Selected Correspondence Peter
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: After reading your conversations with various respondents I’ve noticed that there is a constant thread permeating your discussions both ways, something like ‘I am right, you’re wrong and I can prove that to you’, then some of the co-respondents ‘soften’ their stance, yet again beginning to stay firm when approaching core issues.
PETER: Yes, this is a common thread of nearly all of the correspondents thus far. Despite the fact that the website is totally up-front that actualism is something brand new in human history, is utterly non-spiritual and totally down-to-earth, correspondents insist on writing to us telling us that we are wrong and that they are right – or to put it more succinctly, that their ancient, spiritual, other-worldly beliefs are the inviolate Truth.
I can understand the cognitive dissonance that happens whenever anything new is encountered – it was a major hurdle I had to overcome in coming to terms with the new technology of the computer age – but I am amazed at the arrogance of those who stubbornly persist in continually insisting that the old ways are right when the old ways have clearly failed to bring anything remotely resembling peace on earth between human beings.
RESPONDENT: I think you’re sometimes perceived having an attitude like ‘I don’t mind and they don’t matter’ with your correspondents, which might be a little bit troubling and perceived as a lack of consideration.
PETER: I find it curious that you should think this.
Since Richard discovered that it is possible to be actually free from the human condition he has devoted most of his waking hours and a good deal of his personal money to not only making the discovery available to others who may be interested but he has also personally answered thousands of objections from hundreds of correspondents, the majority of whom persist in insisting that he is wrong and they are right.
When I came across actualism and found that it worked to the extent that I became virtually happy and harmless, I sat down and wrote a journal explaining the steps I had taken in the process, the beliefs that I encountered on the way, the unliveable morals and unworkable ethics I had to discard and the changes I had to make on the way. I did so on the basis that the information would be both interesting and useful to anyone else who decided to head off down the path to becoming happy and harmless. And both Vineeto and I have gladly taken the time, and made the effort, to answer any correspondents who have written to us so as to pass on any relevant information we have gleaned in using actualism.
If you think this constitutes a lack of consideration, I am left wondering why you continue to subscribe to a mailing list that has been established by such people.
RESPONDENT: I personally was quite irritated by your lack of personal ‘touch’ in our email exchange.
PETER: I don’t know who you are addressing as you mention no one by name in this post but many correspondents have been irritated about what has been written to the point of being downright rude and angry. The more polite often resort to criticizing the style that the information is passed on rather than addressing the content of the message, whilst those less polite have no qualms about resorting to ‘shooting the messenger’.
RESPONDENT: Now, I appreciate this present way of interacting, as opposed to the spiritual one (being as near as possible to the Master) in order to receive his positive energies and original thoughts; it’s relaxing.
PETER: Not only is it more relaxing when one ceases being ‘quite irritated’, it then becomes possible to be begin to be able to hear what the others are saying without the whole issue being emotion-swamped.
Is there no person who can influence or change you?
There have been many people who had an influence on my life. The three stand-outs that are relevant to this discussion are my father, Richard and Vineeto.
My father, because the only advice he ever offered me was ‘It doesn’t matter what you do in your life, you can be a brain surgeon or a dunny-cart man (the man who used to call and collect the pan of excrement from beneath the toilet at the bottom of our garden), as long as you are happy’. What he didn’t tell me was how to be happy because he, along with everybody else, didn’t know how.
For the ‘how to’, I had to wait some 35 years before I came across Richard who had discovered not only how to be happy but how to be harmless – it is impossible to be happy unless you are harmless. And Vineeto’s influence was that I was able to see first-hand that the actualism method worked not only for myself but for someone else – the proof of the pudding that the actualism method produces happy and harmless people, regardless of gender, nationality or prior belief.
As for the possibility of another person changing me, I gave up this belief by becoming an actualist – becoming an actualist is the practical acknowledgement that no one can change me but myself. Further, becoming an actualist is the practical acknowledgement that I cease wanting to have power or control over the lives of others.
Whether or not an actualist can influence another person is entirely up to the other person and what their interests are. In my case, I was vitally interested in what Richard had to say as well as how he lived his life.
RESPONDENT: I’ve also contemplated a situation in which these exchanges would take place involving face-to-face conversations. Would that alter anything? This method is not designed to be practiced in a group as I understood it (it’s DIY), but there is a thin red line, as people tend to influence each other emotionally when coming together.
PETER: Perhaps you have answered your own question.
Personally I prefer one-to-one conversations such as this as they tend to be more direct and hence more intimate. And I have also come to prefer the written word as a concise way of getting to the bottom of a particular subject whereas spoken conversations usually tend to ramble a lot – a particularly delightful trait of spoken conversation.
As for groups, I agree that ‘people tend to influence each other emotionally when coming together’ – anger and resentment, and doubts and fears, can be spread like wildfire amongst a group of people, as the recent activity on the list testifies. Actualism is about standing on one’s own two feet and thinking for oneself, not kowtowing to those who seek to rise to the top of the heap by preying on the fears of others – as all the priests and Godmen have done over the centuries.
RESPONDENT: Personally speaking, I’m influenced in my everyday existence by ideas, things, people and situations (events).
PETER: Nowadays I find myself rarely influenced by the ideas of others because their ideas are mostly based on materialistic values or spiritual fantasies. Practical ideas are another matter as I tend to keep an ear to the ground in case someone has a better way of doing something or has invented a better something-or-other. I tend to live what would be regarded as a quiet life and as such find myself remarkably uninfluenced by things, people and events that are not in, or occurring in, my immediate locale.
I used to be emotionally influenced by things, people and events that were happening in all sorts of places on the planet– no matter that I never met the people, nor was ever likely to, and no matter if I had never been to the place, nor was ever likely to – until I realized that all I was doing was overlaying ‘my’ sadness and ‘my’ anger over people and events that ‘I’ had nothing whatsoever to do with. In short, when ‘I’ stopped wanting to save the world or have it refashioned the way ‘I’ wanted to be, I got on with the only thing ‘I’ could do to foster peace on earth between human beings – rid myself of ‘my’ feelings of righteousness and ‘my’ feelings of sorrow.
