Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter


RESPONDENT: Cognitive dissonance can apply not just to people coming to understand a new paradigm, it can also happen to those who at the moment have committed themselves to that paradigm.

PETER: I freely admit that I do have difficulty in understanding why people would have such difficulty in understanding a new paradigm but then again I do understand from personal experience that it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand something entirely new whilst still clinging to the past.

RESPONDENT: It is quite remarkable how you have not understood the thrust of my message.

PETER: Given that your post was entitled ‘the failure of spirituality or disinclination?’ I understood the thrust of your post was that human beings, as opposed to the spiritual teachings themselves, were to blame for the failure of spiritualism to bring an end to human malice and human sorrow. As such my response was to point out that the blame for the failure of spiritualism lies not with the followers but with the revered spiritual teachings themselves because the teachings are not at all concerned about peace on earth.

I have re-read your response again and the phrase that I picked up on was your comment that –

[Respondent]: ‘The tenacity of humans to their way of thinking, feeling and living is not a small factor to consider when evaluating the success or failure of any technique envisaged to bring liberation for man’. [endquote]

And my point was that actualism is not any technique nor does it have anything at all to do with the old paradigm of spiritual liberation.

Having explained why my apparent misunderstanding of the thrust of your message occurred (that which you call cognitive dissonance) – would you now explain what thrust of your message actually was?


RESPONDENT: Comments from experienced actualists, including Richard, invited

As it has been said at many places on the Actual Freedom Trust website that the self will do anything but agree to being happy and harmless, then the method to be happy and harmless doesn’t even come into the picture.

PETER: This may well be your attitude to actualism but it certainly wasn’t my attitude.

RESPONDENT: Who is talking about attitudes here? All I am saying is that for one to start working towards peace and happiness, one has to, as it were, get off one’s butt and work hard at it. And since most people are ambivalent about inner work, the success or failure of a method (what one does after one gets off one’s butt) is immaterial at this stage.

PETER: Okay. I thought you were also talking about your own attitude (as in – settled behaviour, as representing feeling or opinion; (also attitude of mind) settled mode of thinking), which is why I responded with a personal example – my own attitude with regard to making the decision to dedicate my life to becoming happy and harmless. Am I to take it that you were only talking about other people’s attitudes and not your own?


PETER: In fact, as I have written many times before, it is not a matter of not agreeing (or agreeing) to become happy and harmless – au contraire, I found the path to becoming happy and harmless has a big sign over it saying ‘Warning! Do Not Enter Here!’

RESPONDENT: Now that is being disingenuous. Despite the warnings, if you entered, that means the visions of success overshadowed the warnings. What I am saying is that most people don’t have the gumption to even move into anything other than their conditioned mind-set, be it spiritual discipline, actualism and so on.

PETER: Far from being disingenuous I am talking about my own experience of actualism. The reason I mentioned feeling that there was a big warning sign was that I knew if I went down that path would be the end of ‘me’ – the feeling of fear was as if I was literally entering a tunnel from which their would be no return. At that stage I didn’t have ‘visions of success’ as you put it, rather a feeling of embarking on a path that led to oblivion. And yet despite the feeling, I did set off on the path and once I did so the fear of leaving the past behind was replaced with the thrill of discovery.

The interesting thing about the feeling of fear of setting off in a new direction is that once you do wholeheartedly set off, the feeling of fear evaporates – fear is only a feeling after all.


PETER: Despite the warning I found that I had no alternative but to go down that path – after all I had already found that there was no way I could be happy and harmless whilst being a materialist (it’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world and I didn’t like eating ‘dog’ given that the dogs were my fellow human beings) …

RESPONDENT: Okay, people who dedicate themselves to spirituality in order to find liberation would agree with you that the normal life of materialism is nought but suffering. (Just on a tangent here) Your teacher and perhaps yourself has no objection in eating his fellow creatures (e.g. cattle, chickens, et al). Why this selective liking of only your fellow-species? Oh, if you agree that violence is inevitable and one has to kill to eat anyway (the fond argument of your teacher), then when in crisis, I won’t be in the same room with you or your teacher because you might decide that at that moment killing your fellow human being is also sensible since you have to kill to eat anyway.

PETER: This is definitely a tangent and a corny one at that.

I presume you understand that when I talk of the dog-eat-dog world of materialism I mean that the current progenies of hunting and gathering humans still act as they have been genetically and socially programmed to do – they instinctually compete against other humans beings in a grim and ruthless battle of survival. The only difference being that what was once a brutal physical battle has now by-and-large become a brutal psychological and psychic battle (unless law and order breaks down that is and then the gloves are well and truly off and battle reverts to being a brutal physical battle for survival).

As for my being a non-vegetarian, I see no reason why I should bow to the un-liveable highly selective ethics based on the beliefs of a particular religious grouping. Given that it is a fact of life that life feeds of life and given that as an intelligent human animal I am able to make a choice, I choose to devote my time, energy and passion on becoming free from the animal instinctual passions in order that I could be harmless, i.e. to be without malice, towards my fellow human beings.

What others choose to focus their time, energy and passion on is their business entirely.


PETER: … and I found that there was no way that I could be happy and harmless in the spiritual world (it’s a guru vs. guru world and I didn’t like how the gurus were as men, …


PETER: I didn’t like how they treated their fellow human beings and I didn’t like their lifestyle).

RESPONDENT: Perhaps a different viewpoint might be in order here: I guess you couldn’t stay away from sex and women, is that it?

PETER: No. Your guess is wrong. I’ve written many a time that the reason I sought out a female companion after coming across actualism was that I wanted to prove that it was possible for me to live with at least one other person in utter peace and harmony, something I had failed to do previously.

RESPONDENT: I say that because at the beginning of your actualist career, you proposed to a woman whom you found physically attractive (you didn’t consider your sexual instincts to be a hindrance to happiness then, did you?).

PETER: Of course not. I started where I started – a normal bloke with a full set of instinctual passions intact, both the ones I proudly wore on my sleeve as a badge of honour and the ones I repressed and shamefully hid away from others. The very reason I chose to find a female human companion and not a male human companion was that I am heterosexual by nature and as such I was attracted to the proposition of being able to get to the root of my sexual predatory nature such that I could become free of its insidiousness. Besides which I always thought the Eastern approach of avoiding the temptations of the pleasure of sexual play, not to mention avoiding the difficulties of living with one other person in peace and harmony, was, to put it bluntly, a wank.


RESPONDENT: It is the dis-inclination of humans towards change, the inertia that is so pervasive, that is the reason that all solutions have failed and will continue to fail, even actualism.

PETER: Am I to take it that you hold to the belief that you can’t change human nature?

RESPONDENT: If you choose to read my sentence that way, that is certainly your choice. However, I clearly mention the word dis-inclination and not im-possibility is the reason why solutions continue to fail.

PETER: Again, I thought you were talking personally rather than generally which is why I responded with a personal question to you and a personal answer from me. I’ve already said why the traditional solutions within the human condition fail and will continue to fail to bring an end to human malice and sorrow and I have already indicated that I chose to try something new. As I understand it, you are proposing that the reasons all the (traditional) solutions continue to fail is solely because humans are disinclined to change? If so, my response is that it is the traditional solutions that are wanting, not human beings per se.


PETER: [Am I to take it that you hold to the belief that you can’t change human nature?] The question I asked myself when I came across actualism was why not? What occurred to me was that if the answer to that question was no, then that would have mean I held a deeply cynical view about the possibility of there ever being peace on earth between human beings – and that was a view that I, for one, refused to hold to

RESPONDENT: Have you been fundamentally able to change your nature since you started practicing actualism? Has your ego been demolished? Has your being been extirpated?

PETER: I have had this question put to me many times over the years and whilst it is often asked as a way of denigrating my efforts of investigating my feelings, emotions and passions and of abandoning my beliefs and becoming as happy and harmless as humanly possible, it nevertheless is a fair question given that ‘I’ sill remain in existence. The only reason I can come up with as to why this is so is that becoming virtually free from malice and sorrow is relatively easy compared to taking the final step into an actual freedom from the human condition in toto – curiously enough, the same warning sign ‘Do not enter here’ – only this time the warning is purely instinctual.


RESPONDENT: The very reason people are staying away and leaving in droves from Actual Freedom (that they are unwilling to work hard and dismantle their identities and fond feelings) could be the reason spirituality has failed to bring peace on earth in the last 3000-5000 years, to wit, disinclination of normal human beings to enquire into their reactions, to dismantle their beliefs and to be ready to diligently and individually go beyond the frontiers of humanity.

PETER: Why you suggest that any spiritualist should berate themselves for the failure of spirituality to bring an end to human malice and sorrow is quite frankly beyond me.

RESPONDENT: Why you berate your fellow actualists for not practising sincerely enough comes in the same bucket, doesn’t it?

PETER: Hmmm. Perhaps you could give me an example of my berating my ‘fellow actualists’ for not practicing sincerely enough.

I readily admit to not being tolerant of dissociative practices, spiritual or metaphysical beliefs, philosophical ponderances and the like – I didn’t tolerate them in me which is why I have been able to come to my senses, so why should I give succour and support to any correspondent who comes to this mailing list trotting out the same old failed practices and wisdoms, no matter what version they are hawking? I would not be doing anyone a favour by supporting beliefs that do nothing but continue the mayhem and misery of the human condition on a mailing list dedicated to discussing the way and means of becoming free of the human condition.

I found that only a scrupulous attention worked for me in order that I could make sense of the instinctual nature of the human condition and it is this need for scrupulous attention of one’s own beliefs and one’s own feelings, emotions and passions that I am attempting to pass on to those with an ear to listen.


PETER: The reason spirituality has failed to bring peace on earth is because peace on earth is simply not part of spiritual belief – …

RESPONDENT: Have you managed to bring peace on earth, now that it is simply part of actualist belief?

PETER: I would hazard a guess that almost everyone who is subscribed to this mailing list ‘knows’, as in has experienced, the utter peacefulness and stillness of this verdant planet literally hanging in the boundless vastness of space, no matter how briefly and no matter whether they can specifically remember having had the experience. Is not the nascent promise of this experience the inherent attraction to what is on offer on the Actual Freedom Trust website? Peace on earth? The peace that many people know is already here … if only …?

