Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: The spiritual path is the pursuit of emotional events and altered states, whereas the path to Actual Freedom is the pursuit of irrevocable actual change. For an actualist, the real work is in having the courage to maintain an ongoing awareness of how you are experiencing being alive, of cultivating a naïve fascination with being alive and developing a resounding YES to being here.
GARY: It seems that people on a religious and/or (these words are interchangeable) spiritual path are always caught up in their feeling of uniqueness or differentness from ordinary ‘wordly’ people. When I was into the spiritual lifestyle, I always had a sense of mission or a feeling of being special compared to the average heathens around me.
PETER: It took me 17 years of exploration on the so-called spiritual path to finally understand, acknowledge, and act upon, the fact that spiritualism was nothing other than ‘Olde-Time Religion’. Every pundit, teacher or follower I met or group I was in felt they were unique or that they were specially ‘chosen’ in having the truth of their existence revealed to them personally. Spiritual revelations and experiences are music to ‘me’, as soul, and inevitably lead to ‘self’-ish introspection and an increased detachment from actuality.
As a ‘normal’ entity, ‘I’ am programmed to be a social/ psychological and instinctual/ psychic entity that thinks and feels it is living inside the body. This non-substantial entity experiences himself or herself to be detached from the physical actual world anyway, but then to become a passionate spiritual identity in one of society’s fantasy spirit-ual worlds is to be twice removed from what is physical, palpable, tangible, sensual, audible, tactile, visual, corporal, animal, mineral, vegetable, and alive as in not passive.
This actual world is chocked full of eye candy – to use the current web jargon – full of smell candy, air candy, people candy, touch candy, taste candy, skin candy, sound candy. This planet is a literal cornucopia of sensual delight and we human beings have the most sophisticated brain that is wired via its proliferate sensory receptors to be a receptor, an appreciator, able to think, reflect and contemplate ... and to be aware it is doing it!
What it is to be a human being is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being.
This is the quality of experiencing available only in a pure consciousness experience.
GARY: Take most Christian people, for instance, with their ingrained persecution complex – it seems to me that they are always looking to be persecuted by others, and are rarely cognizant of their self-righteous, pious attitude towards ‘nonbelievers’ and their downright persecutory attitude towards others who are not members of their little coterie.
PETER: All religion is founded on fear and there is nothing like whipping up a bit of persecution to rally the faithful to protect the faith. I wrote about my experience in Rajneeshpuram in Oregon when Rajneesh had goaded the Christians to such an extent that the National Guard was evidently on alert. Any persecution, be it real or imaginary, demands justice or, to call a spade a spade, revenge and retribution. One of the most blatant cases of this endless cycle is to be found in the current Israel-Palestinian war. The Israelis, having suffered persecution in WW2 seem now to have found an outlet for revenge – to forcibly occupy Palestinian land, drive the owners out, encircle them in enclaves, forbid them to leave and cut off essential supplies. Then, when those who are occupied revolt, the persecutors claim ten eyes for every eye lost. And common wisdom has it that we should be tolerant of, and respect, people’s religious/ spiritual beliefs.
‘Self-righteous, pious attitudes’ and ‘downright persecutory attitudes’ are currently prevalent all over the planet with no hope of ever ending – unless people start coming to their senses, which is exactly what actualism is about.
Having a good clear-eyed look at Humanity is an essential aspect of actualism for ‘I’ am Humanity and Humanity is ‘me’. When it becomes so blatantly obvious that it is human beings stubbornly maintaining and faithfully defending their sacred religious/ spiritual beliefs who cause such horrendous wars and conflicts in the world, it behoves you to rid yourself of every last skerrick of such beliefs – provided you are interested in peace on earth, that is.
PETER: The actualism writings are generally framed in terms of being a search for freedom, peace and happiness and the reason for this are two-fold. Richard’s discovery of the ‘self’-less pure consciousness state was a two stage process, an elimination of his social/ psychological self, or ego, and the final elimination of his instinctual/ psychic self, or soul. Having been Enlightened and then gone beyond it to actuality, his expertise and experience of the delusions of the spiritual world are second to none and his writings reflect that expertise, knowledge and approach. Similarly, Vineeto and I have had extensive insider experience of the world of the spiritual/ religious believer and our writings tend to be slanted towards our expertise. The other even more important aspect of this slant is that it is reasonable to assume that anyone interested in freedom, peace and happiness would be on, or interested in, the spiritual path – the only alternative thus far to remaining ‘normal’.
GARY: Well, while probably most people interested in freedom, peace and happiness would be on, or interested in, the spiritual path, there may be others who are not. So far, perhaps that remains to be seen.
PETER: The famed spiritual path is rapidly losing all credibility as time goes on. The West’s grand flirtation with Eastern religion is beginning to look a bit like a leaky sieve. At one end spiritualism is being watered down to moralistic self-love and stress-relieving techniques, à la Oprah Winfrey, while the increasing exposure of the necessary narcissism of the spiritual teachers, Gurus and God-men is spoiling their game no end. Things have changed enormously since I first tentatively trod the boards of the spiritual stage. So much more information is available for anyone to make his or her own assessment of what is on offer and whether it works.
Many who come across actualism are so heavily indoctrinated by Eastern religion that they skim a bit of what is written, if at all that is, and dismiss it as spiritual. If they read a bit more they react strongly and then dismiss it as anti-spiritual. In time, the writings on this web-site will be simply acknowledged as non-spiritual and down-to-earth and, as more people become interested, actualism will increasingly become a vibrant and flourishing third alternative.
GARY: I became interested in what Richard had to say while on the Krishnamurti list, it is true. But earlier in my life, I was on what I would call the ‘drug’ path – ‘better living through chemistry’. I cared not a snoot for religious or other spiritual thinking, although the ethos of that time – the Love Generation – was very much influenced by Eastern religions and ideas.
PETER: And Richard got himself Enlightened without any knowledge of Eastern religion at all. I got myself involved in Eastern Religion after a dark night of the soul, knowing not a fig about what I was getting in to.
RESPONDENT: A statement you made to No 59 recently caught my eye... Here it is in context:
There is in fact, independent evidence that Mr. Jesus ‘existed as a flesh-and-blood-body person other than in the stories in the Christian religious texts.’ The Jewish historian, Josephus, made reference to the personage of Jesus independently of the Christian religious texts in his ‘The Antiquities of the Jews’ – written in the latter part of the 1st Century. There is other evidence independent of Christian religious texts, but the reference by Josephus may be the best known.
Now, such a reference outside the Christian religious tradition has been mired in controversy with some saying that his reference is completely authentic; others say it is a Christian interpolation, and still others claim that it is an authentic reference that has been modified. I am not well informed enough to make a judgement on the issue, except that I know that some of the best scholars, like Geza Vermes (not a Christian) think it is an authentic, but modified, reference.
Even though one can certainly debate whether the reference by Josephus constitutes valid independent evidence for the existence of Jesus, still to say as you have here that ‘there is no evidence that a Mr. Jesus existed as a flesh-and-blood-body person other than in the stories in the Christian religious texts’ is not correct.
PETER: I stand corrected. If I reworded the statement to read –
would you see that as being technically correct?