RESPONDENT No 80: I was recently reading Time and they had an article about meditation and the mind and such. One part of the article talked about how scientist monitored the brain activity of Buddhist monks while they meditated and they found that these people had high activity in the part of the brain where happiness is experienced like nothing they had seen before. The subject title is all in fun, but I wonder if an actualist can produce similar results. Just something I was thinking about.
PETER to No 80: I recently watched a television show along the same lines as the article you are referring to and what struck me was the inanity of people seeking an ethereal happiness by deliberately cutting themselves off from the world, a pursuit which stands in stark contrast to the utterly down-to-earth aim of an actualist – to become actually free from the human condition of malice and sorrow in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. A dissociated happiness is, after all, dissociative. Peter to No 80, 25.3.2005
RESPONDENT: Hi Peter, when you say ‘the world as-it-is’ what do you mean ... the actual world or the world as it is perceived by ‘me’?
PETER: I remember having a discussion with a spiritualist about this very topic soon after I abandoned spiritualism to become an actualist. He believed that the fact that everyone has a self-centred affective perception of the world meant that the physical world was a self-created illusion. We happened to be standing in front of his car at the time and I reached out and touched the glass of the headlight and asked whether or not the headlight existed in fact given that we could both see it and both touch it. He said that while we could both see it, we saw it from different perspectives, he from one angle, me from another, therefore we perceived it differently. I then realized that pursuing the matter was a waste of both his time and mine because here was a man who refused to talk sense and was determined to live, and remain living, in a world entirely of his own making.
This incident, coming as it did in my early years of investigating the human condition, highlighted the fact that in my spiritual years I had also retreated from the world as-it-is – the world of interactions with fellow flesh and blood human, of tangible palpable things and actually occurring events – into an utterly self-centred world – a world of affective interactions like-feeling souls, of ethereal non-substantial things and supposedly illusionary non-consequential events. It was then that I realized that I had in fact wasted a good many years of my life trying to be anywhere but here and anywhen but now.
But then again, it was hardly a waste of time because I know by experience the seduction of dissociation and lure of dissociative states.
RESPONDENT: Same question goes for ‘people as-they-are’.
PETER: One of the things that never sat well with me in my spiritual years was the sense of superiority that believing in a spiritual teaching or belonging to a spiritual group inevitable engenders. Of course when you are busy being a fervent believer or a loyal group member it is difficult to clearly see that, by holding such beliefs, you are separating yourself from most of your fellow human beings and are cunningly laying the blame for the ills of humankind on those of your fellow human beings who don’t believe what you believe, thereby actively contributing to the divergence and acrimony that typifies the human condition. When I dropped my spiritual beliefs I then discovered a whole lot of secular beliefs that caused me to feel separate from or superior to my fellow human beings.
The other aspect of setting your sights on being happy and harmless with people as-they-are is that one is compelled to stop the habitual and futile exercise of endlessly trying to change other people, or waiting and hoping that other people change, and focus one’s attention exclusively on changing the only person that one can change, and indeed needs to change – me.
RESPONDENT: No 80 questioned or thought whether or not the part of the brain with monitored high activity involved in producing happiness for the Buddhist monk while meditating is also involved in producing (a-caused) happiness for an actualist asking ‘Haietmoba?’ while apperception is operating. From your answer I can’t see any clear or implied ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’.
PETER: From what I saw on the television program, I have no doubt that the Buddhist monk felt happy when he meditated – I didn’t need to see an image of increase in neural activity in one part of his brain to tell me this. I have experienced the very same thing whilst meditating – often I would feel blissful feelings and I presume these feelings resulted in increased neural activity in parts of this brain as well. From what I understand, any feeling that a feeling being has results in increased neural activity in some part or other of the brain, but it is not a subject that interests me at all, quite frankly.
What did however interest me about the program was the fact that here was a fellow human being who felt happy because he was practicing a technique that involved cutting himself off from the world-as-it-is with people-as-they are. It reminded me yet again that the spiritual world and spiritual pursuits are 180 degrees opposite to the actual world and the intent of an actualist.
And just to make it perfectly clear, it is obvious that some people are happy living in the spiritual world pursuing spiritual pursuits, however when I started being interested in being here, my focus of attentiveness, together with my intent, radically changed.
RESPONDENT: Sometimes I want to post in as though I am a very average, deeply programmed human being, not one (still programmed) that has studied non-duality and the human condition for many years, because these are the people I deal with every day. People whom I adore to smithereens, never the less. Many of them are weary of my curious mind, as I do not spare them, as I do not wish to be spared from my own ignorance (thank you everyone).
I work around the clock with a team of about 80 ever changing beautiful young women working in the rag trade (advertising illustration turned me off too Richard :). Fashion is the field I’ve worked in now for around 15 years, and like Richard, (so I could relate) through thick or thin this mind has remained focussed on finding a way out the human condition, since my early 20’s. These days I’ve stepped up the pace :). I have begun, with every opportunity, to speak with my work mates, about my investigations into human nature.
Most of the women I work with model for the rag trade part time.
Some are mothers, some are students of psychology, nursing, or working in various other professions as well. Well lately I’ve been watching the response I get when I tell the truth about what I use the net for. Well they asked ;). So I tell them as casually as sharing a cooking recipe, while I am pinning a hen or designing a gown, that I’m learning about the possibility of dispensing with the self in order to bring Peace on Earth. And wow is it interesting to watch how that goes down.
Sometimes I wish I were 20 people, because what I have to share often falls on barren ground, and its hard to refrain from firing a thousand questions at them instead, in my insatiable curiosity about just exactly what kind of thinking and instincts are sustaining the imprisonment of mankind. Somehow I know that until I am 100% convinced for myself that the uncoveries Richard made are the indisputable, and only means, there can be no real movement for me out of that same prison. And such will be the case for every average man woman and child.
