Selected Correspondence Peter
Pure Consciousness Experience
RESPONDENT: In case anyone is interested, it seems taking a 2 week vacation from work was the catalyst. We went up the Sunshine Coast to Noosa, Mooloolaba and Maleny, spending a few days in each place. It was a very relaxing time. My partner and I took about 10 rolls of photos, nurturing a budding interest in photography. We spent our days lazing around, eating and drinking and being merry, taking relaxing walks, swimming, basically living in the moment. After returning home and to work, our home life began to suffer, where previously we hardly ever fought now we were bickering daily, and it was obvious something had changed. I think our expectations were raised after such a pleasant holiday. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking as to what the exact difference is, and how to incorporate it into my life.
To cut a long story short I have decided that it’s Actual Freedom or bust :)
PETER: Taking a holiday or a break from normal life is the traditional way of getting away from it all. After a few days you can get to leave your normal life behind – to get some distance from the usual anxieties, worries, routines, habits and patterns that constitute your ‘life’. At best one can even get to feel blithely carefree and virtually anonymous – almost as if you have left your old identity behind.
I often describe how I live now as ‘being on holiday’ – and more specifically as like the middle fortnight of a 6-week holiday when you get to have left all your real-world worries behind and ‘going back to reality’ is not even on the horizon. The amazing thing is that I have this feeling of being on holiday virtually all of the time, whilst working in the market place, in the world as-it-is with people as-they are. And even more amazing is the fact that this almost constant state of feeling blithely carefree and virtually anonymous is the outcome of my own decision to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless.
I remember when I first met Richard and he re-awakened my longing for peace on earth and harmony with my fellow human beings. At first I thought he was talking about spiritual freedom until it sank in that he was not talking about the spiritual world at all.
One day, as he was describing the utter purity and perfection of the actual world we flesh and blood bodies live in, my memory was jogged and I remembered a time when I had experienced exactly this earthy purity and perfection. I remembered when I had an experience of pure consciousness for a few hours, an experience when ‘I’ did not exist and seemingly never had existed. A few hours when I – this flesh and blood mortal body I – directly experienced the extraordinariness of this physical universe I always lived in but was forever cut off from.
Everything was vibrant and alive, fairytale-like in its magic, ambrosial in its sensuousness. Everything was utterly peaceful and benevolent – I am firmly locked in time, experiencing this world as if for the first time – as it actually is, not as ‘I’ had always feared it was or imagined it was. This world had been under my very nose as it were all the time, but that fellow ‘me’ had to step aside for me, this flesh and blood mortal body me, to be able to experience it.
It was evident that this was paradise for there is nothing missing here in the actual world, nothing wanted for, nothing needed beyond the sensuous pleasures of food and shelter. The very notion of a spirit-world, of searching for a paradise someplace else, or imagining that there is a paradise we go to after physical death was seen for what it is – a massive delusion built upon old beliefs and superstitions of good and evil spirits, meta-physical forces and other-worlds, both above and below.
After remembering this pure consciousness experience I was hooked because I knew, by my own experience, what was on offer if ‘I’ chose to set off on the path to becoming happy and harmless, never to waver from my goal, never to return to normal, never to seen or heard of again, as it were.
The lure of actually becoming free of the human condition then proved irresistible.
RESPONDENT: Ok I apologise for the wordiness of what follows but there is a question buried deep within. The last week or so I have been going for walks around the neighbourhood at lunch time. I have been trying to replicate an experience I had a long time ago ... about 7 years ago, when pursuing spiritual enlightenment, I was walking to uni (a 50 minute walk) and contemplating the idea that I was ‘one with everything’ around me ... one with the tree, one with this passing truck, one with this letterbox, etc.
After about 20 minutes of this all of a sudden – pop – something changed in a big way.
But here’s the thing. I’ve been wracking my brain, and reading everything I can on the website, to try to decipher if it was an ASC or a PCE. But I cannot work it out, so I’m wondering if anyone can shed some light upon the matter? Perhaps something in my description will ring a bell somewhere out there. Basically, there wasn’t any sense of love or particular oneness ... it was weird, and not what I expected to experience, which is why I didn’t think it was really samadhi at the time. But to take a phrase I’ve read on the website somewhere, it did have a fairytale quality to it ... it was like I was transported into another dimension, except I was still right here.
Everything had this magical quality to it, and also everything seemed to make sense ... I recall thinking ‘of course!!’, though I wasn’t really sure what was so obvious ... it was just that there wasn’t anything that needed answering, *everything* just made sense all of a sudden. Then I suspect, if it was a PCE, my identity may have come rushing in because I think tears came to my eyes at the beauty of what I was seeing. But then it all faded, lasting maybe 20 seconds in all. I’m not sure why I never really tried to make it happen again. I probably tried briefly but then gave up. At the time I was more interested in answers than really achieving anything. I wanted to know the meaning of life. But I digress...
So to contrast that with what I’ve been experiencing this last week, I have been trying to experience things more vividly with my senses, and I have been also starting out thinking I am one with everything around me. This caused the ‘mini PCE’ (which I’ll describe below) the first day, but on the second day I thought well that’s silly so I thought instead I am right here right now and on the third day I realised that its more about contemplating everything around me than thinking I am one with this tree – those are merely the words in my head going over and over like a melody. So I can also bring on this ‘mini PCE’ by just looking deeply at things around me, listening to the sounds, feeling the warmth of the air and sun on my skin, the feel of the earth beneath my feet as I walk slowly, reflectively, somewhat like Ghost Dog for those who have seen that movie :) And what occurs is my senses are definitely heightened. I’m intimately aware of all the sounds around me, and they fascinate me even though it may just be the motor sound of a ute passing by. I can feel with all of my skin – the warmth, the gentle caress of the breeze. And the colours are so vivid ... I find myself wandering along gazing from side to side in wonderment at all the beautiful colours and pretty trees and plants and think that I would like to be a gardener except they probably have deadlines and annoying clients also. Hehe.
So that is a very pleasant experience, and I find myself in a very good mood, with no worries in the world at the time, though ‘I’ am definitely still present because of instinctual drives which, while lessened, are nonetheless present. I kind of feel like ‘I’ am sitting in the back seat, but occasionally coming to the fore.
OK so what I’m really interested to know, and haven’t been able to find out for myself so far, is are those ‘mini PCEs I described just that? A minor PCE? Or merely apperceptive awareness while not being a PCE? And is the first experience I described what I can look forward to in Actual Freedom?
Because it was pretty cool :) Almost cool enough that even if you told me it was an ASC I might pursue it instead. Hehehe. I mean I have never used recreational drugs any harder than alcohol so I don’t have much of a yardstick but it was really ‘trippy’ and easily 10 times more powerful than the mini PCEs I described.
Well that’s it for now, if anyone can help shed light on the topic I’d really appreciate it thanks!
