Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: I have a series of questions that go out to all who are interested. I’ve been asking the actualist question now for several months with some success at times – occasional glimpses what it is to be free – but very temporary. What I find as an even more common theme is worries arising about what I might have to ‘give up’ if I continue further and the difficulty of ‘seeing what is on the other side of a ‘problem’’.
Here are a couple issues that are important to me right now. I’m interested currently in this idea of ‘family ties.’ I understand the whole issue of the need to belong to a certain degree – but the hardest thing for me with this whole belongingness need is ‘how to’ relate to my family of origin. I know that the actualist strives to treat everyone on an even playing field by seeing through the deceptions of belonging. Take a simple thing like for example, ‘Mother’s Day.’ If I send a card to my Mom in appreciation of her care for me – then am I necessarily ‘falling into the trap’ of belonging?
Also, seeing that ‘gratitude’ is binding, is there a way of appreciating someone without feelings of gratitude? Finally, being that I am married with 2 children – I notice the fear that if I pursue actualism to its end – then I might abandon them. Sometimes it feels like it’s ‘actualism vs. family.’ What is ‘family’ when one is virtually or actually free? Can one still drive 5 hours to visit your parents without doing it just to fulfill their expectations?
What about when they become ill and die? Am I to treat them like strangers? It seems to me that even though I am ‘severing emotional’ connections – isn’t there still a connection with my biological parents more than just biology? I mean they did raise me and provide food and shelter and all. Do I only feel a ‘debt’ toward them? Or can I still maintain relating with them just based on the fact that they are biological parents? Also, I read Richard say once that basically parents are just ‘human beings who happened to be your biological parents.’ (my paraphrase) I wonder though, isn’t there just a little more to it? For example, one of my sons is adopted. My wife and I ‘play the role’ of parents – but I am working at not ‘being’ the role. Aren’t we ‘parents’ in any other way than merely biology?
PETER: I thought to respond to this post, even though you have since reported that you have had some insights about these issues.
I like it that you are having your own insights about the issues that are relevant to you in your life, and that you have had your own experience that has apparently shed some light on what is on offer in actualism. Whilst the writings about actualism and actual freedom are already quite extensive, broad ranging and catalogued, this source is but information to guide and aid your own personal investigations, insights and experiences on your own path to becoming free of the human condition. In other words, actualism is a do-it-yourself process, not a blindly follow-the-leader belief system.
Having said that, however, you are not alone in the process of actualism and much information can be gained from the experience of fellow human beings who have managed to rid themselves of malice and sorrow. I have learnt a good deal from observing Richard’s common sense approach to the business of being a flesh and blood human body in the world as-it-is, so I’ll pass on my experience about the consanguineous issues you have raised since I have been both a son and a father in my life. I’ve also written on this topic in my journal, so I’ll try and keep this brief.
Perhaps the most significant event that gave me cause to think about the whole issue of family happened a few years after my father died. Both my sister and I were at the age where we had left home and were capable of looking after ourselves financially and we then agreed that it would be good for our mother if we released her of her obligations to continue to provide for us. We told her that she had done a good job in looking after us whilst we were growing up but that now her time and money was hers again, to do with as she wished.
I remember at the time thinking what a freeing thing this decision was, both for my mother and for myself. This realization meant that later on, when I became a father, I did exactly the same. Although one of my sons died at an early age, I released the other son of the burden of the expectation that I would continue to provide for him beyond the point where he left the nest and also of the burden that he would have to provide for me in my old age. This simple unilateral action – one that can be taken by either a parent or an offspring – means that one is well on the path to seeing, and treating, one’s parents and children for what they really are – fellow human beings.
The only reason I was willing to take this step as a father was that I had by then set my sights on becoming happy and harmless and this meant that I had to release my son of my continually interfering in his life – of wanting him to do things my way. By setting my sights on becoming happy and harmless, I became aware of the issues around family that made me unhappy and the times when I did something or said something that caused ripples in other family member’s lives. As a practicing actualist, I came to see how both my societal and instinctual programming pervaded every aspect of my interactions with my son and how the combination of both actively conspired to prevent peace and harmony between us.
The first thing I found I needed to do was to become aware of what was going on, to understand the nature of this programming. The second was to see and acknowledge my part in the emotional turmoil that this programming generates, and the third and most important was to have the courage to change. Such radical change inevitably means going against what society regards as ‘normal’, ‘right’ and ‘good’ – the eons-old code of conduct based on the moral codes and ethical standards that have been unquestioningly passed down from generation to generation. This act of ‘breaking free of the mould’ then enabled me to clearly see and experience the underlying instinctual animal programming in action – those very crude, ‘self’-centred genetically-encoded compulsive drives that act to sabotage even the best of intentions of human beings to live together in peace and harmony. By being attentive to this genetic programming in action, I then became progressively less susceptible to the consuming power of both the savage and tender instinctual passions.
My experience is that once you have gone through this process with the major issues that prevent you from being happy and harmless, you then find yourself virtually happy and harmless – happy and harmless 99% of the time. At this stage the changes ‘I’ can instigate tend to be more minimal as ‘I’ have done most of the substantive work that ‘I’ can do and the resultant feelings of redundancy eventually lead to the realization that the extinction of ‘me’ is the next step to be taken.
As you know, this is a report of work in progress on the path to actual freedom, but I have always written on the basis that my experience will be of interest, and may be of use, to those interested in becoming free of the human condition, in toto.
PETER: You mentioned at the start of this post that ‘the following can be considered as the end of an investigation I like to call it a ‘peer’ review.’ If you are conducting a ‘peer review’ of actualism, I suggest that the only sensible way to do this on the basis of a ‘find out for myself’ approach and, by doing so, become a practicing actualist. Otherwise you will never be open to the benefits of peer review – that you are not in this business alone, that others are doing it, that you are in no way unique, that there are people with more expertise than you and that we actualists all seek a common goal – peace on earth.
In order to be able to review your peers, or be reviewed by your peers, you need to be amongst peers of the same occupation or interests, which in the case of this list is doing something practical about peace on earth or being vitally interested in peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: The point is perfectly clear, indeed there was some No 12 history intertwining in the conversation we have had so far. As the condition for an ‘AF’-review’ has be set as: In order to be able to review your peers, or be reviewed by your peers, you need to be amongst peers of the same occupation or interests, which in the case of this list is doing something practical about peace on earth or being vitally interested in peace on earth.
I take it as: In order to be able to review my peers, or be reviewed by my peers, I need to be amongst peers of the same occupation or interests, which in the case of this list is doing something practical about peace on earth and/or being vitally interested in peace on earth. ^note as ‘and’ in this context is highly recommended by me as I have so to speak considerable investments and interests in not only peace on earth but POEN asap.