The traditional ‘if only’ response is ‘if only everyone else would stop fighting and feuding’, and yet a little introspection reveals that the ‘if only’ applies only to ‘me’. A little introspection reveals that ‘if only’ ‘I’ stopped feeling resentful about being here ‘I’ could start to feel good about being here and eventually even start to appreciate being here and eventually even start to marvel at the wonder that not only this planet is but at the fact that the universe exists in its peerless infinite and is happening right now.

‘Peace on earth’ does not mean that actualism proposes that everyone has to become peaceful, far from it. Peace on earth means being able to experience the peace that is already here when ‘I’ am not here – the peace that everyone has experienced at some stage in their life, no matter how briefly, no matter whether they have a conscious memory of it or not.

Very often people think that actualism is only about bringing an end to the suffering that human beings continue to inflict upon themselves and upon each other and yet whilst this appalling situation would come to an end if everyone on the planet were at least virtually free of malice and sorrow, it is the end goal of actualism which attracts people to actualism in the first place – the lure of the direct experience of the already existing peace on earth. Not as a nearly experience, not as an intellectual understanding, not as occasional experiences, not as temporary experiences but as a permanent 24/7 until physical death experience.

Actualism is not an all or nothing business – by doing all you can to eliminate your own resentment, antagonism and sadness you are demonstrating by example the utter senselessness of being an instinctually driven being and by doing so you are concurrently taking the necessary steps towards becoming actually free of the human condition in toto. A win-win situation, a win for you personally and a win for your fellow human beings.


PETER: [The reason spirituality has failed to bring peace on earth is because peace on earth is simply not part of spiritual belief –] spiritual belief has it that peace is only possible after physical death in some imaginary other-world.

RESPONDENT: Okay, if by peace is meant a total absence of any kind of pain, mental or physical, that is quite a true statement. As long as the body is there, physical pain (necessary at times to signal discordance in the organ systems) will also remain.

PETER: If I were to follow your line of reasoning then indeed the only way to avoid physical pain is to be dead or even better still, not to be born in the first place.

I for one am very appreciative that other human beings have invented drugs that not only relieve pain but that can render me unconscious should it be necessary prior to the pain becoming so strong that I would naturally become unconscious. But I fail to see what this has got to do with becoming free of the human condition … or are you saying that becoming free is impossible because human beings can have accidents, can become sick, certainly get old and certainly die in the end? If so, this sounds suspiciously close to the core of the Buddhist (fatalist?) philosophy that ‘Life on earth is essentially suffering’.


RESPONDENT: When the spiritual teachers point out that the student is not being sincere enough, hard-working enough, the actualists blast the teacher considering the method to be itself flawed.

PETER: Again the spiritual method is not flawed, it’s not the spiritual teachers that are at fault, it is the spiritual *teachings* – the mishmash of ancient fairy stories, pathetic homilies and fear-ridden superstitions together with the venerated state of delusion known as enlightenment – that are hopelessly flawed.

RESPONDENT: That’s what I said above. The teachings contain the method, don’t they? My point is, why do you neglect the insincerity of the student as a factor in the whole issue?

PETER: Because as far as I can ascertain from the thrust of your post you are lumping actualism in the same category as spiritualism and what I am attempting to do is to point that out to you. Can you see that the whole question as to whether or not the ‘students’ of spiritualism are sincere or not is irrelevant because it is the spiritual teachings themselves that are flawed – not the students?

When I was attracted to spiritualism I, along with many others, was attracted by the promise of peace on earth – of like-feeling people living in communes in peace and harmony. I was, in your words, a sincere student as were many others of my fellow seekers. What I eventually found was that the whole experiment failed, firstly because peace on earth was not part of the spiritual teachings, and secondly that the spiritual teachings did not acknowledge, let alone address, the fundamental reason for human malice and sorrow – the genetically encoded instinctual passions manifest in this body as ‘me’ a parasitical impassioned being.

Whilst other people may like attempt to denigrate me by making snide remarks about my gullibility in treading the spiritual path, I am well pleased that I did because by having done so and having experienced first hand its failures I was able to firmly close the door on spiritual belief once and for all.


PETER: I remember realizing one day towards the end of my spiritual years that millions upon millions upon millions of human beings had devoted their lives to the spiritual teachings – that the East was littered with monasteries that have been filled with monks for millennia all of whom have diligently practiced the teachings from dawn to dusk, every day of their lives from childhood to death.

RESPONDENT: No, only a few people had the gumption to go all the away and question everything that had been taught to them. Rest were just parrots or machines. No wonder they did not achieve liberation.

PETER: I remember thinking one day what would happen if everyone in the world achieved spiritual liberation and all became enlightened all at once? Would a system of rosters be introduced such that the throne was rotated, who would bow down to whom, who would touch whose feet, whose teachings would be followed, who would clean the toilets, who would pull the rickshaws, who would be the most divine and who would be the most humble?

As I said, I am not at all interested in spiritual belief let alone spiritual liberation – which is after all why I became an actualist.


PETER: I was suddenly struck by the fact that if I really wanted to succeed in the spiritual world, if I really wanted spiritual liberation, then I would at least have to do the same – turn my back on the world completely, become celibate, eat brown rice, beg for my food from others and so and …

RESPONDENT: There have been enlightened teachers who were not monks, in case you forget.

PETER: And yet I didn’t mention becoming a monk. I said that I realized that in order to become enlightened I would have to turn my back on the world and abide by the rules and regulations of whatever teachings or teacher I was following.

But given that you have mentioned monks, do you not find it somewhat curious that in one of the Eastern countries where the whole society supports the monk business, the most revered of these monks, He whose teachings they follow and whose guidance they seek, got his most-revered-ship not by sincere spiritual practice but via the ‘miracle’ of reincarnation?


PETER: … then, when I had achieved liberation, have people venerate and worship me for having done so. As you can gather, it was about this time that I started to become suss of the whole spiritual liberation/spiritual slavery game.

RESPONDENT: There have been enlightened teachers who actively discouraged veneration and worship, in case you forget.

PETER: And there have been enlightened teachers who actively discouraged sex and disparaged women and yet were partial to a clandestine ‘bit on the side’ as it were. I have also heard it said that there are many enlightened people whom nobody knows about because they are completely anomous in that they don’t teach and aren’t teachers. There are all sorts of myths and legends about enlightened teachers which is why I am happy to have had the opportunity to observe the behaviour of a few of them up close so I could ascertain for myself the vast gulf between myth and fact.


PETER: Personally I had no trouble evaluating the failure of spiritual liberation simply because I spent years inside the spiritual world and I know it inside out, as it were.

RESPONDENT: May I ask? How much effort did you put into your meditation / seeking before evaluating it as a failure? Just curious.

PETER: I obviously spent enough time and made enough effort to come to the conclusion that enough was enough.


PETER: The failure of spirituality is not only an endemic failure, it is systemic failure – not only the techniques (meditation and/or prayer is method whereby one practices dissociation and indulges in imagination) …

RESPONDENT: I agree. Dissociation is not the way.

PETER: And yet how else do you suppose that the enlightened become enlightened if not by dissociating from, sublimating and transcending the so-called Evil passions whilst enhancing and identifying themselves with the so-called Good passions – why else would other people venerate them as being transcendent Beings?


PETER: [The failure of spirituality is not only an endemic failure, it is systemic failure – not only the techniques (meditation and/or prayer is method whereby one practices dissociation and indulges in imagination) … ] but the aims (spiritual liberation means that one becomes enslaved to some mythical God or believes oneself to be the reincarnation of some mythical God).

RESPONDENT: Come on, the above is not true of the greatest teachers.

PETER: Hmmm. Would those greatest teachers be those long dead teachers whose words and intent we cannot truly know because all we know of their teachings are interpretations of the words they supposedly said that have been passed down and reinterpreted from generation to generation of followers perhaps? Or are you talking about someone who is walking and talking – someone about whom we humans here today can make an accurate assessment of both their words and their deeds?


PETER: [The failure of spirituality is not only an endemic failure, it is systemic failure –] as well as the results (no peace on earth because the whole thrust of spiritualism is that peace is ultimately only possible after physical death).

RESPONDENT: See my comment about physical pain above.

PETER: See my comment about your comment about physical pain above.


PETER: I notice you made no comment about the insidious caste system that has evolved in much of the East as a direct result of the belief that some human beings are born with imperfect souls and some being born with presumably more advanced souls dependant upon some past-life misdeeds or good deeds. Did your lack of comment mean that you thought it irrelevant to the topic (the failure of spiritual belief) or was there some other reason?

RESPONDENT: Do you really mean that you disregard every aspect of spirituality, aren’t there some insights that can be won within the spiritual traditions?

PETER: I have eliminated every skerrick of spiritual belief for it is but a belief, albeit an almost universal one.

Any passionate insights won within the spiritual traditions are always invariably taken as spiritual signs and affirmations of one’s selfish beliefs, unless they are sensible insights of doubt and dis-belief in which case they are summarily squashed. Even PCEs can be seized upon by the ‘self’ and turned into epiphanies, satoris or awakenings in order to further fuel one’s spiritual narcissism and give credence to one’s impassioned imagination of being a Saviour of humanity.

RESPONDENT: My conviction is that it is only about extraordinary individuals, regardless of what tradition (spiritual or non-spiritual) that one comes from.

PETER: What comes from the spiritual extraordinary beings such as Mr. Jesus of Nazareth and Mr. Siddhartha Gautama, to name but two of the many, are shaky mythical stories of their lives and character, a set of unliveable morals and ethics and an idea of human existence on this planet that is firmly rooted in ancient superstition and ignorance. We have dismissed the old views of the earth being flat, that women are full of little people that pop out every now again for some strange reason, that the planets are gods in the sky, that good spirits do battle with evil spirits in the cosmos, etc. And yet we still desperately cling to the concepts of a spirit-ual world in whatever image, a God by whatever name, and an ongoing life after death, in whatever form. We now know that we humans come from the meeting of a sperm and an egg, and after at least 3,500 years of spiritual belief, trust, faith and hope there is still no empirical evidence of an ‘other’ world apart from this physical, actual universe.

Any of the traditional stories, teachings or wisdoms coming from the extraordinary ancient spiritual ones still require faith, trust and hope for us to believe the stories to be true.

Non-spiritual is another matter. While the spiritualists have been busy sitting with their heads in the clouds in their churches, monasteries and ashrams other human beings have been getting on with the practical down-to-earth business of making life on earth more safe, comfortable, leisureable and pleasurable for human beings. Actualism is firmly in the latter category, for it is all about eliminating malice and sorrow in oneself. The next step in human progress is both obvious and urgent ... actualizing peace on earth.