Isn’t it wonderful when you really get it that this is the only moment you can actually experience being alive. Once this really sinks in, you then increasingly start to realize how silly it is to waste this moment of being alive by feeling pissed-off, frustrated, annoyed, resentful, afraid, lonely, separate, worried, melancholic, lacklustre or bored.
Then you really start to become curious about how you are experiencing this moment of being alive and then you realize, all of a sudden, that you have got it – you know what actualism is about because you are doing it. And soon you know the prize at the end of the path because you come to remember having experienced a pure consciousness experience of the utterly benign purity and perfection of the actual world – the actual world that is always right here, ever-only right now, under my very nose whenever ‘I’ am not here.
Then you start to really get it that the whole point of the actualism method is to progressively diminish – via a pragmatic process of de-programming – any feelings of sorrow out of your life so that you can feel more happy about being here. And that even more importantly, you are progressively diminishing, or de-programming, any feelings of malice out of your life so that you can live with your fellow human beings in peace and harmony.
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. 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 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. 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: 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 the actualism method 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.
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.
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?
As you are probably discovering, it is impossible to investigate the source of one’s misery or the source of one’s annoyances whilst 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’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: I did find that after about two hours of the PCE I started experiencing a kind of fatigue, whereby I did not really want to keep in the PCE anymore … perhaps it was growing uncomfortable in some way. I have felt this before also. Have you any experience with this?
PETER: A PCE is, and can only ever be, a temporary experience, because one’s ‘self’ is only in temporary abeyance. One’s psychological/psychic ‘self’ is such a substantive entity that it inevitably returns to strut centre stage and I have experienced this returning as being somewhat like the weight of gravity or the subtle re-emergence of a veil over the pristine clarity of the actual world.
PETER: The fact that I know I am having a PCE and that I know that it is temporary and that it will end is a sure sign to me that, although for all intents and purpose there is no ‘I’ present, only ‘I’ could know that the experience is temporary because only ‘I’ can know that ‘I’ will eventually return.
RESPONDENT: Isn’t there a simpler explanation? Is it not just as likely that a mind capable of noticing the absence of ‘me’ is also capable of anticipating the return of ‘me’?
PETER: In my experience your explanation could well be more confusing and even has the potential to be totally misleading.
The key to a PCE for me is unmediated sensate experiencing and this sensuousness happens whether thinking is happening … or not happening. In a PCE it is palpably experienced that the sensation of touch happens at the skin-air or skin-object interface and not in the brain, that the sensation of sounds happen in the ears and not in the brain, that smell is perceived in the nose and not in the brain, that taste happens in the mouth and not in the brain and that it is the eyes that do the seeing and not the brain of this body. In a PCE, the brain is the organ that makes possible an awareness of this sensate experience, a feedback loop that allows an awareness of this awareness, the ability to make sense of sensate experiencing if necessary as well as a capacity for abstract thinking.
Because this fundamental shift in the nature of experiencing – from subjective/ restricted to objective/ unfettered – is the prime most obvious aspect of a PCE, it can be confusing to give particular emphasis to ‘a mind’ as it can indicate, and usually does as indicated in spiritual teachings, that the mind is an object/ entity separate from the body. For example, you are probably familiar with the phrase – ‘I am not my body, I am not my mind’ and have heard of people who talk of ‘no-mind’ experiences.
RESPONDENT: This explanation would eliminate the problem of an absent ‘self’ being present enough to know of its eventual return.
PETER: What problem? I can see that it well may be a philosophical conundrum for some but it would not be a problem for someone who has experienced the direct intimacy and immediacy of the actual world in a PCE and it is most certainly not a problem whilst one is having a PCE, despite the fact that I know that ‘I’ will reappear ‘on stage’ again, as it were, be it with a swagger or be it as a fervent lurker and inevitable spoiler.
If you are seeking a simpler explanation – if someone asked me during a PCE if was I free of the Human Condition, my immediate answer would be no because I would know by experience that what I was experiencing was a temporary experience simply because the event that precipitates an actual freedom had not yet occurred.
RESPONDENT: It is quite consistent with your experience, and also with Richard’s.
PETER: On a few occasions recently I have had clients who have proceeded to tell me not only how to design their building but also how it should be built, despite the fact that they have had little to no hands-on trial-and-error experience in either the process of designing let alone the nitty-gritty business of actually building a building. What they inevitably do is make what is simple and obvious to me by experience into something that is complex and problematic due to a lack of hands-on experience.
RESPONDENT: I would hazard a guess that your ‘simpler’ explanation than my explanation of my experience, let alone Richard’s ongoing experience, may well fall into that same category … but I may well be wrong. In the interest of clearing up any confusion about the matter, the question is – are you talking from your own experience or are you merely offering a supposition?
PETER: If you are talking from experience, then we can swap notes as it were. If you are making a supposition, then my explanation of the experience may well be helpful in coming to grips with making sense of the temporary experience of the perfection and purity of the universe – an experience that is mostly forgotten, has rarely been documented and even remained unlabelled until Richard coined the term ‘Pure Consciousness Experience’.
RESPONDENT: You did not know that your first PCE would be temporary. In subsequent PCE’s your brain was equipped with the knowledge that past experiences of that nature were temporary. Such knowledge cast a slight shadow over the experience without there necessarily being a ‘self’ present to cast that shadow. Richard, on the other hand, knows that his AF/PCE is permanent and immutable. A PCE and AF could be identical in all ways but one: in AF there is no shadow cast by the knowledge that this experience will be temporary.
PETER: I notice that you have now changed from using the word ‘mind’ to using the word ‘brain’. Nevertheless, given the profound influence that Eastern spirituality has had on current understandings on not only the nature of consciousness but also on the extent of human experiencing, the use of the term ‘a mind’ in this context usually indicates the almost universal belief that the mind is of itself an entity, an entity that is the source of not only anguish, but also of all evils.
PETER: Dear Metta,
I read with interest your description of your spiritual awakening on your web-site and was taken by your very precise description. Few who have had these experiences are willing to be honest about what actually happens. I suspect it serves them better not to expose the fact that ‘I’ the self lives on through the experience to become ‘Me’ the Self who is both messenger and saviour. What saved me from this delusion was an experience I had where, like you, I had a glimpse of the perfection and purity of the physical universe, the infinitude, the sparkling paradise we live in as human beings. But, and I had a ‘but’ and I have written about it in my journal of the time:
So a different interpretation can be made from the experience you had. Acknowledging the suffering and violence endemic in human behaviour on the planet and seeing that this fear and aggression, which rages in the heads and hearts of every human being – and then realising it needs to stop, if this fair paradisiacal planet is to be free of war, rape, torture, poverty, repression, domestic violence, child abuse, guilt, shame, sorrow and despair. And the only thing ‘I’ can do is rid myself of malice and sorrow in me. To self-immolate is the only solution, the only sacrifice ‘I’ can make to put an end to this hell on earth that we find ourselves born into. To face it squarely and not merely escape into some fantasy where everything is all right as it is, you just need to ‘imagine’ a better world, fully realise it as another reality (or Reality) and swan around in its bliss.
