Selected Correspondence Peter
Sense and Sensible
RESPONDENT: My first questions relate to what is (apparently) lost in AF. If there is no imaginative faculty, no mind-space at all in which to visualise objects and processes, how is it possible to understand systems and processes that do not occur right before one’s eyes?
For example: could Peter continue being an architect if he were to experience the final physiological transformation that Richard has undergone? By what means could he design and mentally manipulate new architectural plans if he had no imaginative faculty? How could he understand and discuss plans with a colleague, without seeing an actual representation of them? How could he rearrange mental images if he has no ‘mind space’, no inner eye? Would he become useless (as an architect) without his CAD software?
PETER: The reason I thought to respond was that I have made a living as an architect whilst being a ‘normal’ person and continue to do so whilst being virtually free of malice and sorrow. I have also had numerous PCEs so I know by experience what it would be to be work as an architect free of the burden of passions and imagination.
As I remember it, when I was normal the design process was a somewhat tortuous process – it was an essential part of the process to try and form a mental image of what I was designing before I tried to convert the mental image into a drawing. This forming of a mental image sometimes began even before the job started, before I met the clients or saw the land. The mental image was then based solely on what ‘I’ wanted to do, which was often at odds with what the client wanted to do or had the money to pay for or what best suited the site, the climate, the local regulations, the ease of construction, and so on. In other words the image of what I wanted to do was utterly selfist, passionate and imaginary and not at all not rooted in actuality.
This process of forming a mental image and then trying to actualize it in some form is often termed ‘the creative process’ and I very often suffered angst and anguish going through this process – feelings that are well-documented as being part and parcel of being a ‘creative’ person. Of course many self-aggrandizing feelings also arise – there is no more smug feeling than ‘me’ feeling that ‘I’ am being creative – particularly when ‘I’ receive the plaudits of others for being ‘the creator’.
However this feeling of smugness always had a hollow ring to it for me because ‘I’ was often aware that ‘I’ was claiming credit for something ‘I’ was not responsible for. Sometimes I would put this feeling into words such as ‘it wasn’t me who did it’ and I have heard others do likewise. I have also heard people say things like ‘there is a creative force that works through me’, often implying that ‘there is a Creative, aka Divine, Force that works through me’ and the more megalomaniacal even get to think and feel that ‘I am the Creative Force’. There is so much self-indulgent twaddle that has been written about creativity as to make the word creative hackneyed and I was aware of this even in my pre-actualist days.
When I became an actualist I started to become more attentive to my feelings and this included the feelings that were happening when I was trying to mentally conceptualize a design, as well as those feelings that were happening during the putting-it-down-on-paper stage. I started to become attentive to not only the emotional ups and downs that I went through but also to the effect these feelings had on others in my interactions with clients and builders, as well as those most close to me.
Late one night in my first year as an actualist, as I was working on the drawing board, I had a pure conscious experience whereby my mind became aware of itself working. There was apperception happening in that there was no ‘me’ being aware – there was simply the brain being aware of the brain in operation, in this case doing the task of designing a house. The process that was happening was fascinating to observe – there was a continual consideration of the parameters that governed the design: the client’s requirements, past experience, site considerations, planning and building regulations, structural considerations, climate considerations, budget, ease of building, appearance, durability, workability and so on.
There was a repeated shuffling of ideas and information operating – a trial and error process of working out the best solution – and it was magical to observe, even more so because there was awareness of only part of the process that was going on, there was a good deal happening ‘on the back burner’ as it were. Sometimes a particular issue was set aside for a while whilst another issue was addressed and when I returned to it later the best solution came instantaneously which made it apparent that there was an awareness only of the surface activity of the brain in action.
The operation of the human brain is such an exquisite intricacy as to be truly wondrous. With no ‘I’ in the road to agonize over the process, nor a ‘me’ present to either exalt or despair at the outcome, there was simply the brain doing what the brain does – think, plan, reflect, evaluate, compare, compute, assess and mull over, as well as simultaneously being aware that this is what it is doing. And not only that, whilst the brain is being apperceptively aware, it is also serving as the central processing unit for the sensory perceptive system of the body – continually processing the myriad of sensate information that is this flesh and blood body’s sensual sensitivity to whatever is happening in this moment.
In a PCE, it is wondrously apparent that the brain itself is not doing the sensing, it is only interpreting or making sense of the sensory input – and only doing so when and if it is needed to do so. There is an awareness that it is the eyes that are doing the seeing – there is no image of what the eyes are seeing that is transferred to the cerebral brain, there is an awareness that it is the ears that are doing the hearing – there is no sound that is transferred to the cerebral brain, there is an awareness that it is the skin that is doing the feeling and touching – there is no tactile response felt in the cerebral brain … and so on.
In a PCE, the brain, bereft of any illusionary identity together with its associated affective faculty, is incapable of forming mental images or indulging in imaginary scenarios – it is either apperceptively aware that it is involved in doing what it does, thinking and interpreting sensory inputs or it is not, in which case there is no thinking or interpreting going on, simply a sensual awareness of being conscious of being alive.
Now whilst such ‘self’-less experiences of apperception only occur in a PCE, an actualist who has got to the stage of being virtually free of malice and sorrow can operate and function with very little of the debilitating effects of ‘I’ stuffing things up or ‘me’ strutting the stage like some disembodied drama queen in a dream, or a nightmare, of ‘my’ imagination. In virtual freedom it is readily apparent that there is no need to indulge in imaginative fantasies nor to attempt to create mental images – in fact should they occur they are quickly seen for what they are – a pathetic substitute for the sumptuousness of actuality.
To bring this back to the business of being an architect, it means that any attempt on ‘my’ part to form a mental image, either prior to or during the design process, only inhibits the doing of the designing – a practical doing that happens anyway and happens at its very best whenever ‘I’ am absent from the scene.
I don’t know if that answers your question but I had fun writing of my experiences as an actualist. As I said, there is so much twaddle written about so-called creativity that it is good to have some sense written about the actuality of creating something.
RESPONDENT: Now, how did the PCE reveal anything about the origin, composition, extent, or duration of the actual universe?
PETER: As I said above, in a PCE it is clearly experienced that there is nothing at all mystical, nor spiritual about this actual world we live in and this direct sensual experience of actuality is all the more magical because it is devoid of the fears and fantasies of mysticism.
