Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: Being ‘normal’ was never ever satisfactory, particularly as the pursuit of material wealth and financial power never appealed to me – I somehow knew that ‘something’ was missing but I didn’t know of any alternative.
RESPONDENT: Same here. To cut a long story short, as a teenager I didn’t know what I wanted but I knew what I didn’t want. Actually, for me it wasn’t just a case of not wanting it, or feeling something was missing. I hated ‘the system’ (but not individuals) with a passionate intensity. Toward my late teens, I saw people’s modes of existence in one of three ways: they were servicing the ‘machine’; they were blithely unaware of the existence of the ‘machine’; or they were working in whatever way they could to subvert the ‘machine’. In the mid-eighties when I left school, everyone was ‘servicing the machine’. They were rebelling against parental control, but not rebelling against the values and goals that underpin it. My beef with civilisation ran a lot deeper than parental control, so I fancied myself as a radical of sorts. My ‘allies’ were political dissidents, artists, madmen, saboteurs, mystics, spiritualists, subversives of any kind who refused to play the games that keep the wheels of the machine turning smoothly.
I wasn’t outwardly radical in any obvious way. I didn’t belong to any organisations (because although plenty of people were looking for the answer, they didn’t have the right answer). And on the outside I was a fairly casual, caring, easy-going person. But inwardly I burned.
PETER: It took me a long time to recognize that my riling against ‘the establishment’ was simply a convenient outlet for my own resentment and anger. It’s not necessarily socially-acceptable to take out one’s anger on individuals but taking it out on an amorphus concept such as ‘the machine’, ‘the system’, the government’ or ‘the establishment’ is very socially-accepted within the multitude of competing and waring groups, be they racial, ethnic, tribal, political, social, economic or ideological. And there are none who feel more aggrieved than the self-righteous who hold to spiritual morals or humanitarian ethics.
RESPONDENT: A bit later on, I realised that these political and economic systems don’t just descend on us out of the blue. They’re the products of a million compromises. They’re all attempts by our predecessors to balance material, social and spiritual needs while preserving enough social stability to keep the species surviving.
PETER: Now that I have finally stopped my mindless riling against these systems, I have come to see how successful democracy and capitalism – when combined with effective public welfare and health systems – have been in providing an ever-increasing proportion of the growing but stabilizing human population on the planet with ever-increasing wealth, health, lifespan, clean air, pure water, nourishing food, leisure, pleasure, safety and comfort.
To use one of Richard’s metaphors that has stuck in my mind, I found that I needed to do a good deal of work before I could take off both my grey coloured glasses and my rose coloured glasses in order that I could begin to get a glimpse of the fact that grim reality is an illusion which is created by ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: So then I turned inwards and tried to have a good look at the heart and mind that lies right at the centre of everything I experience. At that time I wasn’t too far away from Richard’s starting point.
I knew that wherever I went, whatever I did, I would be there looking over my shoulder, and although I didn’t have any conscious recollection of an I-less state at that time, I still knew that ‘I’ was gonna be a terrible burden to lug around for the rest of my life. But, unlike Richard, I accepted that ‘I’ was inescapable – and, as it turned out, I spent the next 20 years trying out various alternative forms of ‘me’. None were satisfactory.
PETER: Yes. And it wasn’t as though I was doing anything ‘wrong’ in my search for freedom – it was just that ‘I’ along with everyone else on the planet, and everyone else who has ever been on the planet, have got it 180 degrees wrong. What Richard’s discovery reveals is that there is no freedom to be had within the human condition – the answer lays in becoming free from the human condition in toto.
GARY: Along with this, I am questioning so-called spiritual values that I have had for a long time. For quite a while, I have embraced a variant of Gnosticism, believing that the world we see is an illusion, and that I actually exist in a timeless realm, in other words, somewhere else other than where I am right now. The logical extension of this has been the experience that I don’t want to be here, that this world is not my home and I really exist somewhere else.
PETER: The spiritual world is a safe haven for ‘me’, as the spirit dwelling within the flesh and blood body. When I first discovered the spiritual world I was disillusioned with the real-world and, as such, the teachings were music to ‘my’ ears. There was an instinctual recognition of the truth of what was being said, a feeling of coming home, a deep passionate longing to escape from the real-world. The real-world soon became a bad dream and the spiritual world soon seemed real, whereas I now understand and experience that both of these ‘worlds’ are illusionary. Both are but the product of ‘my’ beliefs and ‘my’ feelings yet are made very real by the fact that these worlds are all ‘I’ can know and can perceive for ‘I’ am but a psychological and psychic entity that has taken up residence inside this flesh and blood body. It is only by purging this physical corporeal body of every skerrick of identity that the always ever-present physical tangible palpable actual world – that we occasionally have glimpses of in a PCE as being delightful, perfect and pure – can become evident, 24 hrs. a day everyday.
Actual Freedom is far, far superior to the feeling of enlightenment for it is actual.
The real-world is an instinct-fuelled, blind and senseless survival battle of humans vs. humans, exemplified by all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, child abuse, corruption, suicides, despair and loneliness. The spiritual world is a massive denial of, and dissociation from, this madness, based on the belief that there is a Greater Reality. The only substantive evidence for this meta-physical world, apart from my feelings, beliefs and imagination, is the primitive fairy tales of Gods, spirits, afterlives and other-worlds passed down from the Bronze Age and dispensed as Wisdom to the desperate and gullible by the priests, shamans and Gurus.
