Selected Correspondence Peter
The Third Alternative
PETER: I, as this flesh and blood body sans any psychological or psychic entity whatsoever, suddenly found myself in the paradisiacal actual world of sensual delight. There was an utter stillness, a stillness that has a vibrant aliveness to it that is scintillating and sensately rich. There is an utter purity because there is no evil in the actual world and there is an utter perfection for actual world is peerless. It is as though one is fully alive for the first time in one’s life, one’s senses are literally on stalks delighting in seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, tasting, thinking and reflecting and in being aware of the experience of being alive.
From the perspective of this experience of utter freedom from the human condition, brought on by the temporary disappearance of ‘me’, returning to being ‘normal’ is experienced as being once more cut off from the magnificence of the actual world. In other words, I experienced normal/spiritual life as a being a death-like state compared with the experience of being fully alive, as a flesh and blood body only, in the actual world.
I don’t know if this explanation helps to throw some light on the passage you objected to, but I thought putting it in context might help. <snip>
So, while I appreciate your feedback and comments, given what I’ve said above, I’ll let the passage stand as-it-is as an apt expression of my experience at that time in my early stages of actualism and the contrast between being reasonably happy with my life as it was and the experience of being fully alive as experienced in a PCE.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for putting the passage I objected to into context for me. I do find it helpful. It seems to me that you were using the phrase ‘death-like’ in the context of sort of a ‘crossroads’ experience – only two choices available – living fully or settling for being separated from the actual world – which can feel ‘death-like.’
PETER: Let’s not forget that what is on offer on this list is the third alternative. There are three choices – remaining normal where the best on offer is to be reasonably happy, or becoming spiritual where the best on offer is a dream-like utterly-selfish state of God-realization or a ‘God-and-I-are-best-mates’ scenario … or becoming actually free of the whole lot.
RESPONDENT: Put into context, I have no objection to your description. It is rather quite a good description when understood as your experience.
PETER: Not just my experience, but an experience that everyone has had at some times in their life.
RESPONDENT: I have to wonder though about how it is related in the entry ‘How to Become Free of the Human Condition.’
Let’s juxtapose the two statements... from your Journal...
then from the entry, How to Become Free from the Human Condition...
I can appreciate the sensibility in reusing material that is already written. The second passage drops the reference to the personal, the ‘for me’ part. The way it reads then becomes universalised – as if this is the case for all.
PETER: Given that everybody has had a PCE at some stage in his or her life, what I am talking of is universal. I would remind you that you have written of having such an experience yourself –
PETER: I would suggest from your description that you may well be able to relate to what I am saying. After all, you did open this conversation by saying –
RESPONDENT: It also drops any sort of reference to your personally experienced PCE and the vitality of the actual world that you experienced. It seems to me that it was a vital part of your experience – both remembering a PCE and realizing that it is possible for you to make your way to the actual world – not to mention your personal life history and trajectory. So it seems to me that ‘death like’ phrase is ripe for misunderstanding if it didn’t refer back to your experience – which is not referenced in the entry ‘How to Become Free from the Human Condition.’
PETER: Are you implying that every passage I write has to be prefaced in this way when what I am talking about is universal, i.e. personal to everyone?
RESPONDENT: Wouldn’t it be an easy jump from reading the second passage to the idea that a life lived in the ‘real’ world is not a life worth living at all?
PETER: Apparently so, but then again, it never occurred to me that anyone who was genuinely interested in actualism would want to mount a defence of the ‘real’ world. I always assumed I was writing to someone who was dissatisfied with their life as-it-is in the ‘real’ world.
If I can put it another way – the passage you are objecting to is on the Actualism web-site in a section entitled ‘How to become free of the Human Condition’. It has not been spoken from a soapbox on a street corner, it is not in a pamphlet dropped into your letterbox. The location of the passage presupposes that the person reading it is interested in becoming free from the human condition and, as such, some plain talking would seem appropriate.
RESPONDENT: Now the reason this sort of question is important for me is because that I realized as I was putting the AF method in practice for me – it became very important how I considered the value of the lives of others.
PETER: Speaking personally, when I began to put the actualism method into practice I simultaneously began to focus my attention on my own life. This was because I came to understand that the only person I can change, and need to change, is me. By doing so I took what Richard was saying personally whilst also regarding it as being universal in that I am but one of an estimated 6 billion human beings on the planet ensnared within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: Is it worth bringing children into the ‘real’ world?
PETER: It seems that you are a bit late in asking that question.
RESPONDENT: What sort of happiness can we want for them?
PETER: My experience is that children learn a lot from observing their parents.
This meant that, like it or not, I had to lead by example – which is why I found it impossible not to take up the offer to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: If one sees a life in the ‘real’ world as worthless – then it can get rather depressing – very quick.
PETER: If I may suggest, the alternative to becoming depressed is to make sure you do something worthwhile with your life.
RESPONDENT: Now, I don’t see you, Richard, and Vineeto as saying that a life lived in the ‘real’ world is without worth – yet it seems hard to reconcile a description of life in the ‘real’ world as ‘death-like’ with a description of life in the ‘real’ world as ‘valuable’ or ‘worthwhile.’ But, maybe I’m reading too much into the description of ‘death-like.’
If it’s possible to be both ‘reasonably happy’ and ‘death-like’ at the same time, then I suppose we can just call it a quirk of language and how our experience is expressed with language.
PETER: And yet you said at the start of this post –
I don’t see your difficulties in reconciling living life in the ‘real’ world with the experience of being free of the human condition as a quirk of language at all, but rather that you are trying to reconcile the description in question from the standpoint of two distinct experiences. For someone who is reasonably happy with the experience of being a being in the ‘real’ world the description can be felt to be offensive, but for someone who remembers a PCE – the experience of being fully alive, sans identity, in the actual world – the description is a matter of fact statement.
