Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER to Alan: I thought I would drop you a note since I seemed to have been ‘otherwise occupied’ for a while. As you know Vineeto and I ‘dropped in’ on the Sannyas mailing list for a few months. We had heard that my journal had been discussed on the list, but the rumour seemed to be a false one. We watched for a while, Vineeto wrote a few things, and after a while I couldn’t resist. I opened by innocuously questioning a quote from Mr. Rajneesh talking of two worlds – real and spiritual. I pointed out there were three worlds – real, spiritual and actual ... and away it went! About 150,000 words and 3 months later we were finally cut off after I dared to question not only the teachings but the Teacher!
There was a sort of a pretence that it was okay to question the teachings, but when it comes to questioning Him, Himself, then the lines are drawn. It was a fascinating exercise to see the limits that one can go in challenging Religious Dogma and Ancient Wisdom. It is a good thing that it was on the Net and not actually outside the temple gates. And it’s a good thing the spiritual people only throw brown rice and not stones as in the good old days. For me, it was another opportunity to test the wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom, to write of facts in the face of belief and test both the facts and my motives, intentions and reactions to those who wrote.
I give both Actual Freedom and myself a 100% rating.
I always like to test things out, give it a run around the block, so to speak. A bit of gay abandon, stepping out a bit, letting one’s hair down, as one can do when malice and sorrow are having their swan song. Speaking of which it is a while since I have heard of them at all. Which is why I was able to write as I did on the list, with a confidence firmly rooted in the fact that what we are into is an outstanding change in Human Nature the likes of which defies any paltry imagination or idealism.
As far as standing up to the scrutiny of spiritual pundits, when faced with the facts about the spiritual world, some weird and strange arguments emerge as you will have noticed. Much frantic back-peddling and denial is obvious. I do understand we were spoiling their game, but it is a game that needs spoiling if peace is to come to this fair planet. And as you well know, to become actually free is now the only game to play in town – the Gurus have had their day.
Well, this is a bit of a loose, late night ramble but I’m enjoying writing on ‘home turf’, so to speak. We have the list-writing on our web-site, as you know, and the next exercise is to sort it by topics so as to make it more useful and convenient for anyone who is interested. It was interesting to look back at the objections that we came across. I stated early on in the correspondence that I had begun the spiritual path with the ideal of peace of mind for me and the ideal of peace on earth. I was howled down for this and it soon became obvious that for those remaining in the group that love for the Master was the only remaining ideal that anyone could cling to, all else had failed. When push comes to shove – love for the Master (or God) is wheeled out as the fall back position, Never Ever to be questioned. To the point of being willing to sacrifice one’s life for, or kill for, although few would admit to it. It all seems to boil down to a desperate need to belong to some group or other, to believe in some higher authority, some better life somewhere else – anywhere but here, now, as this flesh and blood body only.
The other thing that was very evident was the total lack of interest in discussions about peace on earth. Total self-interest, remoteness and detachment to the point of cynicism and beyond were apparent, which took me aback on occasions. The creation of the ‘watcher’, in psychiatric terms is called dis-association, when one is willing to kill or do a criminal act without any feelings what-so-ever. The revelations of Zen at War http://www.darkzen.com/ reveal this to an appalling extent. It was an eye opener for me.
It became so glaringly obvious that not only is there no solution to the human dilemma within the spiritual world, but that no one even imagines there is. It is completely and utterly a selfish undertaking. Beneath the noble poetic rhetoric lies self-interest, cynicism and hypocrisy which rivals any in the real world. There is none so self-righteous as the man or woman of God.
So, life is bloody excellent here – a small but significant wedge is being driven in the door of the spiritual temples and an enormous door is swinging opening to the actual world of sensibility and sensate experiencing for human beings.
And the prize is not only peace and freedom for oneself, but ... peace on earth.
ALAN: Is your ‘questioning of the teacher’ on your web site yet?
PETER: PS: The ‘questioning of the teacher’ basically consisted in my stating that Rajneesh had failed as a Guru. It particularly upset the correspondent who then repeated the passage on the list several times to flag everyone’s attention and shortly after that we were cyber-executed.
PETER to Richard: 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. <snip> Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: Your description was excellent, Peter, and I would like to explore further as this is the crux of what we are all aiming for. You seem to be saying that there is a difference in ‘degree’ of the PCE. My view (up to now) is that there cannot be such a difference – when one is experiencing a PCE how can perfection be improved upon? If one experiences that this moment is the ultimate, what else is there? As I write this I am very, very close to a PCE – but it is not a PCE. The words are writing themselves, tumbling out deliciously on to the screen, delightful music is playing in the background and I am almost the living of this moment. And that is the point – almost. I know (or perhaps pure intent knows) that this is not the ultimate – delightful, wonderful and delicious as it may be. When this moment is living me, then that is what I would call a PCE. Having said that, I have no recollection of experiencing what you did, regarding the existence of ‘me’, in a PCE.
There are two possible explanations. Either you have experienced a ‘deeper’ (can’t think of a better word) PCE or our different backgrounds mean that our experience of the PCE has a different ‘flavour’. As you pointed out, your ‘route’ is very different from Richards and my ‘route’ is different from yours – I having had no eastern spiritual influence whatsoever. So perhaps what strikes you in a PCE is different from what I find to look at. I am usually struck by how simple it is and how amusing it is that ‘I’ was trying so hard to be ‘here’.
However, the next time I have a PCE, I will try to remember and have a look at ‘what is ‘me’’. The difficulty is (and this is recollection) when I am in a PCE all these questions become unimportant – I am too ‘busy’ simply enjoying being here. But it is fascinating to explore, is it not? And the rock of enlightenment is a very real danger and not to be underestimated. As you wrote in your journal, I too have imagined ‘myself’ filling lecture halls and basking in the Glory – seductive, ain’t it – but only to an unprepared ‘self’ – and this, I guess, is where ‘pure intent’ comes in (I think I have got that now).
PETER: I do agree that my route is very different to Richard’s torturous and lone adventure, but from now on we will all follow a very simple and direct path to Actual Freedom. It may have slight eccentricities for different people, but there is no other ‘way’ or other ‘path’. It will become easier and easier as more is written, as more people come along, as the ‘long grass’ is trampled, as the ‘Demons’ are laid to rest, as the traps and fears are exposed for the illusion they are.
The other point is that it is becoming very clear to me that everyone is influenced by Eastern Spirituality, for the simple reason that up until now it has been the only thing that has pointed to the possibility of freedom before physical death. The falsehoods, myths and lies propagated confirm the fact that it offers nothing other than a delusionary and imaginary escape only, but the influences of the ‘Spiritual Search’ is universal, atavistic, pervasive and intrusive on all human beings.
Thus we look to the PCE in the same way we look to the ASC – a way to ‘get out of it’. We look for and actively pursue it as some sort of ‘relief’ from our ‘normal’ human existence and pursue it as such. In the spiritual world one does a group, goes to an ashram or sits and meditates to escape from, or obtain some relief from the ‘real’ world and from the churning thoughts, feelings and emotions that make up ‘who’ we think and feel we are. The path to Actual Freedom involves assiduously and deliberately challenging the bundle of thoughts, feelings and emotions that are actually what ‘I’ am made of, and simultaneously challenging the instilled overriding and primitive belief that this physical world, as-it-is, is a miserable and frightening place to be in. To do this means one will soon end up living and enjoying a Virtual Freedom, where one will live in a state that is the closest ‘humanly’ possible to a peak experience, for 99% of the time. Then, and only then, will the genuine article of a PCE just slip in the door, or waft in on the breeze. And you may well get to have a PCE in the mean time – but you haven’t wasted (too much) time in worrying about it all in the mean time. You will get to live in Virtual Freedom, which is way beyond ‘normal’ human expectations anyway, so much so that you will have no emotional memories of ‘who’ you were before you started on this wide and wondrous path. The aim of the exercise is, after all, to live in the world as-it-is, free of malice and sorrow – to be here – not There, as in an ASC.
To treat the PCE as one would a spiritual ASC or epiphany is to mix a ‘bit of spiritual’ in Actual Freedom and, as we know, they simply don’t mix. The path to Actual Freedom bears no resemblance to the spiritual path – they run in opposite directions. The aim of one is to ‘get out of it’ – the other is to get fully into it, this business of being alive as a flesh and blood mortal human being – to be an ‘earthling’, as I wrote to someone the other day.