GARY: (...) At any time recently when I am going through some troublesome emotion (and I regard all emotions to be troublesome, although they may not seem like it at the moment), I find it helpful to repeatedly remember that what I am going through, while it seems truly awful, is not actual. The emotions, emanating as they do from the primitive animal instincts, are chemical changes occurring in the physical body. They are located and have their origin in the primitive mid-brain region. When an emotion kicks in, it has definite physical correlates as in, for instance, the surge of adrenalin in anger or fear. These emotional reactions and the physical changes that occur in the body seem real but they are not actual.
PETER: Just a point here so as to make very clear the distinction between ‘seem real’, real, very real and actual. It may appear that I am nitpicking here but the continual failure to make this distinction clear is exactly why all previous attempts to bring an actual end to human animosity and misery have ended up dying in the bum.
Human emotions and passions are real in that they cause very real effects – all of the ongoing actual wars, murders, rapes, domestic violence, corruption, suicides and despair are the direct result of emotional reactions. There is a direct and irrefutable link – cause and effect.
However, to a spiritual person who has succeeded in dissociating from his or her own savage passions and emotions by regarding them as part and parcel of the ‘real’ world, any undesirable passions and emotions would only ‘seem real’, as in illusionary, and not Real or True. This is the spiritual process – the undesirable savage passions are ignored and dismissed while a new disassociated identity is created – the Real Me, totally Self-centred and myopically identified with the tender desirable emotions. As such, a spiritual person would say that emotional reactions only seem to be real, but that they not Real – a description that is cunningly close to your description and yet worlds apart.
For an actualist who has succeeded in diminishing the savage passions by the process of thorough investigation and incremental elimination, it is vitally important to remember that emotions and feelings are very real because they are the sole cause of all human misery and suffering. The only way to push on beyond the traditional ‘I’m okay – it’s only others who are needlessly fighting and suffering’ self-deception is to devote yourself totally to the altruistic goal of bringing an end to the actual malice and sorrow that ravages the human species.
And the only way to do that is by ‘self’-immolating in order that I, this flesh and body only, can delight in the ambrosial sensuousness of living in the actual world – for ‘I’ stand in the way of the already, always existing perfection and purity of the actual world from irrevocably becoming apparent. In short, ‘I’ am stopping peace on earth happening.
Eventually you start to get glimpses of the fact that I, this flesh and blood body, have always been here but I only have been playing a selfish and savage game of survival simply because everyone else insists that this is the way it is, because this is the way it is, because this is the way it has always been and this is the way it will always be’ ... and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
The thrill of peace on earth always triumphs over any feeling of fear that ‘I’ might have at ‘my’ impending extinction.
PETER: Underlying this social/historic programming are the instinctual survival passions – passions, which are non-existent in a PCE but are given full reign in any altered state of consciousness experience. This means there is a powerful instinctive lure to claim any and all experience as ‘mine’.
The reason I point this out is that not only has an actualist to be wary of the spiritual programming that actively encourages the pursuit of altered states of consciousness, but also of the crude instinctive narcissistic drive that has thus far always corrupted the human search for freedom, peace and happiness.
GARY: And I would hasten to add that the ‘pursuit of altered states of consciousness’ does not necessarily always mean the hankering after religious experiences. The use of mood-altering drugs is often a case in point. It could be a simple everyday thing like stopping off in the tavern for a few drinks or smoking a few joints after work. What makes it the craving for an altered state of consciousness is that it is ‘me’ looking for an escape from normal, everyday ‘reality’.
Also, there may be the desire for other ‘out of body’ experiences, as through meditative practices and such. The pursuit of altered states of consciousness is impelled by the same instinctual survival passions that make life on this verdant planet boring and lacklustre for so many people.
PETER: Yeah, ‘me’ looking for an escape from normal, everyday ‘reality’ is an understandable passion, given that normal everyday reality sucks. By the time I was 33 years old, I was well and truly ready to escape grim reality and I took the only road then possible – the Eastern spiritual path. 17 years on, whilst I had seen the failures and hypocrisies of the spiritual-world Greater Reality from the inside, the desire to escape grim reality had been neither quenched, nor satisfied. This experience was why I could ditch the spiritual path and try something new – the desire to be free was still burning strongly.
Unless people are genuinely seeking an escape from normal everyday reality, and are suss of the hierocracies and hypocrisies of the spiritual path, actualism will have no appeal. (...)
PETER: And just a note on fairness. It may not seem fair that each and every human being born is pre-programmed with an inevitably-emergent set of instinctual passions – that each and every child is born programmed to be malicious and sorrowful and that this instinctive program is then calcified by the social inculcation of one’s parents and peers.
To regard this as unfair is but to rile against the processes of life itself – the very processes that produces human flesh and blood bodies in the first place and continues to sustain them whilst they are alive.
GARY: I scanned my original e-mail to see if a notion of ‘fairness’ had crept into it, but I could not locate any such reference. I have never thought of it as ‘unfair’ that human beings are pre-programmed with a rough-and-ready survival system. I can easily recall in earlier years, however, feeling that life was essentially cruel and unfair. I find now that whenever the thought of something either being ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ creeps into my psyche, I immediately catch myself and look at it. Usually, it is associated with some underlying feeling of resentment. It is also associated with what I consider to be my ‘rights’, whether territorial, personal, or political. Notions of fairness are, I think, ultimately ethical and moral standards and as such reveal the socially inculcated values of the social identity overlying the primitive instinctual ‘self’. There can be no applying of these values to the processes of life. Such would not be scientific thinking. It would be akin to the anthropomorphic view that says it is not ‘fair’ that the lion attacks the gazelle, or that the gnat only lives for a day, or the human being on average 88.5 years or what-have-you.