RESPONDENT: Sure, but that doesn’t answer the question as I intended it. I’ve been thinking a lot about Richard’s answers to my questions re cosmogony & cosmology, trying to make sense of it all. I wanted to know how the extent and duration of the actual universe can be directly experienced. The closest I can come to figuring out is simply that the mental constructs that sustain concepts of finiteness and temporality just drop away, revealing themselves to be figments of the imagination. Is that in line with what you’re saying?
PETER: I don’t know whether or not you have read my journal, but if you have you will notice that nowhere do I mention that what I wrote about was all spontaneously revealed to me in a PCE and nor do I say ‘this is what Richard has revealed to me’.
What I wrote about, and quite passionately wrote about, was the nitty-gritty process of how I became virtually free of the human condition (including the belief, be it religious, spiritual, mystical, cosmological or whatever else, that the universe had a beginning). In other words, what I wrote about was how a normal bloke with a full set of beliefs, feelings and passions came to understand, both intellectually and experientially, how the human condition operates such that I could get to the stage of being virtually free of the human condition. And as near as I can remember it, this is how ‘I’, as a normal person, applied my thinking to the matter at hand.
Regardless of what I remembered having experienced in a PCE, as normal bloke (being ‘me’) I found myself confronted by two diametrically opposite propositions – whether the universe is infinite and eternal or whether it is an ephemeral and transient construction.
Faced with this either/or choice, what I found I had to do was apply some practical common sense thinking in order to think it through so as to come to a conclusion one way or another. This meant making an evaluation of each of the alternatives based on my own common sense and my own life experiences as well as taking note of the experience of others. The next thing I needed to take into account were the consequences that would result in deciding one way or the other.
As you know, my experience of the failures of the spiritual beliefs that proposed that the physical universe is ephemeral in nature was that both the Western version and the Eastern version are but fairy tales. When I looked into cosmology I came to understand it is, as it says it is, the branch of science devoted to studying the ‘evolution’ of the universe. As birth and death is essential to the evolutionary process it became clear to me that cosmology is the branch of science devoted to the study of the birth and death of the universe. When I took this on board and did a bit of reading about the fields of research of cosmology it became aware that cosmology was a metaphysical science and not an empirical science.
As I dug into the history of cosmology a bit, I came to understand that cosmology has its roots in ancient spiritual beliefs and that it was a branch of science dedicated to finding proofs that would in turn substantiate one crucial aspect of spiritual belief – the belief that matter is ephemeral. Cosmological theories, as distinct from the rigorously-empirical and applied sciences, that propose that matter is ephemeral serve to ‘leave the door open’ to the core of spiritual belief – that matter is ephemeral and only consciousness is substantial and enduring – or in religious belief, that the universe is in fact an ephemeral creation.
When I came to understand this, the consequences of continuing to believe that the universe is ephemeral meant that I would continue to believe ‘I’ was, in truth, a substantial and enduring ‘being’ – that the spiritualists are right and this meant, for me, meant either staying on the spiritual path or, if I remained open to them being right, to stop searching and settle for being agnostic.
On the other hand, for me to consider that the universe was indeed infinite and eternal, i.e. it had no beginning to it, meant that the matter that is this universe is substantive and lasting and that consciousness arose out of this matter. Thinking this through meant that the consciousness of this material body only exists as long as this body is alive – physical death is the end of ‘me’ as consciousness – there is no after-life for ‘me’, as consciousness, after this material body dies. Death is the end – kaput, finito, no more, oblivion, finish. An infinite and eternal universe clearly has drastic consequences for ‘me’..
Firstly it meant that if I considered that the universe was indeed infinite and eternal I would be at odds with everyone else who believed in creationist theories, spiritual realms, supernatural forces or cosmological theories – including those agnostics who remained open to any such beliefs. But even more drastic than that, in an infinite and eternal material universe ‘I’, as the consciousness of this corporeal mortal body, have only one life to live and this made me realize this is the only moment, the only place and the only circumstances that I can actually experience being alive. This sudden in-my-face realization meant that I could no longer procrastinate, no longer equivocate, no longer postpone, no longer avoid the fact that I was not yet fully alive.
So I summarized my choice as either ‘more of the same’ – the spiritual path which I had already discovered to be shonky and more of not feeling fully alive – or embark on course of action that meant radical change. ‘More of the same’ was not an option for me so I took the option of radical and irrevocable change, which as you know, meant focussing my total attentiveness on being here in the world of the senses with the sole aim of becoming both happy and harmless. And what followed as a consequence of this decision was a progressive waning of all spiritual, mystical, metaphysical and supernatural beliefs, which in turn opened the door to many PCEs whereby I had direct experiences of the infinitude of the universe.
I wanted to lay out my thinking about this issue as thus far most discussions on this list regarding this matter seem to concentrate on the details of the either/or case rather than consider the broader issues and over-arching consequences. If I can summarize, it is a way of thinking that allowed me to get to the intellectual and existential core of the issue as quickly as possible, rather than get bogged down in details and sidetracks.
RESPONDENT: Yesterday when I was contemplating on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, I realized that I am not really understanding the word ‘experiencing’. What I was asking myself was, in fact, ‘How am I feeling in this moment of being alive’. This is so because I was always coming out with answers like ‘happy’ or ‘not happy’ or ‘gloomy’ etc. Which are all feelings.
PETER: Aye, indeed. And until ‘you’ leave the stage your experience of life will be an emotional, feeling interpretation of the actual. It can not be any other way – human beings are wired that way. The amygdala – the primitive lizard brain – is an organ that is designed as an early warning system to quickly scan the sensorial input for any real or perceived danger and react with fear and aggression. This constant ‘on-guardness’ can be seen in any of the animal species, and in the human animal it produces feelings of fear and aggression. The amygdala is also the source of instinctual nurture and desire producing feelings that again actively conspire to ruin our happiness. So it sounds as if you are starting to realize the primary role that feelings play in the Human Condition. ‘You’ as an entity, existing inside the flesh and blood body can only think or feel about the actual world, and the only direct experience possible is when you cease to exist – either temporarily in a PCE, virtually in Virtual Freedom or permanently in Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: In last two or three days, what I have found is different. To me it looks like that I can experience the actual world sensately, even while ‘I’ is alive and is in charge most of the time. Both ‘I’ and I can exist simultaneously at least for some time. My proposition is that if I focus more and more on experiencing and less and less on feeling, ‘I’ will dissolve gradually in due course of time. It may be boots and all approach, but I think it is working for me. The best part is that I don’t have to wait till ‘I’ completely annihilates itself, I can enjoy the sensate physical world right now. It doesn’t happen for 24 hours, but even those few moments when I can really enjoy the physical world are satisfying enough. And I am not even talking of peak experience. I don’t have any. I am talking of ordinary events like while sipping my tea, my taste buds enjoying the warmth of it and my nose enjoying the flavour. Or while taking a bath, my skin enjoying the cool water drops falling from the shower.