PETER: There are only average human beings on this planet, the only differences being the degree of their passionate indulgences or driven-ness. For those writing on this list the only difference is that some have an intense interest in freedom, peace and happiness and varying degrees of being free of passionate indulgence and driven-ness.
Personally I found that my interest in and connection with others who did not have this same interest eventually faded to be replaced by a feeling of being a societal outcast, which was in turn increasingly replaced by a liking for and a consideration of all my fellow human beings. My effort in eliminating malice and sorrow also has the wonderful bonus of sparing others of the burden of ‘me’.
And nowadays I get to converse with people from all over the planet, some of who are even interested in my favourite topics – actualism and Actual Freedom.
You also said in a previous post –
This is exactly the reason this list is here, for as human beings we are all born average – as in typical. Created by the cellular explosion that results from the meeting of a triggering sperm and a fertile egg, born utterly helpless into the world, looked after by others until we can do it ourselves. During this formative period of becoming who we think we are we were drilled as to what behaviour was right and wrong, told how to be and taught how to cope, all to a set of morals, values, ethics and beliefs of those who were here before us and those who were here before them. To dare to challenge this set-in-concrete mind set or programming is daunting to say the least. To dare to challenge it to the point of eliminating it altogether – to wipe the slate clean, so to speak, is to court ostracism and insanity but invite freedom and actuality. In short, provided one is willing to give up the archaic and nonsensical spirit-ual search for ‘Who you really are’, you get to discover what you are – without any tribal or animal identity whatsoever.
The Actual Freedom Trust website, and this mailing list, is devoted to assisting those who are eager and willing to undertake this process in themselves.
Of course, it ultimately matters not if people become free of this programming or not, or if the human species survives or not. Somewhere, sometime in the infinite and eternal universe another explosion of cells may produce consciousness again, or could well be doing it at this very moment, and thus the universe will marvel at itself in the guise of another animate life-form. The realization of this means that one’s happiness is one’s own responsibility exactly as one is responsible for one’s own malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: An issue that I would like to discuss is the demand for attention as I am in the situation at the moment where my questioning is being constantly interrupted by demands of work and family plus the prospect of having to move into a new house. It does indeed seem that running the question can add its own difficulties to each moment. An example is trying to solve say a work related problem plus the increasing pain in the back of the head which makes it more difficult to work. What usually happens is that I put the question ‘How am I...’ aside for the moment and continue with solving the problem. What then happens is that ‘How am I...’ is forgotten for a period of time. The addition problem here is that ‘How am I...’ can at times seem to be a hindrance to what is necessary to support oneself and family.
My solution to this problem is to find appropriate moments to run the question where any difficulties I may come across do not encumber my ability to work.
PETER: When I came across Richard I remember thinking it was easy for someone whose family had grown up and who did not have to work for his income due to the fact he had a war service disability pension to become free from the human condition. What about someone who had to work, had a family, or lived in not so comfortable or safe circumstances? Was he talking about having to drop out of the world as-it-is and people as-they-are – exactly as those on the spiritual path have to do?
I was working building a house at the time and soon discovered that the hurly burly of the real world was exactly what was needed to provide me with the opportunities to test myself. I remember one situation at work where one particular person would continually cause me to be upset, so I used the situation to rid myself of all that was causing me to be upset. My motto was – ‘I was not going to let this person ruin my enjoyment of my time at work’. I was not going to try and change him, I was simply going to make it my business that he was not going to ‘get’ me. By neither repressing nor expressing my reactions and feelings, I was able to sort out the whys and whereabouts of my malice and sorrow in this situation and soon he gave up on me for he found that he couldn’t get at me, no matter how hard he tried.
This experience meant that I came to see that actualism works in any situation, for anyone, anywhere. In fact, for those who have been wafting along on the spiritual path and are interested in actualism, it is essential to get out of one’s (inner) cave – rejoin the world of people, things and events and be tested. Unless one tries out a theory and find it works it will always remain a theory or a belief or a philosophy.
So, if you spend the biggest proportion of your waking hours working, or with family members, then it is vitally important that you be happy and harmless in those moments. If you are involved in solving a problem at work and become frustrated, or you find yourself becoming upset by someone, then these are the immediate challenges. This is what ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ means in the hurly burly of family and work. I found that I didn’t have to run the words per se, but simply be aware whenever I was emotionally upset, which was a sign of malice, or I was feeling lacklustre, which was a sign of sorrow. The quicker I caught myself, the more likely I was able to trace the cause or event, the quicker I could get back to feeling good again. If I was fully involved in the doing of something, then so be it, jolly good. Actualism is such a simple business.
I do like it that you are finding and tackling the challenges of work and family. My experience is that if you have the desire to be happy and harmless, and the awareness to eliminate emotional passions to the extent that common sense can freely operate, you can literally do no wrong. The more ‘you’ are willing to step out of the way, in any circumstances and at any time, and dare to let the moment live you, the more the purity and perfection of the actual world is able to become apparent.
Each of the early actualists is pioneering slightly different aspects, with slightly different flavours as we are all from different social conditionings, differing nationalities, differing spiritual conditioning, different living circumstances, male and female gender, etc. Your lot seems work and family, in particular – good hey.
RESPONDENT: I believe and know one must one give up both physically and psychically the things one ‘loves’ to be free of ‘love’s’ neediness? ‘I’ love the security of my ego, wife, home and family and ‘I’ also hate the cost of security which is to live in a lone, beautiful, wonderful and great gilded cage ... which is a kind of lone, beautiful, wonderful and great existence. Can perfection get even better?
PETER: One of the major aspects of the path to Actual Freedom is that one’s relationship to other people undergoes a radical and fundamental change. For me, the key to having the courage to change and break free of the emotional bonds, ties, demands and restrictions was in the seeing that I was doing exactly the same to the other person(s) involved. All 6 billion people are living their lives through other people, trying to change others to suit themselves, blaming others for causing their unhappiness, doing deals and favours, placing physical and emotional demands on others rather than live their own lives as autonomous human beings. The remarkable discovery, as one ceases this nonsense, is that one then is able to regard and treat all as fellow human beings without placing demands on the other. It was the freeing of others of the burden of ‘me’ that was the clue for me – which gets back to the harmless bit of happy and harmless. Once deciding that this is one’s priority then one sensibly, methodically and patiently does whatever is appropriate to realize one’s goal in life.