PETER: In introducing the subject of fairness I wasn’t particularly referring to anything you said, but rather making a comment that I thought was relevant to the topic of children.
As you know, the beliefs and passions that form the human condition are so intermeshed and overlapped that they form a reality that is so utterly convincing that it is held to be real. Rather than dismiss this reality as illusionary and set off in pursuit of a Greater Reality based on a new set of beliefs and passions, the business of an actualist is to firstly become aware of, and then experientially investigate the veracity of all beliefs and the nature of all passions that give substance to both the real-world and spiritual world realities.
In a PCE, both these realities – both grim reality and its panacean Greater Reality – temporarily disappear, as do ‘me’ and ‘my’ worries, beliefs and passions. When the PCE fades and ‘I’ resume centre stage as it were, ‘I’ then have something to do – resume the business of becoming aware of, and then experientially investigating the veracity of all the beliefs and the nature of all the passions that give substance to both these real-world and spiritual world realities.
PETER to Alan: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.
Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary
The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –
Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –
There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.
An exchange I recently had with another correspondent illustrates a further aspect of spiritual belief about the actual physical world where we flesh and blood humans actually live –
Again this exchange illustrates that actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritualism. I don’t seek an escape from being here, now in the actual world – I seek to break free from all that prevents me from being here. In the case above, to do this means breaking free of the spiritual belief that material comfort is the cause of our misery – a deeply cynical and perverse view of life on earth that merely perpetuates human suffering.
We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.
Soon one finds that a switch has been made from being resentful at having to be here to resenting and wanting to eliminate whatever it is that prevents one from being here.
Being a bit lazy, I’ll post another bit from a recent correspondence that illustrates this point –
There is a world of difference from the spiritual freedom of feeling that one is here, and actually being here. It does take a bloody-mindedness to continually break from the habit of lazing back into commonly held beliefs and resentments about the impossibility of life being easy in this actual world. The only way to do this is to actively investigate and understand all of the beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms, feelings and passions that actively conspire to prevent one’s freedom. Of course, given that these dearly-held attributes are all that ‘I’ am made of, this process is actually a process of ‘self’-immolation which is why it lacks popular appeal and is stubbornly refuted and objected to by spiritual escapists.
Just a post-script to add some clarity about being here as it applies during the process to becoming actually free from the human condition. At the beginning of the process the difference between the pure consciousness experience and normal life is so extreme that the PCE clearly is experienced as being another world. Given that ‘who one is’ is a fully developed psychological and psychic entity living in a psychological and psychic construct of real-world and spiritual world beliefs, the self-less experience of the actual world has to appear other-worldly when one returns to normal. The marked similarity between the actual world and the real world is the physicality of both, whereas the vast difference between the actual world and the spiritual world is the physicality of the actual world and the ethereality of the spiritual world.
This difference gives one the clue to where purity and perfection really lie – in the self-less state, and not in the self-realized state. With this knowledge as one’s touchstone one then sets about the business of actively demolishing one’s self, and this process, if undertaken with sincere intent, means that each time one experiences a PCE the marked and startling difference between the experience and normal is reduced in proportion to the work done in the mean time. This can initially be quite disconcerting for what one sets out to do was to go ‘there’ – to the world experienced in the PCE whereas what one in fact is experiencing is the diminishing of one’s self to the point where one is coming here to the actual world and to this actual moment. It’s cute stuff and absolutely fascinating to experience. I experienced it as a half-way point – a sort of turning around 180 degrees from wanting to escape from here to there to wanting to be here. This is a literal tearing away from humanity, from both grim reality and escapist Reality. Then, as I said to No 8 –
RESPONDENT: I have only a general game plan so far and it goes like this.
The following is New for me:
PETER: Good to hear from you. You seem to be having great fun.
RESPONDENT: Indeed, at first when I heard that investigation into ‘me’ would be a wonderful adventure I couldn’t really see how, as emotions are sometimes hard to deal with. With bare awareness in full swing though, everything becomes fuel for a curious mind.
PETER: I found an advertisement in the local spiritual magazine that states very clearly the distinction between the spiritual approach to dealing with the emotions arising from morals, ethics, beliefs and animal instinctual passions and that of an actualist. I know there is an enormous amount written on the Actual Freedom Trust website about this subject but every now and again something catches my eye that blatantly exposes the spiritual approach of actively creating a new identity who transcends or rises above the unwanted bad or savage passions.
The advertisement is for a 4-day workshop entitled ‘Dis-identification’ – Letting Go of Self Hatred.
He writes in his introductory section –
This description very well describes the spiritual practice of disidentifying from unwanted and undesirable emotions and identifying with the wanted and desirable emotions. The undesirable real-world identity is transcended and a new desirable spiritual identity is created. The newly formed spiritual identity dis-identifies with the old identity and becomes aware of and suppresses, pushes away or ignores the unwanted emotions. This is not a bare awareness operating but an identity splitting itself into two – one good half being aware of the other bad half. To call this action awareness is to misuse the term as the awareness is so selective it would be best termed as occultation or denial. It is this very labelling and judging of feelings and emotions as good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable that prevents an active and equal investigation of all emotions and their instinctual roots.