The reason I made the comment was that I had heard in my youth that there was no mention in the Roman historical records of the existence of a crucified saviour called Jesus, nor of any of the events that are the central thrust of Christian belief. I was reminded of this recently as I watched several documentaries in which both Christian and Jewish archaeologists and anthropologists were searching for any tangible evidence of the epic events contained within either the Old or the New Testaments. That is about the extent of my knowledge of the subject but, if as you indicate, the writings of Josephus is the best evidence then my comment would be that his writings are littered with obvious mythological events and supernatural beings. I personally found the book ‘Sixteen Crucified Saviours’ very revealing in that it puts Christian belief into a wider context.
I have also heard someone make a similar comment about the lack of historical evidence with regard to the actual existence of a flesh and blood Mr. Buddha and it somewhat jolted me at the time as I found it amazing that two of the major religious faiths in the world could well be founded upon the legendary exploits of completely fictitious characters. That the exploits of these characters are legend and not fact is accepted in some quarters nowadays … but to dare to question that the central characters in theses legends are fictitious creations is heresy writ large.
I don’t know about you but I like it when I come across some information that reveals what I had previously accepted as being true was all of a sudden understood to be not necessarily so. When I started to dare to question the truths that I had accepted as being facts it was scary stuff, sometimes it felt as though ‘my’ whole world was collapsing, as though ‘I’ was being torn apart – but once I got over the initial fears the thrill of discovery took over.
RESPONDENT No 59: It’s true to say that the genetic coding is supplied complete to each individual.
PETER to No 59: Oh, good. Can we agree then that the instinctual survival mechanism – that which gives rise to the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire in human beings – ‘is supplied complete’ to each and every member of the human species? Peter to No 59, 16.11.2003
Do realize that this is no little thing to agree to because it is completely at odds with all of the spiritual teachings that have it that we are born innocent beings and only corrupted by conditioning or that we are all blank slate souls who have to suffer the trails of being trapped in a corporeal body in an alien physical world?
RESPONDENT: I don’t see spiritualists as all saying children are born as blank slates. I’ve had people from two different Christian sects (Jehova’s Wittness and Mormon) – those who go about knocking on doors looking for converts – tell me that children are born with original sin, and they each offered as an example the obvious anger displayed by infants who are not getting their way. They offer religious salvation solutions for this sin.
PETER: Yeah, point taken. It was a bit sloppy of me. I forgot about the fire-and-brimstone ‘repent ye sinners and ye shall be saved’, which really means ‘ye better join our group … or else …’.
I had been watching an Oprah Winfrey program – mainstream popularist Christian-New-Age belief – before I wrote what I wrote so that had obviously influenced what I wrote. Despite the fact that the Christian teachings are founded on the notion that human beings are born in sin and that ultimately peace is only to be found after death, many Christians also hold a contradictory belief that nurture will bring peace on earth. They believe that Good parenting will combat Evil, that Love will conquer Hate, that emotional catharsis is ‘cleansing’ and ‘healing’, that one needs to heal ‘old childhood wounds’, that one needs to seek ‘closure’, that suffering makes you stronger, and so on and so on. It’s quite amazing to me how many disparate beliefs people can hold at one time – be they pop-religion, pop-psychology, pop-science or whatever – and how they can insist on keeping them all despite their contradictory nature and in spite of their obvious failures to bring anything remotely resembling peace on earth between human beings.
RESPONDENT: The new and different offering of AF is the clear recognition of what is there: the biologically inherited emotional structures with their mental connections, and a workable and easily describable method for disentangling from them.
PETER: And in order to become both happy and harmless, it is essential to question all of the beliefs that are the tried and failed ways of ending human malice and sorrow – it stands to reason that ‘my’ hanging on to any of these beliefs can only prevent ‘me’ from doing whatever is necessary for me to become actually happy and harmless.
It is no little thing to abandon all of Humanity’s accrued wisdom – all of the unliveable morals and all of the unworkable ethics – and to start to think for oneself such that one can stand on one’s own two feet, no matter what the consequences. That’s the dare in actualism – how far is one willing to go in abandoning one’s cherished beliefs?
PETER: If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
RESPONDENT: Why is the credential of a relationship necessary? Are you suggesting you wouldn’t or couldn’t investigate actual reality with or learn with anyone who didn’t have a certifiably perfect relationship to support their ‘position’? Don’t we learn from everyone we are with at any moment? The ‘perfect’ as well as the rest of us? Doesn’t that put the person with a ‘perfect’ relationship in the role of Guru, higher than the rest? Teaching from above to below?
PETER: I see that Vineeto has sent you something already. I had such a delicious lunch downtown and a longish beach walk so when I got home I stretched out on the couch for a snooze to be awakened by the gentle tapping of Vineeto’s fingers on the keyboard. While strolling on the beach I did wonder if you had read both the journals as I think it would be useful and then you would have more background of what we are saying. It is radically different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact. Everybody has got it wrong up until now and the proof is the greed, avarice, violence, sadness, sorrow and gloom that pervades humans’ thoughts and actions despite centuries of religious belief and adherence.
I dropped the idea of becoming enlightened the moment I realised that these Enlightened Beings and Gurus were nothing but the Gods of the Eastern religions. The Western Religions are generally monotheistic – a One Big God religion and as such the best we humans can do is obey His rules and worship him and we get to go to heaven after we die. They have Sainthood for the really good people or the chance to be Pope or the like, if you want. Now the Eastern religions are generally polytheistic which means they worship many Gods side by side. Also there is a strong tradition of Enlightened ones, Gurus or God-men who declare their God-ship while alive. They can be easily identified as they gather disciples, begin to teach and proclaim they know the Truth (...which can’t be spoken)! So to believe in Enlightenment is to believe in God and an afterlife.
The problem is now I have no religious tolerance at all. Whether it’s East or West, Pope or the Dalai Lama they have had sufficient time to bring paradise to earth and all we get are more religious wars and fights amid the cries of ‘let’s be tolerant of each other’s religious rights’. ‘Let’s all agree to tolerate the wars!!!’ Now if that isn’t lunacy I don’t know what is. Granted, until now it was the best escape from the Human condition possible. But there is an alternative – it is now possible treat each other as fellow human beings, to live together in peace and harmony, to experience the physical tangible sensual delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses.
To completely eliminate any sorrow and malice from your thoughts and actions. I’ve said lately that if someone could see with these eyes the actual delight they would know what I mean, but, of course, everyone has them in their Peak Experience or PCE as Richard calls them. So if your still aiming to become Enlightened or wanting a Guru to believe in, I think you are on the wrong mailing list.
But if you want to discuss the possibility to become happy and harmless, if you want to free yourself of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, and if you want to completely eradicate both the social identity you have been straitjacketed with, as well as the animal instincts that fill us with fear and drive us to violence – then I can maybe help as I’ve done it for myself. The great thing about this (poignantly perfect, in fact) is that you have to do it for yourself – I am (thank goodness) powerless and yet undeniably useful to those willing to give it a go. All you need is to make it the number one goal in your life. Set aside sufficient time and away you go! I personally felt I had nothing left to lose – which is the sub-title of my journal. So let me know what you think of the journals, I’ll be fascinated to hear.
PETER to No 5: I also like your interest in anger – so few people are interested in the harmless part of the actualist’s obsession with being happy and harmless . It’s a crucial issue – a vital and essential motivation.