Perhaps this will be of some use in understanding the nature of the quandary you seem to have arrived at, at this stage of your investigations. All sorts of doubts and hesitations arise whenever anyone is faced with chucking out the old and beginning something entirely new. Despite this resistance for things new, the universe itself has an inbuilt propensity for betterment that can be seen in action in the human species as a combination of daring, curiosity, naiveté, altruism and intelligence.
GARY: Along with this, I am questioning so-called spiritual values that I have had for a long time. For quite a while, I have embraced a variant of Gnosticism, believing that the world we see is an illusion, and that I actually exist in a timeless realm, in other words, somewhere else other than where I am right now. The logical extension of this has been the experience that I don’t want to be here, that this world is not my home and I really exist somewhere else.
PETER: The spiritual world is a safe haven for ‘me’, as the spirit dwelling within the flesh and blood body. When I first discovered the spiritual world I was disillusioned with the real-world and, as such, the teachings were music to ‘my’ ears. There was an instinctual recognition of the truth of what was being said, a feeling of coming home, a deep passionate longing to escape from the real-world. The real-world soon became a bad dream and the spiritual world soon seemed real, whereas I now understand and experience that both of these ‘worlds’ are illusionary. Both are but the product of ‘my’ beliefs and ‘my’ feelings yet are made very real by the fact that these worlds are all ‘I’ can know and can perceive for ‘I’ am but a psychological and psychic entity that has taken up residence inside this flesh and blood body. It is only by purging this physical corporeal body of every skerrick of identity that the always ever-present physical tangible palpable actual world – that we occasionally have glimpses of in a PCE as being delightful, perfect and pure – can become evident, 24 hrs. a day everyday.
Actual Freedom is far, far superior to the feeling of enlightenment for it is actual.
The real-world is an instinct-fuelled, blind and senseless survival battle of humans vs. humans, exemplified by all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, child abuse, corruption, suicides, despair and loneliness. The spiritual world is a massive denial of, and dissociation from, this madness, based on the belief that there is a Greater Reality. The only substantive evidence for this meta-physical world, apart from my feelings, beliefs and imagination, is the primitive fairy tales of Gods, spirits, afterlives and other-worlds passed down from the Bronze Age and dispensed as Wisdom to the desperate and gullible by the priests, shamans and Gurus.
PETER: Hi Alan, Good-day to you!
(...) So you found Richard’s Website by accident – most extraordinary: the find of a lifetime really. The man has impeccable credentials having been there, done that, survived, questioned and emerged from the delusion of Enlightenment to report that all is indeed rotten in the world of Gods and Spirits. It was amazing for me, at that stage, to find someone who said ‘Keep questioning – deeper and deeper – dare to question Every belief. No matter how sacred, no matter how dear to me.’ It was also good to find Vineeto to investigate all the gender / sexual / love beliefs and conditionings and understand them not only intellectually but practically: down-to-earth if you like. The discoveries, realizations and sorting out of the full extent of the Human Condition is indeed a fascinating journey. To challenge and go beyond what human beings have believed to be the Limit – beyond Human Nature is quite something.
But I’ve also held that once one did it, then it is easier for the next, even easier for the next and so on. Not that this is a movement with Richard as a leader – the latest saviour – it’s just that there is increasingly more information, more words, a broad map of common sense if you like. In the context of these maps each person is then able, with increasing confidence, to undertake a journey within to rid themselves of the Human Condition. That was what motivated me to write, to try and describe in words, in practical terms, so it was good to hear you enjoyed it.
And, of course, it is extraordinary that everyone does it by themselves, for themselves.
You asked about being here... For me ‘How am I experiencing myself now?’ translates into the optimum when I am so here in this moment that there is no room for anything else – doubt, emotion, feeling, love, etc. I am fully engaged in and aware of what is happening. I am fully involved sensually in doing what is happening. No room for sitting back on the fence feeling or observing. Not to say that I am not considerate or sensible in my words or actions: they then become naturally appropriate to the situation. Then each moment is indeed delightful, sensual, immediate, apparent and obvious.
Occasionally I have pulses of fear race through as the audacity of living this way strikes a primordial chord – like a cosmic chorus of ‘how dare you ...’ thundering from somewhere, but lately I experience this as a good and thrilling sign. What a journey ... as one makes sense of the Human Condition and actively wills its demise in oneself.
PETER to Richard: This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: Couldn’t agree more. The combination of the two is vital – and perhaps inevitable. Sort of convincing ‘me’ that it is possible, while experiencing its actuality.
PETER: Just to clarify my post. Up until now the only path to freedom has been a spiritual path to a spiritual freedom – the traditional path of denial, renunciation and transcendence leading to an Altered State of Consciousness known as Enlightenment. The path leads to There – another dimension, a metaphysical realm.
The aim of the path to Actual Freedom is to come here to the actual world. The actual world is that which is evidenced and apparent in the PCE or peak experience and that is where the path to Actual Freedom leads. The actual world is the world as-it-is, stripped of the veneer of reality or Reality that the ‘self’ or ‘Self’ layers over it.