Well, I’ve got off on to one of my raves again, Alan. I’ve got no idea if this answers any of your questions, but it is how I experience this wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom. Alan, these comments are not personally ‘aimed’ at you for I know not your circumstances or life experience or situation – they are my experiences and those of Vineeto which I am simply passing on. And a little plug for the down-to-earthness of my journal as well, don’t be fooled by the apparent simpleness of it all – life was meant to be easy, after all. We humans have got so used to sticking our heads in the sand, or in the clouds, for so, so long, with all the complicated and torturous mythical explanations and philosophies about human existence... we are not at all used to simply seeing what is under our very noses ...
PETER: So Alan, as you can see, I am having a good time. It’s a process of clunk, clunk, yes, yes. Wearing out millennia of programming, breaking free of a vast morass of sorrow and malice. And life is excellent! I am back to being an architect again which is opportune as I am currently buying a new 19’ monitor. This one is fish-bowling – the text sort of bends into the screen to the right and gets narrower and narrower. And Office 2000 is on the shopping list as well. Winter sunny days are upon us here and they have a crystal-like quality, with a welcoming warmth to the sun. What a joy.
The Guru season has finished in town – they are all off playing the northern hemisphere circuit, no doubt. I’ve come to see them as bliss-dispensers – you pay your money and you get your ‘fix’, you pay your money and you get your ‘fix’. Good business but the market here is very crowded in the season. I thought of running a Guru Booking business – venue booking, accommodation, advertising etc. but they tend to have their lackeys do it for free. The other thought was a Guru Finishing School as some of them could do with a bit of help in presentation, image, aura-polishing, ‘energy’ transmission and the like... with quantity has come a marked decline in quality.
Well, enough for now.
PETER to Alan: Which reminds me of a cute story that happened lately. About a year ago I got a bee in my bonnet to write a piece for the national newspaper as they were publishing readers’ stories in their weekend magazine under the banner ‘Real Life’. Inspired by the fact that I now had something to say about ‘real life’ I sent off a piece on death, culled from my journal. Lo and behold they published it – I had kept it very mild and watered down. Then I sent another piece culled from the Living Together chapter and called it ‘Liberation from being men and women’. Nothing happened and about 3 months ago they returned it with a ‘Thank you, but ...’ note. About 3 weeks ago Vineeto brought home a copy of the local Rajneesh Sannyas magazine, and there on the cover were the words ‘Liberation from being men and women’. ‘Something familiar about those words ...’ I thought, and looked inside to find my article printed word for word with ‘Author unknown’ at the end. It turned out that Vineeto had given it to a woman at work who was associated with the magazine at the time to see if they were interested in publishing it. Nothing happened and we both forgot about it, and meanwhile the woman ceased her involvement with the magazine. It seemed that the article – author unknown by now – was found by someone who considered it interesting enough to publish. So the traitor-to-the-cause, the blacker-than-black sheep gets his article published anonymously in a Rajneesh magazine. They haven’t a clue how much of a heretic I am. Maybe they just think I’m a Guru basher – if they think at all, that is. Cute Hey...
When the editor found out t’was me he rang up to apologize and casually mentioned they would consider publishing something else; so I popped one in to him but ‘upped the ante’ just a bit this time – sprinkling the piece with a few words like instincts, beliefs, morals, ethics, peace, fear, aggression, malice and sorrow. It’s entitled ‘Folks and People’ and is hung around the story I recently related on the list about the waring gangs in Chicago. We will see what becomes of that. It is amazing to see serendipity in action – to watch the marvellous quirks and twists and links and opportunities and events that occur – as though by magic.
As I said in my journal of the path to Actual Freedom – ‘Serendipity is, after all, what happens when you take the opportunity that comes along.’
PETER to Alan: I can describe the process as the death throes of ‘me’, and a chemical death throe at that, but there is no doubt that, as this builds, the end of ‘me’ will be a weird and passionate affair. I have used the word dispassionate in my writing lately and thought I needed to clarify its use. The human mind, as I have discovered on this journey into my psyche, has the ability to investigate, explore and unravel its own workings. This ability is what the word apperception means – the mind becoming aware of itself.
Or as Richard-the-wordsmith says –
It is this apperceptive awareness that enables the brain to be aware of the process that is happening in the brain. In the early stages of developing apperception one is able to discern the difference between thoughts and feelings, and as one proceeds to see the influence of morals and ethics, to distinguish between belief and fact, to determine what is silly and what is sensible. As one dares to dig a little deeper one encounters the emotions that underlie the surface feelings and then one can dig deeper still to explore the instinctual passions. When one can finally investigate and explore the instinctual passions in operation dispassionately – i.e. being able to see them in operation without being affected by them – one is clearly able to see and experience them as an unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion.
To get to this stage involves a deliberate and persistent process of removing the impediments to this apperceptive awareness becoming possible. Then periods of pure consciousness are possible, as in the pure consciousness experience, and this is a potential for anyone willing to remove the impediments of a social identity and the passions of one’s instincts. As such, during this process of elimination, one has many dispassionate glimpses whereupon one’s sensate perception and awareness is free of the influence of instinctual passions – hence my use of the word ‘dispassionate’. After these glimpses, one returns to ‘normal’ and becomes again these passions, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc. and incapable of dispassionate thought – and this is where sincere intent comes in. One can then use those passions for one’s own sincere intent – towards actualizing the ending of ‘me’.
I realized in writing to No. 5, that the numbing legacy of having been on the spiritual path is many-fold and that the path to Actual Freedom – ‘requires naiveté not cynicism, determination not fatalism, bloody-mindedness not defeatism, confidence not pessimism, a stubborn refusal to settle for second best not resignation, and a burning discontentment with the Human Condition of malice and sorrow not a self-centred complacency.’
After writing this I did a mental checklist of my ‘spiritual legacy’ and would say that this very legacy is the reason this process has taken so long for me. I went into the spiritual world with passion and gusto and ended in wimpism, resignation and acceptance. It is the inevitable result of having been in a system of thought and belief based on human beings needing to surrender their will to a higher ‘creative force’, ‘energy’, etc. As such, I have been wary of being impelled by passionate enthusiasm only and this is why I have carefully sought personal verification by experience of the ongoing and incremental success, observing success in others, the validation of scientific factual evidence and the confidence and surety of many pure consciousness experiences.
So now I find myself gaily losing my grip on reality – abandoning the glum real world-view that I had been instilled with since birth and entering into the pure, perfect and delightful actual world, the world as I experienced it in my pure consciousness experience, all those years ago. I do so not as an escape into another world but entering into the world-as-it-is stripped of both the bad and the good, the right and the wrong that has been taught to me and stripped of the influence of my instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. The last time I abandoned the ‘real’ world was when I was on the spiritual path and I ended up glimpsing the phantasmagorical world of Divine Love and turned away, somehow sensing the falseness of it – I knew that I was merely ‘escaping’ from the world as it is, and particularly from people as they are.
This time, as I again abandon the real world, I do so with impunity – with the utter confidence that my destiny is the actual physical world of purity and perfection, not the imaginary substitute I experienced before. The recent experiences of being able to glimpse the instinctual ‘me’ at my core and experiencing the survival instincts as nothing other than a chemical producing redundant program in my brain has literally been the last straw in the ending of ‘me’. It’s been a fascinating journey into my own psyche to investigate ‘who’ I am – to discover all the morals, ethics and values that is ‘me’ the social identity – all the gender conditioning, all the tribal or national conditioning, all the religious conditioning – both Western and then Eastern. And then to dig deeper to discover the instinctual passions that lay beneath one’s social conditioning – to be able to dispassionately investigate what people consider to be hellish realms of fear, dread, anger, hatred as well as blind nurture and desire.
PETER: Hi Alan,
It’s good to hear from you again from the bowels of the ‘olde country’. I don’t have anything specifically to say but a few things caught my attention recently so I thought I might just make mention of them.
But firstly, in re-reading your last post a couple of comments you made tweaked my curiosity –
ALAN: Unlike many on this list I was never part of any spiritual group or movement, although I had always been interested in discovering what life was about and was involved in ‘personal growth’ in the late 70’s/early 80’s.
PETER: I have scant knowledge about the personal growth movement but it would seem to me that Eastern spirituality would have underpinned much of its philosophy, as it did most of psychiatry, psychology and therapy in the last 100 years. Carl Gustav Jung and Wilhelm Reich, two of the prime movers of 20th Century psychology and psychiatry, were both deeply interested and moved by Eastern spirituality. As a suggestion, and it is only that, it may be interesting to go back and re-read some of what you were ‘in to’ before, just to look at it with fresh eyes – both to see what your initial attraction was and what sense you make of it now. I know, for me, it was very revealing to very deliberately re-visit the spiritual teachings I had been so ‘in to’ before I took on actualism – I learnt so much vital information about myself, the human condition and the supposed wisdom of humanity.