PETER: Given your likening of actualism to Zen Buddhism in this post, is ‘POEN’ perhaps the Zen version of peace on earth? But to get back to the topic, my comments in relation to peer review was initially prompted by the following comment you made –
I took this to imply that you either knew of something or had experienced something that is beyond Actual Freedom. It was this statement that led me to assume that you were claiming to be an expert on actualism conducting a peer review of those who were only at the beginning or on the first step. Perhaps you could further explain what you meant by your statement so as to throw a little more light on the subject?
RESPONDENT: I also take it that the commitment to the ‘administration’ of this list by the owners which BTW (with regard to accuracy in Archiving and maintaining the Site) can only be rated as excellent. ^it is fair to say that some progress has been made. Coffee table wise speaking I think a virtual ‘handshake’ is appropriate.
PS: it seems to be the correct ‘line’ to sent this only to the ‘Freedom list’ yet that may be not so if the latter is the case then please let me know cause that’s where I take it that you have the expertise to decide what’s best as this is a matter of list administration.
PETER: One of purposes of this mailing list is so that all discussions about actualism and actual freedom are freely available to all. It means there is nothing hidden, nothing censored, no secret discussions, no hidden agendas, no ‘in’ group, and no ‘administration’ other than setting up this mailing list and providing the Website. The only authority that exists in actualism is an authority in the meaning as defined by the Oxford Dictionary: ‘authority – an expert in any subject.’
Because there is no power inherent in this authority – be it psychic, psychological or physical – there is no way an actualist can convince, coerce or cajole anyone into being interested in actualism, let alone take it on as life’s work. Inherent for anyone taking on the process of actualism is that you become your own expert on the human condition – an expertise that is firmly rooted in your own experience of investigating your own psyche in action and not as a knowledge gleaned vicariously from the experience of others. This means that the process of actualism is grounded in fact, not belief or faith, and that its hallmark is sincerity, not trust or hope.
RESPONDENT: As for solving the world problem I have left the idealist mode, only when living with the facts as they are I can understand my current situation from a social perspective so to speak mainly concerning the question: [what is my relationship to the fellow-being that is closest this moment?] i.e. when coming into a bar, restaurant.
PETER: From the perspective of a PCE, the ‘world problem’ is seen as being totally ‘self’-imposed, the result of some 6 billion ‘selfs’ each battling it out with each other in a grim instinctual ‘self’-centred battle for survival. Everyone has had at least one PCE in their lifetime – a brief experience of the utter peacefulness, perfection and purity of the actual world whereupon ‘me’, ‘my’ worries and ‘my’ ‘self’-centred feelings have disappear, as if by magic.
However, most of these pure experiences only serve as fuel to the ‘self’-centredness of the spiritual/religious beliefs that permeate the human condition. Either during a PCE or soon after, there comes the conviction that ‘I’ am a pure, noble and all-knowing being and everyone else is guilty, pitiable and ignorant. As a consequence, feelings of knowing the solutions to the world’s problems or even of being the next Saviour of Mankind are par for the course for those who selfishly claim the pure consciousness experience as their own.
This issue was in my face constantly in my initial explorations into the human condition – in the first few months, the more I discovered about how the human condition operated, the more I was tempted to want to change others. It required constant effort and attentiveness to remind myself that I was in this business solely to change me and not to change others.
RESPONDENT: Taking in account that in ordinary daily-life, once stepped out of a spiritual ivory tower, the overall political ‘climate’ is playing a fair part and even more the local political climate does so.
PETER: Speaking personally, once I got rid of the majority of my feelings of malice and sorrow, I found that the political views and machinations of others rarely impeded my being happy and harmless. I found the first thing to focus on was becoming happy and harmless and then, when any issue stubbornly hung around, I would dig in a little deeper.
That is why I appreciated coming across Lomborg’s book because I was able to read it largely bereft of an emotional ‘self’-centred reaction – I could see that he was simply attempting to compile a fact-based exposé of the political climate and popular belief that surrounds the Environmental battle.
RESPONDENT: As it is obvious that the one intertwines significantly with the other one may fairly find a starting point for affirmation that we are in the same boat when it comes down to being at the mercy of administrators; i.e. the affection of a lifestyle by government decisions.
PETER: Again Vineeto has recently made pertinent comment about the persistent belief that humans are inevitably at the mercy of an authority of some sort – a belief that only breeds resentment, which inevitably leads to aggression, be it overt or covert.
In the real world this belief serves as a convenient excuse for me never being able to be happy nor harmless. I am continually unhappy and upset because the government never does what I would do, never makes the right decisions, never does all the right things, never does enough, should always do more, and so on. Continuously objecting to the current political climate is a bit like objecting to the meteorological climate – a lifelong exercise in frustration, a Tantalus-ian task. Once you come to understand that ‘the government’ is made up of fellow human beings who are invariably inflicted with the human condition, you may find yourself being amazed at how much is accomplished and how well the system works instead of being frustrated that what ‘they’ do is not ‘perfect’.
When I became an actualist I became concerned with the ‘climate’, or psychic vibes, I carried around with me – I became aware of and concerned with how my moods affected others. I started to notice how my being annoyed or frustrated or angry or sad or melancholic affected those around me and I started to notice that I couldn’t be really happy or if my ‘climate’ affected others. In fact, I found that the only way to be genuinely happy was to put being harmless ahead of being happy and the first step in this task was to stop blaming other people or organizations for either making me unhappy or, in some way or other, preventing me from being unhappy.
RESPONDENT: The below is an excerpt from a CNN’s question of the day. Is Saudi Arabia ‘with us or against us’ in the war on terrorism? I have added some notes (and colorizing) for purpose of clarity and to give some food for thought. Feel free for yourself to establish the degree of in/exclusiveness that the above expression ‘us’ is evoking when reading this question. I think it’s time for us to call the name of the Game not by wielding any power but by thinking of sensible solutions and use that to step forward to our fellow-beings I do not agree with the title of the script and I vote for ‘Actual Freedom today’ and that is the name of the game for me.
PETER: I’ll pass on thinking of sensible solutions to national conflicts and religious problems and stepping forward to change the script of others.
Whilst I can relate to your enthusiasm, you may have noticed on this very list that it is impossible to change the script of others unless they have the desire and intent to change their script themselves. If they want to change – if they want to become free from the human condition or even from some particular aspects of it – then it is possible to pass on tips, hints, personal experience and so on, but to expect or demand others to change only leads to battle and frustration.