However, as the aim is to come here and be happy and harmless, one always has an immediate goal and aim every moment – to be as happy and harmless as one can possibly be right now. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the key to firstly ascertaining how one is doing relative to one’s aim in life and, if necessary, finding out what is inhibiting my happiness, in this moment. This gives ‘me’ something to do – ‘I’ clean myself up as much as possible by rigorously and remorselessly examining all the beliefs that constitute the Human Condition – all the truths and Truths that form my social identity, and the instinctual behavioural patterns that blindly run ‘me’. This process, if undertaken with a sincere intent, will inevitably lead to a state of Virtual Freedom. One then goes to bed in the evening knowing that one has had a perfect day, and knowing that tomorrow, without doubt, will also be a perfect day. Unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. One is back aiming for some ‘pie in the sky’, some miracle event to ‘make it all better’. And the Sannyas list was an eye opener as far as that was concerned. When offered an alternative to ‘getting out of it’, such that being happy and harmless became one’s aim in life – none were interested in this aspect; peace on earth got a similar response, living with a companion in peace and harmony hardly raised a murmur. Nobody believes that it is possible to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, on earth, here, now, as a flesh and blood body. This is, after all, the core of Ancient Wisdom – the sacred and inviolate centre-piece of the Human Condition.
PETER to Richard: I thought I would respond to a theme you were pursuing with Alan and relate it to my experiences lately. I seem to be having a good dig down deep into the instincts in the last months. My post to No. 5 was about exploring aggression at an instinctual level and, no doubt, I could shuffle around a lot more exploring the emotions that arise from these instincts, but another aspect of my instinctual program is beginning to fascinate me. It relates to your comment to Alan –
The genetically programmed instincts one is born with are located in the primitive brain or amygdala and consist in part as a hard-wired quick response mechanism that pumps the body and brain with chemicals as a reaction to any perceived danger. The amygdala also has its own independent memory section that is evidenced as an emotional memory as distinct from one’s cognitive memory.
A bit from LeDoux will confirm the scientific evidence of this independent (unconscious is the term he uses) memory.
LeDoux Lab., Centre for Neural Science, New York University
So, in investigating one’s instinctual self – which is programmed into the amygdala – one is not only investigating the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, one inevitably encounters the instinctual ‘memory’ as well. LeDoux’s studies are seemingly primarily concerned with the emotional memories imprinted on to the amygdala’s memory since birth. Thus we have imprinted the traumatic incidents in life since birth and those fears instilled in us, largely by our parents, in the very early years before the development of our cognitive memory. There is also scientific evidence that the foetus is influenced by the flow of chemicals via the placenta which would allow for a pre-birth encoding of emotions.
But it is obvious from a study of animals that certain actions and behaviour patterns are not taught after birth but must be genetically pre-programmed in the instinctual memory. The reaching for, finding and suckling the nipple in mammals, the waddle to the ocean of baby turtles, the unlearned migration patterns of birds, etc. There are multitudinous examples of non-cognitive animals who exhibit quite sophisticated behaviour and ‘knowledge’ that is not learnt but must solely be due to a pre-coded memory that is genetically inherited.
Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.
Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)
This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.
I particularly remember when I first came across spiritual teachings, the mythology and poetry that alluded to this ‘inner’ world seemed to strike a deep cord with me – the tales of Ancient Wisdom ‘connected’ with this deep (unconscious) level which was a connection with the instinctual memory in the amygdala. I had ‘found’ someone who had the answers, was in touch with the Source, knew the meaning of life, the truth – I had come Home. I began a journey into the inner world of good feelings, made real by the ability to enhance the chemical flow of nurture and desire and dampen, suppress or ignore the feelings of aggression and fear. I was literally leaving the real world behind and seeking solace and succour in the spiritual world. I was thus forfeiting any chance of breaking free of my instinctual passions, in total, for a selfish bid for personal bliss and a permanent place in an imaginary ‘other world’ composed solely of chemically-supported blissful feelings.
Secondly, the other faculty I see as essentially pre-coded is an instinctual need to ‘belong’ to the herd – the herding instinct, as Vineeto puts it. It might seem banal and obvious given that humans, as a species, have perennially needed to maintain, at very least, a family grouping in order to ensure the survival of the species. Given that the human infant is helpless for such a long time compared with most other species, the immediate family group was the basic minimum need, and the chance of survival was considerably increased with larger and stronger groupings. This is an instinctual program that over-rides the individual’s own survival instincts for one is ultimately programmed to ensure survival of the species – not one’s own, as in self-preservation. Given that these involve more sophisticated programming than mere instantaneous ‘fight and flight’ reactions they must be encoded in the genetic memory of the amygdala, passed on from ‘way back there’, in the mists of time.
This instinct, implanted by blind nature to ensure the survival of the species, pumps the body with chemicals that induce the feeling of fear whenever one is straying too far away from the herd, abandoning other members of the family or group or being on one’s own. I remember particularly, in my early twenties, travelling across Europe and the Middle East on my way home from London and arriving at the border with Iran. I was turned away at an isolated border post as I didn’t have a visa and I was struck with a deep sense of panic, a feeling of utter loneliness. Looking back, it was as though I had gone too far striking off on my own and had hit the limit. This feeling of loneliness was to haunt me for many years – the image of becoming a lonely old man on a park bench, outcast and abandoned. It coincidentally was to prove one of the images that made me leap into the spiritual world with such gusto. I was to lose this fear later in life but living alone was always accompanied by a bitter-sweet feeling of loneliness. My major period of living alone was also the period when I began to have spiritual experiences, Satoris and an experience of Altered States of Consciousness aka Enlightenment.
From my investigations and experiences it is obvious that ‘who’ I think and feel I am – ‘me’ at the core – encompasses both a deep-set feeling of separateness from others and the world as perceived by the senses as well as a deep-set feeling of needing to ‘belong’.
This over-arching feeling of separateness – of being a ‘separate self’, who is forever yearning to ‘belong’ – is the root cause of sorrow in me and the all encompassing ‘ocean’ of human sorrow in the world.