PETER: Hi everyone,
I recently wrote an article for the local ‘Magazine of the Buddhas’ entitled ‘Austradamus’s New Millennium Predictions’. You may remember I posted it to the list a while ago. It was a lampoon of the spiritual world and spiritual beliefs and they not only published the story it but said they liked it a lot. In the same issue the editor wrote an article which caught my eye, so much so that I was moved to write to him. (...)
Excerpt from my letter to the author –
So, to call this a mere ‘fashion’ at one stage, is to demean and belittle the teachings of Rajneesh in no small way. I also find curious the use of the term ‘spiritual Sannyas’. Do you use this term derogatorily as a means of distinction from the non-spiritual ‘social’ sannyasins? Does this define seekers from non-seekers, the piously religious from the perpetually rebellious, those who are still looking from those who have merely given up?
I am curious, for you are writing as one who ‘sets the tone’ of what purports to be a ‘Magazine of the Buddhas’ and yet you factually misrepresent and appear to demean the essential message of the Buddhas. Are we perhaps seeing the emergence of yet another new and unique spiritual message? (...)
Personally I find it useful to write accurately although in my case it does reduce one’s ‘popular appeal’ to zilch. But then again, in my last article in ‘Here and Now’ I ridiculed and heaped scorn on all spiritual belief and the spiritual world and yet it still got published in a spiritual magazine!
I still shake my head in amazement at what anyone sees of any value in spiritual belief other than the opportunity for ‘self’-aggrandizement – Guru-ism – and the myth of ‘self’ perpetuation – life after death.
Still, these fairy stories have been around for millennia and it will no doubt take some further generations to wean people ‘off the dummy’, on to actualism and here to the actual world.’
As you can see, this type of NDA writing represents a classic denial of the essential spiritual message and, I suspect, an attempt to ‘clip-on’ a wee bit of actualism completely misrepresented as ‘isn’t it fun to be in the body!! ... when you are feeling really fucking good’ (And if you’re not feeling good, you can always sneak into a Satang or do a group which usually picks you up again for a while.) Ho, Hum.
PETER: Hi Everyone,
Just a note with some more about theoretical scientists. I had dug out some relevant quotes but Richard was quicker to reply. I thought I would leave it but a recent meeting twigged me to post them anyway.
Vineeto and I were invited out to dinner recently, and after the meal the evening turned to an interesting discussion on life and the universe. We merrily talked of what is actual and they merrily talked of what is spiritual, so few alleys of conversation were pursued to any depth. The woman was particularly interested in the ‘method’ we were using and I asked her: ‘method to do what?’ As it turned out, she didn’t have an aim in life but was just interested in finding a new method per se. She was simply on a spiritual quest for methods, paths and teachers.
That conversation soon dwindled, and in an attempt to inject a bit of common sense into the evening I steered the discussion back to the actual – tapping the arm of the chair to give an illustration of what is actual. The man immediately told me it was a scientifically proven fact that the chair did not exist as the essence of matter was ethereal and constantly fluctuating between here and there – pointing over there – and as such could not be actual. Needless to say I nearly fell off my chair, literally, as what I was comfortably sitting on had magically been transported, by scientific theory and this man’s belief, over to the opposite corner of the veranda.
RESPONDENT: I have only a general game plan so far and it goes like this.
The following is New for me:
PETER: Good to hear from you. You seem to be having great fun.
RESPONDENT: Indeed, at first when I heard that investigation into ‘me’ would be a wonderful adventure I couldn’t really see how, as emotions are sometimes hard to deal with. With bare awareness in full swing though, everything becomes fuel for a curious mind.
PETER: I found an advertisement in the local spiritual magazine that states very clearly the distinction between the spiritual approach to dealing with the emotions arising from morals, ethics, beliefs and animal instinctual passions and that of an actualist. I know there is an enormous amount written on the Actual Freedom Trust website about this subject but every now and again something catches my eye that blatantly exposes the spiritual approach of actively creating a new identity who transcends or rises above the unwanted bad or savage passions.
The advertisement is for a 4-day workshop entitled ‘Dis-identification’ – Letting Go of Self Hatred.
He writes in his introductory section –
This description very well describes the spiritual practice of disidentifying from unwanted and undesirable emotions and identifying with the wanted and desirable emotions. The undesirable real-world identity is transcended and a new desirable spiritual identity is created. The newly formed spiritual identity dis-identifies with the old identity and becomes aware of and suppresses, pushes away or ignores the unwanted emotions. This is not a bare awareness operating but an identity splitting itself into two – one good half being aware of the other bad half. To call this action awareness is to misuse the term as the awareness is so selective it would be best termed as occultation or denial. It is this very labelling and judging of feelings and emotions as good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable that prevents an active and equal investigation of all emotions and their instinctual roots.
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. (...)
RESPONDENT: Nice talking to you Peter. (I think it is my first direct mail to you). BTW, I have read your journal and enjoyed it a lot. That was how I was introduced to the Actual Freedom site. That time I was looking for someone who had broken away from Osho’s organized religion called sannyas.
PETER: And what you found was someone who has broken away from the spiritual world entirely and headed off in the other direction. I wrote the journal as the story of my journey out of the spiritual world and into the actual world. But you have to get out of the spiritual world first, there are no shortcuts – there is no clip on a bit of ‘actual’ and motor on the spiritual path. The spiritual path is for the Luddites who selfishly settle for the ‘feeling’ of freedom – a pathetic substitute for the actual. Not for the boots and all, sincere actualist, who will settle for nothing less than an actual freedom.
PETER: Maybe becoming free of depression, sadness, loneliness, boredom, resentment, anger, animosity, annoyance, etc. is not of interest to you.
RESPONDENT: No, Peter, your speculation about me is way off the mark. At present I am learning where my anger is coming from. I think my need for love is bringing that and lately I am trying to find where the need for love is coming from. I am also looking as to where do the random feelings of unconditional love I get, come from.
PETER: No, it is neither speculation nor ‘way off the mark’. Up until now the only way to become ‘free’ of malice and sorrow has been to indulge the imagination and affective faculties (feelings) such that one achieves a ‘spiritual’ freedom – usually referred to as Self-realization, or in its full-blown delusion, as Enlightenment. This is done by negating or denying the ‘bad’ feelings of malice and sorrow and giving full reign to the ‘good’ feelings of love and compassion. To call this figment of the imagination ‘freedom’ is to abuse the meaning of the word which is why Richard used the word Actual Freedom for his discovery. Given that you are firmly on the spiritual path, as is evidenced by your objections and refusal to want to even begin to understand what Actual Freedom is really about, you are obviously only interested in an imaginary freedom. The traditional ‘beam me up, Scottie’ solution, or the ‘beam me up, Bhagwan’ version.
This is not a criticism of you personally – these spiritual fantasy ‘escapes’ have, after all, been the only thing available up until now. But you are writing on The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List and any efforts to convince us, deride us, condemn us, or put us down will fall on deaf ears. We actualists stubbornly refuse to settle for a second-best freedom – a synthetic freedom that leads to the Master-disciple system which perpetuates the fantasy world of good and evil spirits, after-life, God, Religions and all sorts of meta-physical mumbo-jumbo. An actualist rapidly moves from learning, thinking, trying, and looking to investigating, pursuing, discovering, uncovering, finding, implementing, activating, challenging and dismantling feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts. From a mere snorkelling around on the surface to a bit of sincere deep sea diving into one’s own psyche.
RESPONDENT: I have summarised below what I was trying to say. I am not criticizing Actual Freedom, I do not know what Actual Freedom is.
PETER: One of the major resistances to Actual Freedom for many people is that it involves reading to find out what it is about and then it involves effort and a willingness to change oneself to take it from theory into practice.
RESPONDENT: I am/was not criticizing you, I do not know who you really are.
PETER: Just an ordinary human being who serendipitously ran into someone who had managed to free himself of the Human Condition. I liked that he said I could be both happy and harmless and that I could live with a woman in peace and harmony. So I gave it a go ... And now I get to write to you about how it works – the theory into practice. It’s no little thing we do, for a world without malice and sorrow will be a literal paradise, but in hindsight at the time it just seemed the sensible thing to do in my life.
RESPONDENT: I was definitely criticizing your style of writing on the list. In short, what I was saying: For my taste, you normally spend too much time denouncing ‘spiritual path’ without exactly defining which part of the ‘spiritual path’ you are denouncing.
