Selected Correspondence Peter
Pure Consciousness Experience
PETER: (...) Whilst the fact that matter is ‘not merely passive’ should be patently obvious to modern-day humans, this was not so for those who lived in ancient times when ignorance of the actual nature of the matter of the universe led to the fear-ridden fables, superstitions and beliefs that all matter, be it animate or inanimate, was infused by good and evil spirits. It is obvious that if one ever aspires to live in the actual world, the first necessary step is to stop giving credibility to any of the ancient fables, superstitions and spirit beliefs that constitute so-called ‘ancient wisdom’.
RESPONDENT: Is (all) matter (water, trees, animals, various objects) alive and intelligent when experienced in a PCE?
PETER: No. Matter, when experienced in a PCE, does not change its properties for the properties of matter are inherent to matter itself. Water is not alive, as is animate matter, nor is it intelligent. Intelligence – the ability to think, reflect, plan, communicate, and to be aware of that ability as it is happening – is a faculty unique to the animate matter of the human brain. Trees are alive in that they are vegetate matter and I have described vegetate matter as being ‘not merely passive’ above. Trees are not intelligent.
Animals are alive in that they are organism consisting of cooperate collections of animate matter or living cells. The only animal with the capacity to be intelligent is the human animal – albeit that this intelligence is somewhat impaired by the genetically-encoded rudimentary instinctual survival passions that have now well and truly passed their use-by-date.
When the intelligence that is a function of the human brain is temporarily freed to operate unimpeded by the animal survival passions, as ‘experienced in a PCE’, the normal ‘self’-centred values that human beings impose on the matter of the universe – it’s ugly, she’s ugly, it’s abhorrent, he’s abhorrent, it’s dull, he’s dull, she’s dull, it’s depressing, he’s depressing, it’s annoying, she’s annoying, it’s aggravating, he’s aggravating, it’s beautiful, he’s beautiful, she’s beautiful, it’s dear to me, he’s dear to me, she’s dear to me, it’s spiritual, it’s divine, he’s divine, she’s divine, and so on – all fall away, as if a veil has suddenly been lifted.
What is suddenly seen is that the matter of the universe – all matter, be it animate or inanimate, be it animal, vegetable or mineral, be it unfashioned by humans or fashioned by humans – has an inherent quality. The inherent quality of matter is something that is experienced sensately and a sensate-only experience of the quality of matter experienced in a PCE is a sensuous experience – it’s warm, it’s cold, it’s moist, it’s dry, it’s shiny, it’s smooth, it’s soft, it’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s quiet, it’s boisterous, it’s loud, it’s scintillating, it’s fascinating, he’s a fellow human being, she’s a fellow human being, and so on. In a PCE the universe is experienced as it actually is – perfect, pure, pristine and peerless.
RESPONDENT: Is there a difference (concerning the quality of the object involved) when looking at a polyester cup in a PCE compared with our ordinary experience of it?
PETER: Again, the quality of an object does not change when an object is looked when one is having a pure consciousness experience, because the quality of an object is inherent to the object itself. What happens in a PCE is that ‘I’ temporarily disappear, along with the ‘self’-centred and anthropomorphic values and judgements ‘I’ automatically impose upon all matter, be it inanimate or animate – a constant evaluation of every thing as being good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, something to envy, scorn, fear or desire, something felt to be ‘mine’ or ‘yours’, someone felt to be friend or foe, and so on.
A currently fashionable value that many people unwittingly impose on objects is that they regard any objects that are fashioned by human beings from the mineral matter of the earth as being ‘unnatural’, hence artificial, going against nature, alien, improper, false, ugly, deviant, corrupted, evil, harmful and so on, whilst they feel matter in its raw state to be natural, wholesome, beautiful, beneficial, good, pure, innocent, true, unadulterated and so on.
The root source of these emotion-backed judgements imposed on the objects fashioned by human beings from the mineral matter of the earth, is the belief that human beings were pure and innocent in their primitive stone-age state and that this purity and innocence has been corrupted by the technological progresses of the iron age, the bronze age, the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, the invention of electricity, the silicon chip and so on. In its crudest form this belief manifests as a collective feeling of guilt that human beings are aliens who have and are still corrupting and polluting the natural environment of the planet.
As can be seen, for an actualist there is a good deal of work to be done in demolishing these beliefs by replacing them with facts before one can expect to be able to sensuously experience the inherent quality of the matter of the universe, unimpeded by ‘my’ beliefs, values and judgements that ‘I’ unwittingly and automatically superimpose on everything I see, touch, hear, smell and taste as well as every human being I meet in person or hear about.
RESPONDENT: And is that perception objective, in the sense ‘that’s the way that cup really is’?
PETER: There is a world of difference between the normal human perception of the way it ‘really is’ or the way ‘‘I’ feel it to be’ and the ‘self’-less perception of the actuality of the universe as experienced in a PCE.
RESPONDENT: Experienced in an enlightened state, I am the cup and the cup is Me, the cup has intelligence and is not merely dead matter, My perception allows me not only to represent it in the brain but also to Be the elements which make the polyester cup (the atoms and the molecules).
PETER: This is an excellent description of the extent of the delusion that can eventuate when someone is afflicted with an altered state of consciousness. Common sense is the first casualty whenever anyone embarks on the spiritual path.
RESPONDENT: At this stage I can see a difference in experiencing the same cup in an ASC (via Self) – being the cup, ordinary way (via self) – associating a qualia which distorts the perception, like watching a mirror image of the cup in the mind (different image for different persons), or seeing it in a PCE – naked perception, direct experiencing, crystal-clear view (for the moment, that’s only theory in my case).
PETER: Whilst I realize it can only be theory for someone who cannot remember having had a PCE – nevertheless if the explanations you read make sense to you, you could up the ante and call it a good working theory or a prima facie case such that it tweaks your curiosity to explore further.
RESPONDENT: I suppose things get more complicated when dealing with people, how do you xp them?
PETER: As I said above, animals are alive in that they are animate animal matter, but the only animal with the capacity to be intelligent is the human animal – albeit that this intelligence is somewhat impaired by the genetically-encoded rudimentary instinctual survival passions that have now well and truly passed their use-by-date.
A practicing actualist commits himself or herself to removing all of ‘my’ values, judgements and demands that ‘I’ unwittingly impose upon other people such that they can be clearly seen, and treated, as being what they actually are – fellow human beings. Or to put it another way, a practicing actualist is someone who has devoted his or her life to actualizing peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: It’s late in the night and I’m walking escorted by Police together with a few friends to the nearest police station. The dark, clear, sparkling summer sky, the pleasant-chilly air of the night is in sharp contrast with the blood springing out of my injuries, with my wrecked T-shirt and with the noisy talk of the people walking alongside me.
They speak about revenge, about justice, showing off their injuries, saying that the aggressors will pay dearly for their doings, making battle plans, being clouded by an instinctive atmosphere of hate and irrationalism. They resemble somehow with an infuriated bull at a Spanish Corrida. Contrary to my fellow companions, I’m feeling very peacefully, at ease with myself, somehow bemused by the whole story, enjoying the night walk.
It’s not always like this. I remember on other occasions having moments of absolute and irrational anger, being obsessed with revenge plans, sometimes taking the form of criminal impulses. I could see, on this particular life situation, the spiral of violence, the vicious circle which swallows one if responding by the same means, the process of crime, the process which makes you think that you can end violence with even more violence. This is a random example of what is happening at this very moment perhaps with greater consequences in another place on Earth.