The traditional approaches to these conflicting feelings has been either –
Thankfully I’m pursuing a third alternative, which is the total elimination of my ‘self’ in total – the whole of the amygdala’s instinctual programming that gives rise to the animal passions. The startle, quick-scan function of the amygdala still operates as a physical safety function but the chemical surges that give rise to the emotions of fear, anger, nurture and desire have almost ceased to be of influence. I am left with a lot of shifting sensations in the head, neck, heart and belly that tell me something chemically is still happening but these very rarely translate into emotions or reactions.
I remember in the first few weeks of coming across Actual Freedom and realizing that to become actually free of the Human Condition would not only mean the ending of ‘me’ but also it would mean being a traitor to Humanity. To live without malice – to have no ‘me’ to defend and therefore no need to attack, no need to struggle to survive, achieve, be somebody – was to cop-out of the struggle. To live without sorrow – to not be sad, to not commiserate with others, to not seek consolation, to not wallow in self-pity or to pity others, to not play the game of ‘Oh what a miserable existence being a human being is’ – would be to be judged heart-less. And yet, here I am doing it and riding out the chemical surges that warn me – don’t do this, or else...! The thing that I have discovered is that there is no ‘or else...!’ As long as I don’t goad a fanatic, and I obey the laws of the land and sensibly avoid trouble, the world as-it-is is an eminently safe place – chock full of sensuous pleasure, delight. A life of consummate ease is readily and freely evident when one’s fears are seen for what they are.
I fully realize that this process has taken a considerable time – over 2 ½ years now – but I had to explore the nuts and bolts of it, finding out for myself. It’s a bit like when I first worked in an architect’s office after having studied the theory of design and building for 5 years. After 2 years of office work I gave up and ‘went building’ on building sites to find out what really happened in building. Same thing with Actual Freedom, but in this case a large part was unlearning the spiritual teachings and cynical view-point of the world as-it-is. To dare to consider that there is a third alternative to the human dilemma and then set off exploring it, on one’s own, has taken a while. I fully acknowledge your writings and guidance, Richard, and that my journey was only possible due to your efforts. What I do like is that I can explain the process, not in esoteric, poetic terms but in down-to-earth terms that fully concur with modern scientific studies and that can explain exactly why all past attempts at freedom have ended in narcissism.
RESPONDENT: On a retreat this August I wrote the following: My room has a window facing an inner area of the complex; there is grass and a stand of three pine trees in the middle of it, just about straight out the window. It’s quite light in here with the curtains open, especially sitting here at the desk right in front of the window, stopping writing every now and then to look out at the sun on the grass and gleaming on the edges of some of the pine needles. The trees look like Ponderosa pines, but they aren’t, quite. There’s a big shady place under the stand of pine trees. I may go sit there sometime while I’m here.
The room is simple, with a small bed, one pillow, a sink, a tiny little open closet space about a foot wide. It adjoins a bathroom, shared by the man next door whose face I have yet to see but whose snoring I can hear most of the time when he’s sleeping. It doesn’t bother me in the least. The room is part of a long hallway of twenty rooms on either side of the hallway. There being rooms on both sides of the hall, it is very dark — there aren’t any windows. I have taken to leaving the door to my room wide open. It creates a beautiful trapezoid of natural light in the hallway. Could life be this way too? An open door on to a simple room. Light inside. Nothing to hide, keep, or hang on to? I am: what is happening in the present moment. I am pain in my knees and gurgling in my belly. I am desire and the thought of love. I am the robin hopping with a cricket in its beak and I am the wind blowing a wasp to and fro near the pine boughs, a secret in the sun. And I am memory and sadness, a wound as big as the world, filled with tears. And I am the joy of those tears. And I am my misdeeds, and I am their consequence. And I am readiness for death. And readiness for life. These are wonderful opportunities. Thank you.
PETER: Yes, I remember my days of meditating and going on retreats and the wonderful feelings induced. The heart full of love, the sittings, the silences, the fellow travellers. I once spent about $1000 to travel thousands of kilometres to spend 3 days with a particular Guru for a bit of bliss. But, of course, the problem was it was only a temporary relief from the ‘real’ world – the bliss was an antidote to suffering, the silence a relief to the neurosis, and the ‘loving’ company an escape from loneliness. It was totally dependant on the Guru’s ‘energy’ or that of the group and indeed was a getting out of it or rising above it into some ethereal other spiritual realm. All a figment of my imagination and as fickle and as impermanent as any other emotional state.
By the time I came across Richard I was ready to give the whole lot up, not only for the failure of the system but in seeing how these Gurus were as ordinary people. In the end they offered little to emulate and much to avoid. What really lit me up about what Richard was saying more than anything was the possibility that I could live with a woman in peace and harmony. It is a point that many spiritual seekers completely ignore, and indeed many scorn. Some have relationships based on them being the guru and their companion being a disciple or student but that to me is a complete sham and deceit.
Equity, peace and harmony is a more accurate description of what I have with Vineeto. If it is not possible to demonstrate as an actuality with one other person in my life I figured peace on earth would forever remain but a dream. And I have proved it, which is why I can say with utter confidence that it is now possible for anyone and everyone – should they want it. So it is good to see your interest in something non-spiritual and down to earth. Something actual rather than something imaginary. If the Gurus can’t put their money where their mouth is in their personal relationships it’s time for them to shut up.
Or better still it’s time for their followers to give up hoping and trusting that they will produce the goods – and I think peace on earth is a good basic goal. And peace at home is undoubtedly the first essential step. In breaking free of the all – enveloping spiritual mindset, a useful tool for me was to realise that just because everybody believes something doesn’t necessarily mean it is a fact. And becoming a detective in search of the facts is a fascinating activity – sort of like growing up and finding out for myself, rather than believing what I had been programmed to believe. It’s so good to be free of the need to go on retreats or meditate to find stillness, peace and contentment when I can now experience that right here, now.