PETER: That’s easy – all of it. This is, after all, a non-spiritual path to freedom. ‘Non’ as in – ‘a negation, a prohibition’ Oxford Dictionary. Having realized my freedom from the spiritual world it often takes restraint from getting up off my chair and jigging all over the keyboard in an iconoclastical tango. To be in at the very beginning of the end of the stranglehold that religion and spirituality has held over human beings for millennia. I was talking to someone the other day about the ‘goings-on’ in his particular spiritual group and we compared notes as to why we turned a blind-eye to things that weren’t quite right, to cronyism, corruption, power-plays, lies, deception, put-downs, repressions, etc., and we both agreed that we saw them as side issues to the main event – the spiritual pursuit. It occurred to me that the only reason I stayed so long was that there was no other alternative to the spiritual, so I had to turn a blind eye, or face going back to the ‘real’ world. In the end I left the group and searched elsewhere in the spiritual world but only found the same duplicity, the same yawning gap between ideals and dreams and the facts. Then I discovered the new third alternative, Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: You normally do not make it clear why you are denouncing whatever it is i.e. whether certain things did not work for you or you are positive they will not work for anybody. You have made these things clearer in your response to my criticism.
PETER: I am astounded. I wrote my journal with the express purpose of detailing why ‘things did not work’ for me on the spiritual path and in all the actualism writings specific facts are presented as to the failure of the spiritual path to bring an individual peace to billions of devotees or anything resembling peace to earth. Quite the contrary, the God-men have left such an appalling trail of bloodshed and suffering in their wake that it beggars description. But as you said you haven’t read enough of Actual Freedom to understand. What is written is no mere criticism for criticism sake but factual catalogue of failure, both personally documented and historically evidenced.
RESPONDENT: At one point, you wrote:
As far as I am concerned, that is the only path. I learned it from Osho via dynamic, you learned it from Richard. We can call it spiritual or non-spiritual, actualists’s or non-actualists’s. Only thing I learned from Osho is: I have to look into myself and I am on my own. Now what came out of writing to you. I saw violence in me, raw violence of the kind I have never seen before. I also observed my tendency to be cruel (malice ????). I noticed need-for-love is still working in me. I also saw lots of other things.
PETER: It would seem that ‘what came out of writing to me’ is that you have been diving a bit deeper than you have before even with dynamic meditation. It is my experience that many people become quite upset to the point of feeling violent when presented with facts. It is the facts that cause the offence, not who writes of them or how they are presented, for to acknowledge a fact rather than uphold a belief is anathema to one’s very ‘self’. After all, people are willing to kill others or sacrifice themselves for their dearly-held beliefs, such are the deep-seated passions that are unleashed. This is the very reason for all the religious wars, persecutions and bloodshed. To become aware of these raw passions is to do a bit of deep sea diving into one’s own psyche – to be aware of the Human Condition in action, the beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions. This awareness involves neither repressing, nor expressing as in dynamic meditation. To merely indulge in a bit of artificial emoting such as therapy groups, active meditations, etc. is not to be aware of the role that the feelings of malice and sorrow play in ordinary life. As for ‘we can call it spiritual or non-spiritual’ – just because you choose to call different things the same doesn’t make them the same. They may appear to you to be the same, or you may want them to be the same, but they clearly are not. ‘Non’ means ‘a negation, a prohibition’ – as per Oxford dictionary.
It is astounding to think that there is now the possibility of eliminating malice and sorrow to the point that one is incapable of being offended – of having no-thing to defend – no beliefs, no ideals, no principles, no rights to fight for, no ‘me’ who could take offence. And of a happiness that is not dependant on others or on being in an Altered State of Consciousness – a genuine happiness in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: Once you wrote to Alan something of the kind that: Whenever you (Peter) ask people about the way Gurus behave towards women, you get blank faces. What did you observe in reference to Osho’s (or any other Guru’s) behavior towards women. Do you have some first hand information ? You want to write about them. Those personal observations/experiences would be facts. Your facts, but facts.
PETER: How on earth can you have a fact that is ‘your’ fact – that would mean that you have your own versions of facts. Methinks you are talking about truths which are definitely not facts, as Mr. Rajneesh has clearly pointed out above. As I wrote to Alan, Richard has written an excellent piece on facts, if you are interested.
Some ‘first hand information’ from a post to the Sannyas mailing list about the same question that you have asked –
I would only add an additional fact and that is that Guru is a Sanskrit word meaning elder or teacher and as such is one who propounds Eastern Religions. It is common in Eastern Religions to regard women as second-class citizens, needing to be re-born as a man in order to be worthy of even undertaking spiritual practice, being excluded from temples, being mere possessions of men, etc. This attitude is still very prevalent in the Eastern Religions and permeates into popular spiritualism. All of the male Gurus have women disciples who worship them and regard them as Gods, and this is actively encouraged by the Gurus – a pathetic and abysmal behaviour towards women.
RESPONDENT: I think it is true that the anticipation, excitement about the expected ‘final event’ in one’s brain is a form of dreaming, escaping the reality. Is it a final barrier? I don’t know.
PETER: Of course there is only one way for you to find out for yourself, otherwise you will never know or you will have to resort to believing what others say. Merely believing is a poor substitute for a full-blooded finding out for yourself. The act of finding out for oneself, by oneself, is the adventure of a lifetime. And who would have it any other way.
This patent nonsense of sitting at the feet of Masters who then tell you in mystical poetic terms of a Truth that cannot be spoken of, cannot be put into words is nothing but twaddle. ‘The Divine Mystery that can only be lived ...’ The reason is that their Truth is nothing more than a feeling – a splendid, all encompassing, overpowering, enveloping, Self-aggrandized feeling of Unity, Oneness, Divinity and the like. Beneath the wonderful feelings lies a dim, dark and ancient ignorance – a turning away, a turning ‘in’ that is epitomized by the aesthetic retreats and lives of denial and renunciation lead by the spiritual pundits, monks, Gurus, etc.
The classic expose of the pride of ignorance of the ‘Ones Who Do Not Know’ was Richard’s meeting with a contemporary Guru. Richard stated that he had been Enlightened and had found something that was beyond Enlightenment and was he interested in knowing about it. The Guru said he doesn’t know with firm conviction as though ‘not knowing’ was in itself the Answer. When asked straight up whether he wanted to know, the answer was no. You hear it often in spiritual ‘jargonese’ – ‘I find I know less and less nowadays and its SO good’ What they mean is they can’t make any sense of anything on the spiritual path, so they give up any common sense and let their feelings and imagination run riot – and run riot they do!
Ignorance is proudly proclaimed in the spiritual world as Wisdom and this is most clearly evident in Eastern Spirituality.
As Mr. Mohan Rajneesh said in reply to a question –
Behind the lauding of ignorance and the perverse relating to a supposed childhood ‘innocence’ – the ancient Tabula Rasa theory – there exists nothing more than a belief in a ‘Something Else’ or a ‘Somewhere Else’ – traditionally masqueraded as the Truth.
In some Religions this ‘Something Else’ is defined as a particular mythical figure, spirit or God; in others it becomes an amorphous Energy, Source or Intelligence. Likewise, the ‘someplace else’ is defined as a particular place, a Heaven, a celestial realm, a Paradise, while in other beliefs it becomes an Energy field, an Ocean of Oneness, a ‘Home’ for the soul or spirit or a cosmic womb. Modern spirituality often cleverly and conveniently ignores the more inane historical interpretations of the original ancient texts and substitutes totally amorphous and nebulous concepts that are naught but a frantic and senseless chasing of blissful feelings. As such, the more ignorant one is, the less one attempts to understand, the less one knows – and the more revered, Holy and Wise one is deemed to be!
There is none more ignorant than the spiritual seeker – the more ignorant, the better the seeker – for they seek that which cannot be known, only imagined as thoughts and given sustenance by feelings. It can only be accessed by imagination and feelings for it only exists in thoughts and feelings – none of it is actual. Ignorance may well lead to blissful feelings, but it is still ignorance.
RESPONDENT: Recently, I have not read spiritual books (maybe just one in half a year). I would over indulge, ‘feed’ on them in the past. They made me feel good. I was on a path to the goal of enlightenment and most importantly, immortality. I don’t try to meditate nor I follow any gurus any more.
PETER: Yes, I understand the ‘feel good’ aspect of reading spiritual books. The spiritual message is literally music to one’s ears, a sop to one’s very soul, to be told that there is a life after physical death for ‘me’, the psychic and psychological alien entity within this flesh and blood body. One is told what one always thought was the Truth – that life on earth is about suffering, that it is an illusion because one feels cut off and isolated from people, things and events. One is forever condemned to be an outsider, a watcher, an alien on the planet, and then to have Wise men to tell you that this is the Truth and that one is only visiting the planet and there is a ‘somewhere else’ after physical death, certainly does give one a hell of a good feeling. If pursued with vigilance this good feeling can be blown up into an extraordinary narcissism, whereby one becomes the Universe experiencing itself as a Divine and immortal being. This Timeless and Spaceless feeling of Oneness is but the result of shift of identity of the alien entity – the self becomes the Self, a purely feeling state, an Altered State of Consciousness. Unfortunately the Enlightened One is still trapped within a flesh and blood body but ‘when the body dies’ a final liberation or Moksha is fantasized.