This is why it is essential to dismantle the morals and ethics we have been instilled with since birth that deem anger a bad thing and that it is wrong to be angry. In the spiritual world, these morals and ethics become even stronger, such that the writer of the passage above cannot even say he is being angry. He uses the term – ‘ feel anger arising’. Unless one is prepared to investigate the validity and sensibility of moral and ethical standards, any in-depth investigation into one’s own psyche is impossible. It does seem madness to abandon the very glue that appears to keep society safe and keeps a lid on rampant violence and that stops one from running amok.
But three facts clearly indicate a new approach is necessary –
The first point means that the honest seeker of freedom, peace and happiness will not settle for a suppression or transcendence of unwanted or undesirable emotions.
The second point means that the honest seeker of freedom, peace and happiness will not merely swap one set of morals and ethics for another for he or she will be acutely aware that the ‘becoming spiritual’ option is merely adopting another identity and another even more insidious form of entrapment. All people are instilled with spiritual-based morals and ethics and everyone who has sought freedom has developed a spiritual identity to varying degrees which is why the elimination of one’s social identity is the primary focus of an actualist. The clue to morals and ethics in action are feelings such as guilt, shame, embarrassment and resentment on the one hand and pride, piousness, arrogance and condescension on the other. So much conflict, dissension, confusion and obscuration is caused by a stubborn unwillingness to rigorously examine the facticity and effectiveness of the morals, ethics and beliefs we are instilled with since birth. Most of the objections to being happy and harmless on the Actual Freedom Trust website go no deeper than obstinate and superficial objections on the basis of right and wrong, good and bad rather than a mutual discussion based on what is silly and what is sensible, what is belief and what is fact. Only by eliminating one’s social identity can one eliminate the constant flood of minor feelings, emotions and worries thus leaving one free to tackle one’s instinctual being, ‘me’ at my core.
The third point means the pure consciousness experience gives one the knowledge and confidence that not only is it possible to live without the burden of ‘self’-centred instinctual passions, it is essential to do so in order to directly experience the already and always existing peace on earth.
It is interesting to look back on the process and the stages I went through in investigating feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. With each emotion I investigated it was always an essential first step to investigate the goods and bads, the rights and wrongs, and all the things I had been told and thus assumed to be true – my beliefs. I know we keep flogging this aspect but unless one undertakes this process any investigation will be superficial and offer only a temporary relief of the symptoms without ever tackling the underlying cause of the instinctual passions.
What I am suggesting is to be alert to the feelings that arise from one’s instilled morals, ethics, beliefs and values, for these are the first line of ‘self’ defence that needs to be tackled. This is where labelling and making sense of the feelings and emotions is vital for then you can make sense of the apparently arbitrary and chaotic jumble that arises. One begins to see patterns and traits that are common to all human beings and that give rise to the human condition in operation in yourself as well as others. My experience was that these feelings associated with my social identity were the easiest to tackle and the confidence gained from the success in tackling them was fuel for digging deeper – and the freedom gained was deliciously palpable.
RESPONDENT: One thing I do not agree with that I read on the actualism site is that part about their being no reality to the intuitive, precognition, etc. This is the only thing I meant when I wrote to you about there being more than the surface. I am not seeing anything other than the rock solid real world, but it is broader than most seem to see. I cannot, and will not, deny experiences that have happened most of my 61 years. I have seen events happening many miles away, and had them confirmed by people who were there. I have seen what was going to happen before it happened many times. I have seen objects jump off the wall from just my thinking about them doing it. I could write a book about all of this. So for me to say it is unreal would be to lie. That is all I meant while talking about there being more. In the latest findings of many scientists these things are just a part of the nature of the reality we all share.
PETER: This is exactly what I mean by the fact that we live in two different worlds. The awakening from the nightmare of reality to the realization of Reality is to subjugate a false personal sense of self and replace it with a true, impersonal sense of Self. The evidence of the truth of this ‘other-world’ is the feelings that arise and the experiences that are experienced. This other-world is a psychic world – thus one feels psychically linked with all other humans and the feeling of ‘We are All One’ is realized. In my case the experience was ‘I am love and Love is me’ – and any personal sense of self was completely overwhelmed by this new experiencing. I have also experienced the opposite of Grand, seductive and glorious in this psychic world and that is the Diabolical – a world so repulsive, so horrendous as to literally tear at one’s innards. I didn’t stay there long, but long enough to know that the Grand and glorious psychic experiences are underpinned by the Diabolical, and the dream of good, immortality and unity is but the opposite of the nightmare of evil, death and a hellish eternal lonely damnation. Duality isn’t eliminated, it is reinforced by the creation of a new world of imagination – that of Reality.
I don’t deny your experiences and I don’t deny that they are real. I have had many psychic experiences, all of which could be explained as psychic aberrations although I have never experienced physical objects moving – but my question would be ... ‘so what?’ If your psychic abilities were such that you could actually stop wars and suffering on this planet then I would willingly be sitting at your feet and following your teachings. We could then point you in the direction of trouble spots in the world and you could use your powers to end malice and sorrow in the world rather than moving objects and playing with clairvoyance. Until then, it is obvious that you have got yourself stuck in the spiritual world Reality – exactly as thousands upon thousands of others have in their search for a way out of being in the nightmare of real-world reality.
