Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: The actualism writings have broadened in scope somewhat to now include the recent scientific discoveries about the instinctual passions and we have even presented these schematically to make the neurobiological processes even clearer. However there is no reason why the whole approach could not be slanted in terms of freeing oneself from the normal neurotic and psychotic conditions that result from being an instinctually-driven socially-subjugated ‘self’. This is, of course, what is meant by ‘self’-immolation and the resulting elimination of instinctual malice and sorrow.
GARY: I remember when I approached actualism, Richard’s talk of ‘self-immolation’, extirpation, elimination, sacrificial offerings and such scared me out of my wits. It reminded me of the Nazis’ talk of the Final Solution and I would picture flaming bodies and torched cities.
PETER: I also balked a bit at the word ‘self’-immolation but a check on the word’s meaning set me on the right track.
The second definition makes sense as ‘for the sake of something else’ is peace on earth. Given that the ‘deliberate destruction or loss’ is the ending of ‘me’, it is no less daunting, or scary, but the perspective does shift from sinister totalitarianism to individual altruism.
PETER: Just a postscript to finish and it relates to the following comment you made in a previous post.
I can well relate to your initial reaction for I had a similar reaction, but for me it was staring death and madness in the face. The intensity of these initial gut-wrenching reactions reminded me of the reactions of many people to the prospect of eliminating genetically-inherited diseases. Cries of the breeding of a Master Race à la Nazism or the Eugenics movement are trotted out as dire warnings as well as the traditional ‘we are meddling in God’s business’ moral objection. I could understand the fear that drove these objections but a recent television documentary provided me with yet another twist.
A pioneering medical development has meant that it is possible to implant a simple hearing amplifier in infants who are born deaf such that they can hear and speak normally without needing to learn sign language. This implant has to be done before the age of about two in order for effective communication skills to develop normally. This medical procedure has been opposed by many in the deaf community with some even stridently accusing the doctors of genocide. The ‘genocide’ they see is the deliberate wiping out of the deaf community – as in eventual extinction. Their counter argument, offered as a concession, is that the procedure should not be done without the child’s consent. The problem with this is that the procedure needs to be done at an early age, prior to the development stage of communication skills in order for the child to develop without a handicap in speech and comprehension. This is not a moral or ethical objection but the deep-seated fear of a community or group feeling as though it is facing extinction.
GARY: The difference with actualism is that you are entirely on your own. You have to be on your own. That doesn’t mean that others can’t be of help or that there isn’t this process of ‘comparing notes’ going on, but you have to go your own way, and to the instinctual entity that inhabits this flesh-and-blood body, that is an extremely frightening proposition.
PETER: Yes, but the trick is to turn fear into thrill, a switch that is essential for any adventurer. When this sense of thrill is combined with altruism, it means that the end of ‘me’ is not a fear-filled proposition to be avoided but a glorious event to be eagerly anticipated. (...)
GARY: Since ‘I’ crave immortality, ‘I’ can only regard ‘my’ death with the utmost horror, as I cling passionately to survival at all costs. Perhaps that is why death has almost universally been regarded as a tragedy(?) I sometimes find my mind lingering on the thought of death with something like abhorrence or dread, so there must still be an instinctual self, a core ‘self’ dreading the experience and passionately clinging to life.
PETER: I had quite a few experiences where I thought about what it would be like to die and I also found that deep feelings of fear and dread would grip me. The other experience I had was imagining that I welcomed death and something really good would happen on the other side and deep feelings of bliss and meaning would be the result. These experiences, while shedding light on the instinctually driven nature of near death experiences and the passing over into ‘another world’ experience of Enlightenment, are but psychological and psychic experiences. What became evident from these experiences is that is impossible to feel or think one’s way into ‘self’-immolation, an affirmation of something that Richard also says.
Again, I am not saying don’t have these experiences or saying avoid them or suppress them if they occur because when they occur then you can milk then for vital information. This caveat applies to all of what I write as I think you understand – I am simply sharing experiences, passing on tips and flagging some warnings. There are no shoulds and shouldn’ts – if you find yourself going down some weird path or into some emotional experience, go with it if you want to, because it’s your exploration, your journey and only you know what areas you need to explore. Some things and some experiences and investigations were of more interest and more pertinent for me and less so for Vineeto, most were common for both of us and also for Richard, but some were more idiosyncratic, apparently dependant on slightly different social, spiritual or gender conditioning.
GARY: As I have to die, as you say in experience death, does one go then through the entire range of affective experiences related to death? Is it in other words, although not an actual physical death, a death nevertheless of that which wishes to live forever? This is the ‘main event’ (death) before one’s time is up, isn’t it?
PETER: As I have yet to experience psychological and psychic death the only thing I could say would be speculation. But I speculate a glorious end to a wonder-filled journey of a lifetime – the process of becoming free of malice and sorrow, forever.
RESPONDENT: I, (this body), has left the marriage and the things I love many times but we reunite to enjoy the fruits of our life together ... of less than 100% companionship, less than 100% intimacy. I want 100% actual freedom ... 100% actual intimacy... and I know the cost is 100% high ... and believe the rewards are 100% great. Any comments about gambling?
The other realization was that the current Western fashionable interest in ‘spirituality’ I was involved in was a mere blimp on the history of Eastern religious pursuit. Literally billions had been pursuing Buddhism, Hinduism and the like for thousands of years and there are few more serious or intense devotees than the millions of Buddhists monks who devote their entire adult lives to meditation and ‘right’ thinking. And for what result – rampant narcissism, appalling poverty, stifling repression, entrenched ignorance, endemic corruption, debilitating theocracies, insidious sexism, etc.
Oh, and a few new God-men every now and again, to keep the system going.
I saw I was senselessly pissing into the wind – gambling my life away – all for my own ‘self’ interest. The odds are steep but becoming a God on Earth is the grandest of prizes. So, when the spiritual balloon finally popped for me – and I had already found the real world less than fulfilling – I figured I had ‘nothing left to lose’, which is the title I chose for my journal cover.
If you have ‘nothing left to lose’ then the path to Actual Freedom is a cinch. I firstly made it the most important thing to do in my life – numero uno ambition. I still worked, did all my normal daily things and most definitely did not retreat from the world as it is. Running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ the method that allows you complete freedom to maintain normal life while cleaning yourself up on the way. This involved occasional adjustments or betterments to normal life but the actual changes are internal – to the brain’s programming.
The process is one of self-immolation, and personally I found the ridding myself of my social identity easy. I had already chopped and changed from normal to spiritual, had moved to different places, had different groups of friends, etc. so to extricate myself from the mess was not overly difficult. It did mean abandoning my spiritual friends who all stubbornly kept insisting that life on earth is a miserable experience. The business of replacing belief with fact was one of fascinating discovery, and the replacing of right and wrong, good and bad with silly and sensible was wonderfully liberating. The instinctual levels were a bit more of a ‘new territory’ as one is abandoning Humanity – in defiance of the genetically-encoded instinctual program that makes ‘me’ one of the species – but no emotional scars or memories whatsoever remain of what were, on occasions, ‘interesting’ experiences.
It’s been 2 ½ years now since I first came across Actual Freedom and the results are stunning. As one demolishes one’s self the actual world of purity and perfection becomes increasingly apparent and obvious – for it is always here, happening right now.