PETER: The human body is a marvellous organism whose chief characteristic, apart from intelligence is an ability to be conscious of itself in operation. Given that each human being is born with an instinctual ‘self’ overlaid since birth with a further layer of social identity this consciousness is a ‘self’- consciousness. Thus a consciousness of ‘who’ I think and ‘who’ I feel I am is constantly predominant and the bare consciousness of the flesh-and-blood-body only gets a peek in during a pure consciousness experience when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent.
RESPONDENT: Ok, now could you explain what causes the self to do this, and where does it go?
PETER: There would appear to be many circumstances that can induce a pure consciousness experience. They commonly occur in childhood, often bought on by a naive observation, contemplation and fascination about the workings and vibrant physicality of this wondrous universe. Gradually, with increased life experience, a real-world cynicism inevitably replaces our childhood naiveté, but later in life occasions can occur when this same naïve observation contemplation and fascination about this actual physical world we human beings really live in can be triggered. Sometimes a period immersed in the sensual pleasures of being alive can evoke a sheer delight in being here which can lead to one’s social and instinctual identity slipping away. As the primary instinct of fear dissolves a pure consciousness experience can result where ‘I’ as a social identity and ‘me’ as an instinctual being dissolves away allowing a direct sensate-only experience of the vibrant actuality of this physical universe. Provided there is no ‘me’ present feeling awe, beauty, love or non-separateness, thereby degrading the experience into a ‘self’-centred affective experience, the experience can remain pure and ‘self’-less. It is important to realize that I am talking about a pure consciousness experience as opposed to the commonplace spiritual affective experiences induced by such practices as meditation, sensorial depravation, bioenergetics, sorrowful prayer, group highs, etc.
If one abandons the spiritual path, one can then resurrect one’s naiveté and begin to crank up a joie de vive about being here on the planet as a flesh and blood mortal. It is then possible to induce pure consciousness experiences and avoid affective ‘self’-aggrandizing experiences.
When one dares to temporarily let one’s guard down or, to be more accurate, ‘I’ contrive to allow ‘my’ guard to slip by itself, one discovers that rather than ‘me’ feeling fear there is utter safety in being alive, firmly locked in this moment of time, rather than ‘me’ feeling aggression there is a direct intimacy with all of one’s fellow human beings, rather than ‘me’ being blindly driven to nurture and feel love there is a kindly disposition and well-wishing for all of one’s fellow human beings and rather than unremitting desire and a lust for power one discovers one already has whatever one needs. Of course, I am talking of both purity and perfection and for these qualities to be apparent ‘I’ can claim no credit, for these experiences only happen when ‘I’, as a psychological and psychic entity have temporarily left the stage, so-to speak.
As for where do ‘I’ go in these pure experiences – it is startlingly clear in the experience that ‘I’ am nothing but a passionate illusion made very real by the flow of chemicals arising from the instinctual survival software package that blind nature has imbued in this flesh and blood body. In a PCE, both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul, are seen as powerful all-encompassing illusions and it is also blatantly clear that to merely swap identity from being a personal self to being an Impersonal Self is nought but a massive delusion contrived to not only prevent ‘my’ demise but to aggrandize ‘me’ to the point that ‘I’ think ‘I’ am Real and Immortal and the physical infinite eternal universe is experienced as an illusionary dream world.
RESPONDENT: Peter, with all respect, I would like to understand how one can possibly recognize a ‘paradisiacal planet’ without passion? Would you like to explain your experience in quick and easy English? Sorry about my language barrier, but it’s a fact. Sometimes I have the feeling that our cultural differences could also be contributing to my lack of understanding of your messages.
PETER: Have you never looked at a sunset and noticed the sheer physicality and immediacy of what you are seeing without feeling awed or saddened by its beauty or feeling that it is the creation of some Higher Power?
Have you never looked at the sheer brilliance of sunlight shining on the early morning dew on leaves or on a spider’s web and contemplated that similar wonders are happening all over this planet at exactly this same moment, unobserved by any humans whatsoever?
Have you never wondered that all this brilliance would go on happening even if no human beings existed on the planet and further that it all went on before you were here, and will be going on long after you are dead?
Have you ever considered that all this is actually happening, this very moment, despite the fact that ‘you’ are feeling sad, grateful, resentful, isolated from it or in love with it?
Have you never watched the stars at night and considered that this paradisiacal blue-and-white luxuriant planet hurtles on through space with 6 billion human beings blindly battling it out in a grim and instinctual battle for survival or humbly demeaning themselves by prostrating themselves in gratitude before a mythical creator God, or some human being who claims to be God?
It is exactly in one these moments of carefree observation and unplanned contemplation that one can have a ‘self’-less recognition and direct experience of the purity and perfection of the actual, infinite and eternal, universe. These experiences are called pure consciousness experiences, as opposed to affective experiences where the passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire cause ‘me’ to feel gratitude, compassion, love for all, or in an altered state of consciousness experience, ‘self’-aggrandized to the point where ‘I’ feel eternal and infinite and the physical universe is but a dream of ‘my’ creation.’
An experiential understanding of what I am talking about can only be had in a pure consciousness experience, but you can establish a prima face case based on the sense of what I am saying and then make a decision for yourself, either way. You simply decide if you want to become free of continually having to make the effort to feel as though you are alive ... and discover what it is like to be actually alive and actually free.
It is an enormous jump to consider ridding yourself of your instinctual passions, for affective feelings have been traditionally upheld and venerated as the very essence of being human. All spiritual practice lays the blame for ‘evil’ at the door of thinking and lets impassioned feeling off scot-free, which is why the human condition is epitomized by malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: So. No Spirit, no Self, no Ego, and interestingly, no instinct.
PETER: Every human being born into this world has a pre-programmed instinctual ‘self’ that is fully developed by about age two. This instinctual ‘self’ is epitomized by the instinctual passions of fear, aggression nurture and desire, an automatic operating program instilled to ensure the propagation and survival of the species. The rudimentary animal instinctual ‘self’ or instinctual identity we are born with is then overlaid with a social identity, instilled since birth by our peers. This social identity consists of the morals and ethics that have been drilled into us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’ and ‘right’ behaviour and punished for ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour. We are thus taught to emphasize and highly value the ‘tender’ instinctual passions and repress and control the ‘savage’ passions. Our social identity is also made of our beliefs, prime among them being an atavistic belief in Gods, spirits, other-worlds and an on-going life after death for ‘me’, as spirit.
Spiritual freedom is not a ‘self’-less state, as is sometimes claimed, but a shift in identity from self to Self or personal self to Impersonal Self or from mortal spirit to Divine Spirit.