RESPONDENT: It is so clear to see people reaching out in the ways you described for common ground. Maybe common grievance is a cathartic substitute for their sense of aloneness? To relate and commiserate through all the problems and complaints ... but it is just as easy to gain humour, entertainment through co-operative exploration. This can be done for the same purpose ... to remove the aloneness? It was fun recently to turn a whole group around from the type you described to a more sensitive and analytical social group. I simply acted without a self and watched how others became encouraged to do the same.
It has little to do with wanting to self-immolate and peace on earth ... this is, however, a possible by-product? It made me realize that people, myself included, like to hide in the group, to connect, to solve problems, to feel a part of a bigger picture, and therefore feel stronger, more important, more relevant etc...
PETER: I do sometimes wonder if anyone does or ever will read what I write because all of it gets filed away on the Web-site and one can often count the weekly hits on one hand. Long ago it became obvious that I was writing for myself and for my enjoyment and if it was of use to someone else it was a bonus. I did enjoy the book review as it bought home to me the fact that making denial and acceptance into fashionable ethical and moral values and then aspiring to Transcendence is indeed institutionalized insanity. And how actual peace on earth is eagerly sacrificed by all those who indulge in self-centred spiritual belief.
I thought a bit about your comments about words, intent and talking to others and I found some pieces from my journal which may be relevant –
Well, they are a few of my personal observations that may or may not be relevant to you.
Personally, I gave up talking to other people about Actual Freedom about 6 months into the process. By then I had none of my former friends left for the simple reason that I had nothing in common with them. They were happy to cling to their beliefs and indulge in their emotions, whereas I was moving rapidly in the other direction.
PETER: Thanks for your post and for your observation which I will attempt to answer.
ALAN: ‘One observation I would make, from what you wrote – are you concerned that you are responsible for what others do, because of what you have written? Could be completely off track – if not, may be of some assistance. And you are absolutely correct – ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’ And we are each doing different things to make that fat lady perform. Between us, we are mapping out the ‘easy’ route to actual freedom and this discovery and comparing notes on the ‘voyage’ is such a delight.’
PETER: I gave the matter some thought and wondered when I last felt responsible for what others do? The nearest thing I came to is when I decided I would write my journal. I remember at the time thinking I want to write my story about how easy it is to become free of the Human Condition – to tell others that they need no longer suffer nor inflict suffering on others. That there is a way out and that it works. To map the simple steps to virtual freedom, which is living way beyond normal human expectations – carefree, simple and delightful. I wanted to write to tell my friends who were still suffering on the spiritual path or who had simply given up searching. I wrote it with passion and enthusiasm, as enticingly as possible, and sent off copies to all my friends.
Zero response! One did venture to tell me it was good that I seemed to be ‘getting’ what Rajneesh had been saying but I didn’t seem to be grateful to Him! Curiously, many of the books I gave away have gone unread. It was a good exercise as it plainly showed that there is no way I can ‘pull’ anyone on to the path to Actual Freedom. They have to do it of their own volition, they have to be desperately willing and vitally interested, they have to be dissatisfied enough with second-rate living, be it normal life or spiritual escapism.
At first there was a disappointment at the response for they were my friends – we had been on the ‘search’ together – but slowly the perfection of this path to Actual Freedom dawned on me. There is no power, there is no responsibility, there is no saving others, there is no Guru-itis. It is entirely up to each person how they choose to live their life. Once people know there is a third alternative, I do consider it very odd that they would choose for sorrow and malice rather than happy and harmless, but then again, its their choice entirely. So the writing of my journal began out of a sense of responsibility and that exercise is now complete, and the lessons are learnt. I also wrote the journal for myself as a way of making sense of the Human Condition and its operation in me, and in that it was invaluable. What ‘floats around’ in one’s head requires a next level of making sense when put to paper.
Now I write with the same enthusiasm to make sense of things for me and with the knowledge that it is being read by others. Hence, if anything, I veer on the side of caution for I have to be able to stand by what I write – it has to be factual and as accurate as possible, both for myself and for others reading it. At first, this required effort and caused a few wobbles – as in ‘can I say that?’ – but it has become more and more easy as the method works increasingly, the path becomes easier and more thrilling, and what is actual becomes more sensately and obviously pure, perfect and peace-full.
So, responsible, as in able to stand by what I write – Yes. Responsible for what others do – No.
Another thing worth mentioning about writing is that the way Actual Freedom is made freely available, passed on harmlessly and openly, is by words. This mailing list has people on it from all over the world and only four people have physically met each other. No ‘energy’, no vibes, no meetings, no doctrine, no rules, no restrictions. Utter and complete freedom for each to make of the words what they will, when they will. Read, think, contemplate, explore, reject, yawn, delete, unsubscribe ... whatever.
The path to perfection is perfect.
The path to freedom is free and freely available to all.
As a last point, it has also become obvious as to the futility of offering advice to others. Present facts, relate experiences, swap stories, state clearly what I have found works or doesn’t work and why, maybe drop a hint, but I am wary of giving advice to others. Firstly, it can be an interference and secondly, people rarely follow it anyway. And with advice comes responsibility for others and that only gets messy, quite frankly.