RESPONDENT: By asking, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’... I have ‘gone into’ the feelings of sorrow without blocking, or distracting, myself from their horror. I have felt over-whelming pangs of sorrow, too. Spontaneously, on one occasion, eleven years ago, I saw that there was no purpose to it all.
I have experientially grasped the emotion of both sickness and death to find that it was a toothless tiger. I have realised that life itself must end someday ... along with all the hope, love and nurturing, (as well as fear and anger) ... but the grip of sorrow is almost gone from my life now. <Snip>
I did not seek it out to ‘go into’ sorrow to wallow in it ... but when it came to me I refused to hide any longer and I faced it down until it lost its grip and ‘it’ eventually weakened and before long it withered and died. The rewards are incentive enough to continue, (not to wallow in, run from or fight sorrow), but to embrace and examine, ‘that which came my way’ and to live an automatically peaceful/ joyful/ sensible life one delightful moment at a time. No 13 to Gary 8.12.2001
PETER: What interests me particularly is your description that when sorrow came to you that you ‘faced it down until it lost its grip and ‘it’ eventually weakened and before long it withered and died.’ Your description is markedly at odds with my own experience of investigating and becoming progressively free both of my social imprinting as well as the feelings, emotions and passions that give substance and validity to ‘me’.
In the process of actualism I was often aware of and involved in investigating a number of intertwined issues and therefore it was often difficult to separate out one particular emotion, track the course of its demise as well as be aware of how the process in fact worked. I was often too busy separating out and making sense of my social programming – looking at my moral stance and ethical values that stood in the way of me clearly seeing and experiencing the emotion in its raw and basic state to have an overview. Because I was busy doing it as it were, I was much more fascinated that the process worked rather than in how it worked. Often I would be startled to discover that what had been a major worry or a pervasive and debilitating emotion had disappeared out of my daily life and all I had done was investigate it, root around in it, make sense of it, understand how it operated, look at it from all angles in order to get to the bottom of it.
I did, however, eventually come to realize that the very process of focussing my full attention on the feeling or emotion, investigating it as it was happening in all its aspects and then thinking about it afterwards in order to make sense of the experience was exactly what weakened its grip. As Richard describes it – if I remember rightly – you shine the bright light of awareness on the issue, problem, debilitating feeling or consuming emotion and it will eventually wither in the light of awareness. The work you have to do, and it is indeed work, is to be willing to bring it out of the cupboard and be stubborn enough to stick with it until it is resolved.
Speaking personally, I would not describe this process as ‘facing it down’ – it being the particular feeling or emotion – because that to me implies keeping the lid on it or forcing it further down or away from one’s awareness. It may be your choice of words but your description fits with what I did in my spiritual years. I, exactly like everybody else, was taught to separate my feelings out into two piles – the good ones that earned ‘me’ kudos and brownie points and the bad ones that got ‘me’ into trouble and that ‘I’ then felt ashamed of. Thus ‘I’ was forever on the lookout, forever on guard, just in case my dark side showed through. And invariably, every now and again, it would despite my best efforts and good intentions and these bleed-throughs were what finally twigged me to begin to really investigate my dark side as well as its opposite number, my ‘good’ side.
There’s another experience I had that might shed some more light on the issue of attentiveness and awareness. It relates to an event that happened about 5 years before I met Richard and became immersed in actualism. At this time I was following the spiritual principle of ‘self’-ishly sorting my feelings into good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirable rather than going any deeper into investigating how ‘I’ ticked. I had a consuming experience of grief after my son died that served to put my spiritual smugness on the sidelines for a while. I wrote about it in my journal and I’ll just include a snippet for reference –
In hindsight, and it is only hindsight for at the time I was following no method at all, I simply became aware one day that the grief had gone – that the feeling had left me. All I had done was allow it to run its course without judgement, without indulgence, without suppressing it or repressing it. What I did was a lot of experiencing of, and thinking about, grief and one of the most striking aspects I clearly remember was how much this emotion was a part of my identity. When the emotion finally left me I was no longer a grieving father with all that being that identity involved. It was literally as if a part of ‘me’ had disappeared along with the associated reoccurring emotional memory.
This is why I can’t relate to the description of facing the emotion nor embracing the emotion, which is another description you used. It wasn’t as though a stronger ‘I’ faced the emotion down or a loving or wise ‘me’ embraced the emotion but more like the grief went away by itself and took a bit of ‘me’ with it.
In hindsight I would describe my experience with grief more as sitting with it, or walking with it in my case, feeling the feeling, thinking about it in all its aspects and checking out ‘my’ investment in hanging on to it, suppressing it, rejecting it or whatever. It was as though I had a good look inside the feeling and I do mean a good look. I sometimes plumbed the depths into despair and dread, I went up all the side alleys looking at all the related feelings such as guilt, self-pity, resentment, altruism, and the like. It took about four years in total until, as if by magic, one day I found I could no longer even dredge up the feeling of grief and until Peter, the grieving father – that particular aspect of my emotional identity – finally disappeared along with the feeling.
It is clear to me now that the most vital aspect of finally ridding myself of grief was my becoming aware of what I described in my journal as my ‘personal investment in continuing my grief’. What I experienced was that the feeling formed an integral part of ‘my’ identity, so much so that there was most often no distinction between the two. When I was in the throes of grief, ‘I’ was grief and grief was ‘me’, so consuming was the feeling. Eventually it became apparent that if the feeling of grief was to go, then that part of ‘me’ would have to go – and I willingly acquiesced to that happening. Just to make this perfectly clear – at this point, only at the end of a long and exhaustive period of experiencing and investigation, ‘I’ willingly agreed to this part of ‘me’ disappearing. ‘I’ did not actively do anything to finally bring an end to this part of ‘me’ – ‘I’ simply agreed to its demise.
This particular event sticks out in my mind as typifying the actualism method even though it predated my becoming an actualist by some years. It stands out particularly only because it was a one-off solitary event and not part of the kaleidoscope of investigations that typified my early years of actualism. However, all of my actualism investigations have followed the very same pattern and all of them invariably end up with the same result ... provided I have been persistent enough, and thorough enough, in my investigations.
It is important to discern and make clear the differences between the traditional spiritual practices of selective awareness, which is designed to be shallow and superficial, and the down-to-earth, all-inclusive, attentiveness that is the actualism method. Only by understanding the full extent of the difference between the two is it possible to go beyond the moral and ethical restrictions of spiritual belief and indoctrination and be able to dive deeper into the instinctual passions that are the root cause of malice and sorrow.
PETER to Richard: Thought I would put on to the list a report of what we were talking of the other day, so the words are not lost and the experience can be shared with the other intrepid investigators into this new freedom.
I was wondering where to start, but I might try a little summary of the stages I have experienced so far on the journey to freedom.
It’s been two years now since we met and about 9 months since I finished writing my journal. If I could put it into phases I would say that the first 12 months were essentially making sense of being a normal human being, simultaneously ridding myself of malice and sorrow, as much as is possible, while still having a ‘self’ inside this body. The very act of making sense of the facts of the Human Condition as opposed to the beliefs forces one to change, to eliminate what is essentially learned and societal reinforced behaviour.