PETER: It seems that you are saying that the traditional spiritual approach is going to work for you. It didn’t work for me after 17 years on the spiritual path, and once I acknowledged the fact of the failure of this approach to eliminate sorrow and malice in the world I dropped it like a hot brick. I realized that literally billions of people had ‘practiced’ being happy and good for millennia with nil result. This last century has, in fact, been the bloodiest in history.
When I first came upon the spiritual path I remember practicing being here and being centred and focused, but my relationships still failed, I still got pissed off, annoyed, melancholic, irritated and occasionally angry. Later I got into Vipassana meditation and then the ‘food queue syndrome’ kicked in – blissful sittings that eventually ended, which meant returning to the real world populated by ‘un-meditative’ people. This approach did nothing to address the primary, central role that instinctually-sourced feelings and passions have in producing malice and sorrow. But I don’t want to get into a right and wrong discussion with you – I just went with the facts and what worked and what didn’t work. For me that meant focusing on feelings with the intent of eliminating malice and sorrow.
Your approach is to focus less and less on feelings. I fail to see how the instinctual passions are going ‘to dissolve gradually in the due course of time’. It hasn’t happened over the 3,500 years of recorded spiritual history, in fact, quite the contrary has occurred. The instinctual passions have been co-opted into appalling battles between good and evil and as for ‘‘I’ will gradually dissolve’ – history has it that when this method of dis-association is practiced, ‘I’ become Self-realized – for the few, or ‘I’ become self-centred, self-satisfied, humble, grateful – for the many.
When I talk of a sensible, sensate only experience I talk of it at the end of some 2 years of intensive effort aimed at eliminating the debilitating effects of having a social identity and having an instinctual self. I am talking of an experience whereby I have so totally and thoroughly changed myself to the point where feelings and instincts play no role in my life.
PETER to No 4: A further thought about our correspondence the other day about sensate experiencing. I do like it when something on the list twigs me to muse and write about a particular aspect of the Human Condition. Writing has been an invaluable tool for me in becoming free of the Human Condition. I find the act of writing provokes a daring, evokes a discipline and produces a clarity that I find lacking in thought or speech alone. From the earliest days on this path I would jot notes in a book or a scrap of paper, particularly in times of a PCE – or even as a way of inducing a PCE. And it was always cute to go back to see what I had written and see if I was living what I had understood – was I putting my money where my mouth was?
It is also way of stretching oneself and exercising that wonderful organ – the brain. Sensible thought, intelligent observation and un-emotive reflection have been so suppressed and derided by the Gurus, priests, teachers, parents and one’s peers that it is astounding what has been achieved to date by the human species on the planet. This was driven home to me when I watched a TV program that investigated the extent of genetic research into eradicating genetically inherited diseases and weaknesses causing tendency towards disease. One scientist spoke enthusiastically of the possibility of screening and eradicating many genetically inherited diseases but when questioned about the ethics of conducting such research, let alone its implementation, he said ‘Of course, we have to do what is the right thing to do, not what is the best thing to do’. In other words we should be careful in interfering with nature, albeit blind nature, for that is God’s territory. In other words, we should continue the suffering, pain and disabilities on the planet because human suffering, pain and disabilities are part of the ‘Master Plan’. In other words, even although we are capable of stopping it we shouldn’t.
In other words, even if I am capable of stopping suffering and pain, I won’t? Well – not for me.
‘Of course, we have to do what is the right thing to do, not what is the best thing to do’.
I think that one sentence sums up the fact that it is clearly the perfect time for human beings to begin to put an end to needless human suffering. It will not happen collectively or by mutual agreement or by prayer or legislation or social or political movements or the pursuit of ‘higher consciousness’ or by Alien intervention. It will happen incrementally as each of us frees ourselves of the shackles of dearly-held beliefs and our socially and religiously instilled virtuous morals and righteous ethics, and then digs in deeper to acknowledge and work towards eliminating the instinctual passions in ourselves. And why not? Only because the Gurus, priests, teachers, parents and one’s peers all say you shouldn’t or you can’t?
We all know ‘shouldn’t’ from our childhood. It comes along with ‘who do you think you are?’, ‘don’t get smart with me’, don’t get too uppity’, ‘this is right’, ‘that is wrong’, ‘this is bad’, etc. etc. etc. Morals, ethics, values and psittacisms.
As for ‘you can’t’ – if one human can do it – then the door is clearly open for whoever else wants to. Evidence of genetic mutations, behavioural modifications, environmental adaptations and evolutionary change abound in carbon-based life forms. One of the most stunning recent discoveries involved growing plants from seed in the weightlessness of the space. Standard, un-modified seed grew into a plant that immediately adapted a different growth form – the cells that formed the outer casing of the stems had arranged themselves to form in a thinner layer because less strength was needed to support the leaves in zero gravity. This was no divine plan or master intelligence in operation that oversaw the change, nor was the change the result of a slow progression over eons of time. The change was immediate, the adaptation an appropriate response to the change of physical circumstance. The Japanese scientists who were monitoring the experiments were astounded at the results and were literally bubbling with excitement at the discovery and its implications for our views as to the speed of adaptability and extent of changeability of carbon-based life-forms.
So the point for me became – can I radically and irrevocably change to adapt to a new situation, here and now, that has SFA to do with Mr. Buddha’s times and bugger-all to do with my father’s time. Of course – it’s scientifically possible, one man has done it, a handful are actively doing it, a handful are intellectually interested and a further handful are cautiously curious – so who am ‘I’ to stand in the road! ‘I’ end up small, so mean, so utterly selfish and rotten, that to stand in the way is an impossible tenure.