PETER: From your description you seem to have had an other-than-normal experience of some sort, bought on by the shock of the incident. I have talked to many people who have related similar experiences after car accidents and the like. Some people are even shocked out of their normal ‘self’-centred state into the actuality of being here and when the ‘self’ re-enters the stage, this can lead to various scenarios. If the shock is of having been near-death, a feeling of being grateful (to a Saviour of some sort) for being saved from death is common. If the shock is the death or departure of someone close, a yearning for a permanent (as in immortal), unconditional (as in all-loving), companion (a God of some sort) is common. Both of these reactions are disassociative, in that they are an escape from grim reality into the passionate fantasy of a Greater Reality, a ‘turning away’ if you like.
I have had versions of both these types of after-shock experiences in my lifetime and I know well the seductive power of indulging in disassociative states. But I also have had occasions where the shock of particular incidents in my life resulted not in disassociative states but in brief periods of utter clarity. These pure consciousness experiences can be quite challenging because, for a brief period of time, one clearly sees the world as-it-is and people as-they-are. One of these experiences afforded me the opportunity of experiencing that we human beings are involved in an on-going grim instinctual battle for survival – fought psychologically and psychically as well as physically – that is utterly senseless given the cornucopian abundance and perfect splendour of this verdant paradisiacal planet.
I saw that this battle was ‘self’-centred, in that it was fought out by psychological and psychic entities who thought and felt instinctively they were different to and alien from each other. As I pondered the nature of this instinct-driven battle, I understood that only by becoming completely ‘self’-less could flesh and blood human bodies be actually free of this battle. And I also understood that the venerated age-old spiritual path headed in the opposite direction to the solution of ending this ‘self’-centred battle because it was clear that the aim of all spiritual practice is ‘self’-aggrandizement and not ‘self’-extinction.
This pure consciousness experience seemed other-worldly at the time, as indeed it was, because I was shocked out of my normal dream-like reality into the actual world – the actuality of what I am as opposed to being ‘who’ I think and feel I am. I knew not what to do with the experience at the time except that it gave me a glimpse that freedom meant not only becoming free from normal grim reality, but also from the sham of a Greater Reality. Some years later, I serendipitously came across a man who had not only become free from both of these ‘realities’ but was also able to tell me how he did it.
No matter what experience you had after your brush with violence – and I am no arbiter of others’ experiences – any opportunity to be free of the ever-present veil of grim reality whilst avoiding the traps of disassociative states, can afford a human being with a wealth of invaluable information. The insights and questions that come from the temporarily lifting of the veil of reality can also offer a daring challenge – to become actually free from being a passionate participant in the grim instinctual battle for survival that inflicts the current human species.
RESPONDENT: Hi Peter & No 37, I am following the conversation with interest (not 100% attention as I give to other matters involving consciousness, but I am intending to give it a thorough thought/read soon). Some points I observed/request for comment/ clarification:
Peter as I understand says: Relativity and Quantum Physics are mathematical models of this universe whose conclusions (like Big Bang proviso Expanding Universe, No matter Only Energy) are in contradiction to our normal experiencing of this Universe (and using our common sense, the sense we use to deal with everyday matters).
PETER: Normal human experiencing of the physical universe is that ‘I’, as a non-physical entity parasitically residing in a physical body, thinks and feels the physical universe to be an alien and fearful place (contrary to anthropocentric/ geocentric thinking, the physical universe is not limited to what is out there, it includes this planet and its oceans, clouds, earth, trees, animals, human beings, rivers, cities, buildings and so on). It is only because human beings think and feel themselves to be separate from the physical world of the senses that they have long imagined and felt that there is an underlying reality the physical world – an underlying reality that is metaphysical in nature.
When you take this on board it is clear that Einsteinian subjective relativity is but the latest in a long line of mathematical/ philosophical/ mystical theories that propose that there is a metaphysical underlying reality (a timeless, spaceless and formless reality) to the physical matter and space that is this infinite and eternal universe.
RESPONDENT: Moreover, everybody in these circles have tried to fit common sense with these models and seem to have failed and only ask us to abandon the common sense and use principles of logic and experimental evidence(?), not imagination based on common sense (that which we use to conduct our everyday life).
PETER: I take it from what you have written that you have had a pure consciousness experience whereby you have directly experienced the infinitude of the actual universe. If this is the case, you would know by your own direct experience that it is only ‘me’, the parasitical entity, who thinks and feels himself to be separate from, and alien to, the physical universe … and when ‘I’ am temporarily absent in a PCE all feelings of separation and alienation disappears.
Perhaps I can put it this way – a PCE is the direct sensate experience of the actuality of the physical universe because ‘he’ of ‘she’ who desperately seek a metaphysical underlying reality to the physical universe, is temporality in abeyance. This is the antithesis to an altered state of consciousness whereby the supposed underlying metaphysical reality of the universe is imaginatively and passionately revealed because ‘I’ think and feel myself to be a part of the illusionary underlying metaphysical reality (or in some cases even the creator of this Reality).
RESPONDENT: As a layman (outsider to the understanding of intrinsic nuts and bolts of how these works), one is concerned here how it translates to this everyday world... I am not particularly interested in how well the foundations are supported using logic and mathematics.
PETER: Nor am I. Whether people think this underlying reality is religious or mystical or mathematical in nature does not interest me at all. It’s their fantasy after all.
What is on offer on this mailing list is an actual freedom from the human condition including a freedom from all of the fantasies that propose that there is an underlying metaphysical reality to the physical universe. And the very first step in becoming actually free of the human condition is to abandon all of these religious or mystical or mathematical fantasies and start to come down-to-earth to the world of the senses where we humans actually live.
RESPONDENT: I do have one question as to how to get started. I have been poking around the web site in a fairly haphazard way. Is there a recommended sequence?
PETER: Not really. All that needs to be said is said on the front page of Richard’s part of the site and any areas of specific interest you may have are catalogued by topic in the library with related correspondence from both sections of the web-site.
From my experience, poking around is a good way to determine if what is being said is of interest to you. This can be seen as the stage of establishing a prima facie case as to the credibility of what is offered such that you can decide, one way or the other, whether you want to take it on in practice.
If you do decide to set your sights on becoming happy and harmless, then your use of the web-site may then become less haphazard as you can hone in on the particular idiosyncratic issues that are impeding your own happiness or sparking off your own aggravation in your daily life.
RESPONDENT: Also, a few nights ago after I got off work at 4pm; I may have experienced what is termed a PCE around here. [A term btw, that I had never heard of before coming here, the same for ASC and many others] ... anyways ... just to borrow a few words from this site that seemed to fit the description of that experience were pure, purity, direct, in the sense that a film or veneer had been removed from the world. Its like before there was always a thin film and now it was gone. I was helping my father fix a household appliance in the evening and there was an intimacy with him never before experienced. There was a minimum of the internal dialogue that generally goes on and on. This lasted the whole afternoon and evening, till bed and I woke up like that but then it was finished. That was something different than I had ever felt before.
PETER: I would take it from your description that the experience was something that you would like to have more of.
As you read more on the website I can recommend stopping every now and again and deliberately making the effort to recall that experience. By remembering the flavour of that experience you will be more able to access the naiveté necessary to understand what is on offer on the site and you will thus be more able to read what is on offer with the clear eyes that I assume you had during that experience.
When I recalled my first PCE, it became clear to me that the way to get from ‘A’ – being normal – to ‘B’ – having an ongoing direct experience of actuality 24/7 – was that ‘I’ had to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless … and that this commitment had to be so total as to be an all-consuming obsession. I don’t want to gallop ahead too much, but the reason I mention this is to point to the essential link between becoming happy and harmless and becoming free of the human condition – they are one and the same path.
PETER: Just a note on something I have been musing over and that also seems to be an issue with others on the list.
RESPONDENT: Convincing ‘me’ to self-sacrifice for the benefit to oneself and others of a permanent PCE, would certainly carry more weight if I could get into full blown PCEs. At the moment I seem to be lingering at the edge with regular glimpses but nothing which could add depth to an altruistic passion. I feel at the present I will have to settle for desire and common sense.