This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. In my case this was demonstrated in the delights of living with a woman in peace, harmony and equity and the resultant revealing of the sheer fun of sex – the fire test, the proof of the pudding, if you like. If you can’t live with someone in peace then there is no hope for anyone else. One’s life gets better and better to the point of a sublime ease, carefree-ness and delight that was inconceivable 2 years ago. The actual experience is of coming to one’s senses. I have always had a cautious reluctance to state that there is a definable state called Virtual Freedom whereby one is virtually free of the Human Condition – a 99% state or the best one can do while still remaining a ‘self’.
I think that the point is that this state is not irreversible – unless there is a sincere intent and a desire to evince the best possible one could waver. It simply means I will be the best I can, and if one has had a peak experience then the best is glaringly obvious. So, throwing my caution to the wind – I would say that the last 12 months have been a stage of Virtual Freedom – the use of capital letters to indicate a definable state only. The next phase is to an Actual Freedom – the complete extinction of the psychological and psychic entity, in short the ‘me’ who I think and feel I am. There is no doubt that I am travelling a different path to the one you travelled, one that you have carefully mapped and explored with your companion at the time. Because of this your experiences of becoming Enlightened and clawing your way out are not relevant to my experiences. But the end result and aim is the same – an actual freedom from the Human Condition – a definitive and decisive release from, and extinction of, the alien entity inside this body. In trying to make sense of my different path and your two-stage extinction, I have had a cautious approach as the Rock of Enlightenment always looms large. Having seen and experienced the power-crazed God-men in action and the willingness of there desperate followers to surrender to them and worship has proved a valuable, if sobering, experience . The other part is having experienced the seduction of an Altered State of Consciousness. As a consequence I have been well warned and well prepared.
Despite the fact of having had a substantial peak experience (PCE) some 15 years ago and a substantial experience of Divine Love (ASC) some 3 years ago there was still a piece missing. It all seemed to involve either a looking back into my past or sideways to your experiences and trying to draw a parallel. The other nagging issue was a feeling of the unfairness or even perversity of being born into the Human Condition, of being who I thought and felt I was, finding out it was a pretty rotten mess and then having to die, or self-immolate in order to be free. To do that in order to become Enlightened is one thing as one gets to have worshipping disciples, psychic power, fame and wealth – ‘Money for nothing and your chicks for free’ as I cheekily put it. Becoming God seems a not too bad reward for the effort involved – well on the face of it anyway, as long as you are not too discriminating. Of course, once you see the down-sides of Enlightenment, it very rapidly loses appeal – but at least ‘I’ am around to enjoy it.
But self-immolation, extinction, the end of me? And even the memory of a peak experience in the past and an intellectual clarity of the whole Human Condition including the delusion and appalling consequences still seemed to leave a slight gap, a wee doubt. Virtual Freedom had brought me to a position where it became obvious that ‘I’ could do no more to clean myself up, I seemingly had done all that ‘I’ could. Something more was needed, and – loh and behold – it came along.
The other morning a peak experience snuck up on me – after a particularly good ‘romp’ with Vineeto. It was one of particular clarity marked by a complete absence of any sense of ‘self’ or ‘being’ within my body. All was perfect and pure with a magical intensity that was palpable. Not merely static – a sense of the whole universe happening at this moment with a vibrancy that was sensately experienced.
I was quickly able to discern the fact that, if I had launched ‘myself’ into that experience, it would have rapidly changed to ‘me’ taking on the experience for ‘myself’. ‘I’ would have become that experience, ‘I’ would have become the experiencer of that pure and perfect immediate happening-ness of it all. ‘I’ would have become the experience of the universe happening. ‘I’ would have become the Universe – or at very least, at One with it. I could have taken that experience and translated or interpreted it for myself, as I had done in the past in an ASC whereby I became Divine Love.
However, this experience was different as ‘I’ was absent and I was able to be appreciatively aware of what was occurring. I was able to clearly see that there could be an almost instinctual grab to make the experience ‘mine’. If one follows the spiritual path, I was at the point of Enlightenment – ‘I’ only needed to jump in, boots and all, and away one goes – Divinity, Immortality, Oneness, Infinite, Timeless, Spaceless, Fearless, Blissful and the rest. All this however was apparent afterwards, on reflection.
What was obvious at the time was that it is the physical universe that is always present, eternal, infinite, pure and perfect – exquisitely and pristinely so. And that I, this flesh and blood body, is the intelligent bit that goes ‘Wow! – how extraordinary’. And I am the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.
It is for this that I would willingly sacrifice my grubby ‘self’ for – no matter how ‘cleaned up’, no matter how good Virtual Freedom is, there is no comparison. For this ‘I’ will depart the scene and nothing else. This is what Enlightenment merely mimics, as a feeling, but with such appalling consequences of narcissism and Self-aggrandizement. The Enlightened Ones had and have feet of clay – to claim to ‘Be the Universe itself’ is an insanity on a incredulous scale and makes clear that whole business of God and God-men is nothing more than institutionalized insanity.
It is only with a sincere intent and a firm down-to-earth experience of Virtual Freedom – a period of coming to one’s senses both literally and figuratively – that it is possible to avoid the seduction and instinctual pull towards self-aggrandizement that Enlightenment offers. I would suspect that those who have stood at the door marked Enlightenment would gladly sacrifice their ‘normal’ mortal identity for the Glamour, Glory and Glitz of feeling like God. Similarly, as I experienced the infinitude, purity and perfection of the physical universe happening – the Actual World – ‘I’ gladly and willingly self-immolate for that perfection and purity to be evident as me, this flesh and blood body. I firmly experienced it as my destiny – an actual freedom from the Human Condition.
This PCE has confirmed for me that Actual Freedom as the only game to play in town. As I watch the sacrifices of countless people who fight for ‘freedom’ of their particular group, suffer themselves for the ‘betterment’ of others, who blindly sacrifice all in a vain attempt at ‘betterment’ for Humanity, this sacrifice is so much more sensible and valuable. And it seems to require no special heroics, no super-human qualities. It is but the inevitable and welcome consequence of sincere intent and a refusal to settle for second best. Let’s face it, the mountains have all been climbed, the continents discovered, technological discoveries, while still amazing, are a crowded field and awash with meta-physics. The human search for the beginning of time or the edge of the universe are as futile as the search for God.
Wherever I looked the field was crowded – the chance of making a contribution, dwindling. The next challenge facing the human species is to rid ourselves of malice and sorrow – and a few days ago I glimpsed the ‘mountain top’ of the challenge. Of course, as I come off the peak experience I also realize the mountain top is here under my very nose, on earth at this moment – so I use the words ‘mountain top’ with a touch of poetic licence. So, after the PCE, it is obvious that my destiny lies beyond psychological and psychic self-immolation, that this event will be a definitive and decisive moment, that it is willingly and eagerly anticipated ... and that Enlightenment will be avoided. So, far from being an ‘unfair’ or ‘perverse’ exercise to cause a self-immolation or psychic death, it is the most exciting, amazing, wondrous, extraordinary journey possible for a human to make – a journey into one’s own psyche ... to the very end.
RESPONDENT: In other words, the result of having an instinctual primitive self is to suffer and rooting out the cause of suffering in whatever form is essentially a learning about the active and accumulated influence of that primitive self which is the ending of it.