In contrast we have Mr. Rajneesh’s approach –
I simply stopped dreaming, was honest enough with myself to admit Rajneesh’s dream was not working for me and then moved on to find out why it didn’t and couldn’t work. I do realize you are not at all interested in what he said and nor are most followers of God-men. They really sell feel-good energy, they are purveyors of blissful feelings and are indeed Masters of the art. But when they are dead, they are dead. One is left with worshipping symbols, sitting by their ashes in mausoleums or temples, gazing at images and gathering with the like-minded in prayer, or talking to them personally for succour and guidance. One is left with religion, which ‘is capable of seeing that which has not happened yet’ and yet has not happened after millennia of human effort and earnest pursuit.
So, if you want to become ‘an actual God’, as your Master says, then Rajneeshism is for you.
If you want to investigate a third alternative, firmly based on scientific fact, open discussion, mutual investigation, sensible communication, and a sincere intent to actualize peace on earth, then you are on the right mailing list.
RESPONDENT: A little bit long Quotation from ‘Nirvana The Last Nightmare’ by Osho Rajneesh.
PETER: Just a note on your post of one of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh’s talks. I will stick to his starting theme which was idealism and, in an effort to be brief, concentrate on a few salient points –
Curious stuff from a Guru who’s central message, the inspirational core of his teachings, is that his followers are the New Man – Zorba the Buddha. To quote the same man –
So ... peace will come to earth when the New Man arrives! Now if we translate this bit of idealism into down-to-earth language it means ‘when everybody follows Rajneesh’s teachings’ there will be peace on earth. Given he has a following of less than 100,000 out of 6,000,000,000 people on the planet and that the whole religion is in a watered-down decline, peace will again remain a promised ideal with no possible chance to eventuate. Rajneeshism is merely yet another of the sixteen hundred religions on the planet, all competing for market-share. It would be rather amusing except so much of the competition results in armed conflict such as was evidenced in the last days of the Rajneeshpuram when Rajneeshees went ‘head-to-head’ with the Christians. When the big boys of the Religions go head-to-head the most horrendous wars eventuate.
The interesting thing is that none of Rajneesh’s followers cares ‘two bob’ about the New Man or peace on earth as is evidenced by my discussions on their mailing list. See No 6 and No 9, No 12 and No 32. Such is their cynical disregard for his teachings. They know he spoke twaddle, they know he was full of contradictions and inaccuracies and know it was just idealistic humbug. Humans really just desperately want someone or something to believe in – and anybody and anything will do.
‘You ARE perfect’ is the delusion of the spiritual view-point. The spiritual world is in complete denial of the modern discoveries of the fact that we are not ‘perfect’ – that we have an in-built instinctual survival program of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that inevitably causes us to live in fear and to be aggressive. It is this fact that prevents peace on earth, not the failure to live the – unliveable – spiritual ideal that if only we ‘all follow one God and one God only’ and then all will be magically okay, one day, in the future. When I finally stopped deluding myself that this insanity was going to bring peace to earth, and when I stopped being dishonest with myself in believing that I was ‘already perfect’, was I able to do something about becoming actually perfect.
RESPONDENT: Of all the brilliant schools of thought I have looked into, (Richard’s the most recent among them) and I discovered an astonishing number all replete in their tidy logic, Seth’s had the most profound effect on my life. Here I found no denying or avoiding honest investigation into the human condition either, except that Seth left me with no alternative not even a third one.
PETER: The only reason I dared to challenge the most sacred of all feelings (love) was that I found it did not work, it always came hand-in-glove with its savage dark side and ... I wanted something better. I’ve found it.
RESPONDENT: Here is Seth’s take on that dark side and how it ‘works’; from ‘The Nature of Personal Reality’ (1974)
Obviously Seth speaks to an era of humanity not yet willing to approach the possibility of the illusion of Self. Nevertheless I found it infinitely more sensible and joyous than religious spirituality.
PETER: Do you mean by ‘more ... than religious spirituality’ that Sethism is not a formal religion as such? A bit hard to have a photo of a spirit hanging on your wall or a cross with a spirit nailed to it on the altar. As a kid the Holy Ghost was always a big question mark for me.
Religion is defined as –
Methinks Sethism fits the bill and as you said Seth’s your man ... as in most ‘brilliant school of thought’.
But seriously, I find it a bit strange that your reply to my comment about my experiences was to post a long piece quoting someone else rather than post your experiences. After all, it was you who recently posted –
Your posting of the wisdom of the spirit called Seth contradicts your implied commitment to find an alternative to spirituality. You also state that you are ‘fully aware of those first bases [I] speak of’, the most significant of which is to question the facticity and validity of your spiritual beliefs. Despite this you post the words of others that you believe to be the truth as your reply to my posts. The problem with this is you post such a quantity that it would take me days to give a detailed reply to each of the articles posted. I recently wrote a detailed critique of a book of wisdom written by a spiritual teacher and simply do not have the interest at the moment in doing the same with the ‘channelled’ wisdom a disembodied spirit, the voice of God. I would much rather write to people about my experiences and hear of their experiences, so we can swap notes as it were. The fascinating human business of being able to safely ‘pour out and expose their programming for what it is and assist each other in wiping the drive and re-programming ...’
PETER to No 22: With reference to the text you forwarded to this list which was sourced from the Creation Evidence Museum,
I am left wondering why you are now posting posts from a fundamental Christian group’s virulent crusade against scientific fact. Have you converted to Christianity, perchance?
It took the Catholic church some 400 years to begrudgingly acknowledge the fact that the earth revolves around the sun and some 150 years to again ignore the Bible, reluctantly accept the facts and declare that evolution could be seen as the way in which God goes about being creative within the world. The Creationists in the U.S., however, choose to take what the Bible says to be literally true and insist that the Christian God created the world in 6 days, some 6,000 years ago.
The Christian Church succeeded in prohibiting the teaching of anything that contradicted the Bible in most American schools until the 1960’s but common sense eventually prevailed as the biological, geological, anthropological and archaeological evidence to the contrary became so overwhelming. Nevertheless, the fundamentalists were in no mood to compromise, as the Catholics did, and instead they cooked up a pseudo scientific Creation Science, demanding that it be taught in schools and universities alongside the physical evidence-based sciences. This challenge went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was decided that the science curriculum could only include evidence-based teachings and that Creationism did not fit this criteria.
The battle between faith and science is a fascinating on-going battle. Much of scientific theory is heavily influenced by faith – as can be readily seen by the influence of Eastern mysticism on the theoretical sciences of quantum physics and cosmology – and much of faith has bent over backwards to either accommodate and/or assimilate evidence-based science into their ancient beliefs and we have even seen spawning of many new pseudo-scientific religions. All this conflict, compromise and confusion is but the current episode in an eons-old attempt reconcile the irreconcilable – faith and facticity, belief and common sense, passion and intelligence, the super-natural and the natural.
This battle on-going has always been fought solely on the spiritually-led agenda of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, spiritualism vs. materialism, meaning vs. meaningless, hope vs. despair, consciousness vs. ignorance, and so on. And the battle is even more complicated by the fact that there are over twelve hundred reported Gods and untold spiritual faiths on the planet, each with their own version of the Truth. This plethora of spiritual belief in itself is the cause of yet another battle that wages between human beings – exactly which Good is best, whose Right is right, whose Meaning is more meaningful, whose Love is more loving, whose Compassion is more deep, and whose Truth is the one and only.