Perhaps a little of my Journal is relevant as it relates to the struggles I went through with this very issue –
I’ve snipped the bit you posted about Hamas as, although I found it interesting, I don’t profess to know enough about the facts of the situation in the Middle East to make comment. In a similar vein, I recently followed a local issue about upgrading a sewerage plant but I eventually came to the realization that I would have to research the issue well beyond what was presented by the various political factions and in the press in order to get to the facts of the matter. In the end, I gave up having an opinion one way or another because no matter what option is adopted, the situation will be an improvement on what exists now.
PETER: The only way to dispel comparison on the path to Actual Freedom is to do the best you can do. If this best is free of malice and sorrow, if this best is done with integrity, then whatever is done is simply the best in the circumstances. It is a bit weird when you get to the stage when you lose this ‘self’-measure of comparison with others for I find I now have no standard other than my own integrity. Believing in society’s hypocritical goods and bads, opinionated rights and wrongs, yearning for praise and cowering before criticism all gradually disappear and then it is as if there is nothing to hold on to – no external reference for ‘me’ in comparison to others. This stage can be unnerving and daunting and it is mightily reassuring that the sun comes up every morning, no matter what was going on in my head or my heart.
GARY: In some respects I feel I am now doing the best I can under the circumstances. I said a couple malicious things when I was under the gun but it could have been worse.
PETER: If becoming free of malice and sorrow was easy someone would have done it before, Richard and the few hundred or so who have read of it would have all jumped at the opportunity. Pioneering isn’t easy but it sure is a grand adventure.
GARY: I am going in to where I worked this afternoon for an ‘exit interview’ and I am keenly aware of not wanting to bad-mouth anyone and leave on the best terms possible. This was not true over the weekend when I got myself in a worked-up state, resentfully focusing on getting ‘revenge’ by maligning my supervisor’s handling of the situation. As I told you before once, I have always had a terrific resentment of authority figures and it has dogged me my entire life. If there is anything good to come out of this situation, it is to screw up my determination and intent to rid myself of this destructive feeling, as well as the other feelings.
PETER: One of the toughest things to do is break the ingrained habit of blaming someone else for my feelings – to stop saying he/she made me angry rather than saying I am angry and that someone’s words or some particular event was simply the triggered. Not only is this going against our childhood cunning of learning to blame others but it also goes against our ‘natural’ instinctual behaviour.
What I did was start with the most obvious people and they were the people I most interacted with. I had always failed at living with a woman in anything remotely resembling utter peace and harmony so that was the obvious place to start. Once I managed to stop blaming Vineeto for my failures and feelings, I was able to see what it was in me that stopped me being able to live with her completely peacefully with no disagreements, no annoyances, no conflict, no resentments, no begrudging compromises, no secrets, no differing viewpoints. This involved tackling all the man-woman issues that forever condemn men and woman to belong to two separate waring and suspicious camps and my success was stunning, to say the least. The end result of my efforts is a pure and simple delightful companionship and unfettered intimacy with a fellow human being, with the added pleasure of sexual play between male and female.
Once that the problem of living together with a woman was out of the way – and it took many months of very intense effort to be successful – I was then able to fully focus on other areas where I traditionally blamed others for me being unhappy, thereby inevitably feeling malice towards them. Anyone whom I felt had power over me inevitably brought up resentment and when I eliminated this issue I stopped senselessly riling against bosses, police, neighbours, friends, politicians, the system, some life force or ‘life’ – in short, I stopped blaming others and solely focussed on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
Crucial to this business of not blaming others or my circumstances for my unhappiness, my sorrow, my annoyance, my fear, etc. is to realize that I was in fact blaming everyone else for not having the same values, morals, ethics or beliefs that ‘I’ did. As such, every woman I had lived with needed to kowtow to my changing and fickle version of perfection and had to put up with my moods, my worries and my resentment. Everyone I worked with was similarly judged as not coming up to my standards and of wrongly judging and treating me – they were wrong, they got angry, they were selfish – they all needed to change, not ‘me’.
It soon becomes apparent that it is ‘me’ who is incapable of living or working peacefully with any of the 6 billion people on the planet – that the problem was ‘me’ – and not everyone of the other 6 billion people.
PETER: The process of actualism is chock-a-block full of realizations. However, it is important to make a distinction between the realizations that happen in the process of actualism and the traditional Spiritual Realizations, which are better termed Revelations.
One of the clearest distinctions between the two is that for an actualist, at some stage, there is a realization that there is no life after death, that the belief is nought but a gigantic multifaceted fairy-story, whereas for a Spiritualist, at some stage, the realization is a heart-felt embrace of the belief in a spirit-world life after death for ‘me’ as a spirit-being, i.e. only ‘my’ body dies and ‘I’ am immortal.
GARY: Death has lost most of its terrifying aspect to me. I would not say that there is absolutely no fear of death, but if there is, it is scarcely conscious. One can, I think, relate one’s own fear of dying to the fear of losing ‘loved ones’, people who one is close to. For instance, at times I realize I am quite attached to my partner and I would be utterly bereft were she to die and leave me ‘alone’. Then I realize that I am emotionally dependent on her, through the ties of love or sympathy, and that I don’t want her to die and that I could not bear to see her get ill or suffer. This then seems like an important realization for I am looking at what I am in relation to the people around me, and looking at what they mean to me. It is a rather sobering sort of reflection. There is that connection, I don’t know what to call it, ‘bond’ I suppose is a good word, that one forms to people throughout life – one’s parents, one’s children, one’s husband or wife. I think for me I fear their demise more than I fear my own. Picturing my own demise has little effect on me but sometimes I am filled with fear for the demise of these ‘loved ones’. In this connection, I am reminded of the important question that Richard posed in his Journal to himself of ‘What am I in relation to the people around me’ and how he kept this question burning in his consciousness for a long time. That question has repeatedly occurred to me over the course of looking at these emotional dependencies, these emotional ties of love or sympathy, even ties of antipathy or hatred, to family or ‘loved ones’. Could you perhaps explore with me what it has been like for you to examine your ties to people in your life through running this question? Do you find yourself forming ties to others? How can I use this question ‘What am I in relation...’ to further important understandings of ‘me’ so that ‘me’ can be ended? I think at this point I am going to end. I really would like to pursue this issue of one’s relationship with other people in one’s life. It may be interesting the kinds of fears that crop up as one begins the process of dismantling one’s identity. The fear, indeed the dread, of leaving everything and everyone, all the comfortable and familiar things that inhabit one’s ‘normal’ world is an interesting subject in its’ own right.
PETER: It does sound as though you are well on the way to discovering for yourself the answer to this question. Perhaps what I have written above about imagination, my work and my clients will also strike a note with you. Genuine, meaningful answers can only come experientially – in this case, can only come from your own experiences in relation to other people in your own life. This is why the writings of actualism, and actualists, only serve as a guide or map for your own journey, for your own investigations and discoveries.