RESPONDENT: The ideal being not to hold on to any tradition ultimately, taking no position. That is what the spiritual teachers tell us but I don’t think that they are living up to it. The first thing Andrew should do is to dissolve all his spiritual communities, then he would at least be one step closer to manifesting sanity on this earth. Not only does it not serve the thinking individual but it also creates distance to ‘the rest of the world’ ... us and them as I think you expressed it.

PETER: I see a life lived without taking a position as a life of confusion, bewilderment – a sort of Bob Dylan – being ‘blown by the wind’. Unless you search in order to discover answers for yourself – what is condemned as ‘taking a position’ – you are forever reduced to believing what others tell you is the truth or the Truth. It is interesting to note that those who say ‘take no position’ are usually those who most definitely have taken a position and then play every trick possible to avoid scrutiny and questioning by others of their venerable position.

Any investigation of the peace offered in spiritual teachings will reveal that what is on offer is an inner peace or a peace after death. The only way any spiritual followers can realize a pseudo peace on earth is by huddling together in their own separate communities, isolated from other communities and the evils of the world. A little look around will confirm this fact and also point to the tragic failure of many individuals to realize a feeling of ‘inner’ peace as well as bringing to light the inevitable conflict, suspicion and hostility that results between the many fear-full and so called peace-loving separate groups on the planet.

The feeling of isolation in my spiritual life in various communities was both a comfort for it gave the illusion of no-separation and peaceful co-existence but the problem always arose whenever I ventured ‘out’ into an increasingly alien world where other increasingly alien human beings lived.

RESPONDENT: Another matter, you suggest that a sincere seeker could try out different spiritual practices and methods as you yourself have done to check the validity of them. I’m a bit surprised in hearing you say that, OK nothing beats our own experience for evaluating things, but I didn’t expect that you of all people would suggest such a thing. Is it really wise to screw with our minds in every thinkable way with the risk of getting caught in delusion? Wouldn’t you agree that the years you spent in the spiritual arena was a waste of time from one point of view? So I’m questioning your stand in this matter a little bit. In knowing what you know today the natural thing would be to advise others to stay away from the gurus and all, to have nothing to do with the sickened spiritual scene. This seems like a contradiction to me.

PETER: What I said was –

[Peter]: Personally, I found my immersion in the spiritual world a fascinating experience. I got to experiment with and experience all sorts of therapies, meditations, practices, teachings, Gurus, etc and eventually came to reject them all on the basis that they did not work. I would encourage anyone to do the same because then one can make a sensible judgement, based on personal experience as to whether something works or not. Of course, not every thing needs to be approached this way – if something is obvious from the experiences of others, from sufficient reliable evidence, from reading, from a check of historical records, etc. then one can also make a sensible informed decision. [endquote].

If you are discontent with your life as-it-is in the real world and can see by experience and sensible investigation that the spiritual world offers no solution then you may well be in a position to try something different. It is your life and your freedom and I only made the comment in case you are just looking for another belief to replace your spiritual beliefs.

On the path to an actual freedom from the human condition, to be a mere advocate of, or believer in, actualism is a second-rate choice. An actualist is someone who is actively, intently, stubbornly, full bloodedly, whole-heartedly and totally consumed in the pursuit of an individual actual freedom from the human condition. An actualist is concerned with action not advocacy, and with practical implementation and radical change, not theoretical observation and superficial adaptation.

To undertake this process one needs to firmly know that both the real world and the spiritual world offer no solutions and how you come to that knowledge and understanding, if you do, is your business entirely. I was simply making a suggestion based on my experience but I also realize that those who follow this increasingly trodden path need not have to experience all that those who went before did.

However any pioneering effort in the early days needs a boots-and-all approach or you will either not start or turn back at the sign of the first storm.

RESPONDENT: The reason I bring this up is that I’m interested in seeing everything clearly and as untainted as humanly possible, if there is going to be any hope for mankind we have to be able to rid ourselves of every false notion and face the stark reality of life as it is and to be able to see what we’re actually doing. Delusion has endlessly many faces and it’s a constant challenge to avoid getting caught in a limited view, most people aren’t really interested in the facts of life but prefer to stick to obvious misconceptions, obvious even to themselves. Not many dare to live a life of integrity. So that’s why it’s important that you and I and everybody else really look into our motives for the way we act in the world and how we relate to every aspect of human existence.

PETER: I would hazard a guess that your emphasis on integrity is why you have dared question the spiritual life where any integrity is forsaken for surrender, loyalty, faith, discipline, trust, humbleness, conformity. Integrity demands that we humans find a way to walk upright in the world as-it-is, free, beholden to no-one, happy and harmless – actually free of malice and sorrow.

RESPONDENT: Question: Once again, how do you relate to the possibility of there being a god or something else beyond our comprehension, are you even interested in that enigma?

PETER: Personally I have no belief in God by whatever name, therefore the notion of God has ceased to exist. When one stops believing, hoping, trusting and having faith that something exists it simply withers away by itself.

I recently saw an interview with a Christian monk who said the first thing he was going to ask God was ‘How come there is so much pain and suffering?’ – an excellent question I thought. If there is a god or something that is pulling the strings or creating all this human suffering then it is about time we told He/She/It to butt out.

The excellent thing about stopping believing in God as the ultimate authority was that I was able to grasp the tiller, so to speak, and steer the boat away from the rocks – including the rock of Enlightenment.


RESPONDENT: Next I would like to describe a few experiences I’ve had and maybe get some feedback from you. (...)

  1. The next experience took place about 15 years ago. I was living in a cabin with two of my schoolmates. That night these two guys made fun of me and I felt a little left out.
    Anyway, I decided to pray to God (for a little comfort I suppose), I asked God to show himself so that I could believe in him. I wasn’t into religion at all at that age nor did I think about spiritual matters. The prayer came out of the blue and I certainly didn’t expect an answer to it.
    BUT, something really happened that night. I woke up (it was much too powerful to have been just a dream) and felt an unbelievably strong energy in my body; I haven’t experienced anything like it before or after that night. I was feeling scared but also excited, (mostly scared actually) and suddenly I found myself hovering near the ceiling of the cabin. I was ‘flying’ towards the door and I remember that I could see my mates in their beds. When I came closer to the door I got quite scared, fearing that I would disappear into the Swedish summer night and I soon found myself ‘floating’ back to my bed.

PETER: I have had two similar experiences. As a kid I used to have dreams of flying which were both exhilarating and scary, and I have talked to others who have had similar dreams. When I first wandered off down the spiritual path I had an ‘out of body’ experience while meditating – there was ‘me’ hovering above my body sitting on the floor, attached by a golden cord. To me it proved what a powerful and consuming thing my imagination could be. Any thinking that is unrestrained by common sense and unrelated to sensorial input, as in the dream or meditation state simply becomes disconnected, disassociated, jumbled and downright weird in most cases. When thinking is overwhelmed by chemical surges from the amygdala as in a ‘dark night of the soul’, a near-death experience and the like, all sorts of cultural/ spiritual imaginations can be experienced, many of them either frightfully real or blissfully real, depending on the chemical flow at the time.


  1. These experiences haven’t been that dramatic but still they might mean something.
    What happens is as follows; I’m with other people in a group, let’s say that I’m at the Andrew Cohen centre of impersonal enlightenment in Stockholm discussing some issue over a cup of tea. Sometimes I can feel very uncomfortable in a group and not actually being part of the discussion. Then what happens is that in a split second I find myself very much a part of the group and I’m suddenly seeing everybody else much clearer, I’m not at all occupied with myself and my personal problems anymore. The instant before I was utterly self-conscious and suffering because of that, only interested how I came across to the rest of the group. On the most powerful occasion I was actually looking at myself from my companion’s point of view, it was almost as if I was in their body and could see exactly what they were perceiving, their experience was more important than my experience in that moment.

PETER: I would hazard a guess that you are picking up on the psychic energy of others in these situations. I have had many similar situations whilst in groups and there is an overwhelming surge of chemicals that emanates when one feels safe and assured in the company of others. There is an instinctual gratitude that one feels protected, sheltered, included, wanted, loved. This can even manifest as a deep feeling of ‘coming home’, of having found one’s true self and having found one’s true friends. Collectively, this is manifest as a fierce group loyalty and a feeling of ‘we are the chosen ones’. The opposite feeling, when picking up on the psychic energy of others, is to feel isolated, an outsider, under suspicion, unwanted and unloved. These feelings are usually quickly dismissed for they lead down the path of loneliness, sorrow, depression and despair. Many people simply hang around in spiritual groups for the feel-good psychic energy rather than risk abandoning the group entirely for that would mean having to face and deal with the unwanted or undesirable emotions.

When exploring emotions and feelings it is quite extraordinary to discover how much of what we think and feel is influenced by others. The bottom line that always drove me into this investigation was the evidence of the harm this collective psychic energy can manifest in the world. Mass hysteria, be it for good or evil, has produced some of the most horrendous acts of violence and brutality – all committed by normally peace-loving people who are overcome with the extreme passion generated in what is known as a group high.

The psychological and psychic entity within us is driven by the body’s survival program to be psychically on-guard, continually searching for who is friend to love and who is foe to hate, but even with friends our suspicion, intuition or gut feelings will never let us drop our guard completely.

Thus, actual intimacy with other human beings can only occur in a ‘self’-less state, either temporarily in a PCE, or permanently in actual freedom.

RESPONDENT: What I’m trying to say is that you must be aware that many people might see you as an empirical fascist, stubbornly claiming your view and disregarding everything else.

PETER: What I’ve come to see is that people will do anything but face the facts and calling me ‘an empirical fascist’ is but mild compared with some of the comments I have had. It is no coincidence that this message – that an actual freedom from malice and sorrow is now possible – is being spread via the Internet for it is proving to be both a safe and anonymous way of conducting a free-wheeling, non-popularist, non-spiritual examination of the human condition.

RESPONDENT: Don’t you think that the modern approach of science is more inclusive than exclusive, isn’t that something we’ve also learned along the line of evolution?