PETER: ... And these men believe they are God on Earth. It would be a joke really, except for the fact that other people – would-be’s and wanna-be’s – insist on believing them and worshipping them as God-men. Of course, India is full to the brim with these nutters but a few of the English speaking Gurus were quick to jump on the Western bandwagon that rolled to the East in search of freedom, peace and happiness. 30 years on this search has ‘discovered’ disciplehood (surrender), religion (war), and meditation (either blessed out ... or freaked out). Many who sought something other than Religion and War turned their backs on Western Religion and real world values merely to end up believing in Eastern Religions and adopting ‘spiritual’ values. Out of the frying pan and into the fire ... The rest just gave up.
So, to return to your conversation with the woman –
RICHARD: We may or may not meet again ... she works as a spiritual-group facilitator.
PETER: ‘We are all one’ is indeed one of the classic lines from the spiritual world and perhaps no other platitude more accurately illustrates the gulf between belief, feeling and imagination and what is fact, sensible and blindingly obvious on the other. ‘We are all one’ and yet ‘we’ continuously and instinctually fight and fear each other in a grim battle of survival. The passionate feeling that ‘we are all one’, engendered by belonging exclusively to one spiritual group or another, gives rise to feelings of elitism, separateness, isolationism, remoteness, seclusion, exclusivity, defensiveness, blind loyalty and blind faith, snobbery, false superiority, intolerance, etc. etc. – anything but ‘We are all one’. In fact the feeling is not ‘We are all one’ but rather ‘We are the Chosen Ones’, and for the Guru it is not ‘We are all one’ but it is the feeling that ‘I am the One’. What a phantasm the spiritual world is, and being ‘admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings’ ensures that the followers remain unthinking, unquestioning and off in La-La land – anywhere but here in the actual world and anytime but now, this very moment of being alive.
All this nonsense, simply in order that ‘I’ as an identity can remain in existence – anything but a nobody, anything but a no-one, anything but cease to exist. This last 15 months since finishing my journal has been a period of becoming a nobody in society’s terms, a no-one in particular in terms of belonging to a group and a no-self in terms of being a feeling being that lives in fear and needs to fight for survival. As the feelings arising from the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire diminish, being alive here, now becomes such a delicious, ambrosial experience that I am wont to lie about doing nothing, for simply being here is outstanding – and on top of it I occasionally get to do something. I have no objections at all to being here, in fact where else could I be, and where else would I want to be. I am going nowhere, I have come from nowhere, I don’t need to do anything, I am never bored, I have no plans, desires, ambitions. I have no idea what I will do for the rest of my days, nor do I worry – I simply need sufficient money to live. Money for rent, food and clothes and for the pleasures that I fit into the day as well.
Without the need to struggle to exist, and with no ‘me’ to defend, being here is indeed effortless. It requires no ‘me’ to be here for I am perpetually here anyway. ‘I’ play no part in pumping my heart, breathing, thinking, sleeping, eating, walking, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching – ‘I’ am but a dinosaurial-redundancy ... a passionate illusion, ripe for extinction.
My experiential answer to Willie Shakespeare’s famous question – ‘to be or not to be?’ is that being an identity, be it social or animal instinctual, is a bummer – whatever way one looks at it. As this ‘skin’ of identity falls away I am more able to be me, this flesh and blood body, having no relationship or continuity with ‘who’ I was when I started this process. One does indeed step out of the real world and into the actual world leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, as you put it so descriptively. There is yet to be a passionate act of extinction and more and more I have stopped waiting for it to happen – so perfect and easy has life become.
PETER to No 5: But, first things first. At the start of this process, as a spiritual person, I had been encouraged to express my anger – which is the current New Dark Age rebellion against the repression practiced by the previous lot. There is a third alternative to the usual fashionable swing from one failed extreme to the other. As with any emotion – neither repressing nor expressing does the trick. What ‘I’ initially did with anger was stop expressing it . Seeing what I was doing to others was sufficient for me to shut my mouth, keep my hands in my pockets, go for a walk, lay on the couch – do whatever was necessary to stop acting it out on others. The other bloody good reason for stopping was that I then stopped the endless cycle of being angry, feeling guilty, wallowing in shame, seeking solace in resentment, plotting revenge and building up to anger again. This stopping is not suppressing for the feelings are still there, but now you can do something about them given that you begin to see them clearly in operation. When one is angry or in a blind rage one is consumed and possessed by emotions and thus loses all chance of learning anything from the experience. And saying sorry to someone you have hurt in your indulgence or expressing is but a cop out. I’ve written of this very act of stopping in the ‘Love’ chapter of my journal, as has Vineeto. It’s crucial to stop pissing away one’s opportunity to investigate the roots of anger by indulging in or expressing anger – and it’s an eminently sensible thing to do, both for oneself and for those one comes in contact with!
So that’s what came out of our discussions and writings on the mailing list for me – a little journey to the root of instinctual aggression.
One does stick one’s neck out writing on this list, but that’s the adventure, that’s the thrill.
PETER to No 13: 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: I have just read Richards book ‘Actual Freedom’ and now realize that I have been deluded for many years ... while trying to avoid guru-worship, it now seems I have been chasing an enlightened state of bliss or Love ... akin to being filled by a Holy Spirit...
PETER: Yes, for me a significant turning point was the understanding that Eastern Spiritualism is nothing other than Eastern Religion. The core of spiritual/ religious belief is of a Divine Entity, or Spirit or Energy or Love, which is the Source, or Creator, or Sustainer of all that is Good, or True or Right and one only needs to ‘tap’ into this by prayer, devotion, surrender and one’s soul, or spirit, or ‘true self’ will be guaranteed a ticket to a blissful after-life. As I wrote recently – ‘The current New Dark Age fashion for Eastern religious belief as opposed to Western religious belief has all but run its course. The more strict and inane of the practices and ancient wisdom has been watered down into ethical and moral values that are but a mirror of Western morals and ethics. The practice of meditation – sitting silently and hiding from the world as-it-is – is but an escape from the ‘real’ world into an ‘inner’ world where imagination and fantasy can run riot. One is extolled to abandon sensible thought, surrender one’s will to a Divine energy or entity, and trust one’s feelings. Giving full reign to one’s ‘good’ instinctual passions while ignoring and denying the ‘bad’ has led to nothing other than an endless stream of human beings who believe themselves to be God-realized or God on earth. These primitive beliefs must be abandoned if one is to move on to tackle the elimination of instinctual passions.’