I do however remember at one stage a definite shift or change became palpable – from resenting or blaming other people because they caused me to have feelings I didn’t want to have – to being appreciative of the people, things and events that bought up these feelings in me. Not grateful of but appreciative of, as in saying YES to the perfection of the actual world – in that people, things and events always gives you the perfect opportunity to investigate the next thing needed to be investigated.
And if there is nothing to investigate, nothing going on, no churning thoughts or debilitating feelings, then it is probably a good time to take the time to lightly visually caress the world about you in order to experience the utter peacefulness of this very moment – to reap the well-earned rewards of ‘your’ efforts.
PETER: Just wondering how you are doing with all the shouting and dumping that is happening on the list at the moment? It seems typical of any forum that is open to all, that the loudest voices are those of the protestors. Good thing it is only the net and words on a screen or I could be twice dead by now.
And to think everyone who subscribed to this mailing list received the following introduction –
I seem to remember someone writing recently querying why no one had become free of the human condition before now. As can be seen from the current most vocal objectors, is there any wonder? Even if someone had managed to break free of the stranglehold of spiritual belief in the past and discovered an actual freedom from the human condition in toto, would they have dared to stick their head above the parapet in order to tell his or her fellow human beings about the discovery? They would have been hauled before a real court and tried as a heretic or attacked with far more than words.
I remember Richard saying all he wanted to do was put his words out into the world and his initial plan was to do it anonymously – after all he knows the human condition – both inside and out. By the time I crossed paths with him he had his journal in draft form in a loose-leaf binder. As my experiments with actualism began to bear fruit and my enthusiasm grew, I suggested to Richard that he put his journal and other writings on the World Wide Web so as to make them widely available to anyone who may be interested in an actual freedom from the human condition.
After I had written my journal, Vineeto funded the publication of both Journals in paperback form – no publishers would publish such heretical material – so as to make actualism available to all English readers. She also established an actualism website based upon our own experiments and successes with actualism. Some months later Alan, I think it was, suggested we establish an actualism mailing list and at Richard’s invitation we then combined both web sites into one.
And now the actualism mailing list has taken on a life of its own. Who would have ever thought it would come to this?
I was watching a news report the other evening about an anti-globalisation protest and a reporter was interviewing participants as to what exactly they were protesting about. She interviewed one young man who looked a bit nonplussed and then said it’s about companies such as Nike exploiting cheap labour in third world. The reporter then asked ‘How come you’re wearing a pair of Nike shoes then?’ Quick as a wink, and without even blushing, he said ‘But it’s not about that, it’s about what Nike are doing’.
If you want a take on what is happening on the mailing list at the moment you will find article 21 of Richard’s Journal very pertinent.
I find it remarkable that I gave up talking to people I met about actualism because I realized that they would most likely only get offended or misunderstand it as spiritualism. I did so because I was sensitive to other people and I realized that the only way it was possible to communicate anything about actualism was if someone was sufficiently dissatisfied with the spiritual path and was willing to question deeper. So upon setting up an actualist mailing list as a home turf for those who are interested in actualism, what do we have – people deliberately signing on so they can remonstrate that they feel offended and/or so they can tell us that they Know and we don’t.
Being a pioneer in any field of endeavour is not without its risks.
GARY: So I think there is this bonding or forming alliances process going on all the time with human beings and, like the animals you cite, these alliances shift and change with the shifting winds. And there is this importance that people place on ‘relationships’ with others. Whereas, the longer I am at this actualism thing the more my experience is one of freeing myself from this process of identification, freeing myself from this whole absurd business of identifying with others, and really for the first time in my life looking into what is actually going on in this business of identification. It is interesting to see how the socialization process unfolds and how society is constructed, but from a very early age we are taught that we are social creatures and that we ‘need’ other people, and that ‘no man is an island’.
PETER: And this socialization process – the equivalent of an adult chimp training a young chimp to obey the rules and not run off – was very essential in the early hunting-gathering days of early humans. But given that an increasing numbers of human beings now do their hunting and gathering in the local supermarket, the species has moved on somewhat from ‘what can I eat, what can eat me’ crude survival mode. It’s just time to stop believing the old fairy tales, get our thinking up to date and get rid of being driven by crude survival mode passions.
GARY: I am finding this traditional wisdom to not be the case and I am finding that I ‘need’ other people less and less, but then that is considered pathological, according to the wisdom of humanity, and people who don’t need friends, or who don’t need to belong to a group, or a religion, or a social club or something are judged to be oddball loners or disgruntled misanthropes.
PETER: When I started to become free of malice and sorrow, I found my emotional bonds or ‘neediness’ with other people became noticeably weaker. The most noticeable effect of this was that I lost my former spiritual ‘friends’ because I was no longer a member of a group of fellow believers. As I progressively became free of malice, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where the ills of the world were blamed on others. And as I became progressively free of sorrow, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where being here was regarded as a miserable business and where it was firmly believed that succour or relief could only be found by retreating ‘inside’. There was a period of time where I felt an outsider or a loner but recently I had occasion to meet quite a few old friends at a social event and all feelings of being an outsider and a loner had totally disappeared. I had a pleasurable time with a group of fellow human beings, regardless of their beliefs, gender or cultural conditioning.
My experience is that autonomy leads to neither isolation nor ostracization as I feared it would at some stage, but if it is pursued diligently and persistently it leads to an actual intimacy and ease with all of my fellow human beings – and I, once again, experienced the peace on earth that already, always exists.
PETER: When I read of your recent job change, I was wondering how you would go working with young children.
GARY: I was wondering the same thing. I feel a bit hypocritical at times as I find myself falling back on what I learned and was taught in dealing with situations, and I think what I learned and was taught was based on the same values, morals, ethics, etc., that constitute the ‘Tried and Failed’. So there is this hypocritical feeling often. But I seemingly do not react to emotionally charged situations and I am not intimidated by people whose aim is to push other people’s buttons. That doesn’t mean I stick around to become their punching bag, it just means that I can be level-headed in a situation.
PETER: Once I began to get some understanding as to the nature of the human condition I remember passing through some difficult phases in my work and with people I met. Firstly I had to overcome the hurdle of wanting to tell others about my discoveries about how the human condition operates but I soon saw I was falling for that perennial trap of wanting to change others. When this urge subsided, I found myself feeling like an outsider because I no longer believed what everyone else believed and I was increasingly more happy and harmless, in a world awash with sadness, blame, resentment, competition and affront. In hindsight it was really a matter of riding out the storm, keeping my own counsel as to what was going on and accept the fact that actualism means change, that this change requires effort and that change is at times an uncomfortable and disconcerting business.