RESPONDENT: This question arose as I was thinking about what you wrote. It seems possible that when an emotion looses its hold then so do all the associated beliefs. So I wonder why the beliefs have to be questioned one by one. Why not get down to the task of seeking out the emotions and not the beliefs as such. Or is it that it does not really matter which belief is questioned, as once the associated emotion is disbanded, other beliefs based on the same emotion will also loose their authenticity.
PETER: It may be useful to look at the different path and process that Richard took to Actual Freedom and the one we are pursuing. As you will probably have read, Richard experienced a Pure Consciousness Experience wherein he experienced a ‘self’-less state of purity and perfection lasting some 4 hours. Over the next 9 months he used the method of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ to question and virtually eliminate all the bad feelings and emotions. At the end of this period, instead of achieving what he was aiming for – the PCE as a constant state – he died an ‘ego-death’ to emerge into what he called Absolute Freedom – a state he soon discovered was akin to the coveted Enlightenment of the Eastern Teachings. While his aim was the PCE, he had lobbed inadvertently into an Altered State of Consciousness. He was not at all familiar with Eastern teaching or philosophy during this process, so it would appear that the inevitable result of tackling and eliminating the ‘bad’ is that one can end up with a new identity – the ‘Good One’, or in full blown delusion ‘God’. I suspect many seekers of freedom have befallen this trap despite their sincere intentions at the beginning of their search, while others have made a blatant and obvious bee-line for the Glamour, Glory and Glitz. As you know, it then took Richard a further 11 years to dismantle and eliminate this second identity – soul, Self, spirit, being, or whatever. Now, the path I am following is to run these two stages together, if you like – to eliminate both ego and soul, to eliminate both good and bad feelings to achieve a complete ‘self’-less state as is evident by the PCE.
The path to Enlightenment is a well-worn track and given that the bad, ‘evil’ and socially frowned-upon values are the easiest to eliminate, and one gets enormous kudos for doing so – to be adored and worshipped as a God-man or Goddess is about as much kudos as one can possibly get! But in questioning and eliminating the so-called good there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – indeed, it is the end of ‘me’ as a social identity and instinctual being. I become an anonymous non-entity, or non-identity, as well as having no instinctual-based self. It became very apparent to me that this social identity held the clue to tackling the other half of the feelings and emotions – the social identity is the ‘guardian at the gate’, as I have written recently. It is impossible for a ‘moral’ person to tackle the so-called good feelings, it is impossible for a ‘spiritual’ person to tackle the idea of a spirit, it is impossible for a ‘ethical’ person to tackle right and wrong, it is impossible for a ‘prudish’ person to tackle sexual issues. One must dismantle these values taught by Humanity in order to dig deeper – to get below the surface, as it were.
In my experience, this social identity is a conglomerate of all the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, principles and psittacisms that I have been programmed with since birth. It is only when I have eliminated or wiped this programming back to a stage where I cease to be a believer, where I cease the very act of believing, that I can look and investigate the core instinctual being that is ‘me’. A lot of work is done on the way in eliminating the effect of these emotions on one’s daily life such that one achieves a virtual freedom – a stable ‘base’ from which one can look with clear eyes at one’s instinctual self, without the guardians of the social morals, ethics, principles, etc. relentlessly churning and stirring. Another way of putting it is that one is then able to dismantle the psychic entity without the psychological entity ‘jumping up and down’ so much. You have reduced the effects of the instinctual emotions in daily life to almost zero such that ‘I’ is almost ephemeral, ethereal, ghostly and hardly able to maintain its existence.
Now this is, at the moment, just the experience of a few but I would say, on the basis of the evidence so far, that in order to avoid the trap of enlightenment, one needs to dismantle the beliefs that form one’s social identity in order to avoid the trap of becoming yet another Grand and Glorious identity. I would suppose that, as more and more people become actually free, that this ‘step outside Humanity’ will become less fearful and dramatic as one will have the confidence of knowing that others have done it.
As I wrote in my Journal –
This avoiding the ‘Rock of Enlightenment’ is at the very crux of tackling beliefs – unless the belief in God, an after-life – any form of ‘something else’, ‘somewhere else’ or ‘sometime else’ – is fully investigated and de-bunked you could end up Enlightened. And for those who have experienced a PCE, to end up a God-man is but a piffling waste. Then once one has done one’s homework, demolished one’s social identity one takes the final step with confidence born out of surety of the many PCEs experienced in Virtual Freedom, not to mention the glimpses of ASC’s experienced as a contrast.
Well, that got a bit long, but I hope it is of use and may explain what many regard as the obsession of actualist with anything spiritual . One cannot be obsessed, preoccupied, consumed, engrossed and curious enough as to the machinations of the spiritual and psychic worlds. Not only are beliefs and passions preventing your being actually happy and harmless, there are also 160,000,000 million people who have died in wars fought this century alone and have died senselessly for these very same beliefs and passions.
RESPONDENT: Yesterday when I was contemplating on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, I realized that I am not really understanding the word ‘experiencing’. What I was asking myself was, in fact, ‘How am I feeling in this moment of being alive’. This is so because I was always coming out with answers like ‘happy’ or ‘not happy’ or ‘gloomy’ etc. Which are all feelings.