PETER to Alan: Thought I’d drop you a line about a subject that led me to a bit of pondering lately. Several times over the last 2 years Vineeto and I have met with people who have been interested in Richard and what he has to say. The reaction to us has been fascinating to observe for it is a subject of vital interest to me – at its core, ‘What am I in relation to other people and what am I in relation to Richard?’ The reaction to us can best be summed up as ‘piss off, I want to talk to Richard’ or ‘Who do you think you are – some over-enthusiastic disciple mouthing off the words of the Master?’ or some similar theme. Consequently, we have dubbed ourselves the ‘Litmus Twins’, for we seem to upset or offend those who seek only a bit of time (and space?) sitting with the ‘master’ but not those who are genuinely interested in actual Freedom and in changing themselves. My theory – and that is all it is – is that we are ‘offensive’ simply because we are the proof that it is possible to change, whereas regarding Richard as some sort of master, as in the spiritual tradition, means that all one has to do is sit back and imbibe the wisdom and truth of what he says and writes. I don’t doubt that they get something from the ‘contact’ but, for the life of me, I fail to see that any radical change can come from such a casual and cautious approach.
But I gladly admit to bias, as I am continuously amazed by people’s stubborn refusal to even admit that they have less than perfect relationships, that they are prone to malice and sorrow, anger, resentment, despair, resignation, self-deception, or whatever other feeling. Those still on the spiritual path see themselves as having risen above these mundane worldly matters and having ascended into the higher realms of ‘love for all’, feeling ‘That Which Is’ or being ‘grateful to Existence’.
Just as an aside, while I think of it, I once chatted to a man who had just been newly inducted into the spiritual world and we got to chatting about sex. He proclaimed to me that he now had a freer attitude to sex and was not only with his partner but with other women as well. He said sex had never been better as he now felt he was making love to all women when he had sex. It was ‘universal woman’ whom he made love to – the archetypical woman. It suddenly dawned on me that this Tantric-like practice was nothing more than a fantasy escape from the actuality of having sex with the particular flesh and blood woman he was in bed with at the time. In the ‘real’ world men and woman invariably revert to fantasies to maintain an interest after the initial instinctual attraction wanes, and Tantra is simply the spiritual version of these fantasies. Of course, it is a ‘higher’ and more ‘noble’ fantasy, but it is nothing more than an escape from the reality of sex. It is demeaning to the partner one is with as he or she is not the flesh and blood body person but is reduced to a figment of one’s own fantasy world – and then they have the audacity to term this fantasy ‘being intimate’. All the ‘action’ and ‘intimacy’ goes on only in one’s head. One literally goes into cuckoo-land – all in denial of the shameful, guilt-ridden reality of the sexual instinct in action. It is all about feeling and has nought to do with the luscious sensuality of the sensate sensuous experiencing of innocent sexual play.
For me, it was such an adventure to get to the bottom of the stifling mystery, the conspiracy of silence, the moralistic mumbo-jumbo and beliefs that actively prohibit free sexual enjoyment and a direct intimacy between any couple, be they normal or spiritually inclined.
Which brings me back to people-as-they-are – (a feeble attempt to round this rave back to some semblance of order). Whenever Vineeto and I talk or write of becoming free of the Human Condition, we are often seen (judged?) as being judgemental or attacking and not tolerant or respectful of the other’s position. In considering this, the only sense I make of it is that we are threatening in that we are putting into practice the concept that one can become free of the Human Condition – i.e. how human beings think, feel, believe and imagine themselves to be and how they are instinctually programmed by blind nature to function. Now any sensible investigation of the Human Condition involves observation, investigation, comparison, contemplation, consideration and judgement. One has to come to a conclusion as to what is silly and what is sensible, otherwise the whole exercise is merely intellectual wanking. Having made a judgement as to what is best, then action is required – one is compelled to action, unless one wants to settle for second-best – but that’s another story. So no bleatings of ‘you’re being judgemental’ will work with me – it’s a furphy that’s been bandied around since morals and ethics were first chiselled in stone and devised to silence the sensible. ‘Judge ye not’ is a platitude invented by God-men and other charlatans in order that no one would question the rest of their inane platitudes. It is one of many dimwitticisms, passed off as Guru-wisdom, that have no other meaning or purpose than to keep their followers and disciples under control, humble, grateful, loyal and above all non-thinking.
But if anyone wants to remain as they are, second-rate, rooted in the past, or off in la-la land, then fine. Somewhere there is a Peter or a Vineeto who might appreciate a bit of ‘judgemental’ straight talking, a first hand account about becoming free of the Human Condition, what it’s like to challenge all beliefs, what it’s like to leave one’s ‘self’ behind. I strongly recommend being judgemental – making a judgement, an evaluation, a discernment, a decision, a finding, an appraisal, an assessment, a conclusion. At the very least one practices thinking, at best it may provoke action, at worst you may be inaccurate and need to re-assess. This is the process of learning called trial and error. One simply proceeds to what is sensible and what works, and one finds one has discovered a fact. And one can rely on a fact. It takes a little practice but eventually ‘you’ become redundant in the game as the facts start to speak for themselves.
Which brings me back to Richard and people-as-they-are. When I first met Richard there was quite a period of regarding him as a Guru for that was what a ‘wise man’ was to me at the time. It seemed that he was talking of another world or dimension, which he was, and that he was in touch with some ethereal wisdom, which he wasn’t. I remember at one stage laying on the couch – yet again – and saying ‘Okay, you can let me into the mystery now. Is there a space craft that is coming to pick us up, is this some ‘special’ group and you’re gathering people for the new world after the ‘end-of-it-all’, or what?’ All I got was a laugh, but it cleared the air for me. After that, he increasingly became a flesh and blood normal person to me, who had actually found a way to become happy and harmless. It is not that the process became any less radical and un-‘natural’, but it meant that it was possible for me – a normal flesh and blood human. It also meant that I was not going ‘somewhere else’ in the spiritual sense but it meant that the answer to the mystery of life lay under my very nose, as it were – in the world-as-it-is, with people-as-they-are. It was only that ‘I’ was in the road of the actual world’s perfection and purity becoming apparent and that was something I could do something about. If Richard could, I could. It is, after all, a process of elimination – a stripping away of the veneer of reality and the veneer of Reality in order to more and more experience the actual world. The process involves nothing more than replacing belief – both real and Real – with fact, for fact is what is actual. And the last of the line – not the first – or even the middle – is the experiential understanding of the illusion or non-facticity of ‘I’. Self-immolation then becomes imminent.