RESPONDENT to No. 7: Some time ago I remember thinking about that quite a bit and remember coming to the realization that the wonderful thing about the way of actualism is that firstly it is not too difficult to work out where your at. i.e.: good 99% of the time, great 99% of the time, or PCE 99% of the time. Of course, in the last example any brain pain could just be the beginning of the end. Secondly, it is possible to explore any of the above to see if there is any emotion behind it.
That is a pretty sure indication that it is made up by ‘me’.
PETER: I think it may be useful that we coin another term for that lingering on the edge of a PCE or that almost, but not quite, 99% PCE. There is a woman who describes this as an ‘excellence experience’ – the best one can be while the ‘self’ is still present. It is most definitely not a PCE for one can look inside, as it were and there is still a ‘me’ as a feeler and an ‘I’ as a thinker but it is so far above normal it is worthwhile naming and labelling.
The benefit of this acknowledgement for an actualist is that these experiences are the proof of the pudding that one’s effort is bringing reward. The idea is to expand these ‘excellence experiences’ until one can go to bed at night-time saying that one has had a 99% perfect day in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
This is no small thing in a world where doom and gloom is the norm and were escaping to the self-deception and fantasy of yet another world, is held to be the ‘only’ solution.
So, what I am proposing is a new term – an excellence experience – in order that we don’t get into the spiritual trap of watering down experiences and confusing terms such as in the fashionable interposing of Awakened and Enlightened. Thus Virtual Freedom – living in an almost constant experience of excellence – is a prerequisite stage for an actualist prior to Actual Freedom. Once one can reach this stage, it is then possible to begin the next stage of dismantling the tender emotions, exactly as Richard did in his years between Enlightenment and Actual Freedom. This is more subtle, and in many ways more demanding, work for this is entirely new territory – way out beyond both normal and completely opposite to spiritual. Because of this, a considerable period of gaily living via common sense, freed of emotional turmoil, is vital and a necessary preparation for the final and irrevocable step into an actual freedom from the human condition.
What do you think? Is this a useful new term or is it only confusing? Actualism is totally new and we are writing the script, forging the path, and I welcome your comment and any others from the list.
RESPONDENT: I’m satisfied for now, and need to do some more reading and practicing so I can come up with yet more probing questions. Oh yeah, and study the dictionary.
PETER: Reading and practicing is a good combination.
If you can’t remember having had a PCE in the past, then contemplating on what you are reading may well induce one. What I did was read deliberately looking for the differences between actualism and spiritualism and the resulting realization that everyone has got it 180 degrees will induce a PCE, because one can only fully realize that everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong by being temporarily outside of the human condition.
The most direct way to induce a PCE, of course, is by practicing actualism – asking yourself, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ There will often be serendipitous opportunities occurring when you are not feeling worried, stressed, anxious, annoyed, melancholy or such, when a brief lull can occur in one’s normal ‘self’-centred perception and a sensuous appreciation of the purity and perfection of the actual world seeps in. When this happens you get to directly experience that there are in fact three worlds – an illusionary real world, a delusionary spiritual world and an actual world that is incorruptible in its perfection.
The aim of asking oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is to develop a fascination with the immediate-only business of being here. A self’-less sensuous appreciation of being here is often likely to happen when one is not busy with one’s feelings but when one brings one’s fascinated attention to the very surface of the eyeballs as it were, to the very surface of the skin, to the eardrums when hearing, to the nose when smelling, to the taste buds in the mouth when eating or drinking. Whenever a PCE happens you get to directly experience the freedom from the human condition that is being freely offered on the Actual Freedom Trust website.
PETER: (...) What I didn’t find at all subtle, and what really got me off my bum, is the fact that each and every human being is not only socially programmed to remain faithful to Humanity but that each and every human being is genetically encoded with the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Understanding this was of such significance to me that I put it this way on the very first page of my journal –
RESPONDENT: I started to go through your journal (as one related experience is worth a thousand metaphors), haven’t gotten too far into it, but came across one interesting item. You state that one of your first/strong PCEs occurred while under the influence of mind-altering substances. I have had my share of similar episodes and often wondered why that clear, direct experience couldn’t be carried over into the ‘normal’ life. Despite the general sentiment that those types of experiences weren’t ‘real’, I always suspected that they could actually translate to the mundane. Your journal suggests that that is the case. Good.
PETER: There is ample evidence that all of the revered other-worldly spiritual experiences have their roots in mind-altering psychotropic substances. As far as I have ascertained, every ancient culture had shamans or Godmen who imbibed magical potions in order to access the world of the spirits and Gods. In the East many Buddhists and Hindus seeking an experience of Nirvana still openly practice this tradition. I have seen many a Hindu Holy-man high on ganja in India and saw a Buddhist monk in Japan following in the tradition of searching for magic mushrooms to aid his meditation.
In the West, mind-altering substances have gradually been phased out of religious practice over the centuries, but their use by the youth of the 60’s spawned an exodus to the East in search of the permanent drug experience. Thus the search for the peace-on-earth experience that is sometimes induced by the use of psychotropic drugs eventually devolved and dissipated into the traditional Eastern search for the Nirvana experience, the ‘I am God’ experience. Those who didn’t pursue the Eastern spiritual tradition soon found that the effectiveness of mind-altering drugs in producing peak experiences wore off over repeated usage, leaving many of them dependant on the drugs as a temporary way of getting out of ‘normal’ grim reality.
Personally, I only had a pure consciousness experience the first time I used the drug ecstasy and because subsequent usage failed to produce a similar experience, I soon gave up using it. In speaking to other people, this decline in effect over time seems common, whilst many reported that psychotropic drug use resulted in altered state of consciousness experiences or other psychotic experiences rather than pure consciousness experiences.
The confusion over the differences between a pure consciousness experience and an altered state of consciousness exists because both experiences are of an ‘other-than-normal-world’ – one being a direct sensuous experience of actuality and the actual world, the other being an affective experience of a culturally-sustained imaginary spirit-ual world. An actualist needs to be very attentive as to the nature of any other-than-normal-world experiences so as to be able to ascertain for himself or herself whether the experience is imaginary or actual, affective or sensate, fantastical or down-to-earth, ‘self’-enhancing or pure. (You can find some background information on the website).
Nowadays, we know that the magical potions used by the ancient shamans and Godmen are not magic potions but substances containing chemicals that have an effect on the functioning of the brain – commonly they increase the flow of dopamine within the brain, as I understand it. The human body sometimes produces an excess of dopamine naturally, in times of great shock, in pain or in life threatening or near-death situations, which would also account for the reports of altered states of consciousness experiences and pure consciousness experiences that sometimes occur in these situations.
Whilst I have no moral objections to the use of mind-altering psychotropic drugs, they are generally illegal, their effectiveness diminishes with repeated use, many have possible harmful side effects and they commonly produce an array of psychotic experiences such as dread, bliss, paranoia and assorted delusionary states. Whilst psychotropic drugs can temporarily cause the ‘door’ to actuality to open, allowing a pure consciousness experience to happen, they cannot by themselves make one permanently free from the human condition.
What I have personally experienced, and seen in others, however, is that the persistent use of the actualism method – a sensuous attentiveness to being here – does produce the conditions whereby a drug-free pure consciousness experience can happen. As a working hypothesis, I would tentatively speculate that a sensuous attentiveness can lead to realizations – or ‘radical shifts in perception’ as you have termed them further on in this post – that have a shock effect which causes the brain to flood with dopamine, which in turn can cause a temporary interruption to the entire affective system. It is this affective system that both sustains and gives credence to one’s very ‘self’.