PETER: Of course, ‘the learning’ you describe would not be the normal usage of the word. The learning I experienced was more of an un-learning of all the teachings, Teachings, beliefs, conditionings, etc. that made up ‘Peter the Sannyasin’, the father, the man, the lover, the ...
It was a self-demolition process – hence the fear and angst that arises. When I first started, it quickly became apparent that I had to throw all I knew out the window, wipe the slate clean and acknowledge that what ever I thought I knew was really what others had told me was true. It is impossible to throw the lot out at once, but this was the attitude I adopted. This is easy to see in one’s work or in learning something new when one tries out for oneself, find out what works, adapts and changes. But when it comes to the Human Condition this means being willing to question the Revered Teachers – the mythical Wise and Holy Ones and their teachings.
Thus it was that ‘Peter the spiritual seeker’ was eventually demolished and then one can get at the instinctual primitive self – the root source of the primitive instinctual emotions of fear and aggression.
The path to Actual Freedom is not a learning but a self-immolation, and the first phase is the demolition of one’s social identity – the ‘guardian at the gate’ if you like. To ‘learn’ or redefine Actual Freedom words is but to ‘clip-on’ a bit of knowledge to one’s already dearly-held beliefs.
ALAN: Your understanding that ‘I’ am not a fact was something I commented on ‘getting’ in my last post. Like you, I agreed and ‘understood’ that ‘I’ am not a fact – ‘I’ am a belief – and ‘I’ fervently believe in ‘myself’. But, getting this fact is a bit like going straight for the 64,000 dollar question – maybe you have some ‘easier’ beliefs you could work on first? Not that I would wish to dissuade anyone from jumping straight in – the ‘boots and all’ approach, as Richard calls it. It is just that, from my recent experience, this is such a whammer, so earth shattering a realisation, that it is probably the equivalent of a novice climber deciding his first climb is to be Mount Everest!
PETER: I like what you wrote. This impassioned version of the death of ‘me’ always had the ring of the spiritual to me and as such I have been always been a bit suss of it. This is not to deny the fact that a psychic and psychological death is a factual necessity for Actual Freedom. This fact is made glaringly obvious and apparent in the PCE – where the absence of self-ish or self-centred thoughts or feelings and any sense of being is evidenced. What I am talking about is the degree of passion and emotion associated with the event – the more the psychological and psychic fear the more the risk of getting on a sort of emotional swing whereby one swings from dread into awe. Where one makes an instinctual grab for Glory as a reward for suffering, or to overcome the dread. The other way is that one could make an impassioned sacrifice for the Good of the Whole and as such one would want reward and recognition for one’s sacrifice – the good old delusion of Enlightenment again.
The way I see it – i.e. I am just reporting what I see and experience – is that by living in Virtual Freedom for an appropriate amount of time one has noticeably less feelings and passions operating. The instinctual emotions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire are less substantial, less evident, dis-used, atrophied, almost fizzed out. Thus the final act of self-immolation is seen for what it is – an imminent inevitably, a soon-to-happen fact. And, as we know from the continual experience of Virtual Freedom, it is silly to fear a fact – it just spoils your day, or your moment. In the light of bare awareness, or apperceptive thought, fear is experienced more as a bodily sensation rather than as ‘my’ fear. So let me repeat, this is not to deny the fact of self-immolation, it is to put it in its perspective, freed of the greater part of ‘my’ affectation, fear – and Virtual Freedom does that very job. What it also means is that anyone who is sincerely willing to get to a point of a continuos Virtual Freedom for a substantial period of time can then become Actually Free. It would then be available for anyone. One would not need to be special, a freak, a fanatic, a genius – it could be anyone... The other definitely not-to-be-overlooked advantage is that the instinctual passionate grab for survival that occurs with self-immolation is weakened in proportion to the reduction of the instinctual passions.
This is a bit of an interpretation on my part – an observation of ‘work in progress’, but I do detect a similarity in our collective experiences which gives credence to it. Could we say it makes sense? I know I err on the side of caution and the facts aren’t all in yet, but I like the ordinary availability of it. I took on Actual Freedom knowing it would be the end of ‘me’ but I figured I would cross that bridge (or not cross the bridge...) when I came to it. In the meantime I always had something to do – question beliefs, investigate, read, contemplate – to de-bunk the myths, discover the facts for myself, strip the layers of belief and superstition that make up both the ‘real’ world and the ‘spiritual’ world.
PETER to No 3: I soon came to see that there were two identities preventing me being happy and harmless – the ‘normal Peter’ who was father, man, architect, etc. and the ‘spiritual Peter’ – the believer, searcher, superior one, etc. So I set about dismantling both these ‘I’s by actively challenging the beliefs, feelings, emotions and instincts that gave substance to both the psychological and psychic entity that was ‘me’. What I increasingly discovered was that the brain of this flesh and blood body has an inherent ability to be aware of itself, an ability of apperception. When I ask ‘What am I thinking?’ or ‘What am I feeling?’ or ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ it is this apperceptive awareness that can provide the answer. It was enormously difficult and bewildering sometimes at the start but as fact replaced belief, clarity replaced confusion and sincere intent replaced ‘open-ness’ and listlessness, ‘what’ I am – not ‘who’ I am – gradually emerged and became apparent. At first, the whole exercise can feel like a weird ‘self trying to dismantle self’ exercise, but soon one realizes that it is fact dismantling belief, apperceptive awareness dismantling self that is happening.
So for me, in hindsight, it was apperceptive awareness – the ability of the brain to be aware of itself – that does the job, dismantles and demolishes both the normal and spiritual, both the psychological and psychic entity. When one has a realization about a belief and ‘sees’ the facts there is an actualisation that can occur which is not of ‘my’ doing. In the face of the blinding and glaringly obvious fact, sensible down-to-earth action can ensue.
In the spiritual realm, one merely ‘realizes’ and takes on board a new belief such as ‘I am really God after-all!’ or ‘I am Immortal – thank God!’ – and non-sensical action inevitably occurs... Peter, Actual Freedom Mailing List, No 3 2.5.1999
ALAN: The quote from Peter was helpful, though I seem to have stopped questioning who, or what, is doing the doing – for the moment, at least. I understand, and agree, intellectually with what you said, Peter. You state that ‘in hindsight it was apperceptive awareness’. Is this now a ‘knowing’, or just an intellectual understanding? And what did you think at the time?
PETER: No, it’s just looking back, reflecting, and trying to make sense out of what was happening. As I said, at first the whole process can feel weird, intense and disorienting. One is, after all, venturing into areas which society considers ‘best left alone’ and psychiatrists would warn you against meddling in. Maintaining a ‘healthy’ self is prescribed by normal society while finding your ‘true’ Self is the fantasy escape into the world of imagination. The other common NDA-Oprah theme is to ‘love’ your self.
No-one, but no-one, is saying you are better off without a self altogether – both ego and soul.
Nobody, apart from us actualists, advocates that self-immolation – total, radical and irrevocable change – is the obvious and only way to become actually free from the Human Condition.
To actively and passionately pursue self-immolation to the point that ‘I’ become unsustainable as an imagination.
Then the joint really starts jumping ...