Once I had managed to get the last of my spiritual concepts and notions out of the way, on the couch that day, it became simply a matter of emulating Richard and this new way of being a human being – his manner, words, the facts he presented – how he was as a human being. Exactly as I had done when I found a good architect or builder or expert in any field – soak up all you can about what you regard as the best – why is it so good, how is it different, why does it work, why is it better than how I do things? Lately for me has been the stage of seeing what it is that is different between Richard and me – what are the innate quirks of character, differences of style, preferences, life-experiences that are genuine differences.
It has been a fascinating journey to see not only the universality of the Human Condition, to discover why and how Richard is different from ‘normal’ and ‘spiritual’, and now I come to see how I am actually different from Richard. Merely to remain following and mimicking would be to forever remain virtually free – the dare now is to be unique and individual – actually free of the Human Condition – to stand on my own two feet.
PETER to Alan: I thought I would pen a letter to you about one of those ethical values that is so instilled in human beings that it not only clouds any common sense operating but also acts to forever lock malice and sorrow into the human psyche.
I often wonder what people make of the simple statement that one has a social identity that consists of all the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that have been instilled by one’s peers in order to keep one ‘under control’ and to make one a ‘good’ citizen. It seems such a straight forward statement yet there is no discussion or questioning whatsoever regarding morals and ethics and their failure to stop the barbarous human warfare that rages on the planet between various tribal, religious or ethical groups. Despite the fact that countless well-meaning people have been following these pious morals and unliveable ethics there is still no end in sight to the sadness sorrow, depression and suicides. Having to live one’s life bound – as in bondage – to a set of morals and ethics is to be shackled to Humanity.
What twigged me to write was a conversation I had with a man recently about tolerance. It was one of those convivial evenings as we settled back after dinner at his beach-side house. We had bought a whole coral trout and some baste for the sunset barbeque meal, his wife had concocted a wonderful salad and he had provided some delicious soft Merlot wine. Vineeto and I, he and his wife contentedly lazed back after the particularly tasty meal, and their newly born baby slept in the corner after her meal at the breast. We started swapping life stories as one tends to do in good company and his wife began chatting to Vineeto about her upbringing as a Japanese and how she had come to leave Japan and ended up in Australia. She evidently was of mixed Japanese-Korean parents and, as such, was very much regarded as a second-class citizen in Japan – something which she didn’t take too kindly to. I then proceeded to explain to her some of the religious and ethnic divides that are rife below the surface in the country I grew up in at all levels of society.
I soon trotted out one of my favourite stories about the insanity of Humanity – the fact that my father, like many other young Australians during the Second World War, was sent to Europe to help England fight Germany. He ended up in the Middle East fighting the Italians in the desert and then came back to fight the Japanese in the jungles of New Guinea. When I went to university to study architecture two of my best friends were an Italian and a Japanese – of the same tribes that my father had been busy trying to kill only 20 years earlier. What struck me as even stranger was here I was some 30 years on telling this story of muddled madness to a woman of Japanese stock, and a woman of German stock, both now residents in this country.
It was at this point that the man came out with the statement that ‘we are all different’ and that all children need to be taught ‘tolerance’ from the beginning. He said the trouble was that ‘some people’ weren’t tolerant. When I asked him who were these people he looked a bit befuddled as he sensed he would have to trot out his prejudices by coming up with an example. To let him off the hook a bit, I stated that it was only in recent years I had come to see the extent of my own ‘limits of tolerance’ having being born into a largely Christian society. As such I was imbibed with the view that say Muslims, in particular, were ‘evil and intolerant’ people, and I could tell that it was this particular religious group that he had in mind when he talked of those whose children needed to be ‘taught tolerance’.
I backtracked the conversation a bit for his plea for tolerance was based on his preceding psittacism that ‘we are all different’. I looked around at the four of us sitting there and could obviously see that two were males and two were females, so I stated that beyond that physical fact, we were no different in that we were all flesh and blood human beings. We had no differences apart from some physical differences – plus a good deal of social conditioning but I was trying to isolate that fact out for a bit. At core we were all the same passionate beings – German anger is the same as Japanese anger, Australian sorrow the same as English sorrow – yet this man insisted that we are all somehow different and therefore we should be tolerant of each other’s differences.
I was going to pursue the point that we are all the same animal species and that it is a fact that we are only taught to think we are different and unique via our social conditioning – to not only be loyal and good tribal members but to cherish and be proud of our being ‘different from’ and ‘better than’ other tribes and to be ready to fight for and defend our ‘being different’. Oh yes, and then we are further taught that it is good to be ‘tolerant’ of others who happen to be ‘different’ than us.
One needs to be taught that we are different and be prejudiced and intolerant of others first in order to then feel the need to be tolerant. These ethical values are but societal conditioning that sits like a sugared, feel-good layer to cover over our instinctual love of aggression – we love a good fight and the tribe next door, that ‘different’ mob, was always the best target as there was always some old score to settle – some pay-back for a past deed. It has the added advantage of giving us someone to hate and fight that isn’t our own kin or our own tribe.
But I didn’t pursue the point as he was already confused enough, and it was senseless to spoil the evening.
Perhaps the failure of the principle of tolerance is most clearly seen in Europe where, after two horrendous wars fought in the first half of the century that decimated whole generations and lay ruin to the continent, some enterprising politicians decided enough was enough. The idea of a European Union was born, whereby national barriers would be gradually demolished to form a more unified, less tribal and more peaceful European community. Just on the brink of implementing this policy it seems as though the threat of ‘loss of national identity’ is becoming too much for many to contemplate. In fact, it appears, from reports, that there is a ground swell for increased regionalism with even smaller, more nationalistic groupings clamouring for power, independence and autonomy. Identical fears are heard in the raging and anger against ‘globalization’ – people desperately wanting to cling to the past and to their tribal and ethnic groupings – to remain the same and part of a traditional warring group.