I have already stated my position about the spiritual world and many people miss the fact that spiritual means
as well as
While you insist that your awakening, your experiences and your current state are non-spiritual, as in non-religious, it certainly is spirit-ual, as in being psychic in nature. Methinks you are splitting hairs, yet again.
RESPONDENT: I really did enjoy that Web site. I will return to it many times in the future. It is very much like the one I have been building, in mind only so far, but I felt it may not do any good. I have the domain name for it already, which is Friends of Reality. If I get it done someday I will let you know. Maybe then you will see where I am really coming from.
PETER: You have written thousands of words to me and on the mailing list and you have failed to indicate that ‘where you are really coming from’ is anywhere other than your own unique and personal version of the traditional spiritual world. What I find most telling is that everyone who has Awakened from the nightmare or illusion of reality has declared ‘We are All One’ and yet they illustrated by their words and actions that they indeed retain a very personal and ego-centric view of Unity such that theirs is a distinctive and original version – different from others. This fact alone makes a mockery of the feeling that ‘We are All One’.
In actuality, all of the psychic world is seen for what it is – a fear-driven world of either doom and gloom reality typified by ‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’ or the phantasmagorical Reality of awakened souls awaiting their final release into Nirvana-land.
An actualist is concerned with peace on earth, in this lifetime and, as such, turns away from all psychological illusion and psychic delusions, no matter how seductive and powerful.
PETER: I see that we may well have a lively conversation on these matters. I welcome the chance to talk with you about the sense we make of the world, something I have found very rare, particularly in the spiritual world. A belief in a particular Path, Guru or God, by necessity, means that it is then impossible to question the very nature of the message. The funny thing is, I was attracted to Rajneesh originally, as the offer appeared to be freedom from religion and dogma. It was only 2 years ago that it began to dawn on me that what I had got myself into was yet another version of belief in God, a Supreme being, ‘Intelligence’ or ‘Energy’ that is somehow ‘behind’ the scenes and that we all desperately seek ‘union’ with. It was shocking to my very core, the ground literally shifted beneath the feet of who I ‘thought’ and ‘felt’ I was.
So, in response to your statement –
RESPONDENT: Reality is what one realizes. Actuality is all that is occurring throughout the Universe.
PETER: Maybe you missed the first post I sent which indicates the THREE worlds that are possible for humans to perceive, two are imaginary (but appear to be real) but only one is actual.
Or, to put it another way –
RESPONDENT: Dute* – *Said in response to something that is so obvious to everyone ... or should be.
PETER: What I write of is not obvious to everyone as it is the first time, apart from Richard’s and Vineeto’s writings, that this has been said. It is therefore understandable that it is a struggle and an effort to accept something that is so strange and unknown. The only point of reference I had was the peak experience where I remembered that I had experienced the actual world free of a self – or of a god/creator to whom I felt gratitude, or of the seductive feeling of Love, Glory, or Oneness.
The purity, perfection, directness, sensual experience was so startling, so immediate, that it was astounding – yet all was calm, easy, carefree and delightful. I was the universe-experiencing-itself as a sensate, flesh and blood human being. (note – most definitely not ... Universe)
So, hope this explains things a bit more –
It took me months and months of reading and contemplating to begin to realize what Richard was saying, and how radically different it was to the spirit-ual concepts I had, but a fascination of investigating and discovering some thing new ... drove me on ... beyond my pride ...
RESPONDENT: And by the way, Freedom is just freedom. When you qualify it as ‘actual’ you are comparing it with something else which according to you is not ‘actual’. So actual freedom is not freedom at all, just another concept. depending for its definition on another concept.
PETER: No, actual means actual. Actual Freedom is a freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. One of the first steps is to become free of the belief in God and an after-life. To become free of the belief in good spirits and bad spirits. To break free the slavery of the Master-disciple business and being beholden to any God, Guru. To free one’s self from the insidious platitudes of Eastern spiritual Wisdom with its seductive poetical promises of Bliss and Nirvana.
This is an actual freedom that is so liberating it is often hard to restrain from jigging when walking to the computer to write about it. Beholden to no-one and nothing. Free to be happy and harmless – at last.
RESPONDENT: I have no need to believe in these because I have experienced their reality...
PETER: Yes, that is the aim of the spiritual path – to experience the reality of God to such an extent that one becomes God. When I was a kid people were locked away if they proclaimed themselves to be God, because there was only one God possible in the Christian monotheistic culture that I was raised in. The Eastern Religions are a bit looser with many Gods, with many priests declaring themselves as God-men. In India today there are a plethora of God-men – each street corner has a Saddhu, each temple an Awakened one and each Ashram has their own God. Like all things the fashion will die from over-exposure. Already the concept of ‘we are all Gods’ has come in.
The questions I would pose are – When everybody awakens but still has a few ‘personality quirks’, such as getting angry or feeling sad, will there anything be different at all? Will men and women live together in peace and harmony? Will there be consensus instead of confrontation? Will people stop fighting each other? Will sorrow disappear from the world?
Just because you feel something, it doesn’t make it actual. It may feel ‘real’ but that does not make it actual as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, material and not merely passive.