Peter to Alan: Whenever Vineeto and I talk or write of becoming free of the Human Condition, we are often seen (judged?) as being judgemental or attacking and not tolerant or respectful of the other’s position. In considering this, the only sense I make of it is that we are threatening in that we are putting into practice the concept that one can become free of the Human Condition – i.e. how human beings think, feel, believe and imagine themselves to be and how they are instinctually programmed by blind nature to function. Now any sensible investigation of the Human Condition involves observation, investigation, comparison, contemplation, consideration and judgement. One has to come to a conclusion as to what is silly and what is sensible, otherwise the whole exercise is merely intellectual wanking. Having made a judgement as to what is best, then action is required – one is compelled to action, unless one wants to settle for second-best – but that’s another story. So no bleatings of ‘you’re being judgemental’ will work with me – it’s a furphy that’s been bandied around since morals and ethics were first chiselled in stone and devised to silence the sensible. ‘Judge ye not’ is a platitude invented by God-men and other charlatans in order that no one would question the rest of their inane platitudes. It is one of many dimwitticisms, passed off as Guru-wisdom, that have no other meaning or purpose than to keep their followers and disciples under control, humble, grateful, loyal and above all non-thinking.
But if anyone wants to remain as they are, second-rate, rooted in the past, or off in la-la land, then fine. Somewhere there is a Peter or a Vineeto who might appreciate a bit of ‘judgemental’ straight talking, a first hand account about becoming free of the Human Condition, what it’s like to challenge all beliefs, what it’s like to leave one’s ‘self’ behind. I strongly recommend being judgemental – making a judgement, an evaluation, a discernment, a decision, a finding, an appraisal, an assessment, a conclusion. At the very least one practices thinking, at best it may provoke action, at worst you may be inaccurate and need to re-assess. This is the process of learning called trial and error. One simply proceeds to what is sensible and what works, and one finds one has discovered a fact. And one can rely on a fact. It takes a little practice but eventually ‘you’ become redundant in the game as the facts start to speak for themselves.
Which brings me back to Richard and people-as-they-are. When I first met Richard there was quite a period of regarding him as a Guru for that was what a ‘wise man’ was to me at the time. It seemed that he was talking of another world or dimension, which he was, and that he was in touch with some ethereal wisdom, which he wasn’t. I remember at one stage laying on the couch – yet again – and saying ‘Okay, you can let me into the mystery now. Is there a space craft that is coming to pick us up, is this some ‘special’ group and you’re gathering people for the new world after the ‘end-of-it-all’, or what?’ All I got was a laugh, but it cleared the air for me. After that, he increasingly became a flesh and blood normal person to me, who had actually found a way to become happy and harmless. It is not that the process became any less radical and un-‘natural’, but it meant that it was possible for me – a normal flesh and blood human. It also meant that I was not going ‘somewhere else’ in the spiritual sense but it meant that the answer to the mystery of life lay under my very nose, as it were – in the world-as-it-is, with people-as-they-are. It was only that ‘I’ was in the road of the actual world’s perfection and purity becoming apparent and that was something I could do something about. If Richard could, I could. It is, after all, a process of elimination – a stripping away of the veneer of reality and the veneer of Reality in order to more and more experience the actual world. The process involves nothing more than replacing belief – both real and Real – with fact, for fact is what is actual. And the last of the line – not the first – or even the middle – is the experiential understanding of the illusion or non-facticity of ‘I’. Self-immolation then becomes imminent.
PETER to Alan: Your conversations with Richard set me thinking about this business of self-immolation and the difference between what we are talking of and the spiritual ‘ego-death’. In my reading of the Enlightened Ones’ ‘ego death’ experiences the drama and trauma involved sounds so convincing that one would indeed give credence to a wondrous transformation such that one had found something genuine – one’s Real Self, one’s original face, the Source, Divine Love, the Truth or whatever. There is no doubt that a transformation of their identity has taken place, that they have suffered a death of their personal sense of self – ego – and as a reward have become a universal, all encompassing, glorious Self – God by whatever name. This I have understood and have personally experienced in an hour long Altered State of Consciousness, or Satori, whereby I was Love personified, and all was Glorious and Golden. Also as the result of many Pure Consciousness Experiences and some 18 months of Virtual Freedom I well know the difference between a ‘self’-less state of Actual Freedom and the ‘ego-less/ glorified soul’ state of Enlightenment.
But I still had a nag, and the nag was how to explain it schematically. It must be my architectural training, but often processes can be schematically represented in a way that aids clarity. There are about 2 million words on the Actual Freedom Trust website and many are devoted to this very difference between Actual Freedom and the traditional Pseudo Freedom, so we have come up with two schematics that set out the difference.
The schematics are too big to post to the list, so we have put them on the Actual Freedom Trust website for perusal. I suggest it would be useful for you bring it up in a second window, if possible, so as to refer to it in association with the following description. There are two schematics – the first refers to Actual Freedom, the second to the spiritual path. The first schematic is
As you can see, the title is ‘What I am vs. Who I am’, and the diagram essentially addresses the issue of the process of the extinction of ‘who’ I am – the psychological and psychic entity and the emergence of ‘what I am’ – this flesh and blood body only, actually free of ‘who I think and feel I am’. The diagram quite deliberately separates out the active diminishing and eventual extinction of ‘who I am’ – and the emergence and eventual freedom of ‘what I am’. ‘What I am’ has always been here, it is just that it has been obscured and totally dominated by ‘who I am’ – and it is only by systematically and methodically daring to peel back the layers of social conditioning, beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms and instinctual passions that ‘what I am’ is more and more able to become apparent. ‘What I am’ thus becomes incrementally freed, strengthened, gaining confidence from the surety of facts, the increasingly unfettered intelligence and the heightened senses – all actual, down to earth, sensible and verifiable experiences. ‘What I am’ is not a new creation, a new identity – it is simply what remains when the ‘who I am’ disappears in total. To put it another way, the ‘who I was’ when I first met Richard will never meet the ‘what I am’ that will emerge when ‘I’ become extinct.
Of course, one has glimpses of this ‘self’-less state in the PCE, when for a period ‘who I am’ exits the stage, or is temporarily absent, but ‘what I am’ can only be totally free when ‘who I am’ ceases to exist permanently. ‘Who I am’ is capable of resurrection or fighting back at any stage – indeed it is passionately driven to do anything possible to survive – including selling off Grandmother if need be – which is where the middle line of the diagram comes into play. This is a simple representation of the wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom – from naiveté to Actual Freedom. We have started the line with naiveté, for it surely requires naiveté to not only consider that an actual freedom from the Human Condition is possible, but that you, personally, are the one who can do it. To fly in the face of the Wisdom of the Ancients – ‘to go where no man has gone before’ in Star Trek terms, as I put it in my Journal. I conveniently ignored Richard in my dramatization as I figured that the next pioneers were plotting a brand new course – avoiding the instinctual seduction of the Rock of Enlightenment that had dashed the efforts of all before. The other point about naiveté is that the spiritually cynical and the worldly cunning, by their very attitude, exclude themselves from the adventure, and this has been evidenced by the many who have met Richard, or read a bit about Actual Freedom, and turned away.
For those willing to consider the possibility of an actual freedom, the next step is to tap into pure intent – an intent to make it something one is willing to dedicate one’s life to and a purity such that one will settle for nothing less than the purity and perfection so obviously experienced in a Pure Consciousness Experience. If it is possible for a brief time it must be possible as a permanent state – purity and perfection is possible as a flesh and blood human being, it requires one’s sincere intent to become a ‘self’ consuming passion in life.