In the midst of this madness and conflict, it is no wonder that most people choose to sit on the fence, quietly going about their lives, occasionally indulging in a bit of feel-good spirituality – in whatever form – when things get too tough. What has been lacking up until now is a genuine alternative – a way of living that cuts through all of the faith, superstition, belief and calenture that has held human beings captivated since time immemorial. A way of living that is sincere in that it is rooted in facticity, common sense and intelligence and that, if pursued with pure intent, leads to the eventual elimination of the animal instinctual passions that are the root cause of all of human malice and sorrow.
As you have posted the text to the list without any personal comment from yourself, it is impossible to precisely know your motives. I can only assume that your intent mirrors that of the Creationists – that you too are desperately trying to reconcile the gulf between faith and facticity, belief and common sense, passion and intelligence, the super-natural and the natural. Given that the world is so awash with pseudo-scientific spirituality, it would have better served your purpose to have selected a less transparent example other than a fundamental Christian group unwilling to follow the well-worn ploy of confusion, compromise or assimilation.
RESPONDENT: Again, I do find agreement with your points that many spiritual seekers are lost in a narcissistic dream, and that religion has, as a cultural artifact, some serious problems (as the song goes, ‘too many people have died in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call...’).
PETER: Or, as another song goes ...
Personally I joined the western wave into Eastern spirituality because I thought it promised the chance for peace on earth but eventually I came to discover this wasn’t really on the agenda at all, but that personal God-realization was the sole aspiration of the spiritual seeker.
RESPONDENT: But to conclude therefore that the ideal of peace and mysterious and burning care for the welfare of all life that is revealed in the spiritual experience, and that can become the perfect and unbroken expression of the human being, is all some deep delusion, is deeply disconcerting.
PETER: It is only deeply concerting to ‘you’ as a soul who yearns to believe ‘he’ is immortal and craves the ideal of an eternal peace in a spiritual world – a liberation of the spirit from the body. Whereas you, as a flesh and blood body, craves to be free of this insidious psychological and emotional entity and desperately seeks to live in peace, right here and right now in this actual physical world. The ancient ones got it 180 degrees wrong, which is why there is still no peace on earth, some 3,500 years later.
RESPONDENT: Granted, the religious traditions have some serious limitations – it seems to me that they are saddled with the same old power structures and corruption common to all dimensions of the human experience.
PETER: Why do you make a distinction between ‘ideal of peace and mysterious and burning care for the welfare of all life that is revealed in the spiritual experience, and that can become the perfect and unbroken expression of the human being’ and religious traditions. What you are saying could well be Buddhism and – the first and underlying principle of Mr. Siddhartha Gautama’s ‘Four Noble Truths’ is that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’ which sounds a very serious limitation to me. Doesn’t at all sound like someone who had a big Yes to being here on earth. No wonder he sought a state of Nirvana, as a prelude to the bodiless state of Parinirvana – after physical death.
And are you saying new religious movements or groups based on old religious traditions somehow magically manage to disconnect or dissociate themselves from ‘the same old power structures and corruption common to all dimensions of the human experience?’ There is no evidence that this is so ... quite the contrary in fact.
RESPONDENT: But bad apples in the barrel don’t mean that it’s all bad.
PETER: The Eastern religions have done no better in bringing an end to human conflict, misery and suffering than have the Western religions and both have had thousands of years road-testing by billions of humans. Even if you dismiss the ‘bad apples’, adherence to spiritual/ religious morals and ethics at best keeps the lid on the worst excesses of malice and sorrow but peace on earth is still maintained with the point of a gun ... both in the East and the West.
RESPONDENT: What you just don’t realize is that the vast majority of the people in this world COULD NOT CARE LESS about the search for liberation of the human spirit. Very, very few people are into this search.
PETER: I assume you don’t mean to, but your statement could be seen to denigrate the efforts of billions of people who are alive on the planet right now and the billions who have been here before us. Depending upon where we are born, into what culture, and in what moment of time every human being has been aware of the search for the ‘liberation of the human spirit’ in its multitudinous variations, and it is a search that millions upon millions have passionately devoted their lives to.
The search for liberation of the human spirit is probably as old as the human species. Ancient, ignorant and fearful understandings of earth and the cosmos led to the universal human belief in ‘other worlds’, both above and below, that were populated by mythical ‘spirits’ or Gods. Further, ‘spirits’ or nature ‘forces’ were deemed to live on, or be a part of, earth itself leading to a spirit-ual view of nature – a metaphysical-only understanding of physical life upon this material earth. A fervent and desperate belief that there was a future life-after-death for the human ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ in these imaginary ‘spirit worlds’ was common to all ancient tribal groups
Traditional Western religious beliefs, being generally monotheistic, propose a single creationist God with worship, reverence, penance, loyalty and obedience guaranteeing one a liberation or release from earthly suffering after physical death into an ‘other-worldly’ paradise. Great importance is placed on leading a moral and good life in accord with the codes and laws laid down by ancient texts and testaments. Consequently, each tribal group believes and asserts their particular God to be the ‘One and Only’ God and this belief-system has subsequently led to a plethora of Gods and religions on the planet. Further, multitudinous interpretations and re-interpretations of sacred texts, ancient scrolls and stone tablets have led to the formation of numerous competing sub-cults and conflicting groups, even within a single religion.
The resultant disputes and arguments as to whose God is the only true and right God, and whose religious beliefs, moral values and ethical codes represent the only true and right belief-system, has caused countless recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing ...
At the core of the Eastern religious view of the world is the concept that all humans are born ‘innocent’ and have only been corrupted by ‘evil thoughts’ since birth. It is further believed that it is possible for a chosen few to regain this mythical ‘natural’ innocence, in this lifetime on earth, hence the search to find one’s ‘original face’ or Divine Self. Meditation, turning ‘inwards’, or ‘right thinking’ in accord with the Ancient Texts, is rigorously practiced in order to transcend the ‘illusory’ physical world and enter more fully into a meta-physical, spiritual ‘inner’ world. In this ‘other world’, one connects with, and identifies with, the ‘good’ and holy feelings of bliss, oneness, unity and wholeness.
The other fundamental concept underpinning Eastern religion is that life on earth is ultimately ‘unsatisfactory’ and that the true meaning and fulfillment of human existence lies ‘elsewhere’ – after physical death. Journeying ‘in’ to find one’s true spiritual self or soul is deemed to be the answer in an attempt to facilitate an altered state of consciousness known as Enlightenment. Enlightenment is seen as a highly-prized earthly experience of Godliness and bliss, prior to a final release from the endless miserable cycle of re-birth upon dissolving into an ‘other-worldly’ spirit-ual realm.
Billions of humans have done, and still do, search for the ‘liberation of the human spirit’ in whatever way this search is historically or culturally manifest. There are by some accounts 1600 still-active religions in the world today and from what I see millions of people are giving their all for their particular version of the search for liberation of the human spirit. Not only that, all of those passionately searching are absolutely convinced that their way is the only way, and that the members of their group are the chosen ones. Doesn’t this make you just a little suss?
Surely it’s time to abandon the search for a ‘liberation of the human spirit’ and seek a liberation from the human spirit.
To become this flesh and body only, free from any alien entity, self, or spirit whatsoever, magically frees one to directly and sensately experience the ever-present sensuous delight of the actual world. It beats enlightenment by a country mile.