Whatever the neurological explanation, it is clear that a committed actualist can, by the intensity of his or her investigations and purity of his or her intent, produce the circumstances where pure consciousness experiences naturally happen as a result of the process.
But to get back to your point about being able to live the ‘clear, direct experience’ that mind-altering drugs sometimes produce as a permanent on-going down-to-earth experience. My experience is that the process of actualism works in that it progressively removes the impediments that form the gulf between ‘normal’ ‘self’-centred affective experiencing and ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiencing. This allows one to get to a stage of being virtually free of malice and sorrow, living in a state where feeling excellent is normal and where drug-free pure consciousness experiences are common.
Just as an aside, it is interesting that actualism also produces results that far exceed the other traditional aspect of Eastern religion – the practice of meditation. The intense practice of meditation can also produce other-than-normal-world experiences. Because meditation involves the gradual and deliberate shutting down of one’s sensate experiencing of the physical world and the intentional enhancing imaginary-affective experiencing, it most often results in altered state of consciousness experiences, especially those of the consciousness-aggrandizing type. I have also had pure consciousness experiences from meditative practice but it is clear from talking to others that these are rare exceptions and by no means the norm. Again from experience, a virtual freedom from the human condition is so stress-free, enjoyable and peaceful that there is no need to seek relief in quiet periods of ‘getting out of it’ – a practice which does nought but heighten the traditional dichotomy between an ‘inner’ peace and a stress-full ‘outer’ life in the marketplace.
RESPONDENT: You will, of course, correct my use of the word ‘believe’ in that statement as you have direct experience of the infinite / eternal nature of the universe, and your common sense tells you so.
PETER: Indeed, and the reason I have had many direct experiences of the infinitude of the physical universe is that I stopped believing the cosmological theories and spiritual fantasies that propose that the physical universe is other than infinite and eternal. And it was not ‘my’ common sense that told me so – it was common sense itself that led me to experientially discover that it is so.
RESPONDENT: How can you possibly ‘experience’ that the universe is infinite and eternal?
PETER: In a pure consciousness experience the universe is experienced as-it-is, infinite and eternal, boundless and happening in this very moment. In a pure consciousness experience, temporarily there is no ‘I’ present, which means the consciousness of this body is no longer ‘self’-centred, which means that there is no ‘me’ present to be the centre of ‘my’ world. This means that I, this flesh and blood body, is bereft of an affective point of reference … then, the experience is that this body is no-where in particular in boundless space and no-when in particular in perpetual time.
It is an experience of unparalleled freedom for it is a direct experience of the infinitude of the peerless actual world we flesh and blood humans live in.
RESPONDENT: Can you sensately experience its lack of bounds?
PETER: From my experience, I would say that what is experienced in a PCE is a lack of a centre, as in ‘self’-centred feelings or thoughts, which results in the sensate experience that the actual world has no bounds i.e. is in fact boundless. In a PCE the actual world is also experienced as eternal in that it can only ever be experienced now (and it is always now). And further, the actual world of the physical universe is experienced as perfect in that it is without peer, and it is experienced as pure in that it is without comparison.
T’is little wonder that a PCE is sometimes referred to as a mind-blowing experience.
RESPONDENT: Did you travel back in time far enough to know that there was no beginning? (Don’t bother responding to these questions... I’ve heard it before.) You suggest that maintaining an open mind about the nature of the cosmos smacks of spiritualism or metaphysics, but to me your stance sounds much more that way.
PETER: If I may point out it is you who are asking rhetorical questions and then telling me not to bother to answer as you have heard it all before, in other words you demonstrating that you are unwilling to change your mind no matter what my response. This means that rather being open minded as you claim, you are being closed minded to even considering the possibility that the physical universe is both infinite and eternal.
You have also made your close-minded stance clear in the past –
To maintain that nothing is ever true is to remain closed minded to the possibility that something may be true or that something you dismiss as being a belief may indeed be a fact.
To maintain that you ‘don’t believe either that the universe is finite or infinite’ is to be closed-minded to even entertaining the possibility that it might be in fact infinite.
RESPONDENT: All the cults made the same kinds of final decisions, and any questioning thereof is off-limits. This sounds just the same.
PETER: Being a member of a cult necessitates that one always believes what the cult authority says to be the truth, which in turn means that one always rejects what non-cult members believe to be the truth as being mere beliefs. The process of actualism on the other hand involves an actualist setting aside all of his or her own beliefs in order to be able to clearly see and understand the facts of the matter, no matter what the consequences.
RESPONDENT: And finally, I read in actualfreedom.com that every person had at least one PCE. I don’t remember having one. And if someone had one and the me was not there, how can be this experience remembered?
PETER: Exactly as the eyes are the stalks of the brain that see and the ears are the stalks of the brain that hear, the brain also has a memory function. However, the clear functioning of the human brain is almost always constantly usurped by a parasitical psychological and psychic self – ‘who’ you think and feel you are as distinct to ‘what’ you are. The only time that a clear consciousness operates as the human brain is when this psychological and psychic ‘self’ is absent, either temporarily in a PCE or permanently when one is actually self-less – actually free from the human condition.
It was my experience that the only way I recalled having had a PCE was by becoming interested in Richard’s descriptions of being free from the human condition and in the method he used to become free. As interest grew into fascination, one day a penny dropped and I remembered I had had an experience of what he was talking about – a pure consciousness experience, free of ‘my’ pernicious self.
In other words, I had to dig down and work hard to evoke the memory that gave me the evidence that a PCE is an utterly down-to-earth sensual experience that only occurs when ‘I’ am temporarily absent.
PETER: The realizations I had about this issue was triggered in meeting my son one day and clearly seeing that many of ‘his’ beliefs, attitudes, opinions and mannerisms were ‘mine’ and further how those that I regarded and cherished as ‘mine’ were really those that were passed on to me from my father. As Pink Floyd sang – ‘just another brick in the wall’ – a wall that stretches unbroken back into the mists of time. And as an instinctual animal I am but one of billions of blind nature’s cannon fodder in the battle for survival of the species, the product of my father’s sperm and I had but one purpose – my primordial sperm-spreading purpose in seeding an egg so as to reproduce yet another combatant in this senseless passionate struggle.
The sheer power of realizations such as these can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair which can lead to ‘dark night of the soul’ experiences with their flip side ‘I’ve seen the Light’ experiences. Sometimes the path to freedom can feel like a tightrope walking act as the very ground of one’s social identity and instinctual being starts to shimmer, shake and, sometimes, even disappear temporarily. The cute thing is when it does disappear temporarily, suddenly there is a pure consciousness experience; suddenly all is perfect and pure, pristine and peaceful as the storm of emotions and neuroses that was ‘me’, just a moment ago, disappears.
GARY: Yes, part of the thrilling aspect of going into all this is the sense that someone is ‘getting somewhere’, and the ‘somewhere’ is actually nowhere at all. It is always here right now where you and I are. When one’s fevered sense of being ceases temporarily, there is surcease from the relentless battle for survival, an end to fear and passionate imagination. Everything is perfectly in its place. Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, these experiences are fleeting, and the very fleetingness spurs one on to find a way to experience this again and again...
PETER: An actualist needs to experience several PCEs so as to confirm, by direct sensuous experience of the actual world, that it is possible to step out of one’s ‘self’ and live outside of Humanity. As such, these PCEs are the essential guide, fuelling the confidence and genuine intent of one’s autonomous pursuit of Actual Freedom.