One of the major by-products of religious or spiritual belief is the instilling and adopting of moral and ethical values. Then, every person, every event and every thing is judged as being good or bad or right or wrong. One needs to abandon these values and foolish, self-ish judgments in order to see the world as-it-is, and you as-you-are, with clear eyes. One is then able to judge or discern or assess on the basis of silly or sensible – a far more valuable and freeing criteria than accepting the morals and ethics of other, usually long dead, people.
PETER: But I am in no way advocating retiring from the world of people, things and events into a do-nothing state of isolationism. For an actualist the market place is the best and most fertile testing ground for exploration – there is nothing like the boss at work, one’s partner, one’s parents or children, one’s friends, the TV news, the neighbours, etc. to bring to the surface the beliefs, morals, values, viewpoints and ethics that initially stand in the way of becoming happy and harmless.
GARY: Yes, I am relating in an improved way to people at work, ie, where I spend the most amount of my waking time. I am open to new ways of doing things and not being so darned ... stubborn, in a word. At least at the job, I realized that I had zilch experience working in this area and was open to imbibing what others had learned and had to teach me.
PETER: It is such a straight-forward business learning something new. Do a bit of checking around, see what is working and what doesn’t, go with what does. In the case of my work, I was taught a whole lot of theory, intermixed with unworkable idealism and it took me 30 years of unlearning all the pap I had been taught such that I was able to make decisions on the basis of common sense and not some flawed idealism, impassioned ‘self’-centred dream or knee-jerk emotional reaction.
Not that clients now listen to what I have to say because they all want ‘their dream’, want to be followers of the current fashion, or want to make an ‘individual’ statement, but that is neither here nor there. The main point is that I am now free of having to rely on regurgitating the beliefs and failures of others – I have learnt what works and what doesn’t work largely on the basis of my own trial and error experiments.
GARY: It must be that way with actualism as far as I am concerned. There are people on this list with far, far more experience than I (you for one) and I want to learn what it is that you have to convey.
PETER: Yep. When I came across Richard I was emboldened to go all the way into my doubts as to what everyone else was emphatically insisting and passionately believing was right and wrong, good and bad – i.e. I started to really question the sensibility of the beliefs, morals and ethics that are imposed by society in order to keep a lid on the instinctual animal passions. This outer crust of one’s social identity is what needs to be tackled and demolished first in order to get at the core of one’s instinctual identity as a human being.
RESPONDENT: You are absolutely right.
Pride is evidenced by the psychological and psychic entity inanely claiming kudos and acclaim for something the body and mind did very well by itself.
I would see it clearly in action in my architectural work. I would sit down to design a building, armed with the necessary drawing equipment, my previous experience and training and the client’s requirements and a few hours later – Bingo, a drawing. Six months later a building stood on a bit of land and I would marvel at the process that produced it. The human brain, with its extraordinary ability to think, process information, reflect, remember and conceptualize delights in such activity just as the body delights in walking, the eyes in seeing, the fingers in touching. As such, when praise came for my work ‘I’ could never claim the praise, for it was not of ‘my’ doing – it was as if the drawing drew itself, so magical is the process. Pride and its partner humility are irrelevant feelings in this case – I was then able to make a clear and sensible assessment of the building, usually good but also aware of any areas for improvement.
The other wonderful thing when pride and humility no longer run one’s life is that one is free of being dependant on the opinion of others, usually fickle, most often incorrect, unreliable, biased, malicious, ingratiating, etc. In the end I became my own judge – the judgment and assessment could be much more honest and reliable that way.
RESPONDENT: I am wondering if what you are talking here about is the investigation of emotions and feelings coming from the social norms by labelling them as sensible or silly? After labelling them, have you experimented by acting against your social norms (Acting against our religious / social conditionings and taboos to investigate the rush of emotions that follows such experiment, for example)? If so, did such action break through the psychological power of the norm and did it give you more encouragement to investigate them more deeply?
PETER: I think the first thing to be taken on board about actualism is that it is not about changing the world, it is about changing oneself. The traditional approach of people who see wrong or bad in the world is to join a crusade or revolutionary movement aimed at bringing about some sort of social, political or spiritual change to the world. Hence we have an enormous amount of angst, despair and vitriol generated by well-intentioned groups or movements clashing with other well-intentioned groups or movements, all determined that their way is the best, that they are right, or that theirs is the only way of doing things.
The traditional movements to change the world are passionately fuelled by people’s frustration at not feeling free to do what they want – of having to obey, and feeling straight-jacketed by, society’s morals, ethics and values translated into rules, laws and regulations. Thus one sees on television not only out and out warfare, terrorism, violent protests, etc., but even in so-called peaceful countries, there is a good deal of frustration, aggravation, annoyance and anger directed against the ‘government’ or various organizations for doing wrong thing or not getting it right. In the local community where I live there is an extraordinary amount of conflict, either overt or covert, as to the rights or wrongs of the actions of those with different beliefs or values and at the people employed to uphold the laws of the land.
A bit I wrote at the time of seeing the futility of attempting to rebel against or change the way the world is –
So back to your question –
RESPONDENT: ‘Have you experimented by acting against your social norms (acting against our religious / social conditionings and taboos to investigate the rush of emotions that follows such experiment, for example)? If so, did such action break through the psychological power of the norm and did it give you more encouragement to investigate them more deeply?’
PETER: What I find now is that silly and sensible replaces good and bad, right and wrong and as such, it is very sensible to obey the laws of the land – the freedom and change is fundamental and internal, not conditional on the external. The aim is freedom from malice and sorrow, in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. Put into practice, this means that if you are not happy now because of some belief, moral or ethical value you hold, if you are upset because of the way someone else is, or if you are miffed or angry about some situation you can do nothing about, then you have something to look at in your own psyche. If there is some sensible action to be taken to change one’s circumstances then one can make it in a sensible, harmless and appropriate manner.
A bit of digging in and changing oneself rather than looking outside and blaming others or the circumstances is required.
Many people pay lip service to the idea that the only person you can change is yourself, but when, and if, the penny drops, your life will never be the same again. For me this realization proved the starting point to really beginning to change. I won’t post it here but you will find my story of this realization in the ‘Living Together’ chapter of my journal and Vineeto has written about it in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’.
Becoming free of ‘religious / social conditioning and taboos’ is a process that brings to the surface much fear for one is literally dismantling a large part of one’s identity and stepping out of humanity, so it is sensible to be cautious as to what you say to others and what you do during this process. Much passion can be uncovered and much turmoil can result as the firm and familiar ground beneath one’s feet seems to shake and eventually disappears. Each success brings a tangible, palpable and heady freedom.