This behavioural evidence is in direct contradiction to the spurious argument that ‘we are all different’ for everyone fervently wishes to remain part of the traditional group into which they were born, to hold the same values, morals, ethics, truths and psittacisms – to be the same as everybody else and not different.
PETER: Hi Alan, hi Mark,
(...) Mark summed up the success he is having compared with his years in the spiritual world so well recently, and it is well worth repeating what he wrote –
This is written by someone with 20 years experience on the spiritual path – an experiential understanding of the significance of those three words, ‘fellow human beings’. Whomever you meet is simply a fellow human being – and one finds oneself increasingly regarding and treating others as such on the path to freedom from malice and sorrow.
Those three words – ‘fellow human beings’ – are the very key to peace on this planet and it will eventuate incrementally as more and more people have the experiential understanding that Mark has written of.
Other than spiritual and religious morality the ‘best’ that Humanity has come up with in order attempt to bring some semblance of ‘civilized’ behaviour to the planet is the ethical concept of Human Rights. Human Rights do naught but enshrine the differences and separateness in noble moral and ethical codes that are not only unliveable but actively perpetuate the continuation of division, conflict and war – an endless fight for one’s Rights, and the endless despair at having them ‘denied’ by others who are fighting for their Rights. One man’s God is but another man’s Devil. What is right for one is wrong for another. Justice for one means that someone else has to have revenge wrought upon him or her. Retaining one’s ‘heritage’ means retaining the prejudices, superstitions, ‘hurts’ and angers of one’s parents and tribe. The concept of Human Rights is a well-meaning, but futile, attempt to force human beings to try and stop the instinctual urge to kill each other. ‘Twill never bring peace and harmony.
Re: Vitriolic confusion
IRENE: Wow, some fire has erupted, I read in your e-mail! Despite your vitriolic confusion about me and my new(?), old(?), woman only(?) anti-man(?) philosophy, I couldn’t help chuckling about you here and there and saying ‘fair enough, Peter’.
PETER: So I guess if you regard my last letter as vitriolic we are coming to an end of our correspondence. We seem to ground on the major rock of feelings and emotions and we have wide philosophical differences on the matter.
If I can attempt to broadly summarise the positions I see it as the following –
Your stated philosophy from your last post is that of –
Briefly in response to the above points my position is –
PETER: Well, we pursue our philosophical differences over the copper wires again, hey. To keep things on track I’ll respond to the 5 points where we seem to differ.
IRENE: I can only wholeheartedly agree with you. You seem to be more in disaccord with Richard as he maintains that you cannot achieve this as a human being. He says that he is no longer a human being. I can talk about being a human being at ease, at peace with myself and other people, without malice nor emotional grudges or reactions towards any person.
PETER: Point taken. I was using the word human being as in ‘fellow human being’. Richard is most definitely not a ‘normal’ human being in terms of having malice and sorrow and the elimination of these animal instincts involved an apparent physical mutation. I’m at a bit of a loss at your second point, as you have previously stated that you have feelings, emotional reactions and deep grudges and have lauded your capacity both to feel sorrow and to share in suffering with others.
IRENE: Well-executed lyrics learnt by rote were performed smugly by the 3 chief-disciples in turn, not only boring like hell because of the predictable repetitiveness but alienating in no uncertain terms the other 3 people present, including the hostess ... whom you all failed to acknowledge even politely, but simply used as your servant only and a pair of ears... I couldn’t help but noticing the austere and churchlike atmosphere you four people were intent on creating ... <snip>
This way of zealously‘ winning souls’ for the greater glory of the man who originated the sect or religion or way of life, is so typical and predictable for all new sects, and something so obvious to everybody else. The new disciples themselves are usually unaware of their fanaticism, yet instantly rail against it when recognising it in disciples of other masters... and as you well know Peter, that is exactly the sure-fire way to war, that you and I would like so much to replace with peace amongst people ... if I take your words sincerely?
PETER: I was confused by your last letter to me as it didn’t gel with last time we hung out together. What is it that seems to offend you about people claiming to be happy and harmless and then trying to seduce other people into maybe trying it? As one of those people trying to do it I can tell you it is a strange business (albeit a part time one – maybe a couple of hours a day, whichever day), because all you get is objections. The fun bit for me is to try and tickle my way around their defences and see that being alive is not such a bad thing after all, to meet the happy and innocent person. And maybe get them to consider even to enjoy being here, and then maybe to be happy, and maybe become concerned as to not cause ‘ripples’ for others.
Given that it does mean dropping both learned and instinctual behaviour and self, I have come to understand that the very nature of what I am saying is confrontational and anathema to the ‘self’. I have also discovered that my happiness does not depend at all on others, it’s just a bonus to see a bit more happiness and common sense in the world and a bit more peace and harmony.
RESPONDENT: For personal peace and world peace.
PETER: (...) I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both. I’ll try to explain again what we are on about, although it appears that I am ‘flogging a dead horse, as they say –
Maybe another way of looking at it is that all we humans are engaged in a big play called ‘being human beings on earth’. It’s our first time in the play, so we look to the others who are already playing to learn the rules and regulations.
Now when we enter the game we find the whole scenario of the play is already written and the name of the game is ‘It’s a dog eat dog world, life’s a bitch and then you die’. Given that it is a tough and miserable game, our main interest and constant obsession is self-preservation, survival, come what may. As such our underlying traits are that we are fearful and suspicious of all the other characters in the play and that we will fight for our rights and our life, come what may. We also find that we have to be members of a tribe to survive and, as such, we are taught the remainder of our script – the particular character role that we play within our tribe. We are further told that it is impossible to leave the protection of the tribe or you will die, and unless you constantly keep fighting for your survival you will die – no letting up, or letting your guard down. In a game like this ... no wonder we feel lost, lonely frightened and very, very cunning.