RESPONDENT: I honestly can’t see what you are aiming at in pursuing the question of peace on earth. I personally think that it is on the agenda of many spiritual traditions. Even if it’s not being expressed like; ‘Yes, peace on earth is our goal’.
PETER: Are you saying, it’s a ‘secret message’ that’s hidden between the words of all the spiritual texts which say that peace is an inner peace or that peace is only possible only after physical death? Is it another of those things that cannot be spoken or cannot be put into words? Why would the spiritual teachings not explicitly state that their message is peace on earth in this life time and that they have the solution to ending human malice and sorrow on earth?
Real people are killing each other, real people are suffering to the point of killing themselves and you are telling me you ‘think’ it is on the agenda of many spiritual traditions. I went looking into four spiritual teachings in vain when the moderator of the WIE list glibly tried that one on and I haven’t heard from him since; and now you also think it is on the spiritual agenda but it might not be written in plain understandable words. This gooblygook makes any conversation about peace on earth meaningless.
Do you blindly trust that it is on the agenda even though it is not put in words or spoken of – in fact when quite the opposite is written?
RESPONDENT: I really think you’re taking this too far, it can become quite absurd. OK, you’re probably right in stating that peace on earth isn’t written in as the first goal for mankind in the holy scriptures. But the goal of the vast majority of religions is definitely peaceful coexistence on this earth, if you would ask spiritual practitioners of different religions they would certainly claim that they want peace on earth, as an ideal anyway. Spirituality hasn’t proven to be very effective in achieving peace on earth and that is certainly due to delusion and lack of a practical approach to life. Spirituality has failed, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!! I just believe that going on criticizing spirituality in absurdium isn’t going to help your cause. Forget about spirituality and try to present your view instead, if the ‘spiritual’ people don’t want to listen, go somewhere else. You can’t force anything on someone else anyway ... OK, one can but one shouldn’t.
PETER: Many religions pay lip-service to ideal of religious tolerance as a way of achieving peace on earth but, when push comes to shove ... The other way peace on earth will eventuate is when everyone becomes Catholic, or Buddhist or Bahai or Cohenite or ...
Every human being born on the planet is born into some type of spiritual belief system and some people declare themselves agnostic – adopting a position of ‘I don’t know if there is a God or not’. Some become nihilistic, believing that a God-less life is a grim meaningless existence. Whichever way you look at it, the belief in spirituality dominates the human condition and in order to break free from the human condition one must break free of spiritual belief.
The major reason for debunking spirituality is that the shamans, priests and God-men have commandeered the innate human search for freedom, peace and happiness with the promise of peace and happiness in an illusionary spiritual world and ultimately in a mythical ‘life-after-death’. As such, we actualists tend to poke our noses into the spiritual world in order to let seekers know that a third alternative is available for any who may be dissatisfied with their life as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that. It is very clear that religion has failed to bring about anything close to peace, and in fact has caused far more suffering than any other system in the world.
PETER: Something I am curious about is that you stated that – ‘I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’ and yet you continued on following Eastern religion and philosophy. Did you not see the madness in Eastern religion or was your seeing based on a rejection of the Western religious world-view and the adoption of the Eastern religious world-view?
RESPONDENT: I agree with most of what you have posted.
PETER: It does seem that your agreement is very selective, as is your view of what constitutes religion. The root of the word is the Latin religio meaning ‘obligation, bond, scruple, reverence’, and its definition is –
Most spiritual seekers pursuing Eastern Religion and philosophy are extremely loath to acknowledge the fact that they are followers of, and deeply immersed in, a religion. It was only that I had a flash one night that I was deeply involved in the ‘madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’ that helped me to pull out before it was too late. Mind you, it took another 3 years and the blatant ‘other’-worldliness of a major Satori experience before I began to really come to my senses.
You are on record as saying –
– which does seem to me that you are following an ancient tradition of spiritualism. Could I stretch my assumption to say you are a follower of Eastern religion and philosophy or would this be too presumptuous?
I would like to be clear about what it is you are agreeing with and what you are not agreeing with. Simply avoiding, feinting agreement or dismissing my questions is no answer. I would also be interested in your comments about the revelations of Zen Buddhism in the book reviews at the link I posted.
In order to keep this discussion simple and on-track, I’ll summarize your position as you have recently posted it on the list,
Thus it is our personal identification (ego) which has caused the untold suffering on the planet but the suffering is necessary so that a few people can undergo an ego-death.
Thus the suffering is endemic, cannot be stopped – and is indeed necessary – and all we can do is go deeply into a process of dis-identifying with the suffering on earth.
So you propose that human suffering on earth is not a problem, but identifying with it is. From where I live that sounds awfully like a process of denial and dissociation – the essential process espoused by all Eastern religion and philosophy.
PETER: There is no substitute for a sensible discussion based on facts in order to decide what works and what doesn’t work to bring peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: Of course, that is what I try to do. But if who I am trying to communicate with is so dead set on a belief what can I do? Of course, that is how many people may see me, and most likely do. Which is always a problem because there are truths that are facts that I couldn’t change and wouldn’t change. To those I speak to about these truths I may seem dogmatic. That is why I say you have to find this out for yourselves. I can’t do anything but point.
PETER: Okay. The one truth you seem most consistent about is the truth that your being is one with life or all creation. You also say everybody else’s being is one with all except that they haven’t realized it, or awakened to the fact, like you have. Now the realization of this truth is common to religious experiences both in Western religions as in – ‘We are all God’s children’ and in Eastern religion as in – ‘We are all One’ or ‘We are all Buddhas’. And yet, despite this realization in many teachers and their followers, a Buddhist still steadfastly remains a Buddhist, a Christian steadfastly remains a Christian, a Cohenite steadfastly remains a Cohenite, or the teacher immediately sets up his or her own teachings which he or she steadfastly insists is different from all the rest of the spiritual/ religious teachings.
As you said in a recent post to the list –
You too seem to have been compelled to set up your own independent shop despite your realization that we are all one. Does this not seem a glaring contradiction between your realization and your subsequent actions?
This irrefutable pattern of behaviour, evident across all cultures and religions, makes a mockery of the realization that ‘We are all One’ for none of the Awakened or Realized Beings put their money where their mouth is, or should I say where their feelings are. And as we both know, this dogmatic insistence on the uniqueness of various religious teachings and experiences is the very stuff that breeds religious division, conflict and war.
RESPONDENT: Will this ‘experience’ bring peace on earth? Only if it brings lasting peace within, yes, but also as an expression of the individual. As one poet put it: ‘Peace within myself, peace within my family, peace within my community...’
PETER: Was this merely a poet writing poetry or talking of his on-going experience? I have yet to see any evidence that relationships between spiritual people are fundamentally different to those between ordinary people, while any relationships that the theomaniacal Enlightened Ones have with other human beings is decidedly inequitable, undignified and bizarre. As for peace within spiritual communities, the facts speak for themselves as to the endemic covert kowtowing infighting, jockeying, cronyism, power battles, etc. that lay beneath the surface of all communities. And when the Master dies, as he / she inevitably does, overt feuding factionism always erupts.
RESPONDENT: In your rejection of all religious theory, practice, and experience, I think you are throwing the ‘baby out with the bathwater’.