As an ongoing experience one moves into a state of Virtual Freedom whereby one goes to sleep at night time knowing one has had a perfect day and that tomorrow will also be a perfect day. This perfection is not the perfection of Actual Freedom but a 99.9% perfection and the hic-ups or stumbles are so minor and brief, that they fail to daunt one on the journey. Serendipity abounds and a fascination with life activates delight and sensuousness as one does all one can to mimic the perfection and purity that becomes increasingly apparent all around in the physical world. One’s mind, more and more freed of imagination and the chemical influence of instinctual passions, is capable of great clarity, and as apperceptive awareness replaces self-centred neurosis one knows one’s days are numbered. By this total and sincere dedication to what is actual, pure and perfect, one abandons control, so to speak, whereby the very process of self-immolation is set in motion – then it is not a process that one has any control over, it is happening by itself.
The ending of ‘me’, when seen dispassionately, is the amygdala doing its survival thing – one encounters surges of chemicals from an obsolete program playing out its death throes – fighting for its very survival as it is programmed to do. This last stages of the ending of ‘me’ is both a psychic and psychological affair, thus accompanying the chemical rushes (fear) one also experiences the psychological equivalent (angst), but one is committed by now – there is no ‘back door’, no turning back, no phoenix to rise from the ashes. ‘My’ end is nigh.
However, to even get to the point where one abandons control requires sincere intent, lest one settles for second-best. Sincere intent is one’s companion on the journey from beginning to end.
In order to make the differences between Actual Freedom and the spiritual ‘ego-death’ clear we produced a second schematic that indicates the famed so called self-less state of the Buddhas and Enlightened Ones is but the result of a process of self-aggrandizement. Again the diagram is on the Actual Freedom Trust website. It’s a very glitzy diagram for a very glitzy transformation. I think it’s clear what happens – a shift in identity from mere mortal to Divine Immortal that is well documented in all the spiritual texts – it’s just that people are so seduced by the fantasy that they will live on ‘after their body dies’, that they are blinded to facts. An interesting and rarely acknowledged facet of the idea of God is that to have the Good one must still have Evil lurking somewhere, to have the Divine one needs the Diabolical, to have God one needs the Devil, by whatever name. The spiritual merely sublimates personal fear and aggression (the bad) for one becomes God (the good) and therefore protected by one’s own imaginary aura or cocoon of Divine Love. Again this is well documented in all the spiritual fables, in all the religious fairy stories – it is only passionate belief and the resulting blindness to facts that prevents the whole silly nonsense becoming apparent.
PETER to Alan: The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
There is, however, an innate quality in human beings that provides the key to the door, so to speak, the way out, the means to freedom from the instinctual passions. This quality is well described as altruism – ‘regard for others as a principle of action; unselfishness’ ... Oxford Dictionary. This quality needs to put under the microscope, examined carefully and fully understood lest one confuses it with blind instinctual passions and senseless societal values.
The instinct to nurture relentlessly drives many people to sacrifice their lives for offspring or family, only to feel resentment at the sacrifice. This is understandable for this self-sacrifice is a driven, automatic reaction, not a freely undertaken action.
The moral and ethical rules of society demand of its flock, as a principle, that they make certain sacrifices for the common good and enforce these rules by carrot and stick. Praise, acclaim and even adulation are showered on the overt do-gooders while those who err towards what is deemed bad and unacceptable are controlled by condemnation, ostracism, laws, lawyers, police and jails.
Thus one is either blindly driven, or forced ‘as a principle’ to sacrifice one’s life, for the good of others. One is neither naturally, as in genetic/instinctually, free nor does one feel free within the applied restrictions of one’s tribal group.
There is, however, ample evidence within the human species of acts of altruism that are neither blindly driven nor self-seeking of an earthly or heavenly reward. Many are spontaneous acts, such as those who risk their lives to save another or undertake unsolicited and impromptu acts of consideration for others – benevolence in action.
On the path to Actual Freedom it is this quality of altruism, or benevolence in action, that readily becomes more and more evident in one’s thoughts, behaviour and actions. This quality is startlingly different from the spiritual love and compassion – ‘I am God acting for the good of others less fortunate’ – and from being a goody two shoes in normal society with its subsequent rewards. Benevolence in action is free and spontaneous – there is nothing in it for ‘me’ at all, in fact, it only happens when ‘I’ am absent. However one can be observant of it happening and, in seeing its ‘self’-less purity and perfection, energize this quality of altruism to initiate the process of self-immolation in oneself.
The path to Actual Freedom is not at all attractive for there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – no phoenix arises from the ashes to claim the glory, no acclaim of adoring disciples, no wonderful overwhelming feelings, no fame, no recognition, no power – neither overt nor covert. Extinction is extinction. It is for this very reason that one needs a goodly dose of altruism.
In my experience there is yet another quality which may well be as important, if not more important, than altruism in evincing self-immolation. This quality is integrity –
Having experienced this integrity of innocence, benevolence and undividedness in pure consciousness experiences it then becomes a prime motivation to experience it 24 hrs. a day, every day. The absence of conflict, confusion, deceit and duplicity – the absence of both the social and instinctual entity that are in constant battle has to be experienced to be understood. One cannot understand it unless one experiences it although it certainly helps if one is prepared to risk rocking one’s boat. By digging into one’s self one is certainly much, much more likely to induce a pure consciousness experience. By doing nothing, one gets nothing in return. Unless one investigates, one never finds out. Unless one changes, one stays the same. Unless one is motivated by integrity then one will remain a very, very cunning entity either fighting it out in the ‘real’ world or travelling on the spiritual path of self-discovery seeking self-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement.
Being guided by integrity or being guided by sincere intent ensures that I will not deceive myself, that I will be honest with myself, that I will not settle for second best – that I will not stop until I live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs a day every day, until I am irrevocably free of the Human Condition.
Ah well. It was a bit of a rave again. I am trying to put into words my thoughts and experiences of the direct path to Actual freedom as opposed to Richard’s experience of travelling through the dementia of Enlightenment and out the other side. At the moment of self-immolation the instinctual and traditional urge to become a Saviour kicked in and it took him some 11 years to rid himself of the delusion. For ‘me’ there will be no fame, glory, glamour or glitz – simply extinction. T’is no wonder that denial is so endemic and integrity so scarce.
But for those willing to launch themselves on the path to Actual freedom the incremental rewards are such that one is driven on by success, integrity and naiveté. It does take a wee touch of courage to ditch the familiar old programming from the brain, to wipe the hard drive clean of all the old rotten corrupted programming but, as is evident in the pure consciousness experience, an actual freedom from the human condition in total is the inevitable result.
PAUL LOWE: Somewhere inside ourselves we are all looking to let go, to finish with the unpleasant past. Then we can start again. Right now, you can start your life anew.
PETER: The spiritual Gurus preach that human anger, violence and aggression are the result of the inevitable conditioning of one’s pure soul since birth, that anger, violence and aggression are an unchangeable part of the ‘design of this dimension’, and that one can transcend these bad feelings simply by letting them go. Put even more bluntly – ‘acceptance and the expansion produce the good feelings.’ Good feelings can then be expanded into Grand feelings and Grand feelings can expand into ... ‘Oh God, I am feeling Good’ then ‘Oh good, I am feeling God’, and for the chosen few – ‘Oh God, I am God ... oh .. Very Good!’