Our social identity was instilled in us in childhood in order to curb and control the emerging instinctual savage passions arising from the animal fear-aggression reaction genetically encoded in our ancient brain structure. With the knowledge gained from the pure consciousness experience and the relentless application of common sense – the silly and sensible judgement – you are capable of reducing the effects of the instinctual passions in your life such that you are able to become happy and harmless 99% of the time. Unless you are willing to strip away and reduce this outer secondary layer of identity you will never be able to investigate and experience both the savage and tender instinctual passions that form the deeper primary instinctual self.
RESPONDENT: Just meandering through the archives and happened upon your Feb 05, 2000 book review of ‘In Each Moment – A new way to live’ by Paul Lowe. Looking Glass Press. 1998 (No15)
I’m not one for books of Revelation either, nor doom and gloom, but any child these days knows that the physical, material world in which we are living is collapsing because of mankind’s lack of consideration for the environment. Are you sure that you yourself are not imagining that Paul so definitely divides the human condition from the devastating state nature is now in? Sure, he gives our beliefs way too much credit, but could radical actualism go the same route and go into denial about the very real effects man’s imagining brain is capable of.
PETER: Children don’t ‘know’ this from some innate sense of wisdom or foresight born of innocence – they have it drilled and drummed into them by teachers, media, parents etc. In the last few decades environmental studies have formed an essential part of all school curricula for all ages. Not only is it often taught as a separate subject in many cases, environmental issues dominate economics, science, politics, engineering, social sciences, entertainment, media, etc. Every child who receives a modern Western education is taught from a very early age that the material, physical world in which they live is either collapsing or is in imminent danger of collapsing and that human beings are at fault. My school days were in the late 50’s and early 60’s and environmental theory hadn’t been invented then. The major fear at that time was the Cold War and the threat of nuclear devastation, but doom and gloom predictions weren’t taught as part of the school curriculum as is case with the teachings of environmental doom and gloom.
What children know is what children are taught. Thus what we think we know or take for granted is, almost without exception, what we have been taught by our parents, teachers and peers. We take this information to be true, as in factual, whereas an extraordinary amount of it is theory, fashion, belief, concept, current idea, old wives tales, psittacisms, prejudiced view, etc. One only needs to consider what the school curriculum would have been like a century ago and consider how much of it would be relevant today, how much our world view has changed and yet how much of the past we desperately cling to. However, what we have been taught as truisms forms the very substance of our social identity – ‘who’ we think we are. One’s social identity is the conglomerate of all the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, principles and psittacisms that each of us has been programmed with since birth.
Unless this programming in the brain is questioned and sorted into silly and sensible and old redundant neural connections severed and new ones formed, one remains a victim of one’s social identity – whereas an actualist’s avowed aim is freedom from being this identity that has been imposed upon this flesh and blood body. Therefore it is vital that all one’s beliefs, morals, ethics, principles and psittacisms be questioned and reviewed.
This is the practical business of an actualist, this is the very down-to-earth pragmatic work to be done. It is an uncomfortable, tedious, seemingly-pedantic, fear-provoking process that people are very reluctant to undertake for you are quite literally dismantling a very large part of your ‘self’. Most of this information is programmed into us at the early years but quite a lot of what we hold dearest is what we have adopted later in life as we ‘moved with the times’. Environmental belief and Eastern religious belief were two that I adopted later in my life, and as such, I found them relatively easier to question for they were a bit like the layers of clothing I had swapped during my adult life as fashions and times changed.
So, the first thing to be aware of is that you are doing the very business of dismantling your social identity by questioning and challenging your dearly held beliefs. The second thing is that they don’t magically disappear by themselves. It requires stubborn effort to dig in and question and you will find much resistance, wariness, hesitancy and objection in yourself to devoting the necessary time and effort required. The third thing is that it is something you have to do yourself to the point that the ‘penny drops’ for you, otherwise you are back with simply swapping beliefs or adopting another belief – a useless enterprise that will do nothing to free you from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: For personal peace and world peace.
PETER: (...) But should you want to be pragmatic, realistic, down-to-earth, astute, sensible, reasonable, informed and discerning instead of being spiritual then there is another alternative ...
I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both. I’ll try to explain again what we are on about, although it appears that I am ‘flogging a dead horse, as they say –
Maybe another way of looking at it is that all we humans are engaged in a big play called ‘being human beings on earth’. It’s our first time in the play, so we look to the others who are already playing to learn the rules and regulations.
Now when we enter the game we find the whole scenario of the play is already written and the name of the game is ‘It’s a dog eat dog world, life’s a bitch and then you die’. Given that it is a tough and miserable game, our main interest and constant obsession is self-preservation, survival, come what may. As such our underlying traits are that we are fearful and suspicious of all the other characters in the play and that we will fight for our rights and our life, come what may. We also find that we have to be members of a tribe to survive and, as such, we are taught the remainder of our script – the particular character role that we play within our tribe. We are further told that it is impossible to leave the protection of the tribe or you will die, and unless you constantly keep fighting for your survival you will die – no letting up, or letting your guard down. In a game like this ... no wonder we feel lost, lonely frightened and very, very cunning.
But what if you found some players who told you – you can play the game without having to be a tribe member, and without the constant fear of survival? What if you could re-write your particular script in the play? And it is not a dream, it is now possible for those who want to, to play the game of being a human being with a new script. All you have to do is to leave your old character behind. Or as Richard puts it ‘step out of the real world into the actual world and leave your ‘self’ behind’. It is a brand new script and most will object and still play the game of malice and sorrow, but soon the other game will become more and more played. Seeing it as an obviously more sensible game people will eventually join in with hardly a thought as to the old ‘survival’ script that they were wired to play. The game of survival is, at core, a grim game as we know it – 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone, not to mention all the murders, rapes, ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, tortures, domestic violence and suicides. The new play eventually would see humans playing in a world without wars, without domestic violence, rape and torture. With men and women living together in peace, harmony and equity. With sexual pleasure freed of guilt, shame, aggression and perversion. With no religious or territorial wars fought over right or might. With no police, no legal battles, no need for justice or retribution. Where everyone treats each other as fellow human beings and wishes well of each other. Where equanimity, co-operation, consensus and helpfulness are readily apparent in all interactions. Where the current money and effort used to fight wars and keep the ‘peace’ are used to bring the benefits, comforts and pleasures now possible for the few to all humans on the planet. Where care and consideration replace greed and avarice, ending pollution forever...