PETER: Yes, you have got it. The fact that the last century was the bloodiest to date proves that the traditional solutions of instilling morals, ethics and values into humans by carrot and stick, or the spiritual solutions of praying to mythical gods for salvation or humbling ourselves before deluded God-men are clearly not working. We need to do something radical different, something that acknowledges and addresses the essential issue – that human malice and sorrow is the direct result of genetically-encoded animal instinctual passions. If this daring to tackle the problem head-on is seen as ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’, then so be it.
RESPONDENT: Yet I agree that present day religions are corrupt, and of those masters of the past: who’s to know what they actually stated?
PETER: Again a heavily qualified agreement, which means you don’t agree at all. Which of the religions of past days weren’t corrupt? Some evidence for your statements, please. If, as you say, we don’t know what the masters of the past actually stated, how do we know the religions of the past were not corrupt? All the historical records not only point to corruption but to despotism and exploitative theocracies, sacrificial practices and bizarre rituals, repression and suppression, ignorance and superstition, oppressive codes of conduct and enforced loyalty, enslavement and entrapment.
RESPONDENT: But, there is a path or way to become more than mere human and yet not reject one’s humanity.
PETER: In Eastern religion, the path to ‘become more than mere human’ means the path to feeling Divine and Immortal – nothing more and nothing less. The spiritual path has traditionally seduced those seeking genuine peace, freedom and happiness into an imaginary psychic spirit-ual world – even further removed from actuality. Each new spiritual/ religious group that emerges on the scene does nothing but reinforce and contribute to the plethora of competing religions which has caused unimaginable suffering, conflicts, recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing.
As for not rejecting ‘one’s humanity’ – the most treasured attribute of ‘humanity’ is that we are proud of being feeling beings. These same cherished feelings we share in common with our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Thus human affective feelings are firmly based upon the instinctual animal passions, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Despite our trumpeting and championing the tender qualities of love and compassion, the most striking, persistent and enduring attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow – both at a personal level and a global level.
PUBLISHER No 2: I can’t comment on your opinions about Osho’s words & actions. I won’t pretend to understand anything of what he was up to.
PETER: I find this astounding as the man has hundreds of books, tapes and videos detailing his teachings, dreams, vision, philosophy and religion. As a follower of Rajneesh surely you would make it your business to find out what and who you are following.
PUBLISHER No 2: But I don’t support anyone who uses Osho’s statements to claim authority to denigrate Christianity or any other religion.
PETER: In the first edition of your magazine there was an Osho statement deriding Mother Theresa, a Catholic soon-to-be saint. To publish this particular quote in a magazine targeted at those not of the Rajneeshee faith could well be seen as offensive by many Christians – or did it not occur to you? The comments in the body of the magazine appear to denigrate the teachers and followers of the Ramana Maharshi religion and are made by those claiming to be Sannyasins. Like it or not, the Rajneesh religion – and therefore Rajneesh himself – is implicated by association to these apparently derogatory comments in your magazine.
PUBLISHER No 2: I actually have more respect for some mainstream religious groups than I ever have had – after watching the way many around me have acted during & after Sannyas.
PETER: It always appeared to me that the ‘Inner Circle’ was doing its best to rope in the loose cannons and instil discipline, loyalty, and faith into Sannyasins, in order to make Rajneeshism more mainstream and respectable.
PUBLISHER No 2: A couple of other things ... I’m not sure what you think my ‘current plight’ is, or what connection this may have with your magazine articles, and I certainly don’t know why you think lampooning ‘all and every spiritual belief’ is somehow OK and what I’m doing isn’t.
I don’t claim that mine is the only God, nor am I attacking anyone for their religious views or beliefs.
PETER: I’ve got no idea whether you have a ‘plight’ or not.
I would assume you believe Mr. Rajneesh was a God-man, not a mortal flesh and blood human being – someone who declared he was ‘Never born, Never died, Only visited this planet’, as is chiselled on his tomb. You ‘also think that if anyone wants to associate with the ‘Sannyas’ network, they’re fair game’, which, as I have repeatedly said, can be interpreted by others as a targeted attack on their religion. Nowhere have I said what you are doing is not okay, I was merely pointing out the inherent feeling of persecution that could well be perceived by those so targeted. I am not making a moral or ethical judgement, I am simply stating the facts of the situation.
As I have said, I am an actualist and, as such, a thorough-going atheist. I have no spiritual / religious belief of any kind. To me all metaphysical belief is puerile nonsense – ancient drivel, twaddle and all religion, be it Western or Eastern, is but institutionalized insanity. Because I have no spiritual belief, I ridicule all spiritual belief and don’t selectively target any particular religion – I am intolerant of all religions.
The reason I am concerned about religious tolerance and conflict is that I see that all the so-called New Age religions are rapidly and inevitably going the way of the mainstream religions. The forming of fighting schisms and sub-schisms is the inevitable result of all religious belief and leads to religious conflict. This same religious conflict inexorably leads to religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc.
You may have also noticed that the only reason the principle and ideal of religious tolerance exists is because of the inevitable and on-going conflict and strife between various spiritual/religious groups and even within individual groups themselves.
PUBLISHER No 2: The magazine was only aimed at the (perceived) gullibility of sannyasins, and at the credibility of the large number of spiritual teachers attempting to connect with the network that Osho developed. No one else.
PETER: Curiously, your stated aim can be seen to be in direct support of the Inner Circle’s policy of excluding ‘other’ spiritual teachers from Rajneesh Centres. This tacit support of the Inner Circle’s policies does seem to be in contradiction of ‘the ridicule of the Inner Circle’ that [Publisher No. 1] mentions was included in the second edition of the magazine. I have not seen the second edition but I take it that your ridicule of the Inner Circle does not include this particular ruling.
As for your aims in producing your magazine you said above –
and in your statement in the local paper you said that your
Now, all of a sudden, we have a new and primary target that the magazine was aimed at –
As I said to [Publisher No 1] when he asked if I’d like to write something for your magazine – ‘The editorial policy of your magazine seems a little too confused and changeable for my taste.’
PUBLISHER No 2: Finally, I was not trying to give the impression that Rajneeshees are self-centred, bigoted and intolerant etc. But reading your letter it seems that you think as much, not just of sannyasins, but also of Osho.
PETER: What I said was
From where I stand, in the actual world, anyone who believes in God is plainly silly and does so for ultimately self-centred reasons and anyone who believes themselves to be God-on-Earth is suffering from extreme Delusions of Grandeur. The master-disciple system is rotten to the very core. It is not that I think this is so, it is a fact, and one does not have to delve back into history to see the inevitable results of the master-disciple system in action. All of the religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc. that have been, and are still on-going, are the direct legacy of the master-disciple system. This appalling carnage will not cease unless human beings wean themselves off the ancient fairy-tale belief in Gods, God-men and life-after death.
PUBLISHER No 2: I am left wondering why you are so concerned about the image of Sannyasins.
PETER: At one time I had many friends who were Sannyasins, as I was, and most were very sincere and totally dedicated in their search for freedom, peace and happiness. As I have said before, at the time Sannyas was the best game to play. I now see a watering down of this search amongst many Sannyasins to the point were many are ‘happy and content’ exactly as they are, with no desire for change. I think this is evidenced by the fact that many are attracted by the teachings that ‘you are already That – all you have to do is realize It’.