Of course, this is the world of institutionalized insanity – the spiritual world – and, as such, it’s so easy to poke fun of. It would all be a joke except for the fact of the appalling human suffering and misery that is enshrined and perpetuated by the God-men and their followers.
Up until now the only escape from the real world has been into a world of fantasy – the spiritual world. There is, however, a third world, this actual world of purity and perfection that is inaccessible to the alien entity that dwells within the human flesh and blood body – ‘who’ you think and feel you are. The usurper, the impostor, the spoiler, the fake, the sham, the phoney, the charlatan, the fraud.
So, to recap a little on what is being revealed in this review:
An Actualist is careful and accurate in the use and meaning of words. For the spiritualist the misuse and disregard of words and avoiding sensible communication is necessary in order to get away with what they do. An Actualist does not play this game for one would then only be fooling oneself – a sad state of affairs indeed.
The wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom is a search for what is genuine, sensible, down-to-earth, authentic, unadulterated, factual, verifiable and actual and, as such, involves the systematic observation, investigation and elimination of all that is false.
PAUL LOWE: Chapter Fifteen Waking Up – It’s Not What You Think
(...) If we do anything in order to wake up, even if we meditate to awaken, rather than for the fullness of the meditation, we are not accepting the way we are. We are indicating that we want to be better, to be different and we are rejecting how we are now. This is diametrically opposed to what is needed to realize this harmony. When we recognize and accept that ‘This Is It’ – the way we and everything is right now is all there is – we are on the threshold of our freedom.
PETER: Nothing new in this chapter at all. Ordinary spirituality is to accept and realize that how you are, and ‘who’ you are, right now, is okay. Eastern religion, the traditional source of modern spirituality, at least stretches one to realize that ‘who’ you are is an illusion, but it then goes off the rails to extol the believer into creating a new transcendental identity. The success rate of producing truly enlightened beings is estimated to be less than .0001% of those devotees who have trod the traditional spiritual path. Perhaps this appalling success rate is the reason that ordinary spirituality is so popular. There is no practice, no effort, no thinking, no need to change, no wanting to be better or different –
Well if you are happy with the way you are now, then fair enough, but what you are including in your acceptance is ‘the way everything is right now’. This ‘everything’ includes the Human Condition in its totality – all the wars, murder, rape, corruption, domestic violence, retribution, despair and suicide as well as all religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc. Not only would spiritual belief have us accept that this is okay but it also proudly proclaims it is part of some grand master plan of ‘the source’.
The belief that we are perfect as-we-are is a gross misinterpretation of the fact that the physical universe is perfect as-it-is. One of the panellists on the TV program I mentioned above was asked ‘would there be evil in the universe if humans did not exist?’ and he said ‘No’. The interviewer did not ask the next obvious question – ‘would God exist in the universe if humans did not exist?’ but I thought it revealing that he could at least allude to the fact that evil is a human invention based on the animal passions of fear and aggression. Yet when asked directly later on he was unwilling to see, or admit to, evil or violent behaviour in himself. He acknowledged a fact yet denied it applied to him. We are every-ready to deny evil and violence in ourselves but ever-willing to acknowledge God and see good in ourselves. This phenomenon explains why all human beings who have had a glimpse of the perfection and purity of the physical universe as-it-is, then insist that they are perfect as-they-are. This is denial and acceptance in operation at its most cunning. This is ‘self’-centred, ‘self’-ish, ‘self’-deception in the extreme.
The pure Consciousness Experience is a direct experience of the purity and perfection of the actual world. Everything is seen and experienced to be already perfect as one is in a ‘self’-less state. To have briefly experienced this state and then, when returning to one’s normal state, declare that ‘I’ am perfect is a gross factual misinterpretation of the experience. This is, as Alan once stated, ‘a PCE gone wrong’ or rather a selfish claiming of the experience for one’s self.
One needs to be vigilant and scrupulously honest in one’s interpretation of a PCE. It is startlingly obvious in the PCE that it is a ‘self’-less state and also that it is a sensate-only experience. If one wants to claim this experience of perfection for oneself, one will end up believing the advice of those who say ‘you’ are perfect as ‘you’ are and nothing needs to be done – ‘the way we and everything is right now is all there is.’
An Actualist is scrupulously honest in interpreting the PCE and, when returning to his or her ‘normal’ state, sets about or resumes the process of ‘self-immolation, fuelled by having had the experience and equipped with a bit more information to work with. What stands between ‘me’ and the purity and perfection of the actual world is ‘me’ and this is experienced in the PCE. One’s intent then is permanent and irrevocable change, the antithesis of acceptance. It is not that one rejects how one is now but one knows that unless one has the unambiguous aim and relentless courage to be the best one can be while remaining a ‘self’ then ‘self’-immolation will be a dream – one will settle for acceptance.
The spiritual path leads 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the path to Actual freedom.
Denial and acceptance on the spiritual path leads to ‘self’-aggrandizement.
PETER: Well, I happen to think I have made sufficient distinction between a PCE and an ASC for it to be more than matter of mere definition. I also think the response on the mailing list to my attempts to talk about peace on earth is a clear indication as to the fact that it matters. In the last hundred years over 160,000,000 human beings killed their fellow human beings in wars and over 40,000,000 human beings killed themselves in suicides.
All of the murder, rape, fighting, retribution, hostility, animosity, suspicion, fear, sadness, melancholy, loneliness, depression, and despair on this paradisiacal planet can be sheeted home to the animal instinctual passions in operation in human beings and no amount of praying to God or following God-men is going to do one iota to stop the carnage – in fact, it only adds to it.
RESPONDENT: To finish off I would like to ask you what qualities you see in a realized person, how should one live on this earth ideally in your view?
PETER: The main quality I see evident in a self-realized person is megalomania –
When full-blown, this delusion becomes the condition of theomania.
The other qualities are the full range of human passions and feelings, some of which have been subjugated to an extent that they only rarely emerge to public notice. I have personally seen and experienced many of the ‘self-realized’ being angry, pissed off, annoyed, frustrated, melancholy, feeling sorrow for themselves and others, feeling lost, feeling lonely, etc. It does make one wonder what is the substance of the psychic power they hold over people and why people surrender so willingly to their power?
As for, ‘how should one live on this earth ideally in your view?’ My experience that is no matter how much one cleans oneself up from the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms that are the substance of one’s social identity, no matter how much one frees oneself from the grip of instinctual passions, one can never be 100% perfect and pure while remaining a ‘self’. Ultimate peace and happiness lies beyond the death of ‘me’, for ‘I’ am rotten at the core.
RESPONDENT: In other words, how does one manifest self-immolation, what are the implications of this radical insight? I mean, this is what it comes down to, what we give out to the world and not what ideals we have acquired.
PETER: One manifests self-immolation by devoting one’s life to it. Only by making it the most important ambition in one’s life will one be successful.
RESPONDENT: The important thing is the relationship we have to our emotions and instinctual passions, if we can see clearly what’s going on inside of us we can eventually (or even suddenly) take full responsibility for our actions and live in a harmless way. Once again it is important that we stop fooling ourselves and dare to see what we’re actually doing. So when you talk about eliminating the instinctual animal passions do you mean that they disappear or that they still exist in our body but that we’re looking at a totally different landscape so to speak.