GARY: However, regarding my ‘social life’, I find that I no longer feel the need to affiliate with other human beings the way I once used to.
In days gone by, I used to think that having ‘friends’ was very important, yet now I cannot really say that I have any ‘friends’ nor do I want any. Because the word ‘friendship’ implies an obligation to stick with another person through thick and thin, and I find that I am not prepared to do that. I would much prefer to go my own way and allow someone else the freedom to do the same, so I cannot say that anyone is my ‘friend’ in that sense. I feel much the same about family relationships (and I am talking about family of origin here, not family of procreation). I keep in touch with members of my family. But compared to other people who I see around me, my sense of a family identity is very weak indeed.
PETER: During the first two years of practicing actualism I also experienced that my ‘friendships’ dropped away but lately I have had occasion to meet several of these former ‘friends’ and to do work for several members of the spiritual group I was in before. All of these meetings have been delightful as am now meeting fellow human beings, I am interested in them as fellow human beings and, as such, have enjoyed their company. The difference between now and before is that I now make no emotional demands of people I meet which then frees them of the burden of ‘me’, nor do I have emotional expectations of them which then frees me from the constant need to intuit and imagine what they were thinking and feeling about ‘me’.
There is great significance in the phrase ‘fellow human beings’ because the only way you can begin to treat your fellow human beings as fellow human beings is to firstly demolish your own social identity. The first component that has to go is one’s spiritual identity because a Christian never meets a Buddhist as a fellow human being, a Rajneeshee never meets a Krishnamurti-ite as a fellow human being, and so on, because each have different beliefs, that make for differing identities. The very best that spiritualists can muster up is a feeling of oneness – a feeling that always fails to translate into a practical and tangible peace and harmony between members of a spiritual group, let alone between members of competing groups.
Then there are other aspects of one’s social identity that demand attention if one is to ever get to the stage where one can see and treat one’s fellow human beings as fellow human beings and not continue to think and feel them to be separate ‘beings’. A man never meets a woman and sees her or treats her as a fellow human being because men and women have been instilled with opposing gender identities – identities that are mandated by each side in the battle of the sexes and are rife with mutual feelings of suspicion, fear, ignorance and superstition. Similarly, a father never meets a son and a mother never meets a daughter for each has a socially-imposed identity relative to each other – a complex set of social obligations, emotional demands and needs, expectations and resentments that serve to prevent each from either seeing or treating each other as fellow human beings. Similarly, an American never meets an Australian, a Lithuanian never meets a Nigerian and so on, for each believe they belong to a different culture and each call a particular piece of the planet ‘home’. The list goes on, but I won’t, for you will have got the gist by now.
What normally happens in relationships when things start to go wrong, as they inevitably do, is that the each party blames the other for failing to meet their needs, fulfill their expectations, nurture them sufficiently, respect their feelings, and such like. Often a begrudging compromise is reached in relationships or failure is allowed to run its natural course. As you well know from your experience with actualism, the only way out of this mess is to demolish one’s own social identity, piece-by-piece, element-by-element.
And the proof that this process works is that you begin to not only see but to treat the fellow human beings you come in contact with as exactly that – fellow human beings, regardless of their age, gender, kin, race, religion, culture, nationality, and so on.
GARY: On the subject of my ‘relationship’ with my partner, the matter gets a bit stickier. Since my need to affiliate with other human beings in groups has greatly lessened, to the point of almost being totally absent, I have wondered at times if I transferred these feelings on to my partner and whether I am clinging to her to get these self-same needs met. I do enjoy our being together, and I look forward to our weekends and holidays together, even our simple presence together in the evening when the day is done is very enjoyable. To be honest: I do find myself clinging to her at times with feelings of ‘love’ and affection. Yet I can say that for every moment in which there is this feeling of love and affection, there are counterpoised moments when the invidious passions are in evidence: resentment, peevishness, annoyance. In short, malice. It increases my feeling that you cannot have the positive, loving emotions without having the whole instinctual package. At least, that’s the way I think of it at this point. In other words, the entire package needs to be deleted.
So, I guess where this leaves me is to say that I think the closest thing I have to a ‘normal relationship’ is my relationship with my partner. It is here that the instinctual passions of nurture and desire occur most clearly and cleanly, compared to my other everyday ‘relationships’. To sum this all up: it seems to me that a ‘relationship’ is about sharing joy and sorrow, sharing the complete pathos and movement of human emotion and human feeling. If one is freeing oneself from the Human Condition, does one need or desire relationships then? In an actual intimacy, is there any ‘relationship’ with the other that one is relating to? Is there any ‘connection’ at all, or is this entirely absent? These are just a couple of the questions that occur.
PETER: So, if I may, I’ll now include your questions from the first part of the post, shuffle the order a bit and work my way through the list –
To take your questions one at a time –
If you are part of the human condition then ‘you’, as an alien-feeling psychological and psychic entity, need to relate to similar alien-feeling entities, otherwise you feel even more desperately lonely and alien. As you are discovering, the nature of this relating can only be emotive – ‘it seems to me that a ‘relationship’ is about sharing joy and sorrow, sharing the complete pathos and movement of human emotion and human feeling.’
As you actively diminish and wither both your social ‘self’ and your instinctual ‘self’ – your personality and being, or your ego and soul if you like – there is less ‘I’ and ‘me’ remaining to think and feel ‘he or ‘she’ needs or desires a relationship with other ‘he’s or ‘she’s.
I am not being clever here, because if you set off on a moral or ethical course of not needing or not desiring relationships with other people – take it on as a shouldn’t – you can only end up feeling an outcast or alien or becoming a hermit and a celibate. If you do so, history shows that the emotional void that is created by this act of withdrawal will commonly be filled by the ‘discovery of a greater love and meaning – a God, by whatever name.
To retreat from the world of people, things and events is to fall into the spiritual trap of withdrawal and denial which when combined with the fantasy of sublimation and transcendence leads to the pathological state of dissociation and solipsism. In actualism you go the other way – you deliberately move closer, you deliberately become more intimate whenever the opportunity arises. It is only by daring to do this can you discover the previously hidden or repressed layers of affective feelings and passions that are preventing ‘your’ demise and therefore inhibiting an actual intimacy with the world of people, things and events from occurring.
I find relationships vitally important for me as a practicing actualist for they hold the key to becoming aware of, exploring and incrementally removing the obstacles that inhibit an actual intimacy from one’s fellow human beings. Spiritualists always put relationships with their God, or their Self, first and relationships with their fellow human beings second – but for an actualist the exact opposite is the case.