RESPONDENT: I have seen my possibility in the presence of Rajneesh. And I think you have seen your possibility in the presence of Richard, Peter and Vineeto.
PETER: I found your proposition intriguing, particularly the words ‘in the presence of’.
The Eastern tradition of Moksha or freedom is always a transmission of a ‘feeling’ of liberation from the world-as-it-is into the spiritual world – an escape from reality into a Greater Reality. Being ‘in the presence of’ one who has realised this Greater Reality is regarded as the best way to facilitate the necessary spiritual feelings of Unconditional Love, Unity, Oneness, etc. The initiation into disciplehood and the formation of Ashrams, Sanghas, Monasteries or other spiritual communities was a way of reinforcing the feelings of escaping into a Greater Reality – of ‘coming home’, ‘being chosen’, being lovers of the Master and being loved by the Master. The possibility offered was that the follower or disciple too could become like the Master, despite the overwhelming evidence that those who became Enlightened did so by their own efforts and not by being mere disciples of other Masters. The ‘being in the presence of’ is the great attraction of being around a living Master, and ‘belonging’ to His group is the similar attraction with dead Masters. The wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom neither contains nor entertains any of these religious authoritarian and hierarchical structures. It is free of any power of one over the other, be it the psychic power and strangleholds of worship, surrender, gratitude, loyalty, devotion and prayer that binds the disciple to the Master, or the necessity to belong to the group, contribute to the movement, pay your dues in time or money, support the ideals, and defend the Master. Those involved in Actual Freedom are those intrepid individuals who have taken it upon themselves to change the only person they can change – themselves. Their motive is a personal peace for themselves – a freedom from malice and sorrow – and to prove that global peace is possible, as in – ‘if I can do it, and I am nobody special, then anyone can rid themselves of malice and sorrow’.
There is no ‘in the presence of’ in Actual Freedom. This is it. A few Web-sites, a mailing list and about a million words so far. The story of how one man escaped from the delusion of Enlightenment, the method he devised to become free of the Human Condition and the writing of others reporting their success in applying the method. Also documented are the countless objections of many correspondents to the new and radical discovery that human beings can be actually happy and harmless, and the detailed and considered responses to these objections.
Anyone can now be free of the Human Condition (including the belief in a spiritual ‘other-world’ and a life after death), as sufficient words conveying the method, the results, the pitfalls, and the objections are now accessible on the Net.
The ‘possibility’ I saw when I met Richard was that I could live with a woman in peace and harmony, and for me that was a prerequisite to finding a personal peace and there ever being a chance of global peace. If I could not live with one person peacefully and harmoniously then how could I ever expect there to be peace on earth – then life was indeed a sick joke. The other possibility I saw was that I could live the PCE I had experienced as an ongoing state 24 hrs. a day every day. I knew it would prove the death of ‘me’ but I was getting very tired of ‘me’ by then anyway. The effort of maintaining a social identity and the being ‘on-guard’ constantly against instinctual passions arising was both debilitating and shackling – a second rate life.
An actual freedom was what I sought, and I’d settle for nothing less.
So, I wanted to throw some light on the differences between the spiritual path in practice and the path to actual freedom in practice. The nuts and bolts of how both work and the factual differences between the two paths.
RESPONDENT: My disciplehood is an individual matter.
PETER: If you mean it is a private, special matter between you and Rajneesh, then you are not alone in that feeling. At one time, there was more of a community feeling around Rajneesh but as the ‘dream’ faded that feeling has since dwindled and broken down into every man/woman for themselves – each with their ‘own connection’. The individual matter of disciplehood is much easier to imagine now that he is dead, for now everyone can ‘carry Him’ in his or her heart, he can ‘visit’ hundreds of places all over the planet simultaneously, and ‘answer’ thousands of prayers, and have a ‘personal’ relationship with tens of thousands. He is indeed much busier and active now that he is dead, but I guess the God-business is much easier to manage without the encumbrance of a physical body.
And you say you don’t believe in life after death? You are the disciple of a dead Master and you don’t believe in life after death? I think you are stretching credibility to its very limits.
RESPONDENT: But to make friends with other disciples all over the world is fun to me.
PETER: I had a great time too.
RESPONDENT: For personal peace and world peace.
PETER: Now hang on. How can you be ‘for personal peace’, when you are on the spiritual path and aspire to Enlightenment? You do know that the Enlightened Ones are driven in their Divine mission to spread their message, that they are desperately trying to attract followers, that they often have weird bodily experiences, that they can’t have a normal down-to-earth companionship with anyone, that they are constantly adored, worshipped, coddled and feted, that they ‘suffer’ for Humanity and their disciples, and that they have a mentally-diagnosable massive delusion of self-aggrandizement whereby they are convinced that they are God and that they are Immortal. Doesn’t sound at all peaceful to me.
And as for ‘world peace’, you are a self-confessed, certified, name-carrying Sannyasin of a dead Master. That makes you a man of Religion, and a true and faithful man of Religion will always kill or die for his particular God. It is ‘par for the course’. As you yourself said on this list – ‘I am completely surrendered to him with my whole being’. People are always ready and willing to kill and die for their Faith, as hundreds and hundreds of millions have done already and are still doing so.
I noticed that you said to Alan that Japanese people are atheists, yet millions fought and died for their Emperor who, unless I am wrong, they regarded as a living God. These are facts that I am writing, this is not some belief of mine. This is all well documented, proudly trumpeted, written in books, recorded on film, video and tape. Historical archives, libraries all over the world, the Net, the Holy scriptures, the discourses, all attest to these facts. Given that you are a Sannyasin, and that you are for world peace, you obviously believe in Rajneesh’s ideal that world peace will come when everyone in the world becomes one of ‘his people’. Not Christians, not Buddhists, not Hindus, not Jains, but Sannyasins. This means that all the other religions will have to magically disappear somehow. To quote Rajneesh –
RESPONDENT: Maybe I have it wrong but it looks to me like sorrow comes from fear. For example, if there is a fear of not surviving then there will be sorrow. In other words, isn’t fear underlying the sorrow?
PETER: The predominant instinctual passions are those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Although these passions are aspects of a single instinctual genetic program designed solely to ensure the survival of the species they are distinct and separate passions that can be discerned and experienced quite separately and distinctly.
This is not good news for the spiritually indoctrinated, for ancient wisdom has it that the savage passions of fear and aggression are the work of evil spirits whilst the tender passions of nurture and desire are the work of some God, by whatever name. In order to perpetuate this fairy tale, and defend their own cherished spiritual identities, spiritualists must deny the very existence of the four fundamental instinctual passions ... lest their whole world of beliefs come crashing down.
Speaking personally, I started to become suss of the benefits of spiritual practice and the motivations underlying spiritual beliefs after repeatedly observing the fact that the acclaimed Godmen were driven by desire for fame, were often angry and arrogant, cared only for themselves and demanded humility and surrender of their followers. Not only did I see the instinctual passions still present in the revered Gurus but I also acknowledged that, for all my sanctimonious feelings, I was also still capable of being angry, feeling resentful or envious, forlorn or melancholic. And as for fear, I began to see that the way the Gurus overcame the feeling of fear was to trip off into a spiritual la-la land – an inner fantasy world where they imagined themselves to be immortal Beings and therefore transcendent of the instinctual fear of survival.
I fully acknowledge the difficulty of breaking out of the fixed mindset of spiritual conditioning that locks one into seeing everything in terms of good or evil spirits, right or wrong thinking, desirable or undesirable feelings, fearful and mortal or fearless and immortal ... but what to do? Once I understood that the whole concept of spirituality was simply a belief, and a very, very archaic one at that, I was able to stop practicing selective awareness – a polite phrase for blatant denial and sheer hypocrisy – and get on with the business of being attentive to my own feelings of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: I will just continue on my own as I can’t seem to get past first base with anyone here. Thanks anyway for the reply.
PETER: A pleasure. Maybe it will be of use to someone else, sometime else. Even if not, I’ve had fun thinking and writing about the subject.
RESPONDENT: Also, I see that you are still referring to me as a spiritualist, which sounds a little odd coming from a religious devotee such as yourself. You can have the last say if you want as I don’t wish to continue this into the new year.