PETER: Not only am I talking about the elimination of instinctual passions but the ‘me’ who feels sad, angry, lost, lonely, frightened, etc. If ‘you’ maintain a separate relationship to your emotions this is dissociation for ‘I’ am my passions and my passions are ‘me’ – they are not separate. Likewise if ‘I’ maintain control over ‘my’ emotions it is ‘me’ maintaining control over ‘me’ – a task that requires almost constant vigil and on-guardness. Self-immolation, or the ending of me is the only way to be actually free of ‘my’ instinctual passions for they are one and the same thing.
RESPONDENT: Because I don’t think that you imply that we’re going to change our biology that fast, evolution has showed us that even small changes in our construction can take millions of years. As I said, I think that we need to go into this even more, I’m sure you can clarify this for me.
PETER: If I can paste a relevant piece –
RESPONDENT: (...) This is an interesting exchange. It has been very useful for me to communicate with someone from outside of the spiritual camp, or should I say outside of every known camp. We don’t agree on everything, you’re a convinced actualist and you hold on very tightly to your discovery. I agree that it is much more useful to focus on actuality than on theories but I think it is sensible to not be too rigid. If you present actuality and self-immolation as undisputable facts it is a hindrance in the communication with others.
PETER: What is actual is, per definition, an undisputable fact – it is what can be sensately experienced, seen with the eyes, touched with the hands, heard with the ears, smelt with the nose, tasted with the tongue. The perfection and purity of this actual world can only be experienced in a self-less state. Would you have me make up a fairy story, a fanciful poetic psychic realm, whereby ‘you’, as a psychological and psychic spirit, can feel or emotionally experience an inner perfection? We both know where this folly leads to – God realization. Would you have had Galileo recant because his empirical discovery of the fact that the earth orbits around the sun disagreed with Ancient Wisdom? Would you say that the empirical discovery of genetically encoded fear and aggression should not be rigidly held to be factual for it leaves no room for Tabula Rasa theories or the ideas of evil being the result of evil spirits or the evils of materialism?
RESPONDENT: In order to find out about life there’s need for inquiry, by oneself but also together with others. In inquiry with others there is need for an open atmosphere and the ability to listen without preconceptions to what others have to say, but if you always abide in ‘actuality’ and aren’t really interested in a different outlook on life then it isn’t really working, is it?
PETER: You seem to have a fixation on remaining open. This notion is ingrained in the spiritual search for freedom because for spiritualism to exist it is essential to remain open to something other than what can be actually experienced by the physical senses – i.e. a metaphysical world and a subsequent meta-physical freedom. This belief is passionately fuelled by the human instinctual fear of death and spiritual freedom offers a transcendence of this fear such that one feels immortal. By remaining open to other possibilities other than actuality one forever turns one’s back on actual freedom and leaves oneself forever open to the seductive lure of spiritual freedom. Of course, ‘you’ get off scot-free which is the very point of remaining open and flexible.
RESPONDENT: In order to make progress in the investigation a real dialogue is necessary, at its best the inquiry can become an example of how two people (or more) can come together and demonstrate harmlessness and selflessness in a practical way.
PETER: A real dialogue in normal-world terms is one where compromise, bargains and deals are done whereby no one wins and everybody loses – an accommodation is reached, a mutual agreement to not rock the boat too much. The bottom line is that no one wants to fundamentally change himself or herself. A real dialogue in spiritual terms is a discussion such as is held on the mailing list – a nonsensical bewildering repetition of Ancient Wisdom designed to encourage the development of a new spiritual identity that is transcendental of the old worldly identity.
RESPONDENT: I don’t think it works to say that ‘self-immolation’ is the only way and that’s it, you’re just creating more distance between you and others with a differing approach.
PETER: Are you planning to invent your own personal differing approach to life simply to suit you? You may have noticed that this is common in the spiritual world where every teacher claims to have a differing, unique interpretation or approach.
What is actual is actual, we are all born of the meeting of the sperm and the egg, we are all born into the Human Condition, and some of us seek freedom from this condition. Thus far there has only been one freedom, one ‘differing approach’ available – the mythical, other-worldly spiritual freedom. If you are not interested in something so radically different as actualism, fair enough. They say there is safety in numbers, but I never found it so.
RESPONDENT: (I take your point about not recreating ourselves in the image of some spiritual tradition but ‘nirvana’ is a shorthand for something we can experience. I am not quite sure what you mean by pure consciousness, so I hesitate to use it.)
PETER: I don’t understand your seeming agreement and then the but... ‘Nirvana’ is an affective/cerebral experience – as opposed to sensate experience – firmly within the spiritual condition. It is regarded as the ultimate state possible for one’s spirit, soul, atman, bundle of thoughts and memories, or whatever other name, while still in a flesh and blood body prior to a final release, upon the death of the body, into Parinirvana – the Buddhist version of Heaven. All religions are founded on the premise of a life after death and, as such, all religious passion is fuelled by the instinctual fear of physical death. The ancient fairy stories and mythical tales that there is an ‘other world’ where one’s spirit goes – the essence of spirituality – is a powerfully seductive lure that has held human beings enthralled for millennia. Surely it’s time to get our head out of the clouds and come down-to-earth where we human beings live. Then we can clearly see that humans beings are still battling it out with each other in a grim instinctual battle for survival.
All sentient beings are born pre-primed with certain distinguishing instinctual passions, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. They are blind nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to give one a start in life and to ensure the survival of the species. While absolutely essential in the primitive days of roaming man-eating animals, rampant disease and high infant mortality, it is these very same instincts that we humans with our ability to think and reflect, have turned into a psychological and psychic ‘will to survive’, and this on-going overt and covert battle of wills now threatens the very survival of the species. Currently some 6 billion humans are still actively involved in a senseless, grim and desperate battle for survival, blindly fuelled by our animal instinctual passions. This instinctual program is no longer necessary – in fact, in these times when an ever increasing number of human beings enjoy unparalleled safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are clearly redundant. The modern challenge is to evince a deletion of these redundant instinctual passions that are the substance of our instinctual self – ‘me’ at my core.
RESPONDENT: I find reality as I thought it was very flimsy, a small island in an endless sea, but in no way an illusion. So I agree with No 00 that there is something to say about how we conceive of life, it is very flimsy.
PETER: Both a real world reality and a spiritual world Reality are indeed very flimsy. Both these conceptions about what it is to be a human being and the physical, actual world we find ourselves in are illusions conceived by the psychological and psychic entity that inhabits the flesh and blood body. ‘Who’ we think and feel we are is the flimsy thing – lost lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. Eastern religious philosophy has it that ‘who’ we think we are – the ego – is the problem and teaches devotees to give full reign to ‘who’ we feel we are – the soul. Spiritual believers are continuously admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’. This shift of identity from ego to soul gives rise to a narcissistic soul uninhibited by intelligent thought, and there is no greater narcissism or stupefied intelligence than to believe oneself to be divine. The path from ‘self’ to ‘Self’ is a path of self-aggrandizement, not self-immolation. No wonder there is such doubt and confusion on the spiritual path for one is constantly having to deny common sense, the physical world as experienced by the senses and the fact of physical death as a finality.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.