PAUL LOWE: Maximum Potential
I use the term ‘maximum potential’ to express in a fresh way an indescribable state that we have endowed with many names. <Snip> Heraclitus called it the Hidden Harmony’, Lao Tzu named it ‘the Tao’, Jesus referred to it as ‘the Kingdom of God’ and ‘the peace that passeth all understanding’. Currently, the word ‘enlightenment’ is frequently being used. <Snip> When we use a word such as enlightenment, each person interprets it through the mind, which, of course, is the only way you can make an intellectual interpretation. Yet, in this case, we cannot really know the state this word is attempting to describe, for we cannot know it through the mind. This inexplicable experience occurs when the mind stops or is bypassed, therefore it is impossible for the intellect to comprehend it. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Well I do beg to differ, Paul. You stated quite clearly in your introduction that prior to your awakening ‘My life became devoted to the possibility of expanding human consciousness’. After years of search you ‘really gave up. Then suddenly it happened’. What you found you put very clearly in words in your opening statement of the book – ‘a way of living where you can feel happy and joyful and free of fear.’ Why all this ‘beyond words’ mumbo-jumbo? One of the most powerful aspects of language in the hands of mystics is their capacity to weave an aura of mystery around a simple feeling. If one assiduously searches for an expansion of one’s human consciousness with enough intent one eventually arrives at a point where one realizes one’s maximum potential – which is to be a God-on-earth who has transcended the mundane dualities. For those who are suffering from Post-Satori Syndrome (PSS) this is typified by ‘feeling happy, joyful and free of fear’. For most, this state wears off after days or weeks as ‘real’ world reality seeps back in. For those who go all the way, an Altered State of Consciousness can occur whereby one’s personal ego collapses to be replaced by a new identity that is Divine and Immortal, Timeless and Eternal.
Granted, this is a grand, overwhelming and self-consuming feeling, but it is only a feeling. The ancient search for ‘expanding human consciousness’ has, and always will, produce passionate feelings of freedom inevitably intertwined with delusions of divinity. When one seeks to ‘expand’ one will instinctually become ALL (as in expanded to be Really Big) for if you seek hard enough you can become anything you want – or believe anything you want to believe.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Nine When the Spirit Takes Over
Suggestion to the reader: The experience of this chapter can be deepened if you have it read to you while you close your eyes. <snip>
I invite you to join me in exploring the possibilities suggested in this reverie. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The classic way to listen to fairy stories is to close one’s eyes and imagine the story being told to you is real. It is a well-used device for instilling moral tales of good and evil in children, in hypnosis and psycho-therapy sessions, and in the spiritual world it is used in Satsangs, meditations, discourses, past-life recessions and the like. Closing one’s eyes is a way of cutting off the primary sensorial input and disassociating from the physical world, thereby allowing one to become more fully engaged in unfettered imagination – i.e. thinking totally unrelated to reality and therefore twice removed from actuality.
PAUL LOWE: Imagine that we are all together in a dimension that has no form. It is not material, it is pure spirit. There is no separation as we know it. We can all move in and out of each other. Then we hear about a dimension that has form, and something called ‘experience’, which we do not have in this unformed state. This dimension, we are told, is created of material, tangible substance. <snip> We are told that before we can enter the dimension called planet Earth we have to adopt a form that will enable us to touch things and be touched. We will still be free spirits but we will be contained in a structure. This structure consists of a body that can have sensations in the mind, in the emotions and at a physical level. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The fairy story begins. This story has been told for so many thousands of years that its original source is blurred in the mists of time. It would seem that both Eastern and Western religious fables share a common heritage in Middle Eastern God-stories. The basis of all religious belief is that ‘who’ we feel and think we are is a disembodied ‘spirit’ who has taken up temporary residency in the mortal flesh and blood body.
PAUL LOWE: We will not easily be able to drift out of this body and then back in. In this new dimension we will become attached to the form and the game will be finding a way to detach ourselves, in order to be free, while continuing to exist in this form. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: ‘Detach’ is the important word here and the name of the spiritual game is to practice detachment. To imagine that one really is a spirit who can ‘drift out of this body and then back in’ is to imagine that one can survive the death of the body and go ‘somewhere else’ after death. ‘Ordinary spirituality’ is often careful to avoid directly mentioning the promise of life after death lest it be seen as ordinary religious pap, but the seductive lure is nevertheless there and the willingly gullible fall for the story, hook, line and sinker.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Eleven The ‘I’ Is Not You
There is a place inside all of us which is empty and at the same time, full. It has no form, yet it is overflowing with energy. It is still, yet it is continuously moving, though this movement has no pattern. It simply is. Nothing goes on there, and yet everything is there, formlessly. Although this state is unnameable, we will call it ‘the source’. As with most people, you will probably live unaware of this source in your daily lives. You live in your ‘I’, which is full of mind activity that constantly measures and evaluates. <snip> Your sense of yourself revolves around that ‘I’ to such an extent that you believe it is you. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The last sentence points to the fact that the spiritual philosophy and, as such, a good deal of modern psychiatry, identifies the ‘self’ as an illusion. The ‘self’ is an illusion made substantial and real due to an ignorance of the facts of what it is to be a human being and a lack of a direct unfiltered experience of actuality. The traditional subversion in spirituality is to shift one’s identity from what they call ‘I’ as ego to ‘me’ as soul – the ‘place inside all of us which is empty and at the same time, full’. My experience is that this state is empty of thoughts of ‘I’ but full of feelings of ‘me’. This feeling of ‘place’ and its resulting feeling that one is connected to ‘the source’ – or that one is ‘the source’ – is even more fictional than the original fictional ‘I’.