PETER: Theoretical science has always been grounded in mysticism, be it Western or the now fashionable version of Eastern mysticism. All theoretical cosmology can best be described as mystical cosmology for their search is based on proving a theory that they cannot prove by empirical observation – that there was a beginning and that there may be an end to the physical universe and that there is ‘something else’ or ‘somewhere else’ apart from this observable physical universe. Ever since the time of Albert Einstein’s mystical theory of a space-time continuum, a lot of common sense has gone out the window in both the search for the big picture and the search for the micro picture. When scientists lose their grip on sensate actuality and go searching for a greater reality they are following a long tradition of mysticism.

What we have learned from any form of mysticism is that all it produces is yet even more fanciful versions of mysticism.

RESPONDENT: That it’s helpful with crossovers in the search for new insights, to take in information from all valid areas, including theoretical science etc. The great explorers and practical scientists have contributed to mankind, yes, but they were also quite limited in many aspects and TERRIBLE human beings in some cases, they were also very influenced by their cultures that were anything but civilized.

PETER: Ah, well now you are talking about something different, which is human behaviour. Are you saying we should look to mysticism for the solution to peace on earth – an actual ‘civilization’ of human beings rather than the current fragile veneer of civilization, liable to break down at any moment, in any place? Surely the mystics have had long enough to prove their case. Mysticism, spirituality and religion have proven to be rotten to their sacred core – both the teachers and the teachings.

RESPONDENT: So you can’t put them on a pedestal either even though they have achieved results, maybe it wasn’t even worth the prize in some cases. The great explorers also managed to kill and exploit quite a few individuals in their quest for new discoveries.

PETER: You are putting words in my mouth again. What I said is that these practically oriented people have contributed far more to human comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure than have all the mystics, shamans, God-men, priests, theoretical/ mystical scientists and the like. As a human being I enjoy a myriad comforts and pleasures that were developed by my fellow human beings and I unreservedly appreciate the efforts of those who were here before me and who struggled to make human life no longer a matter of grim physical survival. The point you are conveniently ignoring is – why do we abandon this practical down-to-earth approach when it comes to finding a way to bring freedom, peace and happiness in our life? Why do we continuously look where billions of well-meaning seekers have looked before? Why do we still pray to God or look to God-men for the solution to peace on earth when peace on earth is not even on their agenda?

RESPONDENT: Even though spirituality has failed in many aspects we can’t know what the world would have looked like today without spirituality. It might, it just might be that we would be looking at an even greater mess today if it hadn’t been for spirituality etc.

PETER: That’s probably the limpest argument for spirituality I’ve come across in a long while. Given that over 160,000,000 human beings were killed by other human beings in wars in the last century, all of whom undoubtedly prayed to their God before dying, I fail to see your point. Are you saying that without God or the God-men even more would have been killed? How much worse do you want this present century to become before you question whether spirituality may well be a part of the problem and not the only solution?

This century it may well be Eastern countries and followers of Eastern spirituality that conduct a nuclear stand-off. Do you have abiding confidence that those who regard their existence on the planet as transitory or the physical world as illusionary, will be more concerned about not pressing the button than those monotheistic materialists of the West?

Have you not noticed that it is the pragmatic imposition of laws and regulations upheld by courts, judges, jails, armed police and armies that prevents ‘an even greater mess today’ rather than the prayers said in churches or the consciousness-raising meditations in the ashrams and sanghas?

I would remind you of your stated position –

[Respondent]: I’m interested in seeing everything clearly and as untainted as humanly possible, if there is going to be any hope for mankind we have to be able to rid ourselves of every false notion and face the stark reality of life as it is and to be able to see what we’re actually doing. [endquote].



RESPONDENT: Further more I’m not sure that portraying us humans as merely ‘flesh and blood creatures’ and nothing else serves mankind in a constructive manner, it can function as an escape as I mentioned and also give rise to or strengthen cynicism.

PETER: There is no viewpoint more cynical about life on earth than that of spiritualists for they have already given up on earthly existence and have turned away to the spiritual world for solace and succour – anywhere but here and anytime but now. How more deeply cynical a view can one have about human existence than this? Depending on one’s spiritual beliefs, we believe we are all born sinners and can only be redeemed upon death, we are endlessly reborn into suffering until we discover the Truth, that this physical life is not real but there is a Greater Reality or that if we sacrifice our lives to God or some God-man we will get our reward in some imaginary afterlife. And overlaying all this cynicism and doom and gloom, humans are all taught to believe that ‘you can’t change human nature’ – i.e. this is the way it is because this is the way it has always been, so this is the way it always will be!

The fact is that we are flesh and blood creatures, created only by the meeting of a sperm and an egg, and the fact is we are mortal and we will die and any remaining matter will then rejoin the other matter on this planet.

The illusion is ‘who’ we think and feel we are – a social identity instilled since birth overlaid over an instinctual animal ‘self’.

The acknowledgement of both these simple facts means that one can escape one’s fate of being a lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity who feels trapped inside the flesh and blood body and thus one can realize one’s destiny – to be the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.

RESPONDENT: Certainly we are driven by our instincts to a degree but that doesn’t mean that we need to surrender to our instincts. I think that that is what you are implying in a way.

PETER: Quite the opposite, in fact. The grand experiment of suppressing the savage instinctual passions by the carrot of instilling ‘good’ morals and ‘right’ ethics and the stick of imposing and enforcing regulations and laws has clearly failed, and will continue to fail, to actualize peace on earth. The current fashionable notion of transcending the savage instinctual passions while giving full reign to, and indulging in, the tender passions, has clearly failed as it has done for millennia in the East.

What is now available, for anyone sufficiently interested and motivated, is a method whereby they can eliminate these redundant instinctual survival passions, thereby actualizing peace on earth for themselves and freeing one’s fellow human beings of the burden these passions impose on others.

RESPONDENT: We’re lost for the time being but there might be a chance when we become more developed somewhere in the future. I would instead claim that peace on earth is possible NOW despite our apparent physical and psychological limitations.

PETER: Two very contradictory statements here. I take it that your first statement refers to some generational change, over hundreds if not thousands of years – so that counts you out in this lifetime. By your second statement you seem to be indicating you are going to accept your apparent limitations and put your faith in God.

For me, once I realized that I had got myself into the ridiculous situation where I had put my faith in God, or a God-man as it happened, I decided to take the helm and do a bit of determined steering myself. It was my life after all and it was clear that nobody was going to do anything about me, if I didn’t.


PETER: Personally I have no belief in God by whatever name, therefore the notion of God has ceased to exist. When one stops believing, hoping, trusting and having faith that something exists it simply withers away by itself.

I recently saw an interview with a Christian monk who said the first thing he was going to ask God was ‘How come there is so much pain and suffering?’ – an excellent question I thought. If there is a god or something that is pulling the strings or creating all this human suffering then it is about time we told He/She/It to butt out.

The excellent thing about stopping believing in God as the ultimate authority was that I was able to grasp the tiller, so to speak, and steer the boat away from the rocks – including the rock of Enlightenment.

RESPONDENT: That monk didn’t have very strong beliefs ... or maybe poor teachers. Even I was (should I use the past tense or not ... hmm) able to get past this stage in my relatively brief spiritual career.

PETER: You haven’t gone past this stage at all – you either haven’t gone far enough or you have just dabbled at the edges. All spiritual belief, both Western and Eastern, is founded on the fundamental principle that human existence on earth is essentially a suffering existence. I’ll post the piece I snipped from my reply to the list moderator about the famed and revered Mr. Siddhartha Gautama’s deeply cynical view of suffering on earth –

Buddhism’s central tenet is that

  • ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’ – the first and underlying principle of Mr. Siddhartha Gautama’s ‘Four Noble Truths’ : Given this ultimately debilitating view of human existence on the planet it is clear that peace on earth is not a part of any Buddhist teachings.

  • The second Noble Truth is ‘suffering is a result of one’s desires for pleasure, power, and continued existence’ – no mention of the role of instinctual passions in causing human malice and sorrow.

  • The third Noble Truth is ‘in order to stop disappointment and suffering one must stop desiring’, which points to the ages-old practice of denial and renunciation, i.e. a turning away from human malice and sorrow and the physical world.

  • The fourth Noble Truth is ‘the way to stop desiring and thus suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path – right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, and right concentration’ which clearly points to obtaining a feeling of ‘inner’ peace.

Peace in the Buddhist world of fundamental disappointment and suffering is maintained either by keeping one’s inner cool, remaining focused within and being morally and ethically ‘right’ or, for the serious practitioners, finding an sheltered peace by retreating to isolated monasteries or spiritual communities of like-minded people. Nowhere do I find in Buddhist teachings any mention of peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body only. Peter, List B, No 7, 6.5.2000

RESPONDENT: I thought this topic was over and done with among Christians. God created man in his own image and gave us the freedom of choice out of love for the humans, one can’t blame God for us making the wrong choices.

PETER: Methinks I was right in suggesting that one can only be interested in an actual freedom from the human condition if one has had sufficient experience with, and knowledge of, the spiritual path in order to understand its central message and why it has not, and never can, deliver peace on earth in this lifetime for anyone – let alone everyone. Your statement is another classic example of human beings forever blaming themselves – and not daring to even question the Gods or the God-men. This belief is so drummed into humans as guilt for our sins or penance for our very existence on earth that it is a miracle that someone has broken free and others are rapidly following.

RESPONDENT: Who said that life was supposed to be easy!?

PETER: Who said life was not meant to be easy and why do you believe them?

Just because God said so or Siddhartha Gautama said so or some Johnny come lately God-man repeated it doesn’t mean it is true or True. Of course life was meant to be easy and we all know it except we live in fear of the wrath of God or the scorn of our peers. The cute thing is once you stop believing in God you are free to stop believing that life was meant to be about suffering rightly. This then frees your senses to a literal smorgasbord of sensual delight that is on offer in this day and age on this cornucopian planet.

Life was meant to be easy – only a masochist would believe otherwise.

RESPONDENT: Living life is extremely challenging and what else could it be?

PETER: As humans, we are all subject to physical dangers, ill-health, accidents, earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. which can cause loss and pain. But to have, and actively indulge in, emotional suffering additional to the hardship is to compound the situation to such an extent that the resulting feelings are usually far worse than dealing with the facts of the situation. What impresses me is the extraordinary steps taken in wealthy, materialistic countries to not only reduce the hardship caused by physical dangers but to prevent them from happening in the first place. Early warning systems for fire, flood and storm, earthquake and storm proof buildings, emergency services, evacuation and relief plans, etc. all help to minimize and in many cases negate hardship, loss, injury and physical suffering.