We actualists are simply saying – stop believing what the other players tell you is your fated script and stop believing that the rules of the game can never be changed. That it is possible for individual players to delete the old, ancient and decrepit, survival program in its entirety and to now run on the sensible and sensate, stripped-down version, free of malice and sorrow. One can now become free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, if you want to make the effort.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Similarly, in Buddhist Vipassana meditation the meditator is instructed simply to note whatever arises, letting it come and go. This heightens the distinction between the flow of thoughts and feelings and that which observes. Deikman, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at a U.S. University, on ‘Awareness’
PETER: There is nothing quite like the practice of sitting in a quiet room with one’s eyes closed (or unfocused) and looking inside to, firstly, disassociate from the bodily pain caused by forced stillness, and then to imagine that one is separate from the flow of thoughts and feelings. This imaginary shift is achieved by concentrating one’s thoughts on good and warm feelings which eventually can bring on states of divine feelings and bliss, and away one goes ... This heightened distinction between the mortal and human inevitably results in feelings that are Divine and Immortal – and since ‘I’ am that awareness, per se, then ‘I’ must be Divine and Immortal.
Prof. A. DEIKMAN: Who observes the observer? Every time we step back to observe who or what is there doing the observing, we find that the ‘I’ has jumped back with us. This is the infinite regress of the observer...often presented as an argument against the observing self being real, and existent. But identifying ‘I’ with awareness solves the problem of the infinite regress: we know the internal observer not by observing it, but by being it. At the core, we are awareness and therefore do not need to imagine, observe, or perceive it. Deikman, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at a U.S. University, on ‘Awareness’
PETER: Ah, he has solved the problem by abandoning ‘observation’ as in scrutiny, examination or sensible evaluation. This is the classic Eastern Mystical approach exhorted by the Ancients and mimicked by countless Gurus, would-be’s and wanna-be’s, down the ages. The last sentence is laughable, as when one abandons sensible observation and sensorial perception one is left only with the possibility of unbridled imagination and unfettered feelings running amok. Ask anyone to describe something which they can neither see, feel, touch, smell or taste and they will have to revert to guesswork – as in intuition or imagination.
PETER: Well I think this will be the last in this series of book reviews, for I’m inclined just to skim through the rest of Mr. Lowe, only briefly demolishing his ‘fresh and unique’ re-interpretations of Eastern religion and philosophy. It’s interesting that his ‘ordinary spiritualism’ serves only to strip away the aura of mystique that has been deliberately created and maintained by the shamans about what it is that the ancient texts are actually saying. He does the usual thing of saying that one needs not to read the words and try and make sense of them, that one needs to put aside the mind, etc. but, to me at least, he manages to exposes more than is usually considered wise about what the Truth is, in fact.
So, let’s demystify the mystique of ‘some of the key facets of Paul’s perspective’
PAUL LOWE: Choicelessness and Being Present
Go with the feelings, the intuition, not with the mind. That is choicelessness. All that I have said about choicelessness applies to presence as well. Presence is being in this moment with acceptance, including all the facts and disconnecting from them. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Put so clearly, choicelessness is a choice made by one’s feelings, a decision solely based on the emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Deciding anything this way is guaranteed to produce an utterly selfish and self-centred result or decision, not the best decision, the most appropriate and most sensible. In deciding ‘not with the mind’, the spiritual claim of choicelessness can be best described as thoughtless and senseless, selfish decision making.
As for ‘being present’, it is clear that the Eastern religious philosophy is to ‘choicelessly’ accept and then disconnect from the facts – facts such as the physical body, one’s emotions and thoughts, one’s physical surroundings and other people, the fact of one’s mortality, etc. If being ‘present in this moment’ is so good then why would one want to disconnect from the facts that are evident in this moment. Why would there not be delight in thinking, delight in being conscious and alive as a flesh and blood human being, delight in this paradisiacal planet floating in this wondrous universe?
If this is not the case, in this moment, then why would one not want to do everything possible to evince delight, happiness and harmlessness? Why would one want to continue to practice denial, acceptance and ‘disconnecting’ as the East have done for millennia? The results of these religious practices are readily evident in the present cultures of the East, where poverty, corruption, duplicity, hypocrisy, repression, violence, arrogance and greed abound.
PAUL LOWE: Inner Dialogue
‘Most people are not aware that they are thinking all the time. Day and night, even when they are mediating and sleeping. I call this perpetual chatter of the mind the ‘inner dialogue’. <Snip> It is possible to set yourself free by recognizing, in each moment, the whole process of the mind, acknowledging it and sharing what is appropriate. Disclosing your inner dialogue reveals your truth in each moment, most importantly to yourself. <Snip> You do not need to go seeking anything. If you would start to become aware of your inner dialogue and share it, you would transform yourself and you would transform each other. You would cut straight through the blanket in which you bury yourself from life – your own internal chatter – and you would start being here with yourself and with each other. That is when life really begins.’ Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Well, this gets really silly. I had to muse a bit to consider where he is coming from in this bit of wisdom. Then I remembered back to my spiritual days when ‘sharing’ was all the fashion and I remembered Mr. Lowe’s training as a therapist. My experience of this approach is that what is ‘shared’ with others is most often one’s misery, suffering, frustration and anger – all done in a ‘loving way’, of course. The theory being that by getting it out, expressing it, emoting it, that it somehow evokes a change. This form of therapy has now been largely discredited or abandoned in mainstream society as offering only temporary relief and little or no long term change. It is still in vogue in the spiritual world where it acts as a way of cranking up a temporary bit of feel-good at having ‘got it all out’, or ‘off my chest’. Many people I know have been carrying on this way for decades and still rely on an emotional fix from the next proponent of feel-good to arrive in town to make ‘being present’, on earth, ‘in’ the body, temporarily tolerable again.
The other revealing aspect is that Mr. Lowe, along with all spiritual people, makes absolutely no distinction between thinking and feeling. Most of this ‘internal chatter’ or ‘inner dialogue’ is the direct result of the modern brain attempting to process, suppress, control, interpret or cope with the flow of chemical signalling from the primitive brain. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts – a thought directly related to the emotions and passions of the primitive brain. These feelings have at their roots either fear, aggression, nurture or desire – the instinctual passions. This spiritual bungling of feelings and thoughts together as ‘the chattering of the mind’ is to deny any chance of being able to separate and distinguish between what is sensible thought and what is ‘self’-centred impassioned feeling and thought.