PETER: Aye, indeed. And until ‘you’ leave the stage your experience of life will be an emotional, feeling interpretation of the actual. It can not be any other way – human beings are wired that way. The amygdala – the primitive lizard brain – is an organ that is designed as an early warning system to quickly scan the sensorial input for any real or perceived danger and react with fear and aggression. This constant ‘on-guardness’ can be seen in any of the animal species, and in the human animal it produces feelings of fear and aggression. The amygdala is also the source of instinctual nurture and desire producing feelings that again actively conspire to ruin our happiness. So it sounds as if you are starting to realize the primary role that feelings play in the Human Condition. ‘You’ as an entity, existing inside the flesh and blood body can only think or feel about the actual world, and the only direct experience possible is when you cease to exist – either temporarily in a PCE, virtually in Virtual Freedom or permanently in Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: In last two or three days, what I have found is different. To me it looks like that I can experience the actual world sensately, even while ‘I’ is alive and is in charge most of the time. Both ‘I’ and I can exist simultaneously at least for some time. My proposition is that if I focus more and more on experiencing and less and less on feeling, ‘I’ will dissolve gradually in due course of time. It may be boots and all approach, but I think it is working for me. The best part is that I don’t have to wait till ‘I’ completely annihilates itself, I can enjoy the sensate physical world right now. It doesn’t happen for 24 hours, but even those few moments when I can really enjoy the physical world are satisfying enough. And I am not even talking of peak experience. I don’t have any. I am talking of ordinary events like while sipping my tea, my taste buds enjoying the warmth of it and my nose enjoying the flavour. Or while taking a bath, my skin enjoying the cool water drops falling from the shower.
PETER: It seems that you are saying that the traditional spiritual approach is going to work for you. It didn’t work for me after 17 years on the spiritual path, and once I acknowledged the fact of the failure of this approach to eliminate sorrow and malice in the world I dropped it like a hot brick. I realized that literally billions of people had ‘practiced’ being happy and good for millennia with nil result. This last century has, in fact, been the bloodiest in history.
When I first came upon the spiritual path I remember practicing being here and being centred and focused, but my relationships still failed, I still got pissed off, annoyed, melancholic, irritated and occasionally angry. Later I got into Vipassana meditation and then the ‘food queue syndrome’ kicked in – blissful sittings that eventually ended, which meant returning to the real world populated by ‘un-meditative’ people. This approach did nothing to address the primary, central role that instinctually-sourced feelings and passions have in producing malice and sorrow. But I don’t want to get into a right and wrong discussion with you – I just went with the facts and what worked and what didn’t work. For me that meant focusing on feelings with the intent of eliminating malice and sorrow.
Your approach is to focus less and less on feelings. I fail to see how the instinctual passions are going ‘to dissolve gradually in the due course of time’. It hasn’t happened over the 3,500 years of recorded spiritual history, in fact, quite the contrary has occurred. The instinctual passions have been co-opted into appalling battles between good and evil and as for ‘‘I’ will gradually dissolve’ – history has it that when this method of dis-association is practiced, ‘I’ become Self-realized – for the few, or ‘I’ become self-centred, self-satisfied, humble, grateful – for the many.
When I talk of a sensible, sensate only experience I talk of it at the end of some 2 years of intensive effort aimed at eliminating the debilitating effects of having a social identity and having an instinctual self. I am talking of an experience whereby I have so totally and thoroughly changed myself to the point where feelings and instincts play no role in my life.
RESPONDENT: I do not know what to say to you Peter except that you seem to be obsessed with Osho. Twenty years of following Osho, it must be hard to let go of him. You are worse than some of Osho’s devotees.
PETER: It took me about 3 years to let go and a few years of checking out 2 other God-men and then about 6 months to ditch the lot after meeting Richard. It’s not easy to ditch the ingrained proposition that the only possible freedom from misery and sorrow is to become Enlightened. But if I can do it anyone can – it only requires that one looks at the facts as opposed to dearly hanging on to one’s beliefs. To find out the facts for oneself one only needs to read. As for being obsessed by Rajneesh it is you who are a disciple of his, it is you who keep mentioning him on this non-spiritual mailing list. But we could have a pact if you like – you don’t mention him and then I won’t. But I warn you, should you mention him then I will continue to point out what it is that he was flogging and I will quote his words so as to present the facts and avoid any emotionally-biased interpretations. As for being worse than some of Rajneesh’s devotees, the usual response from his disciples is that I am worse than a ‘born-again’ Christian.
RESPONDENT: Nonetheless, what I will not allow you to do is for you to shove your experiences and your interpretations down my throat. I am going to conduct my experiments and find out things by myself.
PETER: I take it you are going back to the Sannyas list then – they never question the Teachings there, let alone they dare to question the Teacher.
What is on offer here is an alternative to the whole Master-disciple business. The aim of this list is to offer and spell out this third alternative to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’.
Many people in the world seek a freedom from being trapped in ‘normal’, many aspire to something better and many have had glimpses of that possibility. Up until now there has been only one other alternative – spiritual ‘freedom’ or transcendence, which inevitably and inexorably leads one to an Altered State of Consciousness, resulting in the continuation of the Master-disciple business and thence to religious devotion, bigotry, persecution, hostility and war.
Now there is a simple choice, a third alternative is available, and it is for you to judge what you want to do with your life.
So, if you want me not to type some of Osho’s long discourses and not waste beautiful spring (autumn) days on this task then don’t quote him as an authority in your posts. He hadn’t a clue what we are talking about – after all, actual freedom hadn’t even been discovered before his death. It is factually impossible for him to have known about Actual Freedom.
But if you do mention Rajneesh, I do enjoy delving into some of Ancient Wisdom for a bit of de-bunking of myths and beliefs. I don’t even need to interpret – it is all written down in their very own words quite plainly what they are on about.