RESPONDENT: Think about it ... would we really appreciate in the long run to have things just as we want them to be, to know exactly what life was about. No, I would not think so. Life is an enigma and that’s perhaps the only way it could be.

PETER: It’s good you said ‘perhaps’ because this is another of the furphies given to the world by the God-believers in order that nobody dares find out for themselves. The actual world is literally bursting with meaning, each moment again, whereas the real world is steeped in lament and the spiritual world is wallowing in compassion.

RESPONDENT: The Christian monk should maybe consider another line of duty if he can’t come to terms with the fundamentals of Christianity ... where’s the trust for Gods sake!?

PETER: I take it that you are now saying the monk should come to terms with the fact that human pain and suffering on earth is fundamental to Christianity yet above you indicated that God ‘gave us the freedom of choice’.

Which is it or are you having a bet each way? By the way, having a bet each way is not a sign of trust – it is a sign of doubt.

Let’s face it, whatever messages God has sent or whatever human form God is manifest in, He/She/It demands that we suffer rightly because this God also suffers for us and He/She/It demands that we defend our belief in this God even to the point of sacrificing our lives.

God is indeed a sorrowful and wrathful God, but as you said – ‘God created man in his own image’. (...)


RESPONDENT: Maybe that is enough for now even though there are endlessly many topics that can be discussed and investigated. I don’t really know where I’m going right now since there’s so much happening at once, only a few months ago I thought of maybe becoming a priest but that idea seems far away now. You’ve helped me see a possibility I didn’t really consider before; I guess I’m looking for something more down to earth at least. I’ve been thinking of studying Krishnamurti to see what he has to offer the world. From what I’ve read this far I can see at least some good points, especially that one should be independent and find out for one selves. That can’t be repeated often enough by teachers and others, it’s very refreshing to hear K put so much focus on that ‘The truth is a pathless land...’ I’ve also been thinking of studying philosophy at the university but I don’t know if it’s worth the time, money and effort. Maybe it’s better to seek on my own on the Internet for instance!! Then you can choose freely what one is really interested in and not what one is asked to read in order to pass an exam. ‘The benefit of university would be the company I suppose, good opportunities to interact with others that are (hopefully) interested in the big questions of life, but there are probably a lot of youngsters taking those courses to follow the current trend.

But this isn’t something that you would be interested in doing, Peter ... haha ... I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

PETER: When I was leaving the spiritual world and began to really investigate what others had to say about the human condition, I was amazed to discover that everyone – and I do mean everyone – has a spiritual outlook on life. The spiritual viewpoint permeates philosophy, science, medicine, education, psychology, law, etc.

No one dares to question the sacred ceiling for the atavistic fears and peer pressure are shockingly real. It is an act of extraordinary gall to even consider that everyone – and I do mean everyone – has got it 180 degrees wrong.

But it does explain why after millennia of so-called civilization and spiritual search, there is nothing even remotely resembling peace on earth.

Well there’s ‘something for you to sink your teeth in ...’, as you said.

RESPONDENT: It was about 8 years later after looking ever deeper into it that I awoke one morning and from the time the eyes opened until they closed in sleep that night there took place a complete transformation of what was left of this being. The ego was dead, there was no god to take its place. It was clear that the very words we use to communicate were a symptom of an underlying illness of misidentification. That we had evolved in such a way as to turn everything into abstractions and rarely, if ever, saw what was real before our eyes.

PETER: To regard that which is physical, tangible, palpable, visible, touchable, smellable, eatable, audible as an illusion is a trick of the impassioned mind that requires enormous effort. In the East this effort requires the torturous abandonment of sensible thinking and common sense – giving rise to the term ego death and the emergence of what could well be termed soulism – a feeling-only state of delusion. The lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning psychological and psychic entity that is the self becomes the Self – cunningly feeling Oneness, Wholeness, Timeless and Spaceless. The Eastern pursuit of ‘Ego-death’ has proven to be a very tragic delusion, for one becomes completely dissociated from what is actual as evidenced by the senses. This means that one renounces the world, both real and actual and begins a process of turning away, turning in, letting go, withdrawing, disidentifying and finally complete dissociation aka Enlightenment. The reason I use the word tragic is that spiritual seekers – many of whom began the spiritual search to find a way to bring about peace on earth – have now been seduced into turning away from the endemic malice and sorrow in the physical world we human beings live in and now regard it as illusionary, not real. They regard the spiritual world as REAL, the normal world as a nightmare to be avoided and the actual physical world as a dream created in their own minds. .

The question I ran for a long time is ‘Has everyone got it 180 degrees wrong?’ The fact that all these theories of human existence on earth were cooked up thousands of years ago was the beginning of my doubts. The other thing I found as I contemplated on the question was that it started to explain an awful lot of things about why the spiritual path that didn’t work.

RESPONDENT: I had been teaching before this and after it became very difficult to find anyone who would listen because I no longer talked in religious or spiritual terms. After a while I just stopped talking with anyone about this. It seemed pretty hopeless.

PETER: Many teachers report a feeling of hopelessness and frustration at their pupils not ‘getting it’. I always thought they were being compassionate until I woke up to the fact that they were displaying the very human qualities of anger and frustration – something I had assumed they had transcended. Since then I have found many demontrations of the fact that Enlightenment does not mean the elimination of malice and sorrow – it means the transcendence of human qualities – as in ‘existing apart from, and not subject to the limitations of, the material universe’. As such the truly Enlightened Ones feel sorrow – manifest and disguised as Divine compassion – and malice – manifest and disguised as Divine Anger.

RESPONDENT: Over these many years things have become ever clearer. I have seen that it isn’t so much that we are acting from our animal instinctual conditioning as it is what took place as we developed the ability to abstract life into words, pictures, concepts, etc. As that process developed what had been our instinct to protect our bodies was carried over into feeling a need to protect the images we had of ourselves. The ego has always been just conditioned thought that formed as a sense of personal identity.

PETER: This is the old-fashioned out-dated Eastern philosophical view of human existence on earth. The East has always seen the physical world as a dream, an illusion, Samsara, Maya, etc., and thinking was seen as the link to suffering in this dream world. Basically the idea is if you stop thinking about the suffering in the physical world it will go away. By a process of abandoning sensible thought and common sense they attempted to dissociate themselves from this ‘illusion’ by shifting their identity to become a new non-personal identity, yet another illusion. The cause of malice and sorrow is the identity or ‘self’ that dwells within the flesh and blood body. To rearrange this identity by shifting, polishing, making it holy, making it impersonal, making it Real, making it True, or whatever trick is used, is not eliminating it. The human body is instinctually programmed to do anything to survive and the alien psychological and psychic entity in the body, fuelled by the flush of chemicals released from the amygdala will thus do anything to survive. The multitudinous variations of real self, true self, Self, atman, pure being, Godliness, etc. offered up by Eastern religion and philosophy are a testament to cunning ‘self’-survival in action.

The survival instincts are not ‘conditioning’ – they are a genetically encoded program that automatic responds to input producing almost instantaneous robotic bodily reactions. In human beings these bodily reactions cause chemicals to flood the thinking and reflective neo-cortex and thus become passionate reactions or deep-seated emotions. The instinctual reactions are thus psychological and psychic reactions in human beings.

Fear hobbles us with a desperate need to belong to a group, to cling to the past, to hang on to whatever we hold ‘dear’ to ourselves, to resist change, to fear death and consequently to desperately believe in a life-after-death. Fear impels us to seek power over others or to mindlessly support the powerful in return for their protection.

Aggression compels us to fight for our territory, our possessions, our family, our ‘rights’ and our treasured beliefs and values – striving for power over others. At core, we love to fight or to see others fighting.

Nurture causes us to care, comfort and protect but also leads to dependency, empathy, pity, resentment, senseless sacrifice for others and needless heroism. Women are programmed to reproduce the species and men are programmed to provide for, and protect, the offspring – a blind and unremitting instinctual drive.

Desire relentlessly drives us to needless sexual reproduction and sexual hunting, senseless avarice, inevitable corruption and insatiable greed for possessions and power.

These instinctual animal passions in humans are not ‘feeling a need to protect the images we had of ourselves’, they automatically operate to protect both body and self and unless those passions are eliminated they will continue to run amok and forever act to spoil our peace and happiness.

RESPONDENT: I got the same post from No 7, with nothing attached. I did send a very short reply, which I no longer have, which just said I didn’t think it would be of any use to respond. I also sent in my last post to the group, but it looks like No 7 didn’t like it because he hasn’t posted it.

PETER: I find the level of disagreement on the list about spiritual matters to be astounding. There are so many conflicting views about how a Enlightened master should be and behave, what is Enlightenment, which teachings to follow, whether to follow the fundamentalist path or the watered down path, whether to retreat from the world or try and be in the world, whether peace and happiness is possible ‘while having a body’, etc. All of this disagreement and conflict is okay as long as it is addressed in terms of ‘I agree but’, or if it is dressed up in loving ‘we are all one’ feelings.

RESPONDENT: As I said in that last post, I am tired of hearing my self speak/write and need to be quiet again. So I won’t be on the group any longer. I don’t feel it does any good anyway. I do not like having to defend anything. Not that I mind being wrong, when I am, it is just contrary to the simple life I live. I wish you well, Peter. Keep on their backs. Even though I disagree with some of what you say I also agree with where you are coming from.

PETER: I take it that your agreement with ‘where I am coming from’ is based on the only point of agreement that we ever reached in our exchanges.

From my first post to the list to No 1 –

[Peter]: T’is silly that some fervent believers still insist that the Truth cannot be questioned for it is high time that Ancient Wisdom was challenged. Religious and spiritual belief has had its day; it’s run its course. It has had thousands of years to deliver an end to suffering and malice and has failed lamentably. Indeed much of human suffering and malice is directly attributable to the mindless subservience to religious belief and spiritual superstition. Peter, List B, No 1, 31.3.2000

From your first post to me –

[Respondent]: It is very clear that religion has failed to bring about anything close to peace, and in fact has caused far more suffering than any other system in the world. [endquote].

From that time on you keep insisting, in every way possible, that your awakened viewpoint has nothing to do with the Truth, Ancient Wisdom or Eastern religion.

RESPONDENT: Just be open to the possibility that there is more that you are missing, which I try to do in my own case all the time.