PETER: Might I remind you that it was you who asked a question of Richard on a spiritual mailing list and then posted his answer to this list. If you are not a spiritualist, why do you correspond on a spiritual mailing list and why do you talk spiritual talk on that list?
When I corresponded on several spiritual mailing lists and pointed out the flaws and failures of spiritualism, a common response was that many correspondents would then proceed to deny they were spiritualists – a blatant ‘not me, it must be someone else’ denial. Another common reaction was to label me as being a religious devotee – a taunt favoured by followers of Eastern religion in an attempt to deny the religiosity of their own beliefs.
If you don’t want to be a spiritualist, then don’t be a spiritualist – living life devoid of beliefs is a such a palpable tangible freedom for one ends up freed from the constant need to either deny, hide and conceal one’s beliefs – or to defend, champion or fight for one’s beliefs.
PETER: G’day Richard,
Also, I am reminded of something that you wrote on another Mailing List some time ago. Vis:
PETER: Yes indeed, the English language may never be the same again – and a good thing too. I asked someone the other day ‘How are you?’ as one tends to do as an opening gambit in polite conversation and got the reply ‘Not too bad’. As you well know this is about the best that anyone can admit to in the common usage of language in the country where we live, but it is a reply that allows the conversation – or ‘sharing’ if it’s a spiritual exchange – to develop into the usual mutual exchange of problems, difficulties, worries and laments. For females the issues are often more personal, whereas males tend to be more ‘worldly’, as in work, politics and the like, but the communication is typically one of mutual agreement as to what a bitch life as a human being is. And the dimwitticisms from the dim-dark ages simply serve to give this view a divine stamp of approval. The mythical Mr. Buddha didn’t want to be here trapped in a physical body, Mr. Rajneesh ‘only visited this planet’ for a bit and couldn’t wait to get out of here, leaving only his ‘dream’ behind and Mr. Jesus was only here because he was put up to it by his father and had no choice in the matter.
RICHARD: I was sitting at the caff the other day, with a woman whom I have never met before, discussing life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in the world as it is with people as they are. She listened intently and with interest to my story – she was not adversarial – and was seeking to comprehend what I was experiencing (she ran through a short list of the usual spiritual attributes to no avail) until she sat eyeing me reflectively.
‘I see’, she finally pronounced, ‘you don’t judge people’.
‘Goodness me’, quoth Richard, ‘I am as judgemental as all get-out ... surely you are not neutral on all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides are you? Do you not appraise people, things and events and come to a considered opinion as to what is a sensible course of action ... and what is silly?’
She sat a while longer, considering.
‘I feel there is no charge in you’, she said, ‘that is why it is okay to assess’.
PETER: To skip on to your ‘conversation with a woman in a caff’ – and comment on a few bits that are relevant to my experiences.
Yes. The spiritual view is that ‘I’ as the thinker is the issue and then actively encourage ‘I’ as the feeler to run rampant. My experience when I started to run with the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ was that it was feelings that continually and relentlessly emerged as my experiencing. Thus ‘I’ needed to feel grateful for being here in order to transcend the underlying feeling of resentment at having to be here at all, and ‘I’ needed to feel love in order to bridge the gulf that ‘I’ as an alien entity feel exists between ‘me’ and other human beings. ‘I’ feel compassion for others as a way of being able to indulge my own feelings of sorrow and ‘I’ feel indignant when someone else suffers injustice as ‘I’ really like a good fight. ‘I’ am ever fearful of what others think of me or feel about me, ‘I’ am ever on guard, ‘I’ am ever ready to defend myself against having ‘my’ feelings hurt. ‘My’ ploys are many in the battle with others – confrontation, withdrawal, snide remarks, denial, a bit of undermining, a bit of cutting down to size, a bit of a whinge to someone else – ‘I’ can be as cunning as all get-out in these battles, if need be.
‘I’ readily believed in the spiritual beliefs and wallowed in the blissful feelings as a welcome escape from everyday reality and the promise of an after-life was poetry to ‘my’ ears and salve to ‘my’ heart. ‘I’ felt deep-down that there was no hope for Humanity and no hope for me, and from these feelings were born a desperate belief in an after-life as an escape from the despair of life on earth. The list goes on and on as ‘I’ fight it out for survival with others in a grim world, and ‘I’ will ultimately do anything to stay in existence. ‘I’ am rotten to the core – the combination of animal instinctual passions and an ability to think and reflect make the human animal not only malicious but cunningly malicious. This lethal combination allows the human species not only to wage wars, inflict genocide, rape, murder, torture and pillage to a scale unprecedented in any other animal species but allows for the psychic warfare and power battles, blatant denial, fantasy escapes, corruption, deception and deceit that is endemic in all human interactions.
It soon became obvious that freedom from being an identity – social and animal-instinctual – was the only way to get free of this constant emotional churning and the constant selfishness of indulging in denial and escapism.
RICHARD: ‘Then this is indeed Enlightenment’, she concluded, somewhat triumphantly.
PETER: It takes a blindness arising from love, devotion, trust and loyalty not to see the rampant narcissism of the Enlightened Ones. As Mr. Rajneesh declared himself –
What unmitigated twaddle from the self-professed ‘Master of Masters’. Just to balance his super-view of himself and his Divine state I post the entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Rajneesh –
... Sort of brings God down to earth a bit, hey. Or even more prosaically –
... 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: ‘When I say I have no identity whatsoever I mean it ... I am not God on Earth’.
‘I am a fellow human being ... with no instinctual passions nor the ‘self’ engendered thereby’.
‘I am talking of the elimination of the instinctual animal ‘self’ that gives rise to the ‘we are all one’ psittacism’.
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 Richard: Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.
Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)
This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.
I particularly remember when I first came across spiritual teachings, the mythology and poetry that alluded to this ‘inner’ world seemed to strike a deep cord with me – the tales of Ancient Wisdom ‘connected’ with this deep (unconscious) level which was a connection with the instinctual memory in the amygdala. I had ‘found’ someone who had the answers, was in touch with the Source, knew the meaning of life, the truth – I had come Home. I began a journey into the inner world of good feelings, made real by the ability to enhance the chemical flow of nurture and desire and dampen, suppress or ignore the feelings of aggression and fear. I was literally leaving the real world behind and seeking solace and succour in the spiritual world. I was thus forfeiting any chance of breaking free of my instinctual passions, in total, for a selfish bid for personal bliss and a permanent place in an imaginary ‘other world’ composed solely of chemically-supported blissful feelings.
GARY: It is also a stunner to realize that this deep questioning and examination of out-moded spiritual beliefs is dismantling my social identity, that it is part and parcel of this demolition work. This work leads to examining the other end of the duality: the tender instincts of nurture and desire. I have historically been focused on fear and aggression, but both sides of the equation need to be thoroughly explored. As you say, and quite sensibly so:
PETER: Most people who have been searching for freedom, peace and happiness have adopted a new identity – that of a spiritual seeker, and this new identity is the first thing that has to go before you get down to your original social identity. What made this process easier for me was that I figured whatever I could take on later in life as a belief, a conviction and an identity, I could very easily discard – a bit like a layer of clothing or the outer skin of an onion. Once this spiritual identity is out of the way, the work of dismantling the rest of one’s social identity can begin.
Just as an aside, it is curious to observe that the Gurus and God-men still have much of their original identities operating – thus the Indian Gurus never quite transcend their roots and original religious beliefs exactly as the Western Gurus remain western and retain much of their original religious beliefs.
An actualist needs to thoroughly clean the cupboard of all belief.
GARY: So, I wish to explain that I feel I have set myself on the broad highway towards freedom. I’ve got a lot of gas in my tank and many miles to go, I am sure. I am reading and digesting as much as I can about Actual Freedom, on the website, etc. I am hoping to have more discussions with all of you here. This is very exciting work and I have been having a lot more fun lately than usual! I’ve had some pretty good laughs of late and I have been sleeping a lot better. I am a lot happier and I have a lot more energy.
Perhaps these are some of the immediate benefits to living in the present moment with people-as-they-are and the world-as-it-is.
PETER: Personally, the relief at leaving the spiritual world was palpably delicious – I felt such a relief from not having to continually maintain trust, faith, hope and belief in the face of doubt, confusion, factual evidence and common sense. Many people who have come across Richard over the years stopped at this very point, relieved to have got out of the spiritual world and then promptly settled down to normal life once again, a goodly bit happier for the leaving. For an actualist, this abandoning the spiritual path is the beginning of the adventure of ‘self’-discovery, not an end unto itself.
This is why I say that the path to Actual Freedom is a passionate adventure. The same fuel that drove initially my spiritual search, drove my search for freedom from malice and sorrow – same passionate desire, opposite direction.