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in. But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean is there nothing practical to get from. Or was it at that moment the best that one could get. I hope you know what I mean.
PETER: As you know we have been having a lot of correspondence about the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire lately on the list, and the fact that scientists are making the first discoveries to plot the source of instinctual feelings and behaviour in the human brain. For a fair while now attempts have been made to study human behaviour and get to the roots of both fear and aggression, and a particular study that shook me up was done by Stanley Milgram – it’s in the Peace chapter of my journal. It’s presently not on our web-site, so I’ll post it here as it may be of use in your deliberations –
A year after writing this, the same issue is coming home to me again as I find that, after 2 years of ‘cleaning myself’ up – digging deep into my psyche and exploring the roots of fear and aggression, it is blatantly obvious that there is nothing that can be done, within the Human Condition, to eliminate malice and sorrow. No matter how good, moral, ethical or well intentioned the individual or group attempts to be, the instincts will always win out. There have been billions of people who have prayed for peace, attempted to live moral and good lives but peace on earth is still no closer to happening.
Peace on earth is an impossibility while human beings are instinctually driven to fight each other.
The clearly unworkable, unliveable and unsuccessful reliance on morals and ethics to bring peace on earth – let alone within tribal groups, families or couples – can surely now be abandoned as a failure. Of course, one would not want to venture off and begin to question the ‘good’ if one had no evidence that there was something better, and that evidence is the Pure Consciousness Experience. One of the prime qualities of the ‘self’-less state of the PCE is the fairy-tale like purity and perfection of the actual world, and the quality of a human being in a PCE is one of innocence – there is a total absence of instinctual fear and aggression. This is the innocence much sought after on the spiritual path but what one ends up with is feeling Good or becoming Divine – a perversion and human corruption of the actual state of innocence. A synthetic, fragile, supposed innocence that does nothing to tackle the inbuilt programming of fear and aggression in the amygdala – the ‘primitive brain’ within humans.
I had about 17 years of experience on the spiritual path and came to know at least four of the Gurus well enough to see that they didn’t practice what they preached. From this personal observation and a little bit of reading it is evident that the personal lives of all the Gurus are tainted by ‘normal’ emotions and behaviour despite their claims of Divineness. They get away with it because their disciples ‘turn a blind eye’ and as you said, because there has been nothing better on offer. The shenanigans and hypocrisy of the Gurus are reasonably well documented, as are those of most religious groups.
As one goes further back in time to the ancient and usually mythical God-men, such as Jesus, Buddha and Mahavira, we have to rely on the fairy stories of miracles and Divine attributes told in the Sacred texts and Holy Books. Many people attempt to claim that these Divine figures actually existed as flesh and blood human beings in some Golden Era, but an open-eyed reading of any of the texts reveals their purely mythical nature. I remember as a kid thinking what a funny idea the Western God was, and later being appalled when I read of the atrocities carried out in the name of various Gods and the churches. The war mongering – and whore mongering – of the Popes was particularly stunning. And I later found out that the Eastern Religions are no different. Modern ‘Spiritual’ belief is firmly founded on the fairy stories spun around mythical God-men and their fables, miracles and unliveable teachings. So, we are faced with the continuing failure of any spiritual or religious teachings to bring peace on earth after 5,000 years of billions of people attempting to live the unliveable and attain the unattainable – an actual innocence. An actual innocence is only attainable if one can rid oneself of the instinctual animal passions. Both the so called ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones – both have to go, for the experiment of praying to the Gods for help, living a Good life or becoming a God-man or Goddess, has clearly failed.
I have lived in a virtual freedom from instinctual passions for some 12 months now – ‘virtual’ as in as near as actual freedom as one can get while remaining a ‘self’. All of the coarser feelings and emotions such as anger, grievance, despair, sadness, resentment, etc. have disappeared from my life and my ties to a blighted Humanity are almost non-existent. But just in the last 2 days I have noticed a touch of annoyance on several occasions which is a clear sign that the only solution for my personal peace and for peace on earth is the complete elimination of my instinctual self – there are no short-cuts, there is no ‘other’ solution, for all have been tried and found wanting, by me and billions of others.
I remember when I first met Richard I joked to him that he should have a sign above the door that says – ‘Abandon hope – all who enter here’. I was fortunately ready to abandon hope (and trust) that following the traditional methods could ever make me happy and harmless. I had seen too much of the hypocrisy, power-plays, corruption, deception and duplicity in all religious and spiritual worlds. The utterly ‘self’-ish search for immortality that has forever plagued human beings must be clearly seen for what it is – narcissism in the extreme.
But it is not something that one person convinces another of – it is for each to make their own discoveries, make their own decisions as to what they want to do with their lives. It takes a bold decision to admit to failing to find peace and happiness, to admit that one is not being the best one can be, to admit that one is neither happy nor harmless. And then to decide to set out in completely the opposite direction to what everyone else is doing, one needs to be both desperate and daring.
For me, I always enjoy writing of the third alternative to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ and participating in – and documenting – its success. To not only point out what doesn’t work but also to report on what does. This physical actual universe is too grand, too magnificent, too amazing for human beings to be forever trapped in primitive survival mode – endlessly battling it out for survival, endlessly living in fear. And we have all had glimpses of that – now there is a chance to put an end to malice and sorrow for those who want to.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your words of encouragement ... (for personal peace and ‘peace-on-earth’) ... do you know anyone, (other than Richard), who has achieved, actual freedom permanently?