PETER: I deliberately and with forethought turned my back on the spiritual world but I can see that you are probably too enmeshed and enshrined in it to even consider that there might be a third alternative. I only wrote to the list to let anyone who had doubts about the spiritual path know that there is now a third alternative. Interestingly, this alternative was pioneered by an ex-Enlightened being who managed to extradite himself from spiritual delusion and dared to live in the actual world free of any identity (being, Self, feeling of Oneness, Allness, etc.) whatsoever.

I wrote to No 1 about my ‘experiences’ that led me to question the spiritual world, to ‘be open to the possibility that there is more’–

[Peter]: I had a particularly overwhelming altered state of consciousness experience when, after six months of withdrawing from the world and indulging in intensive spiritual reading and meditating, I was walking along a beach and had an experience of being ‘pure love’. I was Love, and love for everything poured out of me. ‘Existence’ and I were one, and all was love. ‘I’, as I normally was, was definitely not there – ‘I’ had become pure love. Or, put another way, I had an experience of the ‘self’ becoming the ‘Self’. For me, I realized if I continued on the path I was doomed to become enlightened, yet another Saviour of mankind, another God-on-earth and that was enough to ring the alarm bells. Somehow I knew that this was not what I was after, as I wanted to be an ordinary human being, not an extraordinary divine one like the so-called Enlightened Ones. Besides, I had not met one of these gurus whose life I would like to emulate. I didn’t like how they were with their women, I didn’t like their lifestyle and I had seen too many ‘off stage’, as it were, as emotionally driven and devilishly cunning. I had also seen enough of their power and authority, with its subsequent demand of worship and adoration, to be dismayed at the thought that the Master-disciple system represented the pinnacle of human endeavour. There had to be something better.

I remember contemplating the failure of religions, be they Eastern or Western, to deliver anything remotely resembling peace on earth while driving up the escarpment that encircles the lush semi-tropical coastal plain where I live. I stopped and looked out at the edge of the greenery, where a seemingly endless ribbon of white sand neatly bordered it from the azure ocean. Overhead great mounds of fluffy white clouds sailed by in the blue of the sky. Right in the foreground stood a group of majestic pines towering some thirty meters tall. I was struck by the vastness, the stillness and the perfection of this planet, the extraordinariness of it all, but ... and the ‘but’ are human beings! Human beings who persist in fighting and killing each other and can’t live together in peace and harmony. It was one of those moments that forced me to do something about myself, for I was one of those 6 billion people. It was exactly one of those moments that forced me to deeply question the traditional spiritual path – the ‘tried and failed. Peter, List B, No 1, 31.3.2000

I know very well the possibility I am missing and I am well pleased to have missed it. Somehow the career of a spiritual teacher or God-man never quite suited me.

I have enjoyed our exchanges and have taken the opportunity to archive them on the actualism web site as a record of a discussion between an actualist and a spiritualist on the subject of peace on earth.


RESPONDENT: You have, and still are, misunderstanding much of what I have said. You so want it to fit in where you can make a point in what you are saying that you just don’t see what I am saying. And perhaps I am guilty to some degree of the same thing. It is funny how you think I am a spiritualist when that is hardly the case. When I went through that transformation 22 years ago one of the first things I wanted to do was start a publication called ‘Actuality’. I read a lot of what was said on the actualism Web site and agree with most of it. That is how I have seen things for a long time, and it has gotten even clearer in recent times. I never played the guru role, and couldn’t. I just talked with those who seemed open. I knew for a long time if I wanted to play that role I could become rich and, seemingly, powerful, but that would have gone completely against the truth as I see it.

I didn’t say one thing, if seen how it was meant, that was untrue on the mailing group. How people wish to interpret it is up to them, I can’t help that. Every time I go out on a limb to speak, or write, to people it always ends the same way. I say it as clearly as I can and it still gets twisted into something else. It is a useless process.

PETER: I don’t know whether you have noticed or not, but people on the mailing list all agreed with you and all expressed gratitude for your contributions. They didn’t see that you were ‘going out on a limb’ at all. The spiritual world is able to contain a myriad of broader perspectives than the rock-solid physical, material actual world and your teachings are easily accommodated in the broad church of metaphysical belief.

But I do appreciate your position on the Master-disciple game – we seem to agree that it sucks. Two points of agreement!

RESPONDENT: One thing I do not agree with that I read on the actualism site is that part about their being no reality to the intuitive, precognition, etc. This is the only thing I meant when I wrote to you about there being more than the surface. I am not seeing anything other than the rock solid real world, but it is broader than most seem to see. I cannot, and will not, deny experiences that have happened most of my 61 years. I have seen events happening many miles away, and had them confirmed by people who were there. I have seen what was going to happen before it happened many times. I have seen objects jump off the wall from just my thinking about them doing it. I could write a book about all of this. So for me to say it is unreal would be to lie. That is all I meant while talking about there being more. In the latest findings of many scientists these things are just a part of the nature of the reality we all share.

PETER: This is exactly what I mean by the fact that we live in two different worlds. The awakening from the nightmare of reality to the realization of Reality is to subjugate a false personal sense of self and replace it with a true, impersonal sense of Self. The evidence of the truth of this ‘other-world’ is the feelings that arise and the experiences that are experienced. This other-world is a psychic world – thus one feels psychically linked with all other humans and the feeling of ‘We are All One’ is realized. In my case the experience was ‘I am love and Love is me’ – and any personal sense of self was completely overwhelmed by this new experiencing. I have also experienced the opposite of Grand, seductive and glorious in this psychic world and that is the Diabolical – a world so repulsive, so horrendous as to literally tear at one’s innards. I didn’t stay there long, but long enough to know that the Grand and glorious psychic experiences are underpinned by the Diabolical, and the dream of good, immortality and unity is but the opposite of the nightmare of evil, death and a hellish eternal lonely damnation. Duality isn’t eliminated, it is reinforced by the creation of a new world of imagination – that of Reality.

I don’t deny your experiences and I don’t deny that they are real. I have had many psychic experiences, all of which could be explained as psychic aberrations although I have never experienced physical objects moving – but my question would be ... ‘so what?’ If your psychic abilities were such that you could actually stop wars and suffering on this planet then I would willingly be sitting at your feet and following your teachings. We could then point you in the direction of trouble spots in the world and you could use your powers to end malice and sorrow in the world rather than moving objects and playing with clairvoyance. Until then, it is obvious that you have got yourself stuck in the spiritual world Reality – exactly as thousands upon thousands of others have in their search for a way out of being in the nightmare of real-world reality.

I have already stated my position about the spiritual world and many people miss the fact that spiritual means

‘pertaining to or consisting of spirit, immaterial’ Oxford Dictionary

as well as

‘Of, pertaining to, or affecting the spirit or soul, esp. from a religious aspect.’ Oxford Dictionary

While you insist that your awakening, your experiences and your current state are non-spiritual, as in non-religious, it certainly is spirit-ual, as in being psychic in nature. Methinks you are splitting hairs, yet again.

RESPONDENT: The next trap I am discovering in this delicate process is then not to fix what I have discovered as true in this moment as necessarily being true in the next.

PETER: By this I take it that that you are following the spiritual psittacism that one’s life should always remain a continuous search and one should never discover.

The only way I am able to enjoy the safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that I and many others experience is because of the efforts of those humans who have searched, questioned, experimented by trial and error and discovered something. The dissemination and implementation of these human discoveries is exactly what has bought human beings out of the Stone Age. Progress, moving forward, building upon what has gone before, seeking betterment – call it what you will. Why should we adopt a ‘delicate process’ of not fixing on what we have discovered in the search for peace on earth – a way to bring an end to human malice and sorrow. Could it be that the Great One’s don’t really have the answer and are hiding behind their great wisdom of ‘not knowing’ or of ‘knowing something so profound that it cannot be put into words’. These wise men proudly and defiantly proffer their ignorance as wisdom by offering such dimwitticisms as ‘The man that really knows doesn’t speak and the man that speaks doesn’t really know’.

There is a lot of puerile nonsense in Eastern ‘wisdom’ and it is rapidly beginning to be exposed as more and more people have unfettered access to the sacred ancient texts.

RESPONDENT: This really is demanding to pull off but being in the company of those who are committed to do it is the most ecstatic and fulfilling human experience I know and in this I have discovered this process actualizes the end of conflict and makes REAL the possibility of peace on Earth.

PETER: Personally, I found it impossible ‘to pull off’ the idea of not-knowing for I had to suspend commonsense – down-to-earth intelligence as opposed to rational or emotional thinking – and deny all that was actual, as evidenced by the physical senses. Ancient wisdom has it that thinking is the problem simply because they were in ignorance of the fact that it is the instinctual passions, manifest as feelings and emotions, that are the root cause of human malice and sorrow. They got it 180 degrees wrong but it is understandable for way back then they thought the earth was flat and populated by Demons, and the sky above a half-dome, populated by Gods.

However, if you have discovered that ‘this process (suspending the belief that I already know what is true) actualizes the end of conflict’, then no doubt you will be easily able to set aside your feelings of being upset and attacked so that we can continue our discussion about peace on earth.

I do like the Internet for the communication is by words and not feelings. Everyone is thus free to make their own judgement based on a sensible evaluation of what is written rather react on the basis of impassioned feelings. Goodness knows, in the good old days I would have been thrown out of the temple and stoned to boot.

Personally, I found it such good fun to investigate and explore my beliefs and feelings for therein lay the way to actualize peace on earth – the ending of all belief, illusion and delusion and the extinction of the instinctual passions. It is not easy or comfortable for it does stir up feelings and emotions that most regard as being best left alone but the results are both extraordinary and actual.

An actual freedom from instinctual malice and sorrow beats any synthetic feeling of freedom by a country mile.

RESPONDENT: You are just upset and angry because you haven’t found the peace you’ve been looking for. You don’t want to believe in spirituality anymore for personal reasons and so you are trying hard to make others feel just like you do. It’s very simple. You don’t need to complicate it. Stay in peace.

PETER: Well, your very first assumption about what I was writing was correct but this assumption about my motives is not. 50-50 is about right for intuition. I was aiming to post a short post for those who dislike words and reading but you have made an assumption about me that is wrong in fact so I will respond. As I have already said, I came to the spiritual path after becoming disillusioned with the ‘real’ world, i.e. I stopped believing in the ‘real’ world any more. One dark night of the soul, I saw that the ‘real world’ was but a nightmare and, as I had been reading my first-ever spiritual book at the time, the idea of a greater Reality seized me in its grip. This process of real world disillusionment and attraction to a greater Reality seems a very common transition from real world to spiritual world – a common story to many seekers.