You need a good deal of gas in the tank initially and eventually you’ll come to a stage when you find yourself careering along, looking for the brakes and finding there are none. Then, as soon as you dare to, you take your hands off the wheel and sit back and be aware of doing what is happening and amazement, wonder and delight come flooding in to fill the hole that is left when ‘you’ temporarily abdicate the throne. When you do this often enough, and find that the actual world is not only safe but pure and perfect, you become aware of your destiny.
GARY: In a recent post, No 8 wrote –
In reply, you wrote –
It’s a rather big foot, Peter, and I was wondering if you might like to reply. I called it the ‘sticking point’, because I feel there is a point that most of us get to when we are severely challenged and up against something that refuses to budge. Faced with an adversary who is intent on putting an end to your life at the point of a gun or some other equally potent weapon, it is interesting to speculate as to whether one would respond instinctually with a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality or whether something else would happen, something more akin to intelligence and common sense. Of course, I may be neglecting to recognize that common sense might dictate speedily dispatching the onerous adversary with a well placed shot. A kind of ‘putting him out of his misery’, as it were.
Pardon the gallows humour.
I am really quite surprised that you replied to me that you would not hesitate to respond ‘aggressively’. I can only conclude that since you told No 8 you put your foot in your mouth you feel you made a faux pas. Well, if it is a mistake, I don’t want to make too much of it. Perhaps the scenario I described of being faced with imminent loss of life by a violent opponent is where the rubber meets the road for an actualist. If one has thoroughly self-immolated, and as I am aware of no one who has achieved this feat save for Richard, I should think there would be no aggression involved at all. In other words, there would be no adrenalin rush, no fight-or-flight response, no desperate pleading for your life to be saved, no hair trigger ‘shoot first’ reaction, like in all the cowboy pictures we were raised on. With no fear on board the physiological organism, a fervent imagination leads me to two possible conclusions: 1.) one would be as ‘calm as a cucumber’ and able to defuse the most violent of confrontations, skilfully using the wastage of energy generated by the opponents’ wrath, or 2.) one would most likely perish and be quite unconcerned with it, as one is devoid of a sense of being a personal ‘I’ that needs defending. Rhetorical questions and speculations aside, few of us are actually faced with anything like this. Not to say that we might not be at some relatively near point in the future, if war breaks out, which, considering the history of world, is certainly possible. It is a wonderful distraction to consider these questions, but I don’t want to belabour the point. It is far more interesting and vital work to consider how to deal with the situations that are actually facing me than concoct a hypothetical situation to speculate about.
If you would care to respond, you might comment on whether or not you were caught unawares when you responded in that way by saying ‘aggressively’. It was a rather revealing remark, as I think we are all in that boat, unless of course we are in Actual Freedom.
PETER: It looks as though we have a crossed-post situation where I have answered most of the points you raised by answering your first post on the subject. At the moment I am quite busy working so I tend to be slow in my responses if the inbox gets full. I also like to respond in reasonable detail to questions raised which was another reason that I was attempting to pass on the longish piece of Sethism that No 8 posted, but it looks as though my attempt failed. You quoted No 8 –
Common to most spiritual/ religious teachings is the moral principle that everyone is responsible for their actions, whereas one only has to take a clear-eyed look at the sacred teachings to discover that this is not so in fact.
In monotheist religions the issue is very clear. There is one God only, usually a creator God, and everyone is ultimately judged by this Big Daddy who offers the carrot of a heavenly after-life, or the stick of a hellish after-life.
This threat of Divine punishment and the promise of Divine reward ultimately means that everyone is responsible only to God for his or her actions and to no-one else. Thus a mythical God becomes one’s ultimate authority and the beleaguered believers dance to the tune of their God as well as His or Her earthly representatives – the Popes, Bishops, priests, Gurus and God-men, pundits, teachers, etc. When my God is ‘The one and only God’ it means that all other Gods are impostors, fakes and competitors, and those who follow other Gods are therefore non-believers, heathens or barbarians.
This battle of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods has meant that millions upon millions upon millions of impassioned believers have attacked, slaughtered, maimed, killed and tortured other human beings in thousands upon thousands of pogroms, missions, retributions cleansings, wars and crusades, that have gone on for at least 3,500 years of recorded history. This senseless violence, spawned of religious belief, is still on-going with no sign of abating as all the prayers for peace on earth to these self-same mythical Gods have curiously gone unanswered.
In the monotheist system violence and killing is not only condoned as in ‘I’m fighting for God’ or ‘I lay down my life for God’ but it is Glorified in that the very action of killing, or being killed, ‘for God’s sake’ is a guarantee of a glorious redemption and salvation for one’s immortal soul.
This action of deliberately surrendering one’s responsibility is predicated on believing in the ancient ignorant beliefs and superstitions of good and evil spirits, Forces or Beings as the underlying cause of the animal-instinctual savage and tender passions in operation in human beings. As such, to hold any skerrick of belief in any of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods – by whatever name – is to renounce responsibility for one’s actions and ignore the fact that every flesh and blood human is automatically driven by instinctual animal passions. These passions arise from a genetically-encoded very crude program instilled by ‘blind’ nature purely in order to ensure the survival of the strongest (i.e. most brutish) of the species. Animal ‘evolution’ in action is not a pretty business ...
Last century, when the last world war after the ‘War to end all Wars’ finished and yet another (Cold) War developed with each side playing a game called MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – many people who were desperate for peace on earth turned their backs on Western Religion and adopted Eastern ‘spirituality’ with open-hearts and lofty expectations. Given that any belief demands faith, trust, hope and unquestioning agreement, none bothered to stop and investigate the basic tenets of this ‘spiritual movement’ – Eastern religion and philosophy. The core belief that underpins Eastern religion and philosophy is that ‘who-one-truly-is’ is spirit only and one is most definitely not the body. To sustain this belief one needs to deny the body and its functions, as in ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind’, etc. This belief, if fully indulged, can lead to a state of solipsism:
which is the most extreme form of denial, pathological dissociation. This denial represents an abdication of any and all actions that ‘the body’ and ‘the mind’ happen to do for they are not ‘me’, they are but vessels for ‘my’ earthly journey or even ethereal manifestations of the real, substantive ‘Me’. This core belief in the East is most graphically seen in the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar and the wisdom and culture of Zen Buddhism.
A bit from Ramesh Balsekar which you may think of as extreme, but it is nothing other than a ‘tell it like it is’, unambiguous description of the deep-seated belief that ultimately prevents a spiritual believer for taking full responsibility for their malicious and sorrowful words, thoughts, feelings and behaviour –
The most telling expose of Zen Buddhism I have come across can be found here http://www.darkzen.com/ and, in the interests of brevity and non-repetition, I’ll let you follow it up if you are interested.
As a rough rule of thumb it is useful to bear in mind that when Western religions talk of peace they talk of ‘Rest in Peace’ as in peace after death. Peace on earth is usually only referred to when a day of reckoning happens and whichever of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods returns to earth and saves His people and wipes out rest, usually in some horrific cataclysmic slaughter. When Eastern religions talk of peace they talk of ‘inner’ peace only – retreating ‘in’ to find one’s true self as a way to escape from the suffering of the material physical world. In this scenario earthly existence is seen as suffering, i.e. as earthly suffering is essential and end to it is neither desirable nor possible in this belief -system therefore peace on earth is not on the spiritual agenda. As such, to hold any skerrick of Eastern spiritual belief is to renounce the possibility of peace on earth for the utterly self’-ish feeling of ‘inner’ peace (Nirvana) and the promise of an eternal peace after death (Parinirvana).
I know that some people regard actualism as an endless repetitive denunciation of religion and spirituality but they miss the point entirely for one cannot begin to come to grips with instinctual aggression, let alone sorrow, while at the same time holding on to any religious/spiritual belief, whether it be Western or Eastern, Earth-bound or inter-Galactic.
Becoming aware of anger in oneself is a great start – acknowledgement is an essential first step in any cure. For those who have trod the Eastern spiritual path this step seems almost an impossibility for they have been so immersed in the practice of denial that the program has become both automatic and overwhelming. Not only did I have to take this step of abandoning the spiritual path, but then I came across the suppressed underlying Western-spiritual feelings of guilt and shame that shrouded, inhibited and crippled my common sense investigations of aggression and anger.
These investigations are not for the faint of heart, but the reward of an actual peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body, is now, for the very first time, alluringly available ... and the tantalizing prospect that this could spread like a chain letter around the world over time is breathtaking in its implications.