To me this is a sorry and lamentable demise of a movement that began in the fervour of 60’s and that was going to change the world and bring peace to this fair planet. This passionate search for freedom, peace and happiness has degenerated into an utterly self-centred fashionable New Dark Age spiritualism that cares not a fig about peace on earth. The current image of Sannyasins in the wider community is that they are at the forefront of this self-centredness and are deliberately turning away from the original spirit that was around in the ‘early days’.
PETER: You don’t really know me and yet you constantly relate everything I say to ‘Eastern religion’ This is the Big Lie technique. Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes true. As it happens I have no time for Eastern Religion, the New Age and so called Alternative Therapies, I think your difficulty is that you do not see how this is possible.
I do find it difficult. For me, once I saw that Sannyas was nothing other than Eastern religion, I found it increasingly difficult to maintain my state of denial of what I had got myself into. This practice of denial of the world as-it-is, and the acceptance of ‘me’ as-I-am, is common in Eastern philosophy and religion and I have written of it extensively, particularly in my review of Paul Lowe’s book ‘In Each Moment’.
You do seem to have some wobbles however, for you have said in a previous post – ‘I ‘think’ if you examine it again you’ll see that those of ‘my’ religion (do I own this religion?)...’ This is a sign of someone who is at least willing to toy with the idea of not denying and maybe beginning to question. But here again you lapse back into defensive mode and retreat even further from questioning and back into even more trenchant denial.
PUBLISHER No 1: I believe that I’ve never (since I was a child) been a believer in anything much. There are many things I don’t know – I’ve no idea what happens when we die and not much interest. I’ve no idea about god or god men and no beliefs around these ideas – again you don’t see how this is possible. I’ll find out one day about death etc, but for the moment it’s irrelevant. The only things I believe in general are those things which I’ve experienced and tried out for myself. If I haven’t tried it out for myself then I don’t know and it’s as simple as that.
PETER: ‘Not knowing’ is highly venerated in the East – where ignorance is bliss, thinking for oneself and questioning of one’s faith is actively discouraged – for the very reason that facts and common sense are anathema to beliefs and impassioned imagination.
Thus it is that people are encouraged to ignore what the ‘mind-fuckers’ are saying – ‘you are in your head and not your heart’ is a common spiritual put-down. One is encouraged to go by one’s own ‘experience’ by which they mean go by one’s own feelings for the spiritual world is but a world of feeling and imagination.
RESPONDENT: How would the world look if we All realized that We Are All One?
PETER: The other day I was watching TV and yet another set of leaders and diplomats trying to settle another outbreak of some ancient religious or tribal war or some revolutionary ‘protest’ and I saw nothing but band-aid being applied yet again. 160,000,000 killed in wars alone this century and we have had several failed attempts to have a world government (League of Nations and United Nations) – and we are no closer to having peace on the planet.
I then mused on the possibility of having a United Religions set up and what would happen – all the Religions of the world would have to agree that there is only one God. Thus the Christians have to admit that Jesus was not Son of God since there is only One World God. So Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Osho, etc. would all be declared Non-Gods and all Religions would become One Religion. The trouble is it is a fantasy as people actually kill each other and sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. People kill and die for their God and their Country. We are instinctually programmed to sacrifice ourselves for what we perceive to be the ‘good’ of the particular tribe we are in. We need to free ourselves of this instinctual drive, and the way to do this is free ourselves from our beliefs. For individuals to stop believing in God and anything meta-physical is an essential step to bringing peace to this paradisiacal planet. (...)
RESPONDENT: Now, I’ve stated before that we must each do what is best for ourselves. That is true. It is a truth that if one does not do what is best for one’s self, then one can do nothing truly good and long-lasting for others. But the trick here is to determine what is truly best for one’s self.
PETER: Yep, you’ve got a problem here. Everyone has their own version and that constantly varies on top it, given that the ‘self’ is ‘any of various conflicting personalities conceived of as coexisting within a single person’ – as per Oxford Dictionary.
RESPONDENT: What is good for all is good for each of us, because We All are One. In considering each action you take, just think to yourself ‘if everyone took this action, would it benefit Us as One, or would it not?’ Choose accordingly. That’s how we can choose a different path – a path of love that benefits Us All.
PETER: This concept has been tried by every religion for centuries and does a reasonable job (aided by armies and police forces) to keep our violence and aggression to reasonable limits. Only 160,000,000 killed in wars this century.
RESPONDENT: Your actions will serve as a seed in fertile ground – others will understand through your actions. Others will catch the spirit of the truth in that way.
PETER: Religions, philosophies, revolutions, popular movements, Gurus and the like have been planting seeds for millennia and we get no end to malice and sorrow. A little discerning reading of history will attest to this fact. Or you could just watch the television news – we humans inflict far more violence on each other than we do to anything else. In fact we enjoy it. One of the best selling computer games involves killing pedestrians while driving a car. Most jokes are based on putting somebody down. All of our ‘entertainment’ involves either violence or sorrow (usually termed ‘love’ stories).
PETER: Everybody has what they fondly declare to be their ‘own’ truth and passionately defend it – even declaring their ‘right’ to do so.
RESPONDENT: Every body? You know this or the dictionary?
PETER: So why do you stubbornly insist that you are uniquely different from everybody else? It seems to be a constant theme of yours.
I see that the evidence what I said is quite clear. There are about 6,000 religions on the planet and the country I am in, and many others, have laws that enshrine the principle of Religious Tolerance. Indeed, it is part of what are deemed the basic Human Rights. These laws and rights are aimed at preventing individuals or groups from attacking, defaming, discriminating against or persecuting another on the basis of differing religious beliefs.
In other words, we need laws and ethical codes to prevent humans from fighting, killing and persecuting others because they each believe their God or Truth is the best. Imposing and policing these laws do manage to ‘keep the lid on things’ a bit ... except for Northern Ireland, Israel, the Balkans, India, Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia ... Sannyasins had direct experience of this at the Ranch when both sides armed-up.
That’s where it really hit home for me – that I would have been willing to kill for, or die for ‘my’ Master.
It’s just par for the Human Condition – the more you love someone – the more you are willing to kill others to protect him/her and to sacrifice your life in order that they can live.
RESPONDENT: Finally an insight – FOLLOWING – very important insight, so let’s see what did you do after a dead Master ...
PETER: – something that was at odds with my understanding that when a Master dies the formation of a Religion is the inevitable result. Sure enough, one night in White Robe it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was shouting ‘YA-HOO’ to an empty chair.
RESPONDENT: If you looked more carefully the chair was empty from the beginning.
PETER: Well, for me the experience when he was alive was different to when he was dead, with an empty chair and an old video. Maybe no one else noticed if he was alive or dead, but I did.
RESPONDENT: Good question, like why should anybody shout at an empty chair? I scream of joy YAAAAAAHOOOOOO.
PETER: ... this was undoubtedly religious practice, church if you like,
RESPONDENT: Darling, there is great difference between religious practice and a church.
PETER: I see religious practice in the west as people gathering together to hear a talk by their religious leader usually pointing to some fictitious God or after-life and often accompanied by prayer, silence or ‘tuning in’ to the God’s energy. Songs, dance and music are often used to enhance the atmosphere. This religious practice is practiced in churches in Western religions or temples and Ashrams in Eastern Religions. Some practitioners of spiritual meditation techniques practice without going to church and particularly in the East many will go off on solitary retreats or live in caves in the Himalayas. So, yes you can have religious practice without a church.