But given that this is a brand new process it is essential to be wary of the traps of lapsing back into the old spiritual well-worn patterns. Richard pasted a bit out of my journal recently about a period I passed through where the lust for power and Guru-ship instinctually kicked in. As I remember it, it was soon after this that I realized that I was in danger of lapsing into being an experience-junkie as is common with spiritual people. I remember going through months and months wanting an experience that would get me out of here, be a sign, or give me relief from boredom, frustration, fear or whatever other feeling was dominant at the time. Pure consciousness experiences are not ‘mine’ to claim, they serve only to be a guide for what is possible 24 hrs. a day, everyday – upon ‘my’ demise. It is the relentless, incessant work done that brings an end to malice and sorrow, not the chasing of experiences or the experience itself. . PCEs will sneak up on you anyway, and then the important thing is to mine them for information and to remember the experience afterwards. What I would do is take notes during a PCE to aid my memory afterwards when I returned to ‘normal’ afterwards.
Most, if not all, people have had PCEs in their life but they become quickly forgotten for, being ‘self’-less experiences, they leave no emotional memory. Others quickly possess the experience as there own as their emotions flood in and the experience becomes one of passionate awe and imaginary Oneness, rather than one of fascinating wonder and sensuous intimacy.
Some people have had PCEs after lengthy periods of discussion with Richard or by intently reading his words but then they proceed to dismiss the experience and drop their interest in actualism quickly when they find out that they have to do something. To abandon their cherished beliefs and precious pride, turn around 180 degrees and do some bloody hard work in order to experience the 24 hrs. a day living of it.
This is clear evidence that having and remembering PCEs is vital as a taste of what is possible, but then it is what you do with the knowledge gleaned from the experiences, the amount of work and the intensity of effort that you do between the experiences that frees you from the human condition.
PETER: Most, if not all, people have had PCEs in their life but they become quickly forgotten for, being ‘self’-less experiences, they leave no emotional memory. Others quickly possess the experience as there own as their emotions flood in and the experience becomes one of passionate awe and imaginary Oneness, rather than one of fascinating wonder and sensuous intimacy.
GARY: Hmm ... that’s interesting. I never thought to consider that these PCEs leave no emotional memory, but of course not.
PETER: So we could well say it is vitally important to remember the exact nature of pure consciousness experiences for they are vibrant experiences of the pure and sensuous nature of ‘self’-lessness. The traditional mischief has been to claim these experiences as ‘mine’, either sometime during the experience or immediately afterwards, which is exactly what all spiritual seekers have been trained to do. Even without this spiritual intent fear can well up, the passionate instincts of survival can automatically kick in and the instinctual lust for power and immortality can completely take over – giving rise to the ‘I am God’ or the ‘God and I are best mates’ syndromes. Once you know the dangers to be avoided, and maybe even had a taste of them, the next times you are able to check out what is happening during the experience, as in checking out for any emotions or identity present. This should be a relatively simple task for you because, by having the benefit of having read and understood so much about the spiritual imperative, you are forewarned of the instinctual lures that have seduced past seekers of freedom, peace and happiness.
GARY: I was stimulated to write because of an experience I had yesterday.
Yesterday I felt extremely disconnected from the people around me. It was a curious experience, and I have experienced it before. I just wasn’t ‘open for business’. I had, going back a month or two, been experiencing a lot of fears and some malice and aggression. My feelings of ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ have been kicking in too during this time. I have been investigating these feelings in an ongoing way, and now they seem to have subsided a great deal. I have been having some pretty excellent days and I have been extremely engaged with my life.
But yesterday I think I was experiencing this thing that the psychiatrists call ‘derealization’ and I thought of what you said about ‘the door marked ‘Insanity’ becomes more inviting and more alluring by the moment’. I really had the sense, for just a short time, that ‘I’ do not exist – that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’. Ordinarily, this experience would be quite disturbing and I would rush to do something to stop it and return to ‘reality’ but I have learned from actualism that this experience is really like hitting pay dirt. I had been thinking about that old Rolling Stone’s tune where they sing ‘You’re a hundred light years from home...’ I remember taking LSD at the time this song was a hit, completely blowing my mind and getting very freaked out when I would have this kind of experience, which was an extremely lonely feeling. It was similar to that ... only I didn’t feel lonely.
The big difference is that I felt ‘at home’. I felt like this is really where I belong. I noted something else too – when the experience of ‘derealization’ came on board was when it was like a film was removed from my eyes and I could see the actual world. You write about this in your Journal. I experience this most strongly with my visual sense – I had a PCE one day and wrote about it while it was happening – what was most prominent was the deep, pulsating, vibrant colours – for instance, I really was grooving on the colours of my blue jeans, but the feel of them too – the texture and the feel of the fabric was most exquisite. Also the sense of touch – I could feel my heart beating, my breath rhythmically pulling in and out, just happening, with no ‘me’ to control it – all of these fantastic things are happening of their own accord in this perfect physical world with no ‘me’ pulling the strings, controlling what is happening. When there is no ‘I’ as soul or ‘me’ as ego, the actual world rises to my sight, but then this is ‘Insane’, isn’t it?
PETER: Every PCE has a slightly different flavour and is revealing in different ways, depending on the situation and the circumstances. All PCEs are exemplified by a sensuous sensate-rich 360 degrees awareness of this astounding universe and a total absence of any persona – either a neurotic ‘I’ or an impassioned ‘me’. However, each PCE can bring different realizations as you become more comfortable in the experience and more note-full of the differences between these pure ‘self’-less experiences and one’s normal ‘self’-centred chaotic existence. As such, each and every PCE is a fresh opportunity to glean even more information about these differences by direct experience and when the PCE passes, it is this information that often provides the issue that next needs to be worked on.
Everyone has these ‘self’-less experiences, often very briefly in a moment of utter peacefulness when you suddenly realize the absurdity and futility of the passions and neurosis of the person ‘you’ were, only moments before. It is as though all your worries and passions suddenly fall away and the startling immediacy of the infinitude of the actual paradisiacal world is suddenly right here, right under your nose.
Yep, it is insane to consider that the peace and meaning we humans desperately seek is not in some non-material imaginary spiritual world ‘somewhere else’ but that it exists, and always has existed, right here, under our very noses.
And to round this post up, the PCE confirms the purity and perfection of the actual world is not something Richard has invented or concocted – he was simply the first to discover that one can permanently experience the peace and meaning that is always here, has always been here and always will be here in the actual world. As such, an Actual Freedom from the human condition is available to everyone, as is the method and map of actualism that describes how to get here.
PETER: As a child I was able to see the folly of following One-God religions, if only for the fact that the quandary of which God was the True God and which Gods were false Gods has produced almost continuous religious wars and conflicts. Then I got sucked into following a Godman’s promise of joining a community or Sangha that would bring peace on earth. When the experiment failed, as was inevitable, I began to see that the famed spiritual path was nothing other than olde-time religion.
That quite simple realization, i.e. an acknowledgement of fact that shattered the belief I previously held to be a truth, was sufficient to begin the process of extracting myself from the spiritual world and its blatantly ‘self’-centred beliefs and truths.
GARY: Realizations still seem important to me.
PETER: The process of actualism is chock-a-block full of realizations. However, it is important to make a distinction between the realizations that happen in the process of actualism and the traditional Spiritual Realizations, which are better termed Revelations.
One of the clearest distinctions between the two is that for an actualist, at some stage, there is a realization that there is no life after death, that the belief is nought but a gigantic multifaceted fairy-story, whereas for a Spiritualist, at some stage, the realization is a heart-felt embrace of the belief in a spirit-world life after death for ‘me’ as a spirit-being, i.e. only ‘my’ body dies and ‘I’ am immortal.