PETER to Gary: Many, many spiritual people, despite their years on the spiritual path, have never ever bothered to investigate their social/spiritual conditioning as many simply swapped their Western beliefs for Eastern beliefs. The main reason for this blindness is the practice of denial and transcendence – they don’t want to be here anyway and have no interest at all in being a happy and harmless citizen of the world. ‘Be in the world but not of it’ is the best they can muster – a pathetic statement of non-committal non-participation, if ever there was one. They never connect their own feelings of nationalistic pride with war and conflict between nations, they never connect their own spiritual beliefs with war and conflict between religions, they never connect their own inability to live with others in peace and harmony as being at all related to the violent events on the evening news. Their armour of denial, their myopic ‘self’-centred selective awareness and their comfortable cocoon of moral superiority and associated spiritual pride serves to isolate them in an inner world totally of their own making.
I found that after my spiritual years I was totally ignorant of the inherent workings and functional aberrations of the Human Condition and I deliberately embarked on a journey of exploration, comfortably undertaken lazing in front of the TV or sitting in front of the computer. This investigation of grim reality and the imagined Greater Reality is essential if one is to break the stranglehold that the utterly selfish Eastern spiritual teachings have had in all aspects of one’s thinking about the Human Condition, the universe and what it is to be a human being. It is such an exciting exploration to discover the facts of what it is to be a human being as opposed to being a mere mouther of everyone else’s Truths and psittacisms.
PETER: It took me 17 years of exploration on the so-called spiritual path to finally understand, acknowledge, and act upon, the fact that spiritualism was nothing other than ‘Olde-Time Religion’. Every pundit, teacher or follower I met or group I was in felt they were unique or that they were specially ‘chosen’ in having the truth of their existence revealed to them personally. Spiritual revelations and experiences are music to ‘me’, as soul, and inevitably lead to ‘self’-ish introspection and an increased detachment from actuality.
GARY: My experience of religious and spiritual groups was just that it was more of the same-same in human affairs and interactions: in other words, the same people vying for position and power, the same coercion by the group on how to think and behave, the same dynamics of leader-follower, etc. I don’t know now what I thought would be different. Religion promises but does not deliver. I wanted at one point to immerse myself in a monastery where my life would be molded and controlled for me by others.
The process in the religious/ spiritual world of subjecting oneself to a Power or Powers and the earthly representatives of that power has its analogy in the work world with its hierarchy and office politics.
PETER: There are generally two archetypes on the spiritual path – those who devotedly follow and those who desperately seek. I was very content with being a devoted follower of a Guru until the death of my son got me off my bum and made me into a seeker. The timing was serendipitous for soon after my son’s death my Guru died and I witnessed first-hand the inevitable formation of yet another dead-God-man religion. And I clearly saw that spiritual people are nothing other than normal people – it’s just that they tend to be a bit sillier for they have gone off into la la land.
PETER: The actualism writings are generally framed in terms of being a search for freedom, peace and happiness and the reason for this are two-fold. Richard’s discovery of the ‘self’-less pure consciousness state was a two stage process, an elimination of his social/ psychological self, or ego, and the final elimination of his instinctual/ psychic self, or soul. Having been Enlightened and then gone beyond it to actuality, his expertise and experience of the delusions of the spiritual world are second to none and his writings reflect that expertise, knowledge and approach. Similarly, Vineeto and I have had extensive insider experience of the world of the spiritual/ religious believer and our writings tend to be slanted towards our expertise. The other even more important aspect of this slant is that it is reasonable to assume that anyone interested in freedom, peace and happiness would be on, or interested in, the spiritual path – the only alternative thus far to remaining ‘normal’.
GARY: Well, while probably most people interested in freedom, peace and happiness would be on, or interested in, the spiritual path, there may be others who are not. So far, perhaps that remains to be seen.
PETER: The famed spiritual path is rapidly losing all credibility as time goes on. The West’s grand flirtation with Eastern religion is beginning to look a bit like a leaky sieve. At one end spiritualism is being watered down to moralistic self-love and stress-relieving techniques, à la Oprah Winfrey, while the increasing exposure of the necessary narcissism of the spiritual teachers, Gurus and God-men is spoiling their game no end. Things have changed enormously since I first tentatively trod the boards of the spiritual stage. So much more information is available for anyone to make his or her own assessment of what is on offer and whether it works.
Many who come across actualism are so heavily indoctrinated by Eastern religion that they skim a bit of what is written, if at all that is, and dismiss it as spiritual. If they read a bit more they react strongly and then dismiss it as anti-spiritual. In time, the writings on this web-site will be simply acknowledged as non-spiritual and down-to-earth and, as more people become interested, actualism will increasingly become a vibrant and flourishing third alternative.
GARY: I became interested in what Richard had to say while on the Krishnamurti list, it is true. But earlier in my life, I was on what I would call the ‘drug’ path – ‘better living through chemistry’. I cared not a snoot for religious or other spiritual thinking, although the ethos of that time – the Love Generation – was very much influenced by Eastern religions and ideas.
PETER: And Richard got himself Enlightened without any knowledge of Eastern religion at all. I got myself involved in Eastern Religion after a dark night of the soul, knowing not a fig about what I was getting in to.
PETER to Gary: Although this post is generally in response to the ‘Actualism and PCEs’ post of 23/01, I have retitled my reply because the general topic does seem to be shifting to actualism in the market place, i.e. the process of becoming free of malice and sorrow, in the world as-it-is, with people as they are.
It is both a fascinating topic, which yet again serves to make a clear distinction between ancient Spiritual freedom and an actual freedom from the human condition in total.
The mailing list I was last writing to had as its discussion topic at one stage ‘how to be in the world but not of it’, which neatly sums up the spiritual approach. I would paraphrase this as ‘how to begrudgingly accept being here while taking every opportunity to be there’. I found the contradictions, sentence to sentence, in all of the contributor’s discussions to be quite bewildering. One moment they would talk of going ‘there’, or going ‘inside’, and the next sentence they would be extolling the virtues of being ‘here’ ... by their very words they were proving that they were not talking about the same place.
Whenever a contributor touched on the horrors of the human condition they would soon indulge in the bitter-sweetness of feeling sorry for those poor ‘ignorant’ people, ennobling their own pity as being superior by labelling it as feeling true compassion. Whenever someone dared to share the reality of their own lives they would be reminded by other group members that they are not in fact human beings but that who they really are is Divine spirits. Whenever someone began to despair of the human condition they were reminded that peace on earth is ultimately impossible and one’s only hope is to seek solace in the hope of an other-worldly paradise. Should anyone begin to question any of the passionate spirit-ual beliefs, or worse still, dare to question the teachings or the teacher, the tribal elders or head Shamans would quickly pull them into line, either by seducing the group member by sweet talk or disciplining them with a loving reminder. If seduction or castigation fail the ultimate threat is of ostracization.
Once you are hooked into the spiritual world, it’s very tough to get out of it.
I think I have wandered slightly off-topic because I began by talking about the diametrically-opposite difference between coming here to the actual world and going ‘there’ to the spiritual world. Just a little story from my spiritual years will illustrate the fact that actualism is 180 degrees different to Spiritualism.
When I was a freshman spiritual disciple of Mohan Rajneesh, I remember being awed when a long-time disciple told me that they had met Rajneesh in person and how, when he looked into His eyes, there was nobody inside – meaning there was no personal self inside His body. I thought it a bit strange at the time because I understood Enlightenment was about being here. But then again, personal Enlightenment was not really on my agenda because I had joined up because I had fallen in love with Rajneesh and we, his Sannyasins, were going to change the world by practically demonstrating to people that we could live together as a community in peace and harmony.
Some ten years later, when I met Rajneesh in person and looked into his eyes, I realized he was not here at all but was really somewhere else. Of course, my experience was that he was not here in the ‘real’ world, but had really gone ‘there’ to the spirit world – but he was definitely so far-out from anything that was going on in the physical world that nothing could bring him back. This impression of far-far-outness, as in being on another planet altogether, was confirmed only months later when he died and the words on his tombstone read – ‘Never born, Never died, Just visited this planet’.
‘Tis strange looking back as to how the intensity of the feeling of love could so blind me that I either ignored, or blatantly denied, the fact that I was the follower of a God-man, that I had simply been suckered by his sweet talk, overwhelmed by the feeling of being loved and belonging to the congregation and enraptured by his psychic cunning into being a faithful goody-two shoes, holier-than-thou, religious believer.
And not only that, my love for the God-man was unconditional – as in totally faithful, totally loyal and totally unquestioning. Unquestioning of his duplicity, contradictions, lies, deception, angry outbursts, his greed and lust for power, his blatant refusal to be responsible for anything he did or said, his running away and abandoning his followers when the going got tough, his secretive sex-life and his manipulation of those close to him for his own ends.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.