A freedom from the instinctual passions requires the elimination of all identity – both the overlaid social identity implanted as a ‘controller’ of the rampant passions and the instinctual identity, which is the very source of the instinctual animal passions.
RESPONDENT: What is left? Surely not just flesh and blood body. Who’s at the helm? Pure awareness?
PETER: Everybody has experienced a totally ‘self’-less state sometime in their life and these experiences are known as Pure Consciousness Experiences, nature experiences or Jamais Vu experiences. These are all pure experiences, where for a brief period of time, there is no ‘I’ as thinker or ‘me’ as feeler present, but there is a direct sensate-only experience of the actual world in which we live. This actual world is experienced as vibrantly alive, pure, perfect and effervescent in its immediacy. So encompassing is this direct experience, it is as though one has entered another dimension, or as though a veil has been lifted on all that one usually sees, hears, touches and smells, and one is experiencing the familiar in a new and astounding way. It is as though one has been previously living in a ‘self’-created dream and one experiences, as a flesh and blood body brimming with sense organs, the vivacious physicality and infinitude of this infinite and eternal universe. One’s senses are heightened, one’s thinking clear and one’s consciousness is unpolluted by any affective feelings whatsoever, be they ‘savage’ as in fear and aggression or ‘tender’ as in love, gratitude or compassion.
In these ‘self’-less pure experiences, one is the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.
Often people who have these experiences claim them as ‘my’ experience and then the experience is transformed and distorted into an affective experience, generally known as an Altered State of Consciousness. In affective experiences, depending upon one’s religious/ spiritual inclinations or practices, ‘I’ feel humbled or grateful to God for being able to experience His creation and His love, or in Eastern terms, ‘I’ feel at one with all that is experienced, ‘I’ feel I am not separate from all that is experienced or, in a full-blown delusion of grandeur, ‘I’ feel I am God and all this is ‘My’ creation.
Affective experiences are so seductive and ‘self’-gratifying and so treasured and glorified in the spiritual world, that scant attention has been paid to the pure experiences that hold the clue to the ending of human malice and sorrow. Pure Consciousness Experiences are the proof that it is possible for the flesh and blood body to become actually free from the social and instinctual identity – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. PCEs are the proof that perfection, purity and peace already exist on this paradisiacal planet – and it is only ‘me’ who stands in the way of it becoming actualized as this body.
RESPONDENT: How is this accomplished? I have a reasonable idea of what you’re opposed to, but I’m unclear about what you are recommending, in real terms, in this world, in this moment.
PETER: To answer your second point first – what I am proposing is peace on earth, as this flesh and blood body only, in this lifetime. Unless one is vitally interested in this proposition then it will obviously be impossible to accomplish the ending of ‘me’, as an identity dwelling in this flesh and blood body.
The ending of one’s instinctual ‘self’, and the associated animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, firstly requires a vital interest and passionate yearning to make sense of and be fully involved in this business of being a human being on this planet. The second requirement that is vital for success, is to fully take on board the fact that this moment is the only moment that you can experience being alive and, as such, ... if you’re not happy now and if you’re not harmless now, then you are wasting this moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: Like you say, we’ve all had this experience of getting out of our own way, but can we stay out of the way?
PETER: If you mean by ‘we’ve all had this experience of getting out of our own way’, that we have all had a pure consciousness experience where ‘I’ as thinker and ‘me’ as feeler was temporarily absent and a direct, unfiltered experience of this extraordinary physical actual universe became apparent, then I would agree with you.
However, most people usually forget these ‘self’-less pure experiences immediately after, or too easily dismiss them, because there is no affective feeling ‘me’ present at the time and ‘I’ therefore have no affective memory of the experience afterwards. On the other hand, what is most common is that sometime during a pure consciousness experience, or immediately thereafter, ‘I’ jump in and claim the experience as ‘mine’. Thus, instead of this flesh and blood body only having a direct sensate experience of the infinite and eternal actual universe, ‘I’ feel as though ‘I’ am eternal, infinite, timeless and spaceless – which is to feel like God, for one seems to be omnipresent, omni-powerful and immortal. This is the mightily ‘self’-aggrandized feeling state known as an Altered State of Consciousness and has proved irresistible to the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness ... up until now.
But the ‘nut has been cracked’, and the sham of an Altered State of Consciousness experience revealed for what it is. A way has now been pioneered to avoid the instinctual ‘self’ making a grab for power and glory during pure consciousness experiences ‘of getting out of our own way’ temporarily and eventually to ‘stay out of the way’ permanently – i.e. to actively bring about one’s own ‘self’-immolation.
RESPONDENT: Now to your discovery, here’s a few questions for you:
PETER: My own major experience of a pure consciousness experience occurred some ten years ago and lasted some 4 hrs. It was something that I soon dismissed from my memory at the time as normal life resumed again, and it was only by meeting someone who had been Enlightened for eleven years and managed to free himself from the delusion that I was twigged to remember it again. He had been searching for a way to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, every day, when instead of that he found himself ensnared in an altered state of consciousness. It was both hearing this man’s story and being able to recall a PCE myself that pointed me firmly in the direction of what the human potential actually is – sensuous purity and perfection as a flesh and blood body only and not imaginary Divinity and Immortality as a disembodied entity as the ancient ones have seduced us into believing.
PETER: The major reason was that I had experienced both a PCE and a Satori, and both of equal length. The only similarity between them is that they are both experienced as ‘other’ worldly – i.e. outside of one’s ‘normal’ experiencing of normally grim reality.
The Satori experience is of another world where ‘I’ feel love, oneness, wholeness, spaceless and timeless. The experience is ‘of the heart’, a feeling-only experience where normal ‘I’ am replaced with a new grander version who is at-one-with the universe. This experience is termed an altered state of consciousness whereby ‘my’ consciousness or perception is altered from fearful mortal to fearless immortal. All of this merely goes on in the head but is felt in the heart due to the increased chemical flows triggered by the primitive brain. Many altered states of consciousness experiences happen during a dark night of the soul when thoughts of hopelessness, depression, futility and even suicide are running. The very desperate near death thoughts can induce a near death experience that triggers a chemical flow to the body and brain that produces euphoric feelings. These feelings are usually accompanied by imaginary visions of a religious nature, dependant solely upon the person’s culture or current inclination. Thus it is that Christians can ‘hear’, ‘see’ or ‘feel’ the Lord or the white light leading to Heaven while Eastern religious followers feel Oneness, Wholeness, Godliness, God intoxicated or whatever. The tell-tale clue of an altered state of consciousness experience is that the ‘new perception’ is always cultural or religious specific and it is always accompanied by powerful emotions triggered by chemical flows from the instinctual primitive brain.
A pure consciousness experience, on the other hand, has neither an imaginary (cerebral) nor an affective (emotional) component.