GARY: One of the realizations I had recently, after all the business of quitting my job, was that spiritual values, or spiritual-type thinking still has a hold on me. I still have within me, probably from hundreds of thousands of years of conditioning, the tendency to think of myself as a flawed ‘sinner’, which results in considerable ‘self’-castigation and ‘self’-loathing. I thought I saw this rather clearly in operation when I was filled with ‘self’-recriminations and ‘self’-criticism after leaving the job. I measure myself to an impossible standard of perfection, and naturally do not measure up and then berate myself most strenuously. I literally flagellate myself. It is, I think, a hangover from my spiritual days. It is form of behaviour which characterizes spiritual believers who blame themselves when they do not measure up to the impossible standards of their chosen spiritual teachings. I observed myself doing the same thing with actualism. Turning it into some kind of Almighty system that I had to measure myself against, and then berating myself because I didn’t measure up. It is something that was quite literally operating in my own psyche and not something that I have picked up from actualism. This is, I think an important insight, and I have caught myself up to the same shenanigans from time to time since then and I am quicker on the uptake this time. So, I think I am still extricating myself from the spiritual world, even though I do not hold any blatant spiritual beliefs, I do still have spiritual-like thinking and behaviour which causes me to berate myself mercilessly. I’m about sick of it and want something better for myself.
PETER: I can assure you that what you are going through is par for the course for an actualist. It is not something I have written about much but it is something that everyone will go through in one way or another. I saw myself as being so perverse that I would never entertain doubt in all my spiritual years, turning a blind eye to all sorts of shenanigans and skulduggeries, and yet here I was, not prepared to give my all to becoming happy and harmless. I eventually came to recognize what an extraordinary level of gullibility is required to be a spiritual believer and what an extraordinary level of naiveté is required in order to deliberately set upon a course that leads to ‘self’-immolation. Always the memory of the potential of what is humanly possible – as I know from a pure consciousness experience – would serve to lift me out of any downward spirals.
The only solution to being continually consumed by these entrenched feelings is to make your own pure consciousness experience your focus, your objective. This way any dodgy comparison, insidious feelings of guilt and doubt and impractical notions of perfection are all seen for what they are – ‘me’ raising all sorts of objections to ‘my’ demise.
It is as though you attach a rope or mental thread to your PCE and use it as a guide to what is your touchstone or loadstar – the exemplary innocence of a ‘self’-less experience.
Until you are actually free from the human condition, the living of a pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, everyday is ‘your’ goal, ‘your’ measure, ‘your’ standard ... and ‘your’ business to do.
GARY: In a way, it almost seems that it is exceedingly difficult for a human being to recognize the immediate and actual as exactly what it is, rather than what it is not. I wonder if it would be possible to raise children with an immediate appreciation and delight in what is actually present, something they have innately anyway, with no imaginative fabrication of what is not there.
PETER: Also innately present in children are the instinctual passions and these passions will always take precedent over any potential for an ‘immediate appreciation and delight in what is actually present’ – in fact, the crude animal survival passions exist to do precisely this. Which is not to say that it makes good sense not to indulge a child’s natural tendency for fantasy and imagination – a tendency that will anyway be fostered by interaction with their peers, despite the wishes and actions of any parent.
And just a note on fairness. It may not seem fair that each and every human being born is pre-programmed with an inevitably-emergent set of instinctual passions – that each and every child is born programmed to be malicious and sorrowful and that this instinctive program is then calcified by the social inculcation of one’s parents and peers. To regard this as unfair is but to rile against the processes of life itself – the very processes that produces human flesh and blood bodies in the first place and continues to sustain them whilst they are alive.
These life processes that transform matter into animate matter are by no means static nor unchangeable – and nor are they the subject of mysterious other-worldly forces as was fearfully imagined in ancient times. The evolution of these physical life processes have in fact culminated in producing the human animal species with its innate ability to think, contemplate and reflect as well as be aware of the physical life processes itself. These capacities, unique to the human species, have emerged fairly recently relative to emergence of animal life on this planet and the current stage of the life process of the universe now includes a freely-available process of eliminating the crude and redundant ‘self’-ishness from the human animal.
When contemplating upon the vast scope of life, the life that is this universe, it can be seen that the concept of fairness is but a ‘self’-centred value within the human condition and this act of contemplation can eventually result in the demise of the feelings of unfairness and unjustness. It can be seen that these feelings arise out of a fundamental resentment at having been born in the first place, having to suffer being here and then having to die.
From the standpoint of a PCE, it can be readily understood and experienced that these feelings are but the feelings of ‘me’, the alien non-physical entity that inhabits this flesh and blood body. In a PCE, there is no experience of separation from the physical matter of life, be it mineral, vegetable or animal. There is an aliveness to all matter that is palpable, vibrant, alive – as in non-passive, metamorphotic – and intimate – as in of the very same nature, identical in substance, no different or distance between.
There is an enormous amount of information that can be gleaned for a PCE because, for a brief period, one is directly experiencing the actuality of the physical universe – not as an affective ‘self’-centred experience but as a sensuous apperceptive awareness. Then when one returns to being a normal affective being, one can devote one’s life to whittling away at the all of the beliefs, morals, ethics, platitudes and psittacisms that constitute one’s social identity as well as become attentive to the feelings, passions and compulsions that constitute one’s very being, one’s instinctual self. By doing so, one sets in motion a process that, when combined with pure intent, can only lead to ‘my’ demise and freedom for this flesh and blood body, and for every other body.
PETER: Hi Gary,
Just a comment on a few topics from our previous conversation –
What this realization meant was that I was no longer interested in the escapist, ‘let me out of here’, fantasies of the revered spiritual teachings and I began to be interested in how I was experiencing being here in the physical world – the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, right here in the place I am in now, right now in this moment which is the only moment I can ever physically experience.
This starting to be interested in being here is the beginning of attentiveness because the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ comes naturally when one is sincerely interested in being here. From this interest then comes a fascination with being here which, over the course of time, inevitably leads to the lived experience of not being able to be anywhere but here, and it never being any other time but now.
And yet I suspect it is the straightforward nature of actualism that is the most daunting aspect for those who favour acceptance of their lot in life and who fear a commitment to the radical change that is necessary to become happy and harmless.
GARY: Yes, and that radical change is taking place with each moment one is being here in this actual place. The experience of actuality is in such sharp contrast to the ‘normal’, feeling-fed, affective experiencing of the world that it is easy to discern. However, it takes practice in my own personal experience. Each time I am aware that I am day-dreaming, emoting, wandering, fleeing, withdrawing, etc, etc, an alert attentiveness returns me to this precious and delectable moment and the actual, tangible world as experienced through the senses comes rushing back in. The vibrant, lustrous quality of sensory experience is, to me, the chief hallmark of actuality. The finely articulated, pristine quality of awareness in which, as I have said before, the most mundane objects become fascinating in their own right, is the excellent quality of being here. This excellent quality of actuality, this unbridled experience of sensuality, triggers a momentous change in the brain. With each repeated experience like this, a radical change is taking place. This is no superficial re-arranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic, so to speak. I am not radically changing because I now appreciate Italian opera besides the German. There is a complete and total break with that which is near and dear to ‘me’.
PETER: Just a further comment, simply in order to swap notes as it were.
Although I have had numerous PCEs during my years of being a practicing actualist, I always maintain my first PCE as my lodestone or my goal. This PCE still stands out as being the most outstanding and I think this is because its onset was totally unexpected and therefore the contrast between the actual world and the normal human-experienced world of grim reality was startlingly obvious. During this first experience I was not aware that the experience was temporary – it was as if I had been magically transported to another world, one of unbelievable purity, perfection and physical vitality. Although I was very much aware that ‘I’ and all my worries and passions had also magically disappeared, I was also unconcerned, and unaware, that the experience would eventually fade and ‘I’ would inevitably reappear.
For me, this first time experience is still outstanding because, unlike all of the subsequent experiences, I was naively unaware that the experience was temporary – unaware that it would end. Nowadays the contrast between a PCE and my normal state – being virtually free of malice and sorrow – is nowhere near as great as it was during my first PCE and I have tended to spend a good deal of my PCE times taking the opportunity of exploring the human condition from the outside as it were.