This is why the spiritually-trained have so much difficulty with the simple question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ It takes effort and perseverance to identify, name, trace, investigate and understand what one is feeling – what is preventing perfection in this, one’s only moment of being alive. They constantly lapse back into denial, acceptance and ‘disconnecting’ , as they have been trained to do. They righteously seek to maintain their spiritual identity as ‘the watcher’ of this ‘continual chatter of the mind’ rather than roll up their sleeves and get stuck into becoming free from the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
I know this is the case with me. I have had to constantly not settle for second best, no matter how good things seem to be. My bench mark is always the perfection evident in the PCE but to continue to ‘raise the bar’ has always meant changing. Being finished with something, stopping doing something, breaking some habit, losing friends, changing some behaviour, taking some risk and experiencing another bit of ‘me’ falling away.
There is a dare in being here, out from Humanity, self-less and free of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
Actualism is a challenge and a commitment to irrevocable change – 180 degrees opposite to the ancient formula of D + A = nc.
P.S. Paul is proving such a goldmine it looks as though I may well continue ... I am always surprised at what comes out when I sit down to write, what can still be written to debunk the mystique and what can be written about the path to Actual Freedom.
PAUL LOWE: We have assumed there is something wrong with us and we have spent our lives attempting to put it right. In fact there is nothing wrong; all we need to do is become aware, in each moment, of the behavioural patterns with which we have covered our essential self. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: So ‘in fact there is nothing wrong’ also includes all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, corruption, tortures, despair, suicides, etc. If nothing is wrong then the Human Condition of malice and sorrow is okay with Paul. Nothing needs to change on the planet, for it is all the ‘outer world’ and, when full delusion sets in, it is all regarded as an illusion anyway. D+A = nc!
The use of awareness in the spiritual world is a total abuse of the word. To call practicing and becoming ‘disconnected’ from the physical world ‘awareness’ is an utter effrontery to intelligence. This is not awareness – this is to ignore, to deny, to encourage ‘not knowing’, to cut off, to turn away – the very antithesis of awareness.
Conscious, sensible, not ignorant, having knowledge, well-informed, responsive to conditions etc., informed about current developments. Oxford Dictionary.
If you hear a spiritually trained or influenced person (which is everyone) use the term awareness, what they are talking of is a selective, narrow, ‘self’-centred, ‘self’-serving viewpoint deliberately practiced in order to ignore and turn away from the Human Condition.
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. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
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: We are told that we operate at 5 percent of our potential, and that small percentage is the ‘I’. Science maintains we experience only one billionth of reality and this is squeezed through that ‘I’, through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’. This is how we block the gate to the state that no one has ever been able to describe – the Tao, the Hidden Harmony, the Kingdom of God. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The mind boggles at the thought of the scientist with his reality-experiencing meter calibrated to one billion units. ‘Excuse me madam, could I just check your reality-experiencing level?’ Mr. Rajneesh was equally inept and devious in his clipping on a bit of theoretical science to his religious teachings in order to pretend that there was some factual basis to what he was teaching.
This is just plain silly nonsense but the next statement points directly to the harm that believing these fairy tales actually causes in perpetuating human malice and sorrow. By saying we operate ‘through the restriction of saying ‘this is good, that is bad; this is benefit, this is harm’ he makes a leap that both denies and negates sensible thought and, more significantly, any consideration of the effects that one’s actions have on one’s fellow human beings.
Judging a situation, event or action as good or bad, or right or wrong, is to make a judgement based on one’s social programming and one’s instinctual ‘self’-ish passions – but then to deny any sensible judgement based on what is beneficial and what is harmful to others is taking self-interest and self-centredness to the extreme. Those who follow religious beliefs, be they Eastern or Western, ultimately make no sensible judgement as to whether their beliefs, emotions and actions are harmful to others – and the religious world is full of such self-righteous behaviour. This self-righteous disregard for other human beings is the very reason that human history is a litany of religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc!
For me, being involved in the Rajneesh religion at the time when the Rajneeshee-Christian conflict was coming to a head in Oregon in 1985 was ample proof that spiritual belief over-rides any consideration one may have about harming others. Like thousands of other Rajneeshees at the time I was willing to kill or die for my beliefs – not that I have found any who are willing to acknowledge it.
A spiritual person’s malice is harnessed in the fight for ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’ – or ‘my’ God vs. ‘your’ God – and fervent belief blinds one to the facts of what one is doing.
An Actualist is vitally interested in sensibly judging and actively investigating what harm his or her thoughts, emotions and actions are causing for one’s fellow human beings in order to become actually harmless.
PAUL LOWE: I am suggesting to you that any misery you are experiencing, without you realizing it, is being created by you. You do not need to create any more pain and you might never be unhappy again. That is truly possible. I am not saying it is likely to happen, but I am not ruling out the possibility. If I were to say that it is not possible, I would be adding to the human tendency to be closed to something unexpected that might, in fact, be possible. I know this could be true, but I am not suggesting you believe me; just stay open and allow for this possibility. Your life could change now – totally, utterly and completely. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The spiritual cliché of staying open. Stay open to the possibility. Never decide anything. Don’t have an opinion about anything – except what you believe, of course ,and then one needs to have faith, trust and true belief , in which case, one is anything but open.
There are few who are more closed to sensible thought and factual evidence than the spiritual believers. It is a necessity that they remained closed for if they didn’t they would be open enough be to scrutinize their passionately held belief ... and then the bovine faecal matter might hit the whirling blades – to pinch a Richard-expression.(....)
PAUL LOWE: Take a moment to tune to yourself now. Forget what you have been reading and be with you. What are you feeling? What is going on with you right now? Let yourself be easy with this, because you do not have to change. <Snip> I am suggesting to you that you can be different right now. It is possible for you to shed your misery and allow your bliss. It is entirely up to you. Anything is possible. Anything. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: A bit of guided imagination at the end of the chapter. Shed your bad feelings and pump up the good ones and ‘you do not have to change’.
No wonder spiritual belief is so, so appealing and so, so popular.
Well, this got a bit long No 5, but the fearful spiritual belief in doom and gloom is so endemic it needs a few facts presented to put the case for sensible thought and honest, straightforward assessment.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.