PETER: Given that a PCE, or peak experience as it sometimes referred to, can often be induced by drugs or traumatic experiences that alter the brain’s chemical balance it would indicate that the onset of a PCE is neuro-biological phenomena. This is confirmed by the fact that modern neuro-biological research by Joseph LeDoux and others are beginning to trace emotions such as fear to the automatic reaction of the primitive brain. The amygdala in particular is being identified as the source that activates a flow of chemicals in the body as an automatic fight or flight response in the face of danger. This instinctual chemical flow reaches the neo-cortex or modern cognitive brain a split second later and is interpreted by the alien entity as psychological and/or psychic fear. In the PCE, it would seem that this pathway from the ancient instinctual brain to the modern cognitive brain no longer functions, i.e. it is temporarily blocked. The modern brain, thus freed from its instinctual ‘self’-centred passion-producing companion, the primitive brain (amygdala), is able to operate freely with a pure consciousness.
The physical senses – the stalks of the brain – are similarly freed of the ever-fearful guard duty that is imposed on the modern brain by the instinctual primitive brain. This freedom from chemical assault results in a startling sensate-only experience of the actual world that is best described as sensuous delight. It is as though colours are far more vibrant, sounds far louder, tastes more flavoursome, touch more sensual, smells more fragrant and everything is experienced as vibrant and not merely passive.
In the PCE, the experience of ‘self’-lessness, the lack of any instinctual passion, the clarity of thought and reflection and the heightened physical senses all accord with the neo-cortex being freed from the insidious influence of the animal instinctual reptilian brain. How this happens physically in a PCE is, to my knowledge, yet to be mapped by empirical science but there is clear evidence that a permanent disconnection has been deliberately induced by at least one person and is being deliberately induced by a handful of others.
This is, of course, a clinical scientific description only and the process cannot be separated from its psychological and psychic ramifications and, as such, the term ‘self’-immolation is a more evocatively accurate term to describe this process.
The inducing of a permanent state of pure consciousness experiencing is pioneering stuff at this stage, brand new and never been tried before in human history ... but the time is right and the experiment is well under way.
PETER: If you are happy with you as-you-are, and with being in the ‘real’ world, then it can be easily ignored – as it usually is.
PETER: Well, I happen to think I have made sufficient distinction between a PCE and an ASC for it to be more than matter of mere definition. I also think the response on the mailing list to my attempts to talk about peace on earth is a clear indication as to the fact that it matters. In the last hundred years over 160,000,000 human beings killed their fellow human beings in wars and over 40,000,000 human beings killed themselves in suicides.
All of the murder, rape, fighting, retribution, hostility, animosity, suspicion, fear, sadness, melancholy, loneliness, depression, and despair on this paradisiacal planet can be sheeted home to the animal instinctual passions in operation in human beings and no amount of praying to God or following God-men is going to do one iota to stop the carnage – in fact, it only adds to it.
RESPONDENT: Next I would like to describe a few experiences I’ve had and maybe get some feedback from you.
These experiences have lasted only for a few minutes but in my memory they stand out as small fragments of true happiness.
The essence of the experience is purity and simplicity and fullness.
PETER: It is useful when having any experiences to use your awareness to check inside, as it were. Is there a ‘me’ or an ‘I’ inside this flesh and blood body? If so, what am ‘I’ feeling and then try to put a name to the feelings. The only value in having any experience is what you learn from it so that you can use to dismantle what is preventing you from being happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. What I found useful was have a notebook handy so I could jot down what was happening in order that I didn’t forget or misinterpret later when I was back to normal again. (...)
PETER: By being totally immersed in the doing of what is happening, many people experience brief pure consciousness experiences. Often people have these experiences in what they term creative moments where it appears as though ideas simply appear in the brain as the result of one’s attention being totally focused on the doing of what is happening. This can bring a sensate satisfaction equivalent to the delight of the physical senses. The brain delights in clear thinking, exactly as do the taste buds delight in a delicious meal or the eyes delight in the colours of a gay street scene. What the ‘self’ does is make judgements as to these inputs, valuing them as we have been taught to as good or bad, right or wrong, ugly or beautiful, etc. while our instinctual programming causes us to be ever on-guard psychically and psychologically.
RESPONDENT: In those three years, for me, thinking was everything I could do. It was as if I was standing in the middle of a landscape, the Land of Thinking. I could only see land as far as my eye could reach. By thinking about thinking, I started to see that the Land of Thinking has clear borders. That land suddenly became a small island in the middle of an endless sea. This happened one week ago. The experience is extremely frightening and at the same time, it fills me with bliss that I have never experienced before. I went beyond the island that I knew, and discovered that I could still see everything very clear, better than clear, much much better than clear. I spend hours and hours looking from this endless unimaginable sea of clarity.
PETER: The experience you describe could well have been what is known as a pure consciousness experience (PCE). Everybody has had a PCE sometime in their life where, for a brief period, one magically finds oneself in a ‘self’-less state of sensate-only experiencing and the perfection and purity of the actual world – the fairy-tale like physical universe – becomes stunningly apparent.
The PCE offers a glimpse or window out from the ‘real’ world everyone is born into (and therefore assumes to be all there is), and one suddenly finds oneself in the unimaginable, magical, fairytale-like actual world.
The PCE is a sensuous, sensate-only ‘self’-less experience of the perfection and purity of the actual universe. There is no ‘self’ as an interpreter, censor or spoiler. All is directly evidenced by the physical senses to be pure, perfect, delightful. One’s intelligence is freed of any emotions and affective feelings – thinking becomes benign, clear and concise – free of malice and sorrow. The already-existing innate purity and perfection that becomes stunningly apparent in this ‘self’-less state instantly renders redundant the need for any morals, ethics or any kind of ‘self’-control. With awareness and intelligence operating totally freed from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, ‘I’ can then be clearly seen for what ‘I’ am – an alien psychological and psychic entity dwelling within this flesh and blood body.
This physical universe is seen to be already perfect and it is obvious that it is only what goes on in human heads and hearts – the dis-ease called the Human Condition, manifest in each of us as a separate, personal ‘self’ – that is the cause of the appalling human malice and sorrow. What has always been avoided up until now is the fact that the affective instinctual passions are the root cause of human malice and sorrow – the loves and loyalties, impulses and urges, ideals and beliefs that human beings are willing and eager to fight and kill for, or to suffer and die for. One’s own ‘self’-inflicted problems lie in the feelings and emotions that arise from the animal instinctual passions – and the PCE experientially confirms this fact.
The ‘self’-less state of the PCE is, however, commonly distorted or tainted by cultural or religious teachings into what is known as a Satori or Samadhi in Eastern religions, or an epiphany or revelation in Western religions. A pure consciousness experience is thus perverted into an altered state of consciousness as the ‘self’ claims the PCE as its very own. In pantheistic Eastern Religions one has a glimpse of being God personified, as an Awakened One or an Enlightened Being, whereas in monotheistic Western religions one has a glimpse of being in the presence of God, as a messenger, prophet or Son of God. All this misinterpretation and misappropriation of the pure consciousness experience is fuelled by ancient belief and wisdom and the passionate instinctual narcissism of the ‘self’. The chance to feel that one is a God-on-Earth is the seductive, seemingly irresistible lure that fuels Eastern religious belief.