But what if you found some players who told you – you can play the game without having to be a tribe member, and without the constant fear of survival? What if you could re-write your particular script in the play? And it is not a dream, it is now possible for those who want to, to play the game of being a human being with a new script. All you have to do is to leave your old character behind. Or as Richard puts it ‘step out of the real world into the actual world and leave your ‘self’ behind’. It is a brand new script and most will object and still play the game of malice and sorrow, but soon the other game will become more and more played. Seeing it as an obviously more sensible game people will eventually join in with hardly a thought as to the old ‘survival’ script that they were wired to play. The game of survival is, at core, a grim game as we know it – 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone, not to mention all the murders, rapes, ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, tortures, domestic violence and suicides. The new play eventually would see humans playing in a world without wars, without domestic violence, rape and torture. With men and women living together in peace, harmony and equity. With sexual pleasure freed of guilt, shame, aggression and perversion. With no religious or territorial wars fought over right or might. With no police, no legal battles, no need for justice or retribution. Where everyone treats each other as fellow human beings and wishes well of each other. Where equanimity, co-operation, consensus and helpfulness are readily apparent in all interactions. Where the current money and effort used to fight wars and keep the ‘peace’ are used to bring the benefits, comforts and pleasures now possible for the few to all humans on the planet. Where care and consideration replace greed and avarice, ending pollution forever...
We actualists are simply saying – stop believing what the other players tell you is your fated script and stop believing that the rules of the game can never be changed. That it is possible for individual players to delete the old, ancient and decrepit, survival program in its entirety and to now run on the sensible and sensate, stripped-down version, free of malice and sorrow. One can now become free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, if you want to make the effort.
PETER to No 3: I always say that I was happy to be a following pioneer in this enterprise for I was able to pick Richard’s brain, as it were, to discover what he had discovered. Thus I didn’t need to explore every alley, every nuance, every belief, every moral, every belief, and every psittacism. I was able to do this intensively over a period of 12 months, and together with reading his journal many times over, this was sufficient to become virtually free of malice and sorrow. I would suggest that your success will be purely dependant on the time and effort put in to the task. The good thing for you is that the amount of information available now has probably increased 20 fold and it is freely and readily available on the web site.
You still make your own investigations – and who would have it any other way – but a wealth of information is available to help you look at these broader details.
As you seem to be discovering, it is impossible to leap straight into investigating emotions without first looking at the broader details of one’s social identity. This is where The Actual Freedom Trust Library pages and particularly the selected correspondence related to topics are invaluable as you can focus your attention on understanding one particular issue and come to grips with it. Remember we are talking of a practical re-wiring of the human brain.
Our social identity is a way of thinking that has formed synapse connections that mean we automatically think a certain way, exactly as our instinctual passions cause us to automatically feel a certain way.
This rewiring requires persistence, perseverance and repetitive effort – exactly like learning anything new does, except in this case one is unlearning something. Thus one’s success, or not, is exactly proportionate to the amount of time and effort afforded to the task. Peter, Actual Freedom mailing list, No 3 23.5.2000
RESPONDENT: I am wondering if what you are talking here about is the investigation of emotions and feelings coming from the social norms by labelling them as sensible or silly? After labelling them, have you experimented by acting against your social norms (Acting against our religious / social conditionings and taboos to investigate the rush of emotions that follows such experiment, for example)? If so, did such action break through the psychological power of the norm and did it give you more encouragement to investigate them more deeply?
PETER: I think the first thing to be taken on board about actualism is that it is not about changing the world, it is about changing oneself. The traditional approach of people who see wrong or bad in the world is to join a crusade or revolutionary movement aimed at bringing about some sort of social, political or spiritual change to the world. Hence we have an enormous amount of angst, despair and vitriol generated by well-intentioned groups or movements clashing with other well-intentioned groups or movements, all determined that their way is the best, that they are right, or that theirs is the only way of doing things.
The traditional movements to change the world are passionately fuelled by people’s frustration at not feeling free to do what they want – of having to obey, and feeling straight-jacketed by, society’s morals, ethics and values translated into rules, laws and regulations. Thus one sees on television not only out and out warfare, terrorism, violent protests, etc., but even in so-called peaceful countries, there is a good deal of frustration, aggravation, annoyance and anger directed against the ‘government’ or various organizations for doing wrong thing or not getting it right. In the local community where I live there is an extraordinary amount of conflict, either overt or covert, as to the rights or wrongs of the actions of those with different beliefs or values and at the people employed to uphold the laws of the land.
A bit I wrote at the time of seeing the futility of attempting to rebel against or change the way the world is –
RESPONDENT: I am not interested in ASC’s or spiritual, mystical or religious traditions. Never have been.
PETER: It will be interesting to see whether this lack of interest impedes your exploration of actualism. I say this because thus far it seems that those who are interested in actualism have also been those with a previous interest in spiritualism – in other words they have been interested in finding answers to what is sometimes termed the human dilemma. (...)
RESPONDENT: Are you saying I may have a better chance of digging deeper into actualism if I had spent, perhaps wasted 17 years at the feet of Osho, who is none too enamoured around here? Or if I had spent the last 25 years at the feet of a whole host of teachers, mystics and the like?
PETER: No. Nowhere did I say this and never have I said that I wasted 17 years by treading the spiritual path either. The point I have always made about my time spent on the spiritual path was that it was an invaluable experience because I came to discover first-hand not only how, but why, the revered spiritual teachings do not work in practice.
RESPONDENT: It remains to be seen how far I will go with actualism and I am happy to contribute as a statistic in any studies you do on people and their application of actualism.
PETER: When I said ‘It will be interesting to see whether this lack of interest impedes your exploration of actualism’, I meant that I will be interested. I see no reason at all why someone who has not trod the spiritual path should not be interested in becoming an actualist. If actualism had been discovered when I became a spiritualist, then I would have had the opportunity of choosing between one alternative or the other – being a practical person I would have chosen actualism rather than spiritualism. One of the reasons I wrote the Introduction to Actual Freedom was to attempt to give an overarching explanation of actualism – one that would make sense to those who, unlike me, had not trod the spiritual path for years.
The other point is that I don’t gather statistics about those who are interested in actualism – I have an interest in what my fellow human beings make of it because they are fellow human beings and I wish them the best.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.