For an actualist, the closer the relationship, the more valuable the relationship for only close relationships are emotive enough and powerful enough to bring to the surface the emotions that are normally suppressed or glossed-over in ‘normal’ stand-offish relating. It is good to remember that if you are avoiding something or denying something, it is impossible to experientially investigate it and this is nowhere more obvious than in discovering precisely what is preventing you from being intimate with another human being – one to one.
Both I and Vineeto have already written a good deal about our relationship and the explorations we made. I won’t go over this territory again but it may be relevant to note that, thus far, it seems that we are the only man and woman who are living together who have a common interest in practicing actualism. Because of this our relationship could be seen as being unique, but it is important to grasp that the process of actualism is an individual process – i.e. an actualist’s becoming happy and harmless is not in any way dependant on anyone else becoming happy and harmless. Vineeto did her thing, I did mine – we just happened to be serendipitously doing it at the same time, whilst living together.
Because Vineeto and I share a common interest in actualism, the main focus of our relationship was a mutual agreement that each would investigate what stood in the way of our living together in utter peace and harmony. Once I stopped my habitual program of trying to change others to suit ‘my’ whims, moods, foibles, demands and expectations, I was then able to become aware of, and be fully responsible for, my feelings, passions and behaviour that were causing me to not be able to live with Vineeto in peace and harmony. Just to make it clear – you don’t need another’s agreement to do this work, because it is something only you can do for yourself and for others you come in contact with.
It is an enormous step you take when you fully grasp the reality that expecting or demanding that your companion, wife, husband, son, daughter or whoever, should change in order to please ‘you’ is an essentially malicious intrusion – and that wanting to or trying to change them is an utterly futile exercise that can only provoke hostility and resentment. Then and only then, can you can get on with your own business of changing yourself. This does not negate the fact that you, as an actualist, can share your discoveries with a fellow human being – provided they are interested, of course.
After years of effort, I am virtually free of malice and sorrow, which means I have no reason to get angry with Vineeto or feel resentful of something she may, or may not, have done because feelings of anger and resentment no longer course through my veins, as it were. Likewise, I am no longer subject to bouts of sadness nor am I overcome by a seeping melancholy at having to be here, which means I make no demands nor have any expectations that she should provide emotional support and a feeling of connection in order to fill the aching void of ‘my’ loneliness.
What ‘I’ have also done, by ‘my’ own efforts, is free her of ‘my’ ungracious demands and capricious expectations and I am thus more happy for being more harmless – which in turn makes me more delightful and more fun to live with. Becoming more happy and harmless is a win-win situation – not only do I gain from the effort, but others benefit from the result, and none more so that those closest to me.
I can only talk about a virtual intimacy – an experience that far exceeds the ‘normal’ fickle feeling of love and so-called intimate relationships. In a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow, ‘I’ and ‘my’ thoughts and feelings are so weakened and emaciated that I am unable to impose, let alone sustain, any emotional demands or expectations on any fellow human being – let alone the one I have chosen to live with. By becoming virtually happy and harmless, I am more able to be what-I-am as opposed to ‘who’ I think and feel I am and this has resulted in an on-going, virtually constant, sense of well-being. This on-going sense of well-being in turn negates the need to constantly seek emotional succour or support from others in a vain attempt to assuage ‘my’ feelings of loneliness and alienation.
In virtual freedom, there is a palpable sense of autonomy based upon the factual evidence that I am perfectly capable of looking after myself and providing for all of my needs. The overarching and debilitating sense of needing to survive has been replaced by the simple need to ensure that, when I place a plastic card in a machine downtown and type in a few numbers, that sufficient bits of paper come out to meet my food and shelter requirements. Similarly, my need for a ‘relationship’ has been replaced by the fact that I do not live alone but that I live with a companion with whom I am able to share the delight of living on this verdant planet.
And not only do I get to do things together with a fellow human being that I would not have necessarily done had I been living alone, but I get to wallow in that most intimate of human one-to-one activities – the sensual mutual pleasure of sex.
PETER: The first observation I had was about ‘relationships’ – the man-woman, living-together type. I was laying back in bed with Vineeto the other night, enjoying a particular intimate moment, when I realized the intimacy I was enjoying was the result of going into the relationship fully, of not holding back, of not settling for anything less than the very best. This continually ‘leaning forward’ rather than holding back was the only way I came to discover what was preventing me from experiencing the exquisite intimacy of the day to day peaceful living with a fellow human being. I say this because it is only by intrepidly going beyond the much-vaunted idealism and feelings of love that I managed to discover not only the guileful constraints that love inevitably imposes on both lover and loved, but also the dark underbelly of passions that love attempts to repress.
GARY: Actual intimacy is not at all like ‘real world’ intimacy that I have experienced before. In Actual intimacy, there is no demand or need placed on the partner to the relationship, so one cannot be ‘vulnerable’, in the ordinary sense of that word.
PETER: Yeah. The usual advice is that one needs to be open to the other, ‘open to love’, and that in turn means being more emotionally vulnerable. If one is really emotionally vulnerable then one is not only open to feeling love but also to feeling unloved, to feeling jealousy, to feeling not nurtured, to feeling neglected, to feeling wounded, to feeling resentment, to wanting to wound, and so on.
The traditional reaction when one is flooded by unwanted or undesirable feelings is to want to become invulnerable which usually results in withdrawing, closing down or cutting off – of some sort, to some degree. And, of course, if one feels particularly emotionally wounded then a psychological reaction known as dissociation can result.
Again I’ll post a piece from my Journal which describes how I leapt onto the path of dissociation – a journey that lasted some 17 years as it turned out.
It’s fascinating when you begin to discover that the universally-revered and sacrosanct spiritual teachings are naught but ancient fairy tales based on the ‘wisdom’ of dissociating from the material world. For the spiritualist, these other-worldly tales and other-worldly feelings provide a psychological and psychic haven – the desperate urge to not want to be here triggers an equally desperate urge to be somewhere else, a retreat into fantasy based on denial and dissociation.
For an actualist, the solution to becoming free of the emotional roller coaster is the simple act of being attentive to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive. This attentiveness firstly withers away at any denial or dissociation that is happening resulting in the gradual unveiling of the sensual delights of the actual world, which in turn leads to increasing experiences of an actual intimacy with all of one’s fellow human beings.
GARY: There is no exclusivity to a relationship and one can be actually intimate with anyone, not just one’s partner.
PETER: Whilst this non-exclusivity can be very threatening to those who seek and demand exclusivity, for an actualist every-other-body is a fellow human being – not a lover, a soul mate, a compatriot or co-conspirator, nor an alien, an enemy, an opponent or a rival. And, as if this were not enough, living with a fellow human being with whom you share the sensual pleasures of innocent sexual play is particularly delightful and especially intimate.