This almost casual wandering in and out of PCEs, combined with a far less substantial ‘self’ has sometimes meant that the distinction between my normal experiencing and a pure consciousness experiencing becomes so blurred as to be almost indistinct. What always alerts me to the distinction, however, is that when ‘I’ am present it is as though there is a thin veil between ‘me’ and the purity, perfection and physical vitality of the actual world – usually a slightly grey veil given that sorrow is the predominant human affliction.
Because of this, I always maintain my first substantive PCE as my lodestone – because that experience was so unexpected, and therefore so unique, that there was neither reason nor opportunity for ‘me’ and my guile to claim it as ‘mine’. It’s just my way of avoiding straying off the path – of maintaining a sincere intent and avoiding the trap of falling into delusion.
RESPONDENT: (...) The following is from the Library and Glossary entry of ‘How to become free from the Human Condition.’
What I’d like to point out about this statement is the way it polarizes the path to actual freedom on the ‘happy’ side and the ‘human condition’ on the ‘miserable’ side. Richard tells me that a person in the ‘human’ world can be reasonably happy. Even Peter and Vineeto seem to think that a ‘human’ life can have value. Yet, there is absolutely none of this in the quoted statement above. If it were stated that ‘the choice is simple, it’s either a life with misery, pain, and not fully living or...’ – then a statement like that leaves room for even the value of a ‘human’ life. It’s just difficult for me to reconcile how one could even be ‘reasonably happy’ and also living a ‘death-like’ life. (...)
PETER: When I first started to be interested in actualism, I lead a normal human life and I was indeed ‘reasonably happy’. I had a job that I was good at and that I liked doing, I was living in the subtropics in a very nice little house within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean in a small town and I enjoyed all the comforts and pleasures of living by myself. When I began my investigations into the human condition, I discovered that I was reasonably happy only because I didn’t watch the evening news on television and my years of spiritual practice had furnished me with an armour of self-righteousness that meant that I blamed everyone else for the ills of the world while blithely denying my own contribution to the malice and sorrow of the human condition.
Having said that, I do take your point that for someone who is reasonably happy with his or her life as-it-is, then this statement can be quite shocking. The quote you posted is from the website Library entry ‘How to Become Free from the Human Condition’ but originally this passage came from my Journal. It perhaps reads better in its original context. I’ll post the relevant section for you to judge. (...)
I also remembered what had started me being really serious about my search for freedom and that was a realization that I had had some years earlier. I had a vivid experience that I was living my life as if I was in a straight jacket from which I desperately yearned to be free. Not free as in needing to ‘wake up’ from my dream-like state and by doing so become Awakened as yet another Saviour of Mankind, but free as I had experienced freedom in a pure consciousness experience. In a pure consciousness experience, this flesh and blood body is suddenly magically freed of ‘me’, the parasitical entity that thinks and feels he lives ‘inside’ the body. In a PCE it is startlingly evident that ‘I’ do not exist as an actuality – it is as though ‘I’ had never existed.
I as this flesh and blood body sans any psychological or psychic entity whatsoever, suddenly found myself in the paradisiacal actual world of sensual delight. There was an utter stillness, a stillness that has a vibrant aliveness to it that is scintillating and sensately rich. There is an utter purity because there is no evil in the actual world, and there is an utter perfection for actual world is peerless. It is as though one is fully alive for the first time in one’s life, one’s senses are literally on stalks delighting in seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, tasting, thinking and reflecting and in being aware of the experience of being alive.
From the perspective of this experience of utter freedom from the human condition, brought on by the temporary disappearance of ‘me’, returning to being ‘normal’ is experienced as being once more cut off from the magnificence of the actual world. In other words, I experienced normal/spiritual life as a being a death-like state compared with the experience of being fully alive, as a flesh and blood body only, in the actual world.
RESPONDENT: One other point – No 33 brought into this discussion the idea of a ‘bird’s eye view’. I think that point is relevant here to the general issue of semantics. Tom Nagel, the philosopher, has brought into recent philosophical discussion a distinction of a ‘view from nowhere’ versus ‘what it’s like from the inside’.
PETER: Personally I don’t relate to the idea of a bird’s eye view, let alone ‘the distinction of a ‘view from nowhere’ versus ‘what it’s like from the inside’’. When I recalled my first substantive PCE, I wrote about how I experienced the actual world and it was a sensual experience – as ‘down-to-earth’ an experience as you can get.
RESPONDENT: The relevance of that sort of distinction is to see that from a ‘bird’s eye’ view – my life and all it comprises can be ‘puny’ or ‘pathetic’ – even from the point of view of a PCE, my life in the ‘real’ world can be seen as ‘death-like’ – but it is due to the sheer contrast of perspective – when one resumes life in the ‘real’ world – it just won’t work to see one’s life as ‘pathetic’ or ‘death-like’. From the subjective point of view, people describing your life from the ‘bird’s eye’ view or even the ‘PCE view’ are to be disregarded as irrelevant – or worse, can become a ‘threat’.
PETER: The other point that is relevant to your objections is how I experienced other human beings in my PCE – they were fellow human beings.
No matter what others read into the actualism writings, the intention of the Actual Freedom website has always been to simply convey information to fellow human beings that it is now possible to become actually free of the human condition. Speaking personally, an integral part of this process of becoming free of the human condition is the essential understanding that we are all fellow human beings and this understanding has always been an undercurrent in my intent in writing to others. Whilst others may instinctively react to what I am saying and feel it to be polarising in some way, what is in fact being offered is information that is invaluable to any of my fellow human beings who wish to become from free of the human condition of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: There is a point, spot, place – whatever you want to call it where ‘effortless’ is the modus operandi – it seems that mental effort automatically implies a division we experience as ‘self’ – it seems the trick is finding that place where everything happens effortlessly. Effortlessness must be a sign of ‘apperception?’
PETER: (...) Given that have said you welcome feedback, I’ll just round off with a comment on – ‘it seems that mental effort automatically implies a division we experience as ‘self’’. If I read you right, this supposition seems to be a hangover from Eastern religious belief wherein the ‘self’ is believed to be a thinking-self or ego-self only and a spurious feeling of freedom is gained by abandoning common sense thinking in an attempt to become a feeling-self only.
As you know by now this is old archaic thinking – superstition based on ignorance of fact and empirical observation. To suppose that one can become free of being a psychological and psychic ‘self’ without ‘mental effort’ does not make sense. After all, ‘who’ you think you are is the result of thousands of years of cultural and social programming and ‘who’ you feel you are is the end result of billions of years of the genetically-sequenced struggle for survival of life on this planet. To become free of all of this programming in order for intelligence to be freed from these brutish instinctual passions is no easy task – to abandon thinking in favour of feeling is to forsake this task in favour of ‘self’-preservation.
Having said that I can relate to what you are saying as I remember my early days of actualism when I thought that when I was feeling good or feeling excellent then I was ‘being here’ but when I was feeling angry, annoyed, frustrated, worried, sad or so on then I was ‘not being here’. As I began my investigations and ponderings about the nature of the human condition, I also thought I was not ‘being here’ if I was busy nutting out some issue or other, i.e. if I was busy thinking rather than sensately experiencing this moment of being alive.
This idea of mine eventually lost credence as I started to become fascinated with, and subsequently began to enjoy, the process of thinking about the human condition and investigating how my psyche was programmed to function. The realization that really blew it out of the water, however, was the experiential realization in a PCE that it is always now and I am always here – I can never be anywhere else but here and I can never actually experience anytime other than now. It follows that if I am busy thinking now then that is what I am doing now, exactly as I am thinking now while typing these words and exactly as you are thinking now reading these words. This leads to the fact that I am often thinking – not always obviously – but to think that I am not here because I am thinking makes no sense at all.