The everyday-reality ‘I’ is an understandable illusion for we have, apart from brief glimpses of actuality in Pure Consciousness Experiences, no other way to interpret the fact that we are aware, conscious human beings. By the time our awareness develops in childhood there is already an ‘I’ being aware due to
The ancient fairy tale solution to feeling free of this everyday-reality ‘I’ was to develop an identity that paralleled and mimicked that of the ancient Gods. The only escape from everyday grim and mortal reality for many was – and still is – to aspire to either become a shaman thus evoking the power and authority of being God’s representative on earth, or to become a God-man or God-woman in one’s own right. It’s time to debunk the notion that this is anything other than an ancient escapist fairy tale – the best way that the ancients found to feel free of an everyday fearful ‘I’ and the everyday misery and grim reality of being part of the animal food chain. (...)
PAUL LOWE: We are told that we operate at 5 percent of our potential, and that small percentage is the ‘I’. Science maintains we experience only one billionth of reality and this is squeezed through that ‘I’, through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’. This is how we block the gate to the state that no one has ever been able to describe – the Tao, the Hidden Harmony, the Kingdom of God. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The mind boggles at the thought of the scientist with his reality-experiencing meter calibrated to one billion units. ‘Excuse me madam, could I just check your reality-experiencing level?’ Mr. Rajneesh was equally inept and devious in his clipping on a bit of theoretical science to his religious teachings in order to pretend that there was some factual basis to what he was teaching.
This is just plain silly nonsense but the next statement points directly to the harm that believing these fairy tales actually causes in perpetuating human malice and sorrow. By saying we operate ‘through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’ he makes a leap that both denies and negates sensible thought and, more significantly, any consideration of the effects that one’s actions have on one’s fellow human beings.
Judging a situation, event or action as good or bad, or right or wrong, is to make a judgement based on one’s social programming and one’s instinctual ‘self’-ish passions – but then to deny any sensible judgement based on what is beneficial and what is harmful to others is taking self-interest and self-centredness to the extreme. Those who follow religious beliefs, be they Eastern or Western, ultimately make no sensible judgement as to whether their beliefs, emotions and actions are harmful to others – and the religious world is full of such self-righteous behaviour. This self-righteous disregard for other human beings is the very reason that human history is a litany of religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc!
PAUL LOWE: The events that have been prophesied are starting to happen. Things that have not been considered to be ‘real’ in the past are now being commonly accepted. People on the leading edge of scientific exploration are beginning to realize this, and while many conventional scientists, particularly in the medical community, continue to resist, there are still many breakthroughs. For instance, on the European continent, homeopathy has become widely accepted, as well as other alternative healing methods. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Historically, the prophetic times of impending doom were always accompanied by a rise in the belief in psychic phenomena, a turning back to, and a revival of interest in ancient belief, mysticism, divination, superstition as well as a fear of, and deliberate obstruction of, factual, scientific and technological progress. This current New Dark Age is typical of many other periods in history and is made ‘exciting’ only by a foreboding of impending doom and the expectation of a New Age that is always nearly about to happen ... but always in the future.
When he talks of ‘breakthroughs’ what he really means are ‘U’-turns – turning back to the past. When he talks of ‘alternative healing methods’ he is talking of traditional methods – those practiced by the ancients. The spiritual world is a world in which everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong and it is blindingly obvious if one dares to look at it sensibly. The spiritual world is steeped in fear and superstition and is forever looking backwards in a futile and desperate search for meaning, security and identity.
PAUL LOWE: Physicists are postulating scientific theories that mystics have declared for centuries. But even these changes still belong to a mode of life that we have known for thousands of years. There is a shift coming that is far beyond anything we have imagined possible and that heralds the beginning of a totally new way of living. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Theoretical physicists, cosmologists and the like are merely postulating and parroting the traditional ancient theories that there is a creator for the universe and that there will be a cataclysmic end for the universe. They are as stubborn in their belief that the universe is not eternal and infinite as were the ancient mystics. The ancient mystics had a vested interest as their very livelihood, their reputation, power and cherished belief in an after-life was based on fostering and spreading these metaphysical theories. Ditto the theoretical scientists.
The promised ‘totally new way of living’ will presumably spawn yet more spiritual communities of devotees who vainly attempt to subjugate their naturally hostile and suspicious feelings towards each other by devoting and surrendering themselves to a ‘higher’ cause. How many of these communities attempting to practice a ‘totally new way of living’ have come and gone over the millennia? How many have stood the test of time? Are the surviving relics joyous harmonious places, totally free of crime, animosity, corruption, elitism, power struggles, etc? How many have become introverted, isolated and archaic institutions that act as hiding places for the fearful, the incapable and the insecure?
PAUL LOWE: Reality as we know it is melting down, changing, shifting far beyond what we have expected. <Snip> When something is found to be possible that was previously thought to be impossible, it suddenly starts to occur all over the world. In the past, we rarely heard of people who had experienced spontaneous healing from illnesses that were said to be terminal. Now, many people are having this experience. We used to hear only occasionally about anyone who had clinically died and been bought back to life. Many cases have now been documented and the people who have had this experience tell us that we will not die. Thousands of people are saying ‘We do not die when the body stops functioning.’ Of course, Zen and Hindu masters have been saying this for thousands of years. Bankai said ‘We are not born, we will not die.’ Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Ah, the miracles are happening to the true believers, consciousness is rising, the evidence is pouring in that God is with us, we are not alone, there is life after death, salvation is nigh! A brief reading of the history of religion will reveal that these promises, signs, omens and portents of a Golden Age dawning have been an ongoing and recurring beat-up. This same investigation will reveal that the shamans’ promised good times and signs of miracles are inevitably and inseparably accompanied by promises of evil, hell-fire and signs of doom and damnation.