PUBLISHER No 1: Finally – why do you care? What difference does it make what others believe? I’m really curious about this. Why do you care as it is my opinion that you really do care quite passionately.
PETER: Three pieces of writing may answer your curiosity as to why I write, and why I care –
As I copied the above it struck me yet again that the Eastern philosophy and religion makes ‘not caring’ and ‘being disconnected’ into a sacred virtue, for they preach that this actual, physical world is an illusion – so why should any spiritual believer care about peace on earth?
PETER to No 1: It’s a Sunday morning here after one of those Saturday night parties that we went to yesterday. It was a nice gathering of people, outside, in a lush, well established semi-tropical garden – where the palms are old enough that they form a high, cooling canopy. People were at their best as many had just done the ‘Path of Love’ group and were still in their ‘post-group’ high. It was good to catch up with some old friends – some for a bit of ‘boys talk’ about building, but generally to meet and exchange about what we have been doing since we last met. On a few occasions the talk dipped a bit deeper than social chat and I had a couple of those interesting conversations such as we have on the list. Sometimes we can really get into talking of a few things and at other times it quickly becomes clear that I am ‘treading on toes’ so we steer clear of ‘sensitive’ issues.
I did have a fascinating talk with someone who I knew as a long-time Sannyasin, who extolled to me the teachings of an Eastern Guru she was into. Basically his teachings are that ‘everything is perfectly all right as it is – nothing to do’, and certainly ‘nothing to change’ and if and when ‘something happens’ it will be ‘by Grace’. In my usual irrepressible style I said ‘oh, then you believe in God?’ She looked startled and said ‘No’. She then said the teachings (or no-teachings?) were not about God and I asked her whose Grace it was that granted whatever it was that might or might not happen. She said ‘Existence’ and when I asked her ‘is not that another name for God?’ she said ‘no, it is an energy?’ She ended up desperately pleading a case that there must be ‘something’, because she has ‘felt’ it ... so we wandered off into talking about my second favourite subject – sex.
Later on I sat by myself under the stars and mused a bit on the conversation. I thought back to the time I was passionately searching for freedom. What would I have made of some-one who said ‘You don’t have to do anything – just wait for God’s Grace’ and ‘you can’t do anything about finding freedom – and the very act of trying is a hindrance’?
It might have been a tempting cop-out, but my being ruthlessly honest with myself always prevented me from the trap of fatalism or resignation. Also, it always involved a surrendering of my will to someone or something else. To be a mere puppet in some Cosmic play, with others puling my strings, was not the freedom I sought.
PETER: It seems that our differing viewpoints highlight an essential difference between a spiritual seeker and an actualist.
PETER: Tell that to the woman who has just been seized, held at knife point and raped by a group of soldiers in the Balkans while on an ethnic cleansing patrol.
RESPONDENT: She can just relax and enjoy the experience especially if the soldiers are very handsome. Maybe she will even want more.
PETER: Tell that to the African child who, for the second time in three years, faces starvation because ‘tribal conflicts’ in his country mean there is no food to be had.
RESPONDENT: You could do him a favour and send him some fried chicken from KFC or a burger from Mcdo. Or you should adopt him.
PETER: Tell that to the 16 year old prostitute and heroin addict, who has just been beaten up by her pimp for ‘answering back’.
RESPONDENT: She should beat the pimp to a pulp. She should answer back with ‘FUCK YOU’ complete with ‘dirty finger’.
PETER: Tell that to yourself, over and over, over and over, ... to avoid being brainwashed. Then again there is always the ‘avoid brainwashing’ button.
RESPONDENT: I wash my brain everyday as much as my body. I also wash me my ass...hahaha
PETER: Tell that to the man who, in a fit of jealous rage, has shot the man he found in bed with his wife.
RESPONDENT: Why did he not shoot his wife also? Better to be free from both of them, right?
PETER: Tell that to the Buddhist monk who entered an isolated monastery at the age of 13 and, after 40 years, is still ‘seeking’ Enlightenment.
RESPONDENT: Let him ‘seek’ as long as he enjoys the seeking and does not get tired of it. Life is full of adventure and everybody has his own ‘trip’. That is his trip and he can enjoy it.
PETER: And I’ve got many, many more as well ... There’s the one about the man who stood by the coffin of his 13 year old son, and ...
RESPONDENT: and ... he laughed at the sight of his son lying there wearing a funny bowtie and funny cowboy hat.
PETER: Oh, well – I’ll just get more of those long boring posts about being serious again – It’s called ‘foot in mouth’ disease.
RESPONDENT: Thanks god you stopped your boring posts ... Hallelujah!! Amen!! By the way, have you washed your mouth lately, it stinks ... Cheers and Shouts of Glee ...
PETER: I am vitally interested in my fellow human beings. Each one of the above people I have met in person or have read about or seen on TV. They are fellow humans – the same species – and their situations or suffering are very real.
And yet the much lauded solution to human lament on this planet that is on offer to date has been to ‘turn away’ and seek an ‘inner’ peace or to become God.
But now there is another alternative...
I wrote a bit in my journal 12 months ago about my feelings and response to the suffering I saw around me, that may be of interest to some –
PETER: In response to the quote you posted –
(I see you have gone into silence, so maybe I’ll just leave this post outside the door and you can read it later if you want to) –
It is such a useless thing to give advice to others. I had two children and I always saw that it was their life that they were living and for me to advise them how to live it was an imposition on their freedom. I would tell them a few practical things, the way I would do something, what I had found out about being a human being, but that was it, really.
Being in the position of a parent it gradually became obvious to me that I was only passing on what my father had told me and what society expected me to say. It was a useful spur to find out ‘for myself’ about life.
When I found out about Actual Freedom and wrote my journal, I sent my son a copy of it, but what he does with it is his business entirely. I haven’t heard a comment back, nor am I curious.
RESPONDENT: You address us individually but you are not able to talk to us individually. You talk to me as if I was a group. Don’t I give a shit about the group! And I am certainly no groupie of yours. :-)
PETER: I am not writing to you, the spiritual believer. I am writing to you, the fellow human being and I am reporting – as a fellow human being – what I have found out and the extra-ordinariness of it all. That there is actually a way to become free of malice and sorrow. Many on the list complain that I am not talking to ‘them’ and it is true. I am communicating directly to the fellow human being using common sense and native intelligence – saying don’t believe what everyone has told you – don’t just go on believing what the old fuddy duddies of the past have told you is true.