A pure consciousness experience, if untainted by spiritual belief, is a different kettle of fish. It points to a different dimension and a different possibility for those who are less gullible and more aware than spiritual believers.
RESPONDENT: Earlier I heard Andrew speaking about the fact that ‘there is only one’. I always found this very inspiring and poetic. I thought he meant that you should not wait for others to become enlightened first. Somebody must be the example, somebody must make that leap, why not you? I don’t think that I misunderstood him, but now that I see this other perspective I see that he wasn’t speaking in a poetic or metaphorical way at all. He was speaking very literally. There are literally no others!!! That is the shocking conclusion that I draw since I see that other perspective: I did not know that the secret is so incredibly big!!!!! I did not know that I am literally completely alone. I see all the people, I see that secret and realize that I am completely alone.
PETER: The feeling that ‘there is only one’ or ‘there are literally no others’ is but a feeling – an affective interpretation of the actual experience of no separation that is startlingly apparent in a PCE when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent. The aching feeling of separation arises from the fact that there are 6 billion human beings on the planet, each with a separate ‘self’, engaged in a grim and desperate instinctual battle for survival. There are also those few who have induced in themselves an altered state of consciousness whereby they have adopted a new identity – a higher ‘Self’ passionately deluded into ‘being’ Oneness. For these few unfortunates, and their followers, the feeling of aloneness is simply replaced by a feeling of Oneness. A sensible, modern aspiration is to be free of the Human Condition in total, both aloneness and Oneness, both illusion and delusion – and an unadulterated pure consciousness experience is the proof that this is possible.
RESPONDENT: I find reality as I thought it was very flimsy, a small island in an endless sea, but in no way an illusion. So I agree with No 00 that there is something to say about how we conceive of life, it is very flimsy.
PETER: Both a real world reality and a spiritual world Reality are indeed very flimsy. Both these conceptions about what it is to be a human being and the physical, actual world we find ourselves in are illusions conceived by the psychological and psychic entity that inhabits the flesh and blood body. ‘Who’ we think and feel we are is the flimsy thing – lost lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. Eastern religious philosophy has it that ‘who’ we think we are – the ego – is the problem and teaches devotees to give full reign to ‘who’ we feel we are – the soul. Spiritual believers are continuously admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’. This shift of identity from ego to soul gives rise to a narcissistic soul uninhibited by intelligent thought, and there is no greater narcissism or stupefied intelligence than to believe oneself to be divine. The path from ‘self’ to ‘Self’ is a path of self-aggrandizement, not self-immolation. No wonder there is such doubt and confusion on the spiritual path for one is constantly having to deny common sense, the physical world as experienced by the senses and the fact of physical death as a finality. (...)
PETER: Indeed, an altered state of consciousness is a mental affliction, albeit very fashionable and much sought after. The very idea that this wondrous, eternal and infinite universe was created or is maintained by a God or is some sort of illusion of God’s or human’s consciousness is nothing other than ancient mythical fables – an imaginary fear-ridden fantasy arising from primitive ignorance. To actively maintain these myths is to deny both fact and intelligence, and to actively aspire to be God or to realize God-consciousness is to court mental illness. An altered state of consciousness such as enlightenment is a mental aberration and an affront to intelligence. The spiritual world is a world of institutionalized insanity.
There is a way out of this madness and that is to actively pursue a pure consciousness experience (PCE) and have the courage to turn one’s back on the delusion of an altered state of consciousness (ASC).
The pure consciousness experience that I remembered that drove the wedge between the actual world and the spiritual world happened to me some 15 years ago, curiously while I was on the spiritual path, some fourteen years ago. I had arranged with my partner at the time to spend a weekend in a holiday house by the foreshore of a large salt-water lake. We arranged a comfortable picnic spot by the lake and, as I strolled off by myself, a pure consciousness experience crept up on me.
The past five years that I have known her, with all the memories of good and bad times, simply do not exist. It is just delightful that she is here with me, and I do not even have any thoughts of ‘our’ future. In short, everything is perfect, always has been, and always will be. It is an experience of actual freedom where I, as this body only, am able to experience with my physical senses the perfection and purity of the physical universe, free of the psychological and psychic entity within. And also free of the delusion that it is all the work of some mythical maker to whom I owe gratitude for my being here. I am actually here, in the physical universe and enjoying every moment of it.
It was the memory of this pure consciousness experience that was later to be the driving force to wanting to experience this actual perfection and purity 24 hrs. a day, every day. For this to happen there must be the death or extinction of both ego and soul – the illusionary entity in its entirety, both one’s real world identity and one’s much prized and much praised spiritual identity. It’s a tough call to be a pioneer and break from tradition, but the spiritual world is such a wank and I highly recommend becoming free of being a spiritual identity.
So No. 1, I am not denying the validity of your experience. I am simply pointing to a sensible and vital interpretation that is not influenced by ancient ignorance and dour religion and philosophy, particularly that of the Eastern ‘spiritual’ variety that is currently fashionable amongst even the most genuine seekers of freedom.
MODERATOR: The rejection of rigid religiosity for the purity of the ‘pure consciousness experience’ you are calling for has been the message of most of the world’s mystics – including those whose recognition of the complexity involved in actually doing so eventually led them to create doctrine, path and form to help others progress toward the goal.
PETER: Ah, I can see why I am still on the list. You think I am peddling some new variation of old time religion disguised as New Dark Age spirituality.
When I first came across the possibility of an actual freedom from malice and sorrow I thought it must have been a spiritual thing because only the spiritual people talked of freedom. It took me months until I began to understand that the traditional spiritual path offered a feeling of liberation for one’s spirit or soul before death prior to a final real liberation from earthly suffering after physical death. I see that some people on the list use the expression illusion of ‘self’ and others refer to the illusionary physical world which means what must be REAL is one’s spirit, soul, Self, Atman, Essence, Heart, etc. – a disembodied, non-physical entity. By concentrating on repressing sensible thought, denying the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses, and letting one’s impassioned feelings and imagination run riot a new detached, superior and holy entity is realized.
To get to this state of complete dissociation is for most a very complex and torturous process and only a rare few manage to pull it off completely. The level of denial of the physical world alone requires an extraordinary effort. To regard all that we see, hear, touch, feel, smell, eat and breathe to be illusionary requires a mind-bending act of astounding tortuousness. It is because of the complexity and difficulty involved that most mystics had to renounce the obvious pleasures and delights of the physical world and go off to caves, monasteries, ashrams, lone wanderings and indulge in often bizarre practices such as meditation, yoga, chanting, whirling, special diets, celibacy, etc. in order to strengthen their fantasies.