RESPONDENT: please explain yourself, how do you mean the organization was a Religion?
PETER: I think if you are interested in this point it is best to read the chapters on Spiritual Search and God in my journal. Then it is not an academic writing but another human being’s experience of the Spiritual Path, which you can assess for yourself.
RESPONDENT: the Ashram is not Mecca, it’s Buddha field, dummy
PETER: For me it was some place where I wanted to be because it was closest to Osho, or his energy after he died. I tried to go and stay there as often as possible. In that sense it was ‘Mecca-like’ for me.
RESPONDENT: could have something to do with (as you mention above) you being architect/builder for Samadhi
PETER: Strangely enough, as a builder, it’s hard to see the old marble that you smash up as holy or anything you build with stone and glass, as holy. Holiness in this case is ‘infused’ from the ashes under the bed – if they are still there.
RESPONDENT: and secretly but obviously you still want to be a part of it, at least virtually.
PETER: Hardly! Look I am regarded as traitor, heretic, ungrateful, attention-seeking, guru-like, evil, a blood-sucking pariah, etc. etc. Or I am shunned and ostracized, but all this is to be expected, as I am challenging cherished and dearly held beliefs of Sannyasins. Becoming free is to get free from beliefs; so what anyone else believes about me is of no consequence nor does it affect me. It is good to be free of the need to believe. Give me facts any time. They are a much more sound basis for living as a human being. They allow common sense to operate freely, such that I am now both happy and harmless.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: Then came Pune 2, and delicious years of worship in the Ashram, architect/builder for the Samadhi, meditation and groups, and then He died. I continued on devotionally for some 2 years, but found myself following a dead Master – something that was at odds with my understanding that when a Master dies the formation of a Religion is the inevitable result. Sure enough, one night in White Robe it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was shouting ‘YA–HOO’ to an empty chair. Is this what it had all come to? This was undoubtedly religious practice, church if you like, the organization with its own rules, ethics and morals was a Religion, the Ashram was Mecca, the Samadhi a holy shrine, and Sannyas a world wide religious-social club.
Such was my pride and loyalty that it took another year or two before I finally began to look for something fresh and new in the spiritual world and tried out a few other scenes. None was satisfactory, but I did begin to gain a broader vision of the spiritual world. Finally, I realized that the Spiritual is nothing more than Eastern Religion, that in fact I had only traded believing in Western Religion for believing in an Eastern Religion. And all of it merely ‘that Old-time Religion’, to quote from the song. Peter to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now
RESPONDENT: ???? pride? what has pride to do with that? and loyalty to whom? your girlfriend? Somebody ever asked you to be loyal, who was it?
PETER: At the very core of religion is the belief in the meta-physical i.e. another world other than the physical. This world is the world of spirits and Gods, energies and auras, good and bad. Given that these are all things that can only be experienced affectively (by feeling), it takes a good deal of faith, trust and hope to maintain the belief in something which is not physical. Many people who did not believe in Rajneesh saw him as just another Indian Guru and others (like the American Christians) saw him as evil. Belief in someone or something demands loyalty and gratitude, usually demanded unquestioningly.
Along with loyalty and gratitude comes pride, it’s all part of the same package. The man who is loyal to his country is proud of his country, and will die for his country (... or Religion, as at the Ranch). (...)
RESPONDENT: Now this is really, really crap, you don’t know what are you talking.
PETER: The ‘perfect world’ that the spiritual/ religious people talk of is for many a but a temporary touchdown spot on their cosmic tour of bliss (Never Born, Never Died, Just Visiting... – See you Guys...!). Or it is merely a place for us to suffer rightly in, thus earning brownie points for the after death stage. Or they trumpet doomsday, some judgement day or final annihilation of the world, or at least the humans, and only the chosen ones will survive, – at least their spirit/soul/essence will. It is amazing what stories human imagination has concocted over the millennia.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: The only difference between the last two is that religion promises paradise in an after-life and spiritual (eastern religion) offers a glimpse of it while ‘in the body’ and a ‘final’ release into a glorious after-life (Nirvana, etc.)
Now there is a third alternative – a new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth, actual freedom.
A freedom from the Human Condition of sorrow and malice – the freedom to be happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: After reading until this point I see no point to read on, by now I’m certain that there is nothing worth reading. Peter, not to lose my time any longer, it was to long already, I prefer to do gibberish, and I would highly recommend it to you to. It really can help.
RESPONDENT: P.S. The night before last I had a wonderful dream that is still yanking my chains. I was travelling in a mini van type of bus with a group of people and Osho. We were going to meet up with a large group of people and we were asking Osho if he was willing to speak to the people... He turned around and looked deep into my eyes and said: ‘I’m amazed that after all these years you are still attached to my words!’ and I responded, ‘oh, no, it’s not for me... It’s just that so many people there have never heard you speak’... and he just smiles and turns back around in his seat...
But of course I do have attachments to his words. And I watch them all the time, the attachments and the words floating around in my brain. But two days later from that dream, I still feel that love stuff from him and from me for him swelling my chest...how can I let go of an attachment like that? It feels the same as it did many years ago...
It’s weird too...I’ve never owned a white robe and no plans of getting one.
PETER: The whole Eastern spiritual world is based on ‘feeling’ devotion and love, either for a god or a Master. This feeling good, when practiced assiduously, leads to bliss, Divine Love, Universal Compassion, and Timelessness, Oneness with the Whole, Truth, That, God or whatever. If successful one becomes One, self becomes Self, separation becomes Unity, and away we go again as yet another Divine Saviour is born, to eventually ‘leave the body’, leaving yet another Religion on earth. It is all a passionate dream which most people can see clearly played out in other Religious beliefs but love, loyalty, devotion and gratitude prevent from seeing let alone acknowledging it in themselves. It is an insidious trap, one at which the Enlightened Ones are indeed Masters at playing.
RESPONDENT: As for this situation being ‘very real’, on what experience of your own do you base this generalization? Actualism = generalizations about ‘the rest of us’.
PETER: Are you saying that there was not, at the time, the ‘distinct possibility’ that armed force would be used against the Ranch? Certainly the Ranch put on a show for the media of arms training. Certainly Rajneesh riled against both the Christians, the local community and various government officials. I read and heard many reports, including some from Sannyasins who were on the ranch at the time, of the National Guard being at least on ‘stand-by’, if not in readiness for ‘action’. Presumably they would have had guns (and I assume bullets in them!)
Surely then, my question was not all that hypothetical. I explained in my post to No. 30 why I asked myself the question – to find out why we human beings so passionately fight and kill each other for ‘love’ of Country and ‘love’ of God ... or Master.
Actual Freedom provides, for the first time, a tried and proven way to become free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. An essential first step for anyone interested in becoming free of the Human Condition is to recognize oneself as one of the 5.8 billion human beings on the planet – the same species as everybody else.
To consider oneself one of the ‘chosen few’ is to be in complete denial of this fact. One is then ‘special’, removed, remote, and has no interest in, or connection with, the world as it is and further develops a ‘them and us’ attitude towards other human beings that is set-in-concrete. This is a general feature, common to members of all Religious groups. Some even go to the extent of denying that they have instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and that they ever feel sorrowful, let alone malicious.
Denial is after all, an essential prerequisite to Transcendence...
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.