What I am saying can be confirmed by observation of what is happening whilst in a pure consciousness experience. In this temporary experience of ‘self’-defection the ability to think and reflect is neither absent nor is it inflamed by passion and imagination. In a PCE the ability to think and reflect is unfettered by beliefs, morals and ethics and is freed from both the savage and tender survival passions. A PCE confirms that who ‘I’ think and feel I am is a chimera, an illusion, someone and something that has no substance, someone and something that is not material, not flesh and blood. Who ‘I’ think and feel I am is not actual like the ‘stuff’ of the universe – be it the vacuum of the spaces between the swirls and lumps of matter in the infinitude of the universe or the play of the clouds across this earthly sky, the air that touches your skin, the warmth of the sun, the scent of a flower, the plastic of a computer keyboard or these fingers typing these words.
In a PCE, I experience the actuality of all of this matter. In a PCE, I experience an actual world, existing in fact, sensately experienced as being so alive, so vibrant and so immediate that my identity as a ‘being’ temporarily disappears. With ‘me’ no longer here to rule the roost, as it where, a palpable freedom exists for I experience what I actually am for a period of time – a mortal flesh and blood human being, bristling with sense organs, able to think, reflect, contemplate and communicate as well as being able to be aware that I am aware. In fact, what I am is the very ‘stuff’ of this universe temporarily formed as this flesh and blood body and capable of being aware of this awareness. Or to put it as Richard puts it – ‘what I am is this universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being’.
In a PCE – provided you resists the atavistic temptation to start swooning in rapture at the beauty of it all or indulging in ‘self’-aggrandizing fantasies (or else it deteriorates into an ASC) – you can readily discern that the only reason you are experiencing the sensual delight and utter peacefulness of the actual world is because ‘you’ have temporarily left the stage. From this experiential realization a pure intent can arise to devote one’s life to the task of becoming happy and harmless – to actively dismantle my ‘self’, to dare to question the veracity of ‘my’ precious beliefs, to want to really come to understand both the nature and the source of the peripheral feelings of ‘self’ and sense of ‘being’ and to not stop until the process is finished and the very source of ‘me’, ‘me’ as a feeling ‘being’, is permanently eliminated, expunged.
Then, when the PCE wanes and you return to being ‘normal’ again, back in normal everyday reality, ‘you’ find yourself with something to do. ‘You’ then have a reason for being, a life goal, a task, a job, and a fascinating one at that. And I can vouch that there is no more fascinating and rewarding thing you can do with your life than to devote your life to the task of becoming happy and harmless for this is the path to actual freedom.
PETER to Richard: (...)
The other morning a peak experience snuck up on me – after a particularly good ‘romp’ with Vineeto. It was one of particular clarity marked by a complete absence of any sense of ‘self’ or ‘being’ within my body. All was perfect and pure with a magical intensity that was palpable. Not merely static – a sense of the whole universe happening at this moment with a vibrancy that was sensately experienced.
I was quickly able to discern the fact that, if I had launched ‘myself’ into that experience, it would have rapidly changed to ‘me’ taking on the experience for ‘myself’. ‘I’ would have become that experience, ‘I’ would have become the experiencer of that pure and perfect immediate happening-ness of it all. ‘I’ would have become the experience of the universe happening. ‘I’ would have become the Universe – or at very least, at One with it. I could have taken that experience and translated or interpreted it for myself, as I had done in the past in an ASC whereby I became Divine Love.
However, this experience was different as ‘I’ was absent and I was able to be appreciatively aware of what was occurring. I was able to clearly see that there could be an almost instinctual grab to make the experience ‘mine’. If one follows the spiritual path, I was at the point of Enlightenment – ‘I’ only needed to jump in, boots and all, and away one goes – Divinity, Immortality, Oneness, Infinite, Timeless, Spaceless, Fearless, Blissful and the rest. All this, however, was apparent afterwards, on reflection.
What was obvious at the time was that it is the physical universe that is always present, eternal, infinite, pure and perfect – exquisitely and pristinely so. And that I, this flesh and blood body, is the intelligent bit that goes ‘Wow! – how extraordinary’. And I am the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.
It is for this that I would willingly sacrifice my grubby ‘self’ for – no matter how ‘cleaned up’, no matter how good Virtual Freedom is, there is no comparison. For this ‘I’ will depart the scene and nothing else. This is what Enlightenment merely mimics, as a feeling, but with such appalling consequences of narcissism and Self-aggrandizement. The Enlightened Ones had and have feet of clay – to claim to ‘Be the Universe itself’ is an insanity on a incredulous scale and makes clear that whole business of God and God-men is nothing more than institutionalized insanity.
It is only with a sincere intent and a firm down-to-earth experience of Virtual Freedom – a period of coming to one’s senses both literally and figuratively – that it is possible to avoid the seduction and instinctual pull towards self-aggrandizement that Enlightenment offers. I would suspect that those who have stood at the door marked Enlightenment would gladly sacrifice their ‘normal’ mortal identity for the Glamour, Glory and Glitz of feeling like God. Similarly, as I experienced the infinitude, purity and perfection of the physical universe happening – the Actual World – ‘I’ gladly and willingly self-immolate for that perfection and purity to be evident as me, this flesh and blood body. I firmly experienced it as my destiny – an actual freedom from the Human Condition.
This PCE has confirmed for me that Actual Freedom as the only game to play in town. As I watch the sacrifices of countless people who fight for ‘freedom’ of their particular group, suffer themselves for the ‘betterment’ of others, who blindly sacrifice all in a vain attempt at ‘betterment’ for Humanity, this sacrifice is so much more sensible and valuable. And it seems to require no special heroics, no super-human qualities. It is but the inevitable and welcome consequence of sincere intent and a refusal to settle for second best. Let’s face it, the mountains have all been climbed, the continents discovered, technological discoveries, while still amazing, are a crowded field and awash with meta-physics. The human search for the beginning of time or the edge of the universe are as futile as the search for God. Wherever I looked the field was crowded – the chance of making a contribution, dwindling. The next challenge facing the human species is to rid ourselves of malice and sorrow – and a few days ago I glimpsed the ‘mountain top’ of the challenge. Of course, as I come off the peak experience I also realise the mountain top is here under my very nose, on earth at this moment – so I use the words ‘mountain top’ with a touch of poetic licence. So, after the PCE, it is obvious that my destiny lies beyond psychological and psychic self-immolation, that this event will be a definitive and decisive moment, that it is willingly and eagerly anticipated ... and that Enlightenment will be avoided. So, far from being an ‘unfair’ or ‘perverse’ exercise to cause a self-immolation or psychic death, it is the most exciting, amazing, wondrous, extraordinary journey possible for a human to make – a journey into one’s own psyche ... to the very end.
RESPONDENT: Dynamic meditation helped me get the first PCE and other Osho’s meditations helped me get consequent PCEs. That is a fact, take it or leave it.
PETER: What you said in your post was – ‘Osho created situations in which we could get PCEs and hence have a bench mark to work with’. What I pointed out was that Rajneesh aka Osho created situations in which his disciples could get Satoris – brief glimpses of an Altered State of Consciousness whereby one experiences oneself as Divine and Immortal, Spaceless and Timeless. Given that he has been dead 10 years he obviously knew nothing of what Richard is saying for it was only 7 years ago that Richard discovered a state that is beyond the delusion of Enlightenment. It was only 3 years ago that he used the term Pure Consciousness Experience to describe a self-less state that is devoid of any delusions of Divinity, Immortality, Divine Love and Divine Compassion. Even you had not heard the term PCE until a few months ago and obviously have difficulty in comprehending the fact that it is 180 degrees opposite to an ASC.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.