The ‘self’ (including all its cunning spiritual variations) is an illusion, not the physical, tangible, palpable physical world.
The simple test as to what is actual is to place a peg on the nose, place some Gaffer tape firmly across the mouth and wait 10 minutes. As you rip the tape from your mouth and gasp for breath you will have an experiential understanding of what is actual and what is illusionary.
When I had my altered states of consciousness experiences I couldn’t quite pull off the denial of the physical bit. Something always made me suss about the need for renunciation, the isolationism, the elitism, the head-in-the-cloud feelings. The grand and glorious feelings were sure seductive but thankfully I held on to my doubts and my common sense and didn’t trust my feelings.
If you can recall having a pure consciousness experience you would remember that there is not a skerrick of rigid religiosity nor slippery spirituality in it at all. It is an experience where there is no psychological or psychic entity whatsoever present in the flesh and blood body. There is no ‘I’ to feel glorious, to feel Oneness, to feel Divine, to feel Whole. There is no Love, God, Essence, Source, etc. that is the grand reason, plan, creation, essence, energy, life-force, etc. that gives the psychic entity in the body a grand and glorious place or part to play. In the pure consciousness experience there is no affective faculty, nor any capacity for imagination in operation. So vast, so perfect and so pure is this physical universe directly experienced by the body’s physical senses that the immediate becomes vibrant, alive, sensuous, tactile and actual. There is no feeling of separation, nor any feeling of unity for it is obvious and apparent that I am this body, made of the same stuff of the universe, live cells made from the union of sperm and egg, sustained by eating the stuff of the earth, swimming in and breathing the air of the earth, surrounded by stuff made from the earth – and when this body dies the stuff left goes back to the earth. Finish, kaput, finito, gone, extinct, stuffed, no more. Perfect.
Because a pure consciousness experience is a temporary ‘self’-less experience with no emotions or feelings operating whatsoever there is no emotional memory of the experience afterwards. As such it can be lost in the memory or can easily be dismissed as an aberration and not taken for what it is.
MODERATOR: Perhaps the greatest challenge for anyone who discovers the utter simplicity of the ‘PCE’ is to remain humble, to realize that, for all the ‘malice and sorrow’ that has been waged in the name of religion, at the heart of each tradition is a vast body of REAL wisdom about not only the ultimate fact of our essential non-dual nature, but about how a human being can come to realize and ultimately express that nature as themselves – an area about which all but those few perfected beings among us still have much to learn.
PETER: Anyone who has experienced a pure consciousness experience will know that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ to be either proud or humble. There is nothing but an overwhelming sensuousness, an astounding clarity of thought, a glaring obviousness and a sheer delight at being the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being. Pride and humility, good and evil, right and wrong, illusion or delusion, spirits and other worlds and spiritual searches are all seen as human inventions of ‘me’, the alien entity.. What is clearly seen is that human beings are still involved in a grim and desperate battle for survival fought out either covertly or overtly. The spiritual search, spiritual wisdom and all meta-physical ideas are clearly seen as escapist nonsense. With the knowledge gleaned from this ‘self’-less clarity, when one returns to normal one merrily sets about the task of ‘self’-immolation in order to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs’ a day, every day.
The actual becomes the seduction, not the synthetic.
As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. When I became aware of how proud I was to be a chosen one, how special it made me feel, how being humble was but a front for rampant pride, it was extraordinary revealing. What I was able to clearly see was that it was my pride that ensnared me in the spiritual world and this awareness made getting out so much easier.
As for our ‘essential non-dual nature’, I take it you are talking of the idea that we were born innocent, the ancient Tabula Rasa theory. The spiritual aim is then to return to our natural state of innocence – our true selves as we came into the world and before we were corrupted by evil. This is old-fashioned and out-of-date thinking that requires a blatant denial of modern empirical scientific research on the subject of human genetically encoded instinctual behaviour by Josef LeDoux and others. A sensible clear-eyed observation of the startlingly obvious similarities between human beings behaviour and that of other animals is further evidence of human instinctual behaviour. Most animal studies focus on the similarities of the passions of nurture and desire, but murder, rape, infanticide, warfare, cannibalism, sorrow, despair and suicide have all been documented in our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Jane Goodall was shocked when discovering and documenting this behaviour and she has since backed away from further research. Other research on human behaviour that I personally found profoundly revealing were the studies by Stanley Morgan that clearly indicate ordinary human beings’ willingness to inflict pain on their fellow human beings. The results were so disturbing in their revelation of our human nature that any similar studies have been banned as being ‘unethical’.
As for our ‘non-dual’, ancient spiritual belief has it that we are a spirit trapped in a physical corporeal body in a physical material world and the only way to transcend this duality was to becomes spirit only, or pure being. This duality is most often expressed as material / spiritual or evil / divine for in ancient times the material world was imagined as evil and the spirit-ual world was felt to be divine. Anyone who has plumbed the depths of their ‘essential non-dual nature’ sees the terror, dread and the diabolical and goes for the divine feelings which does nothing but confirm, sustain and make very REAL the human invention of good and evil.
There is no good and evil in the actual world.
There are simply human beings who are still driven by their instinctual passions and rather than ditch the lot, they deny the ‘bad’ ones and pump up the ‘good’ ones like all get out. Better to ditch the lot and then one is aware that any ideas of duality, non-duality or even beyond non-duality are but figments of human imagination and not actual.
How long will we continue this denial of the central role that genetically-encoded instinctual passions have in causing human malice and sorrow?
And how long will people keep turning away from the facts and proudly indulging in utterly ‘self’-ish theories and beliefs?
What I did was keep asking questions until all of my beliefs were replaced by substantiated verifiable facts. I would not settle on anything if I only felt something to be right and true or because someone else said it was so. I kept asking myself questions until I removed all doubt from my life. It became obvious that if I had to trust, have faith, believe or hope that something was so then it was not a fact but merely a belief or a feeling. When I came across the radical proposition that there was a third alternative to remaining normal or becoming spiritual I ran with the question: ‘What if there isn’t a God, by whatever name?’
RESPONDENT: After one has the PCE the ‘I’ is lost and only the here and now is experienced.
PETER: Maybe you would like to post a bit and describe your Pure Consciousness Experience (PCE) so we can discuss the matter in detail.
Otherwise I have no basis for discussion.
RESPONDENT: But trying to sell the experience with words is a waste at worst and silly at best.
PETER: Of course you can’t sell an experience (... let alone a book describing it) but I disagree that it can’t be described in words. Otherwise we are forever stuck with the old mystical stuff of ‘the truth cannot be spoken’. Are we only to ‘receive it’ as a transmission from the Holy Men? This system of slavery and disciplehood has entrapped millions in the East for centuries to no avail.
I am interested in discussing these matters.
