeto has just brewed ...

I thoroughly recommend not only leaving school, but questioning the teacher’s teachings as to whether they are bringing you what you want in your life.

If simple Zen is fine for you, zen zat school’s teachings must be working for you ...

I’m not just talking about leaving school but checking out what was taught.

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?

RESPONDENT: It didn’t happen while asking ‘how do I experience being here’, this question led me into discrimination instead of acceptance, it led me into searching instead of finding, it led me into judging good or bad and into making choices and to make up my mind about what I want or not.

PETER: For me, running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ led to discrimination – was there anything that was preventing my happiness in this moment, the only moment that I can experience being alive? Then I wanted to find out what feeling or emotion was there (sad, angry, bored, etc.), why it was there in me and what had caused it to be there ... so as to eventually eliminate it ... so I had more happiness in my life. I refused to accept being angry at others, and sad for myself.

It was a continuous search-and-destroy mission and once I got to the very root of a feeling I found that I could eliminate it – or rather it disappeared. My searching led me to ‘finding’ and fixing each time again. I was getting tangible results for my efforts. I threw out moral and ethical judgements and went for judging on the basis of silly and sensible, and I made many choices on that basis with the aim of becoming more happy and more harmless.

But the first thing I had to do was – I had to make up my mind as to what I wanted to do with my life.

RESPONDENT: Asking ‘what am I’ freed me of all this, now for the first time in my life I feel free and centred and in this way everything is totally perfect. How could it not be? Only the mind can delude us.

PETER: And only our intelligence can save us from our passions and instinctual emotions of fear and aggression. Only our native intelligence and common sense – the human brain freed of any psychological and psychic entity whatsoever – can free us of the illusion of ‘Humanity’ and the delusion of ‘Divinity’.

RESPONDENT: I’ve enjoyed your point(s) of view very much. Quite refreshing. And I commend you on your guts – jumping into the fray so to speak here in Osho land, hahaha hahaha hahaha – what a riot! I also understand your exit – who wants to fight or preach ... and you do not strike me at such a person but rather as an individualist not afraid of reality or standing alone if need be.

Peter you are an excellent writer – clear, logical, and your stories (ecstasy story was great) are interesting. So keep on writing, even if not here, because what you have to say, your thoughts, observations, experience are worthwhile, even valuable I would say and have much in them to consider.

Thanks for your sharing here.

PETER: Thanks for your note.

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.

I was having lunch with friends the other day and explaining to a woman that this is the only moment that you can experience being alive, the past is but a memory and the future, when it happens... will be now. So this moment is the only moment that we can experience. If your aim in life is to be happy and in this moment you are sad, angry, bored or whatever, then it is essential to root around, find the cause, the trigger and see where you went ‘off the rails’.

Then get back to being happy now. As success comes you are able to get free of more of the feelings, emotions, moods, instinctual passions, etc that prevent you from becoming happy and harmless.

As I was talking to her face lit up, at the enormity of realizing and experiencing that there is only this moment to experience. All of a sudden she was here, fully occupied with the business of being alive. She was not ‘somewhere else’, there was no ‘guard up’, no ‘interpreter’ – and we were able to talk human being to human being – intimate, direct.

She and her partner had read my journal some months ago and have been musing things over. She said that things have been up and down between them, and felt it was the right time to try to get a little deeper in their relationship – to set their sights a bit higher. We had a great conversation about this business of being a human being, past experiences and aims in life. What they make of it is up to them, of course, but it was so good to talk of these things. A rare privilege.

So maybe for you, you might find something useful, or food for thought and contemplation.

If so, good, if not, fine.

After all, it is your life you are living ... but I wish you well.

RESPONDENT: Since you seem to feel you have cornered the market on becoming happy and harmless by using Richard’s methods,

PETER: No, it is freely available to anyone who wishes to change to become happy and harmless. It is entirely up to them. I write precisely to make others aware of this new alternative. I am no one special, I had not a miraculous childhood, I am not specially blessed with great intelligence, or Divine realizations. I simply took an opportunity that serendipitously came my way and decided that as what I had been pursuing for 17 years had not freed me from malice and sorrow, I’d give it 100%.

RESPONDENT: which apparently involved only seeing what is actually right in front of your noses,

PETER: No, it involved an active and relentless period of investigation, contemplation and elimination of both the psychological and psychic entities that dwelled in my head and heart. The churning feelings and emotions that refused to let me, as this body, be here – to fully be the senses – to be these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, these fingers typing and this brain thinking – and to be aware that it is all happening in this very moment. Have you ever contemplated that this universe is happening in this very moment, that there is no master plan, no existence, no God? That there is a vast and actual freedom available right now for those intrepid enough to journey out of the real world and out of the spiritual world. For those willing enough to come to their senses both figuratively and literally.

RESPONDENT: how can you possibly know from your own experience that there are no others who are happy and harmless? Have you in fact encountered every other single human being alive on this planet in order to be able to judge the absolute state of humanity? I think not...

PETER: A lot of people on the list seem to have this objection. I wrote in the introduction to my journal that ‘... as I gradually forced myself to admit, I was as mad and as bad, as everyone else.’ It was difficult as I had a good dose of spiritual arrogance running such that I was on the path, I was seeking, I wasn’t one of them who was fighting and killing and arguing. A sincere and honest self-appraisal soon revealed sorrow – sadness, melancholy, compassion, sharing, etc. and malice – resentment, withdrawing, ‘subtle’ revenges, sarcasm, gossiping, etc. But the thing that really got me going and up off my smug complacent bum was reading of the Milgram experiment – it’s in my journal in the Peace chapter.

And then to contemplate what I would have done at the end of the Ranch when an armed conflict looked a distinct possibility.

The level of honest introspection required in becoming free of emotions and feelings is frightening to most. And rightly so as it would be the end of you as you know yourself now. You readily and willingly ‘self’-immolate.

As for my ability to judge the absolute state of humanity, it is universally (albeit a little reluctantly) acknowledged, that we are born with the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. It is denied by those who believe we are born ‘innocent’, but not only do we have the evidence of behavioural studies, direct personal observation but specific genes are beginning to be discovered that relate specifically to this instinctual programming.

No doubt some freaks and genetic mutants do exist who may have escaped a bit of this genetic programming but it essentially tars us all with the same brush. Most people do a bloody good job on keeping a lid on these instinctual urges in themselves, but this very need to control oneself is the cause of most of our sense of ‘not being free’ or having shackles on as I experienced. Only when these instincts are tackled and eliminated is the individual capable of becoming actually free from malice and sorrow.

It’s just that 160,000,000 have been killed in wars this century alone not to mention all the murders, suicides, rapes, tortures, corruption, repression, depression, etc.

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