What really got me moving on the search for freedom, peace and happiness was the death of my son, some 10 years later. It was indeed a shocking experience to stand beside my 13-year-old son’s coffin and be confronted by the sight of the dead body of someone so young and so close. Shocking to my very core. It was then that I really determined to find out how to remove the ‘shackles’ that I felt had always bound me, and to experience life free of them before I died. What my son’s death at such a young age did for me was to intensify the sense of urgency to find the meaning of it all – after all, I saw how short life can actually be. Here I was, my father dead, my son dead; I was still alive, in my early forties, and I was obviously living on borrowed time – as I saw it. And I knew that I was not even really living yet – there was fear, hesitancy, and that feeling of invisible shackles from which I yearned to break free. This experience was to prove for me a seminal point – the beginning of my search really. The other relevant point was that I realized that I had discovered nothing that I could reliably and honestly pass on to my children, there was nothing I knew that worked that would definitely make their lives happier or richer.

This personal experience gave me the driving force to dare to stop at nothing even, as it subsequently proved necessary, daring to question spirituality, both the teachers and the teachings. As part of this questioning I did pass through a phase of being angry at the teachers for I saw that they were wielding their psychic power to ensnare gullible disciples. This quickly dissipated when I realized that they only had power over me because I had let them have power over me and that the real issue was my susceptibility, gullibility and laziness in wanting to be a follower and a believer and not an explorer and a discoverer.

I had a wonderful time in the spiritual world. It was an amazing opportunity to immerse myself totally in the following of a living master and to experience the overwhelming experience of group highs, fervent belief and burning idealism in full flight. It was only by fully immersing myself in and experiencing both the ‘real’ world and ‘spiritual’ world without resorting to resentment, blame, bitterness or cynicism that I was able to remain naïve enough to even consider that there was a third alternative.

RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your posts to the list and I do find your arguments very well written and engaging. But with respect to a spiritual inquiry that has the potential for lasting transformation, I find them lacking substance.

PETER: Yep. They contain no substance that supports spiritual beliefs – quite the contrary. My central tenant is that all religious pursuits aka spiritual enquiry, has failed after 3500 years of intense effort to bring peace on earth – quite the contrary – and surely its time to try something new. In this post you fail to address this issue but raise all sorts of sorts of objections such as style, properness, but not my religion, ... etc.

RESPONDENT: I also find them increasingly troubling.

PETER: Does this mean that you were troubled by what was written? As in ‘disturbed, upset, worried, disquieted ...’ Oxford Thesaurus

RESPONDENT: The reason that I find them lacking substance is that your basic premises are consistently laden with straw men. A straw man argument is one in which the way that you define the argument, what information you include or exclude, enables you to conveniently arrive at a predetermined conclusion. What I consistently find is that your interpretation of various dimensions of the spiritual life allows you quite unfairly to reach troubling conclusions.

PETER: By crying ‘unfair’ I take it that you believe in the idea of playing fair when it comes to questioning the delicate fragile nature of religious belief. This ideal of ‘I will be tolerant of and not question your beliefs on the proviso that you don’t question mine’ is now firmly set in place as the universal principle of religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is absolutely essential in the real world so as to limit the amount of suspicion and keep a lid on the animosity that results from the many conflicting and competing religions in the world. Most people deem it fair to criticize other religions within the confines of their individual religious group either overtly or covertly by implication, whereas anyone who criticizes their own religious beliefs is deemed to be being unfair. The hypocrisy of the ideal of religious tolerance is legendary.

As I am a thorough-going atheist, I have no tolerance whatsoever of any religions or any religious/spiritual beliefs, so crying ‘unfair’ falls on deaf ears.

RESPONDENT: The reason that they are troubling is that they seem very cynical.

PETER: If you mean ‘disparaging, contemptuous, scornful, sceptical, scoffing, doubting, unbelieving, disbelieving, distrustful, suspicious, misanthropic, critical and sardonic’ Oxford Thesaurus then you are spot on.

The reason I write unfairly and, as you see it, cynically, is simple –

All spiritual belief is based on the concept that human existence on earth is a ‘necessary suffering’ and that ultimate peace and fulfillment lies ‘elsewhere’, after death. This ‘necessary suffering’ is the Human Condition of malice and sorrow and includes wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, despair and suicide. Therefore, this cynical belief that this appalling human suffering is ‘necessary’ is actively perpetuated by Eastern spiritual belief, by the God-men and shamans and their followers. With this belief firmly habituated on the planet, and particularly so in the Eastern religions, it is no wonder that human suffering and violence continue to flourish.

RESPONDENT: For example, you write:

[Peter]: ‘It is because of the complexity and difficulty involved that most mystics had to renounce the obvious pleasures and delights of the physical world and go off to caves, monasteries, ashrams, lone wanderings and indulge in often bizarre practices such as meditation, yoga, chanting, whirling, special diets, celibacy, etc. in order to strengthen their fantasies.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

Not only is this disrespectful towards individuals who actually did and do have a tremendous amount of true wisdom to offer in the name of the evolutionary potential of our species – i.e. how do I make the right decision as the right time for the right reasons – but it assumes that:

  1. the point of spiritual inquiry is to mystically dissociate oneself from the material world; and
  2. that the calling to rise up beyond our base instinctual motivations to survive is a fantasy.

These assumptions do serve your conclusions, but are they true?

PETER: Firstly ‘you’ can never trust yourself to make the right decision at the right time for the right reasons for one man’s right is another man’s wrong, or woman’s wrong. It becomes a matter of whose opinion you respect, who you feel is right, who you doubt and who you trust, what your ideals are, who speaks to your heart, etc. The whole effort of trying to live unliveable ethics and morals is the cause of so much angst and confusion that it is much better to ditch the lot and decide matters on the basis of what is silly and what is sensible, what works and what doesn’t. This is what I mean by eliminating one’s social identity.

Then what remains is the problem and effort of keeping the feelings and emotions that instinctually programmed to automatically arise under control and hidden from view. Better to ditch the lot for these ‘self’-imposed shackles are the very feelings and emotions we yearn to seek freedom from. This is what I mean by ‘self’-immolation.

By the way, just to correct your assumptions in the interest of clarity –

  1. the point of spiritual inquiry is to mentally dissociate oneself from the sufferings of the real world and in doing so one moves even further away from the actual world of sensual delight.
  2. the innate drive to break free from the insidious influences of our animal instinctual passions has been perverted into a calling to rise beyond them and escape into a man-made spiritual world of fantasy and delusion.

The question of whether something is true or false is one that fascinates spiritual seekers for they are obsessed with doing the right thing. I remember watching an interview with a medical researcher and he was questioned about the ethical and moral considerations of implementing the results of the research. He replied that we don’t necessarily do what is the best thing; we have to do what is right thing. Give me a fact any time – you can rely on a fact, there is no doubt, no right and wrong, no good and bad with a fact. A fact is a fact, whether we like it or not, whether we think it is good or bad does not change a fact nor make it magically go away.

RESPONDENT: I might add that, as a celibate yoga fanatic who meditates a lot, it seems that you might be missing what the point of these ‘bizarre practices’ are really all about.

PETER: What do you mean ‘seems that you might be missing the point.’ Do you doubt your celibacy, yoga, fanaticism or meditation? I know what they are really all about – being anywhere but here and anywhere but now, in the world as-it-is, with people as they are. They are about turning away and tuning in to what is REAL. Given that you believe in the REAL, I fail to see your objection – or are you merely objecting to my ‘unfair’ way of calling a spade a spade.


RESPONDENT: Another example, your write:

[Peter]: ‘By concentrating on repressing sensible thought, denying the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses, and letting one’s impassioned feelings and imagination run riot a new detached, superior and holy entity is realized.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

You seem to conclude that the true holy life, in all of its myriad forms, is ‘an act of repressing sensible thought’, based on the assumption that, in the holy life one must deny ‘the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses.’ Yes, there is some weird stuff going on out there that seems all too preoccupied with the task of denying the physical senses, but to therefore conclude that the whole matter of spiritual practice is a repression of sensible thought is rather a selective interpretation of the data.

PETER: Given that I would include the spiritual practices of meditation, calculated celibacy and meaningful yoga as a turning away from the sensuous delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses I am at somewhat of a loss as to the point you are making. A common spiritual mantra is ‘you are not the body, you are not the mind’, which sums it all up pretty well I think. You seem to object to the fact that I am making a generalization about the holy life and thus drawing conclusions that you find disturbing. What would be fairer in your eyes would be if I didn’t include the ‘true holy life’ in my conclusions and confined my remarks to what you must consider the ‘false holy life’. You would prefer me to be selective and exclude your personal beliefs from my presentation of facts ... and then we could sit back and mutually agree that we are right and everyone else is following false beliefs that cause all the countless recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing ...

Personally, I found it a too troubling business being in the spiritual world. There were too many questions without answers.

RESPONDENT: If you only look at the weird stuff, the shallow, and the corrupt, all sorts of critical conclusions may be drawn. But this has nothing to do with inquiry, or objectivity, and your albeit well-written prose leaves me sensing that you have chosen first your conclusions, then decided to interpret only those spiritual expressions that serve that conclusion. That’s a straw man, Peter.

PETER: The old ‘straw man’ argument is an oft-used debating method employed in desperation to divert attention from what is being said by objecting to how it is being said. Objective enquiry is a method of avoiding coming to any conclusions and when taken to extremes, as in spiritual enquiry, it leads to the ridiculous business of those who claim to REALLY not know being deemed to have great wisdom. I went in the other direction of subjective investigation – I wanted to explore, investigate, uncover and eliminate everything that prevented me from being happy and harmless. I wanted answers such that would cause an irrevocable change – the ending of malice and sorrow in this flesh and blood body.


[Peter]: ‘The simple test as to what is actual is to place a peg on the nose, place some Gaffer tape firmly across the mouth and wait 10 minutes. As you rip the tape from your mouth and gasp for breath you will have an experiential understanding of what is actual and what is illusionary.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

You seem to completely miss the point about what these traditions, ancient and in your view antiquated, have to say about illusion. I would offer another definition: Illusion refers to our seemingly endless struggle to want for ourselves, and in so doing not see things clearly as our perception is distorted by this wanting. To state that illusion means that the world materially does not exist is simplistic, though a simplification that is necessary to support your conclusions.