‘Ya can’t have one without the other’ as the old song goes.
It is curious that Paul should quote Bankai and not Mr. Rajneesh who had ‘Never born, never died’ chiselled on his tombstone. Paul was a follower of Rajneesh for over 20 years that I know of, yet he makes no mention of him in his book.
PAUL LOWE: These things we are beginning to integrate into our everyday life. The structure as we know it is starting to collapse and the predictors say this, too, is part of the design. The book of Revelations states there will be plague, pestilence and famine, and that the weather will alter radically. The weather is changing all over the world – global warming, El Niño, La Niña are having radical effects on the climate. We have more indescribable and incurable illnesses than we ever had. Strange, virulent viruses are appearing regularly; epidemics are spreading. It is all happening. Everything is starting to shake. Deep down, we are beginning to recognize that what we have taken for granted is no longer secure. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Yep. What a fearful, doom-laden beat-up of human existence. He is not talking of the Human Condition here but is making out that the physical, material world in which we live is collapsing and becoming more horrific by the minute. The proof he offers is nothing more than fear-ridden theory and belief and the subsequent popularist doom and gloom embellishments. If you want to find theories and postulations about doom and gloom, it is not at all difficult – doom and gloom is rampant in the media, in all forms of entertainment, in the theoretical sciences, in environmentalism, conspiracy theories, anti-globalization movements, divinationists, etc. etc.
Don’t get me wrong here. For Humanity the past, present and foreseeable future is epitomized by malice and sorrow, war and suicide, doom and gloom, but to project this scenario on to the physical material actual world, as spiritual belief would have us do, is a leap of imagination that defies factual evidence to the contrary.
PAUL LOWE: The most significant shift, however, will not be with these material things. The greatest change will be in our experience of reality, in our consciousness and it is beginning to happen for many people all over the world. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Yep. There are a lot of people into denial and transcendence in the town where I live. The New Dark Ages are blossoming into a popular cultural fashion.
People everywhere are turning away, tuning out and going in.
PAUL LOWE: There really is no easy way to explain a shift in consciousness. It means that the person who is looking at reality, the one you are familiar with, the one you call ‘I’ is going to be different. The difference is not only occurring in what the ‘I’ sees and experiences, the fundamental ‘I’ itself is starting to change. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Oh, come on Paul. It is easy to explain and many, many people have explained it. The shift in consciousness is from being an ‘I’ who thinks and feels it is trapped inside a mortal flesh and blood body to becoming a ‘me’ who thinks and feels it is completely disassociated from reality and completely disembodied ... and therefore immortal.
PAUL LOWE: When I think about my own spiritual journey, it has really never been about being ‘spiritual’. Finding peace has nothing to do with discovering other dimensions or becoming enlightened. It has been about being here in each moment and when I have gone unconscious, saying, ‘Oh – slipped up there,’ and beginning anew, right now, present in this moment, accepting what is. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: I take it then that we can ignore Chapter One which is about ‘the source’, the Kingdom of God, the state of timelessness, enlightenment, the unformed. Chapter Two talks about a state beyond the state of the mind, an indescribable place of love, subconscious levels, varying levels of awareness. Chapter Three is about deeper levels of feeling, the cusp of a new dimension, dropping into being, a new level of freedom, another level of aliveness, etc. I won’t go on, but every chapter is littered with references to an other dimension, other than everyday reality. This is the whole point of spiritual belief and practice – to attain to an ‘other dimension’, other than the physical, and then to be ‘present’ in this ‘other dimension’ in each moment.
Nice try Paul, but maybe you should read what the words you have written. You may well be sincere in feeling that you are present, as in here, but in fact you are present, as in ‘there’, – another dimension called the spiritual world. And are you really saying you never aspired to the glamour and glory and power of enlightenment? Methinks you are stretching credibility and taking denial to a new level – a new dimension even – with your statement.
Your spiritual journey may not have started off being about spiritual other dimensions and enlightenment but you sure have ended up in the thick of it. I do understand, because my search for freedom, peace and happiness was not about other dimensions or enlightenment but if you tread the spiritual path you will end up in an other dimension trying to become enlightened. Par for the course, as they say. For me the wake-up call came when I found myself shouting Ya-Hoo to an empty chair and from then on it became increasingly difficult to maintain the lie that being on the spiritual path and all that it entails is anything other than being in an old-time religion. T’was a crippling blow to my pride to admit it and a long journey out of the religious world but once one sees and acknowledges it is all madness and delusion it is impossible to stay a believer.
The denial that abounds in the spiritual world is a most curious phenomena. It is as though the followers and devotees block out any idea or notion that they are in fact deep in religion and following religious belief – the very thing that many were trying to become free of when they left the ‘normal’ world. I have had occasion to say to many of the spiritual people that I had known from the past that it is so good to have left the spiritual path, and they all have said ‘Yes, for me too!’ ... and then proceeded to tell me they are sitting with a Guru, have just done a group or are heading off to the East to meditate or go to an Ashram. Is this denial in action or merely a severe case of cognitive dysfunction due to excessive exposure to Eastern religious belief? I am a curious.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.