It is 1999, not 500 BC, and there is now available a way out of the mess we humans have found ourselves in. I don’t expect you to believe me but if you are at all dissatisfied with your life and in following the ‘tried and failed’ methods ... maybe, just maybe, it might be worth considering ... trying something ... new?
To get to where I am, I had to demolish ‘Peter, the Christian’, ‘Peter, the father’, ‘Prabhat, the Sannyasin’, ‘Peter, the architect’, ‘Peter, the man’, ‘Peter, the lover’, ‘Peter, the ... and so on ... until finally it was Peter at his instinctual core ...
It is such an adventure to discover ‘what’ you are rather than ‘who’ you think and ‘who’ you feel you are... to free yourself of the ‘shackles’ of the Human Condition.
I am free of the ‘world’ I was born into, I am free of the mutually-agreed scenario ‘that to be a human being is to suffer’ – I am free of sorrow. And as there is no entity in me that can take offence – I am free of malice. I simply met a man who was already free and followed the path, and the method, and I am reporting to whoever wants to listen ... that it works.
Richard, Vineeto and I are laying a trail of words that are a guide map, but the wonderful thing is ... you get to make the journey yourself.
RESPONDENT: You are feeling responsible for all the unenlightened people on the planet?
PETER: No, I pass on that one. I found that the only person I could change was myself. I tried blaming others, trying or hoping everybody else would change and then it would be all right. I set a realistic goal of changing myself. Now, it is possible to help someone else but only if they are interested. But I limit myself to a few hours a day, a few e-mails seems a good balance.
I wrote my journal as a definitive piece and reading a bit of it the other day it is a good story. I wanted to ‘point the way’ to Richard’s writings, which were the tool by which I became free. So, anything I do beyond that bit of writing is a bonus... I do like the ‘live’ aspect of typing these words ... not knowing what is coming next ...
RESPONDENT: or you are intellectual masochist ...
PETER: No, neither. I trained as an architect but found the whole business a bit too intellectual. So I spent most time actually building, on site, hammer and nail bag stuff. I like practical hands-on work so words, writing, and the like are new to me. I have no interest in intellectual pursuits – I find so much of it to be mere ‘wanking’ (masturbation).
I write now because I enjoy it, it is good fun to offer – for the first time – an alternative that works.
It is the next significant change that will happen with humans – that we will gradually see peace and harmony spread on the planet. It is no small thing that Richard has discovered. It is a leap to a new species no longer driven by felines of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
And each person is free to do it themselves or not. Cute Hey ... Perfect.
As for masochism, I aim for safety, comfort, and avoid the possibility of pain. I am a coward of the first order.
RESPONDENT: I pay you respect and I’m not sarcastic. But tell me what is the real reason for all this?
PETER: Why do I write?
To finally put an end to war, rape, torture, famine, suicide, sexual abuse, repression, suicide, slavery. This is happening right now as I write these words to real, actual flesh and blood human beings. It is not an illusion. I live in a relatively safe place, but we have policemen with guns to curb and control the worst of violence, and this country spends a lot of money on maintaining an army to keep other tribes from invading.
If you are in it for yourself then Enlightenment is the thing – self-aggrandizement if ever there was one. If you care about your fellow human beings then to become actually free is the only game to play. I write iconoclastically because we have been fed too much bullshit, lied to, conned, promised the moon, put off asking questions and told to trust, have faith and it will ‘all be right’. It is time for some straight talking ... a dialogue, a discussion about the Human Condition, some intelligent conversation based on facts... rather than what some fairy-tales some guys made up 2 or 3,000 years ago, and what we still regard as Sacred or Wisdom. Or should I be more humble? Am I not bowing low enough to the Divine? The good thing about not believing in the Divine is that I also don’t believe in blasphemy, so I am free to write of facts rather than merely regurgitate beliefs!
Why do I write?
Because there will be another Peter out there who admits to be lost, lonely, frightened and very, cunning ... and desperately wants to be free.
For me, as I was when I first came across Richard ... I just felt I had nothing left to lose ... and what else was I going to do with the rest of my life anyway?
The idea of becoming happy and harmless and of being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony was the best offer I had come across yet.
And what an adventure ...
PETER: ‘Millions, if not billions’ is a reference to all the devotees of Eastern spirituality (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zen, etc.) in all the thousands of years, many, many of whom spent their lives secluded in monasteries or ashrams (in Tibet, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, India etc.) or devoting hours of their days in meditation, ‘watching’, praying, or the like. The recent influx and western interest in spirituality is but a ‘blimp’ on the vast sweep of history. The point of my statement was that once this became evident to me I was able to put my position in perspective. The failure rate of producing profound individual awakenings (Enlightenment) of the Eastern religions became startlingly evident, as did my arrogance in assuming that I could do any better. The other issue was that despite (or because of) the numbers, sincerity and effort of all these people the countries had appalling levels of poverty, disease, corruption, repression of women, and often downright theocracies. I fail to see this as speculation and projection. A study of history and an open-eyed visit to the East will still confirm this to be the case in many countries.
RESPONDENT: This response is a example of the twist I said you put on the topics... This is what I said; ‘Millions?Billions? give their lives? for nil?? just speculation and projection. As far as I am concerned... these people devoted what they wished, learned what they learned, and went on to live long productive peaceful loving ordinary lives... maybe some didn’t. So what!
PETER: On re-reading my response I see that I clearly made the point of what it meant for me – that in the light of these facts I was able to clearly put my position in perspective rather than merely following what everyone else was and had been doing for millennia. If this is of no concern to you, so be it. It does nothing to alter the facts.
RESPONDENT: The issue I have with your speculations and projections does not have to do with history but with the judgement that you recolor and edit the history in order to create support for your opinions – that you like to call facts. How you choose to view, edit and interpret history has no bearing on the reality of the history itself.
PETER: No, you yourself said ... ‘as far as I am concerned’ which, as it turned out, meant that you are ‘not concerned’ – as evidenced by ‘So what!’
I, on the other hand was vitally concerned as to what I was doing with my life and what other human beings had done with their lives. Had it bought them the promised peace of mind and had this whole spiritual pursuit contributed to bringing forth a state of peace on the planet?
My own open-eyed direct observation of Eastern Counties, a common sensical reading of the Ancient texts, and 17 years of intensive search on the spiritual path forced me to the pride-shattering conclusion that I had been sold a dummy and that I had fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
RESPONDENT: You are unable to know the experiences of others.
PETER: There is nothing unique in the Human Condition. One is either normal or spiritual. I have had the experience of 32 years of ‘normal life and 17 years of spiritual life so I see myself as well qualified. I am also well qualified in the ‘new business’ of actualism, although by no means as well qualified as Richard.
He was Enlightened for 11 years until he saw through the sham.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.