That straw man again.

PETER: You say that ‘Illusion refers to our seemingly endless struggle to want for ourselves, and in so doing not see things clearly as our perception is distorted by this wanting’. I take it therefore that you do not want to become Enlightened, Awakened, Free or whatever other name the goal of the spiritual search is, or that you do see ‘a spiritual inquiry’ only as a ‘potential for lasting transformation’ for you. In my experience, unless you really want something you will never get it, unless, of course you, believe it is granted by the grace of God.

I have never said ‘illusion means that the world materially does not exist’. You are putting words in my mouth. This material physical universe, being eternal and infinite, is always ever-existing. Eastern spiritual philosophy has it that the material physical world is illusionary, resulting in a condition known as solipsism. Are you not familiar with words such as Maya or Samsara? The test I proposed was for those who suffer from solipsism. (...)


RESPONDENT: You continue:

[Peter]: ‘As for our ‘essential non-dual nature’, I take it you are talking of the idea that we were born innocent, the ancient Tabula Rasa theory. The spiritual aim is then to return to our natural state of innocence – our true selves as we came into the world and before we were corrupted by evil. This is old-fashioned and out-of-date thinking that requires a blatant denial of modern empirical scientific research on the subject of human genetically encoded instinctual behaviour.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

I’m not sure that this is what the term non-dual is getting at. The fact that we are animals driven by instinctual behaviour (and I agree with you on this) in no way means that it is a forgone conclusion that another human possibility, one that enables us to care rather than compete, create rather than destroy, give rather than take – because we are not separate from a greater whole – does not exist.

PETER: Western spiritual seekers have only discovered Eastern spirituality in the last 50 years, yet they arrogantly think that it is some new discovery or new possibility. I know I felt that way when I ‘discovered’ it and was full of enthusiasm. The possibility to feel ‘not separate from a greater whole’ has existed and has been thoroughly investigated by billions of people both in the East and the West for millennia with no perceivable reduction in human malice and sorrow. ‘We are all God’s children’ is a common feeling in monotheist religions as well, and yet despite all these good intentions and good feelings ... the last hundred years are well documented as being the bloodiest century to date.

My point is that despite all the well-meaning efforts and heart-felt feelings the human condition is still one of malice and sorrow. Which is why I pose the question, for anyone daring enough to investigate further –

Surely it’s time to consider a third alternative?

RESPONDENT: Any ‘good’ act can be ego-supporting and not necessarily ego-transcending. Living for others is an outcome of liberation, not necessarily a route to it.

PETER: All of the successful Gurus demand a lot from others rather than give to others. They demand love, loyalty, surrender and devotion. I used to think they gave a lot until I realized that without their followers giving continuously they would be mere mortals like the rest of us.

It takes enormous courage to question the tender passions and the Good, for we have been taught by our peers to believe that without these facets of ourselves we would run amok or become evil. But for those daring enough this very investigation is the key to the door that keeps us trapped within the human condition of malice and sorrow and the duality of Good and Evil.

RESPONDENT: What is that specific element in different kinds of spiritual practice that destroys ego? Keeps it under control? Makes it stronger and more insidious? Makes it our enemy? Makes it our friend on the spiritual path? Or does our Sadhana simply not change anything about ego having other priorities instead?

PETER: Spiritual jargon being as slippery, poetic and illusory as it is, I find the whole argument about ego a bit of a furphy. It is clear that a spiritual person who becomes God-realized or God-intoxicated, or whatever other name is used, has suffered a shift of identity. This can be described as the transcendence of the ego and the ascendance of the soul, but it is all so shrouded in mystique and confusion it is all much clearer if one calls a spade a spade, and calls it a change of identity.

It is time to practice an active question all of one’s emotional identity, all of the feelings that are preventing one from being both happy and harmless.

RESPONDENT: There is no one prescription for a practice that will give you control over the ego, but it seems to me that having an external guide in the process is essential (this has probably been discussed in this group before I joined – I’m sure there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue). I lived in an ashram for 15 years, doing a 2.5 hr morning sadhana every single day. This certainly changed my life for the better, giving me much more control over my mind and emotions, but more importantly it gave me an experience of the Divine which provides limitless motivation for continuing to pursue union with the Infinite, because all other joys pale in comparison.

PETER: I too lived in ashrams, for some 10 years of my 17 years on the spiritual path, and had a wonderful time. I got to be in on the inside, to partake fully and whole-heartedly in the spiritual experience. I got to see it from the early days when ‘we’ were going to change the world and bring peace to the planet. I then saw it all dwindle to regimentation, dogma, religious practice and self-interest and finally to the formation of New Age Eastern religious groups reduced to praying for peace on earth and ‘raising the consciousness’ of the planet

It was, however, invaluable experience to draw upon later in order to make a clear-eyed assessment of how my religious beliefs and affective experiences had blinded me to my own fear and aggression and how surrendering my will to a spiritual Master or a mythical Higher Force, was the antithesis of actual freedom.

By the end of my spiritual years, although disillusioned, I refused to buckle under to cynicism or merely limp back into the ‘real’ world to live out a second-rate life. I knew there had to be something far, far better than the real world or the spiritual world ... and there is, of course.


RESPONDENT: The most profound and transforming experiences of life come when we cease attempting to analyze what is happening to us.

PETER: Eastern spiritual teaching is not aimed at finding out what is going on in one’s psyche, investigating these feelings and passions but is aimed at suppressing the bad feelings and savage passions and giving full reign to the good feelings and tender passions. An old, ancient, fear-driven idea that has been tried and found wanting for millennia because it not only fails to address the problem of human malice and sorrow, it prevents one from even finding out exactly what is the problem inside oneself.

I for one was vitally interested in why I was sad, melancholic, peeved, annoyed, angry, unattached, alienated, euphoric, blessed out, humbled, grateful, loving, hateful, resentful, bored, envious, etc. Why all these feelings prevented me from being happy and harmless 24 hrs. a day everyday? But in order to become interested and begin questioning and investigating I had to abandon my spiritual conditioning. (...)


PETER: This new and non-spiritual down to earth path to freedom has only recently been discovered and is now in its initial pioneering phase.

RESPONDENT: The path you describe sounds very similar to what Krishnamurti espoused beginning in the early part of the 20th Century, and thus hardly qualifies as ‘new.’

PETER: I take it when you say ‘sounds very similar’, you mean feels very similar. If you had read what I am saying you would have understood that I am an atheist through and through whereas Jiddu Krishnamurti was a God-man through and through.

To quote the man himself –

[Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘That state of mind which is no longer capable of striving is the true religious mind, and in that state of mind you may come upon this thing called truth or reality or bliss or God or beauty or love’. ‘Freedom From The Known’; ©1969 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd.

He is describing well your desired state of ‘pure, thoughtless awareness’. I find it a blatant deceit for the great and revered teachers to claim they are thoughtless, for it is clearly nonsense. A human being has to think to operate and function at a level of intelligence beyond a dog or a chimpanzee. What they are talking about as thoughtless is, in fact, the training of right thinking – thinking in a certain trained spiritual way so that one can eventually ‘realize’ – as in think and feel – oneself to be God.

RESPONDENT: I too am fascinated by the discoveries in the field of neurobiology but fail to see how an understanding of the origin and functioning of the reptilian brain gives us any advantage in controlling it.

PETER: Human beings have been forever trying to control their instinctual passions and it has clearly failed, for law and order in the world is still only maintained at the point of a gun. Further the Eastern religious practice of Divine Transcendence, whereupon one suppresses one’s bad feelings and savage passions and identifies solely with one’s good feelings and tender passions, does nothing but spawn human beings who believe themselves to be Gods and thus reek even more malice and sorrow on a blighted Humanity. I am talking about a new method that results in the elimination of the blind instinctual passions – not the failed methods of controlling or transcending. I am talking about a third alternative.


PETER: This particular aspect of awareness is not a natural phenomenon, nor one practiced on any of the traditional spiritual paths, and needs to be actively cultivated and persistently practiced in order to ensure success.

RESPONDENT: We are certainly privileged to have contributing to this discussion someone who is well-versed in all the traditional spiritual paths.

PETER: In fact, I have little intellectual interest in religion and the hundreds of spiritual paths and teachings, but at some seminal stage on the path I was twigged to understand what I was following, what the teachings really meant, what they really were saying. This wanting to understand is what the teachers summarily dismiss as being intellectual or being in your head. But I refused to be fobbed off for I was interested as to why, the further I went along the spiritual path, I was becoming more un-attached and disconnected from the actual world of people, things and events. When the physical world started to appear dream like and illusionary and ‘I’ started to live within a world of ‘my’ own creation, I really started to have doubts. That is when I became really interested in the teachings I was following, began to read a little of what was on offer in the spiritual smorgasbord and began to take a clear-eyed look at its effectiveness.

After all, once you become a God-man the delusion is so powerful, overwhelming and convincing it is almost impossible to turn back to normal, let alone to discover what is actual.

RESPONDENT: However, I will have to submit a dissenting opinion on the above statement and proffer that there are in fact many spiritual paths where such ‘self-awareness’ is a prime objective with teachings aimed at achieving just such a ‘self’-less state, arrived at by eliminating all impressions and impulses of ‘who’ we are.

PETER: No, all spiritual paths lead to exactly the same point – realizing ‘who’ you Really are. This ‘who’ you Really feel you are, aka soul, as opposed to ‘who’ you think you are, aka ego, has many names, for spiritual teachers have a personal investment in inventing new words and new ways of saying the same old thing in order that that their particular teachings appear to be original, fresh and new. Some of the more common names for this newly created spiritual identity or ‘self’ is known as ‘original face’, Being, Self, Impersonal Self, Divine, Love, God, Atman, Buddha Nature, True Nature, Is, That, Such, Source, Presence, Intelligence, Spirit, Universe, Consciousness,

The Eastern spiritual tradition of cunningly doing only half the job of ‘self’-immolation is what leads to the creation of a grand Self – a supposedly thoughtless, totally impassioned, fantasy identity.

What I am talking about is eliminating both ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are – total self-immolation.

This Topic Continued

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