PETER: If by Agapé you mean DIVINE LOVE ... it is wasted on me. I am one of a only a handful of atheists on the planet.
RESPONDENT: When one is truly free ... there is no need for such nonsense as believing there is no Divine Love, then one is a Gnostic, one who knows, one who has no belief.
PETER: So, one who is truly free is one who is not merely pretending, I take it from the first bit. There are about 6,000 religions who all believe that they have the ‘true’ version of Truth, or Liberation, or Freedom. The truth is such a woolly concept it seems to me.
You then say ‘there is no need for such nonsense as believing there is no Divine Love’. I take it then that you believe there is Divine Love, or are you saying that The Divine (God) is a fact. I take it that you are saying you believe in God.
A Gnostic is one who claims to have ‘superior knowledge’ of spirit-ual things (Godly matters) and therefore believes in Gods and spirits.
Are you saying you are a Gnostic? I am trying to make sense of what it is that you are saying.
RESPONDENT: When one experiences this LOVE they are not moved by the words of a ‘Richard’ or anyone else, for they are just words and it is just mind that is moved by them.
PETER: In the previous post you said, ‘in the PCE the ‘I’ is lost and only here and now is experienced.’ Now you seem to be saying that Love is experienced. The Pure Consciousness Experience is a pure experience untainted by any affectations such as God, Love, Oneness, etc. What you are describing is well documented as an Altered State of Conciseness (ASC) whereby one thinks one is someone else ... in this case Love or God. It is a delusion whereby one sees oneself as the Saviour, God, Love etc.
In the ASC the identity merely shifts from the head to the heart, from the ego to the soul – the self becomes the Self.
This is why in the East it is preached that one should watch the thoughts and get out of the mind. One’s identity makes the only escape possible – to the Heavenly realms of imagination and, if successful, a more or less permanent ASC is obtained ... and yet another Saviour is born.
PETER: Ah, the affectations and feelings in full flight, seductive as ever. Ever promising and ever failing to deliver except in fleeting glimpses, unless by supreme effort (usually suffering) one becomes fully deluded into feeling glory and awe. ‘Thine own true nature’ is of course to realise that one is ‘timeless, never-ending, always has been, always will be’
It is an enormous construct that has been built up over millennia and as such is not at all easy to begin to question let alone see through in it’s entirety. The only guide is the peak experience, or Pure Consciousness Experience (PCE), when one is able to directly experience the perfection and purity of the physical universe free of any ‘self’ whatsoever, free of a personal ‘self’ and free of the ‘Grand Self’. We tend not to recall these experiences or re-interpret them later as spiritual experiences, such is the instinctual cunning of the ‘self’ to remain in existence.
A Self is, after all still, a self, merely in a grander form, and a deluded one at that, as ‘it’ then believes it is immortal and will survive after physical death of the ‘body/mind’.
RESPONDENT to Vineeto: I assure you that I’m not talking about an eastern ideal or philosophy, the experience of the witness I’m describing is my current personal experience, for me it is a fact!
PETER: I have no doubt you have these experiences and that they are real. i.e. – that to you they are a fact. You may have noted that when I talk of experiences there is a clear distinction between a down-to-earth experience and an affective cerebral experience.
To give you an example of each –
When I was in Buddha hall shouting Ya-Hoo to an empty chair with thousands of others all dressed in long white robes – that was an experience of startling clarity – a brief pure consciousness experience (PCE) whereby I saw what ‘I’ was up to – ‘I’ was in a religion! This moment of bare awareness was not at all affective, it was neither good, bad, blissful or dreadful – it was just a startling realization of what this person called Prabhat was up to. After that I would walk around the Ashram and would find myself singing – ♫‘give me that old time religion, that old time religion ... it’s good enough for me.’♪♫ This experience was supported by the factual evidence of a religion – worship of a dead Master, prayer, gratitude, love, surrender, devotion, loyalty, acceptance, feeling of belonging. Also there were feelings of compassion for those not in the group and a feeling that those who left or went elsewhere were missing out or were being traitors.
The Altered State of Consciousness experience (ASC) I have written of before was where I was Love and Love was me. I was the Universe and the Universe was me. My thoughts were pure poetry and my chest swelled with the Grandness of it all. I was ‘home’ at last. (...)
RESPONDENT: I’m talking to you about what I experience when there are no thoughts! There is no female or male in witnessing just being! I have taken the time to read some of your long winded postings, and as far as I can see you are talking about spaces of the mind that you are experiencing whether that be body mind spaces or pure mind spaces and there is no difference really! Mind is mind! In witnessing, there is no-mind! I am in no way negating the intelligence of the mind, the mind is useful! I am saying there is being beyond it!
PETER: I am not denying your experiences at all. It is the aim of the spiritual world to locate the ‘being’ beyond mind. It is well documented. In the version you are following, with the Ramana Maharshi lineage, one discovers that one is That. In other lineages or paths one discovers one’s ‘original face’, the Source, Existence, Unconditional Love or whatever. Despite everyone’s insistence of having a personal realization or a having found ‘my’ truth, the experience in the Eastern no-mind tradition is a common feeling (an emotional backed thought) of Self aggrandizement – of being bigger, vaster, grander than one’s ordinary self.
It is indeed a wonderful state – it took Richard 11 years to dig his way out of his Altered State of Consciousness. I only had some briefer, but nevertheless telling experiences of this state, which is why I know very well what you are talking about.
But in the end it is only a feeling. There is no ‘other world’. There is no God. There is no ‘Universe’ as in ‘the Universe is taking care of me’. All these things are but phantoms of our imagination, given credence by the fairy tales passed down for millennia.
I see in your last post you have now become ‘the universe experiencing itself as a human being’. Is this some ‘miracle conversion’ perhaps? seeing you talk of seeing us as ‘like born again Christians’? Hallelujah ...!
Your experience is that you feel that you are ‘the Universe experiencing itself as a human being’ Polar opposites – 180 degrees opposite.
Despite your frantic insistence to the contrary, and now your twisting of words and wayward adopting of terminology – we are talking of two vastly different experiences.
The spiritual experience (ASC) is cerebral-affective and the PCE experience is sensate only.
The spiritual experience (ASC) gives credence to the psychic entity within the body resulting in Self-aggrandizement – to realise you are That, to become The Universe ... albeit temporarily trapped in a human body ... but when ‘your body’ dies ... then ‘you’ are freed!
The PCE is an experience when one realises that both the psychological and psychic entity stand in the road of one’s destiny – to be the physical universe experiencing itself as a human being ... when the entity dies ... then you are actually free!
Many, many people read what Richard, Vineeto and I are saying and all say it is the ‘same thing’ as the mystics have been saying. I was attracted to Richard initially on the same basis and it took me many months to understand the difference. I was, however, more attracted to the down-to-earthness of it. Things like being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony, sorting out sex, being happy and harmless...
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.