PETER: No. When I first met Richard I soon twigged that what he was on about was an actual peace that was already existing – and has always existed – in the actual world. This seemed so blindingly obvious and something I had always suspected and had glimpses of in Pure Consciousness Experiences. Surely others had seen it, were writing of it and living it? I spent about 3 months digging into both conventional wisdom and spiritual wisdom and found zilch. ‘Normal’ real world wisdom is that needs to be normally neurotic – bound by confused and conflicting morals and ethics, controlling one’s instinctual passions within tolerable limits and blindly fulfilling one’s instinctual and societal obligations as best one can. Generally it all works pretty well – except for all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, corruption, suicides, etc. and people are quite often happy. Spiritual wisdom is that life on earth is an ‘unsatisfactory’ experience or that human suffering is essential in the Grand Scheme of things and that personal peace is to be realized by living as a God in a higher metaphysical ‘other world’.
Real world wisdom is that ‘you can’t change human nature’ – you just have to make the best of it. Spiritual wisdom is that ‘you can’t change human nature’ – you just have to transcend it and find your Divine Nature.
All I found was evidence of a trail of human investigation, experimentation and effort over millennia but inevitably the instinctual drive of the parasitical alien entity ‘self’ to stay in existence lead to altered states of consciousness and not a permanent freedom from one’s ‘self’. Personally, I found this wonderfully challenging, exciting and freeing as it lead to an understanding of why, after all the past efforts, peace on earth had not happened and could not happen. It meant I was able to do something about my personal peacefulness – being happy and harmless – and in doing so prove that peace on earth was possible. Being the first, sixth, sixtieth or six thousandth is irrelevant when it is your own peace that is at stake.
I just didn’t want to miss the bus that serendipitously arrived at my doorstep ...
P.S. – U.G. Krishnamurti seems to have arrived at some state ‘beyond Enlightenment’ but he doesn’t know how he got there, claims he is a sport of nature and doesn’t seem to fully enjoy being alive. Even the not-yet-permanent 99.9% perfection of Virtual Freedom seems far, far better than his state as he describes it. (...)
RESPONDENT: I, (this body), has left the marriage and the things I love many times but we reunite to enjoy the fruits of our life together ... of less than 100% companionship, less than 100% intimacy. I want 100% actual freedom ... 100% actual intimacy... and I know the cost is 100% high ... and believe the rewards are 100% great. Any comments about gambling?
The other realization was that the current Western fashionable interest in ‘spirituality’ I was involved in was a mere blimp on the history of Eastern religious pursuit. Literally billions had been pursuing Buddhism, Hinduism and the like for thousands of years and there are few more serious or intense devotees than the millions of Buddhists monks who devote their entire adult lives to meditation and ‘right’ thinking. And for what result – rampant narcissism, appalling poverty, stifling repression, entrenched ignorance, endemic corruption, debilitating theocracies, insidious sexism, etc.
Oh, and a few new God-men every now and again, to keep the system going.
I saw I was senselessly pissing into the wind – gambling my life away – all for my own ‘self’ interest. The odds are steep but becoming a God on Earth is the grandest of prizes. So, when the spiritual balloon finally popped for me – and I had already found the real world less than fulfilling – I figured I had ‘nothing left to lose’, which is the title I chose for my journal cover.
If you have ‘nothing left to lose’ then the path to Actual Freedom is a cinch. I firstly made it the most important thing to do in my life – numero uno ambition. I still worked, did all my normal daily things and most definitely did not retreat from the world as it is. Running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ the method that allows you complete freedom to maintain normal life while cleaning yourself up on the way. This involved occasional adjustments or betterments to normal life but the actual changes are internal – to the brain’s programming.
The process is one of self-immolation, and personally I found the ridding myself of my social identity easy. I had already chopped and changed from normal to spiritual, had moved to different places, had different groups of friends, etc. so to extricate myself from the mess was not overly difficult. It did mean abandoning my spiritual friends who all stubbornly kept insisting that life on earth is a miserable experience. The business of replacing belief with fact was one of fascinating discovery, and the replacing of right and wrong, good and bad with silly and sensible was wonderfully liberating. The instinctual levels were a bit more of a ‘new territory’ as one is abandoning Humanity – in defiance of the genetically-encoded instinctual program that makes ‘me’ one of the species – but no emotional scars or memories whatsoever remain of what were, on occasions, ‘interesting’ experiences.
It’s been 2 ½ years now since I first came across Actual Freedom and the results are stunning. As one demolishes one’s self the actual world of purity and perfection becomes increasingly apparent and obvious – for it is always here, happening right now.
RESPONDENT: I must say though, that from the posts I have read from the members on this list, they too seem just as committed to finding an alternative to spirituality as you are Peter. I would not be here if I was not fully aware of those first bases you speak of above and the futility of continuing to play those games. I think it was extremely important that Richard created a space like this. As place where open, like minded friends can pour out and expose their programming for what it is and assist each other in wiping the drive and re-programming without fear of being ostracized or declared malicious and sorrowful for not being able to take on actualism lock stock and barrel and extirpating the psyche immediately, without considerable thought and investigation.
PETER: Firstly I am not finding an alternative to spirituality – I have found the alternative to spirituality which is why I can write with authority both about this new alternative and of the failings of the spiritual path. I know both very well indeed, from an experiential understanding, not an intellectual observation. I can only go by what you write to this list, and while you say you would not be here on this list if you were not fully aware of ‘the futility of continuing to play those (spiritual?) games’, you also post large chunks of wisdom from a channelled dis-embodied imaginary being who presumable resides in a mythical other-world. As such, I take what you post at face value and you appear to be at the stage of being in the spiritual camp, and testing the waters of actualism to see whether you are going to investigate further. You may well also be having glimpses, that to pursue actualism will be the end of No 8, as she is now. I could well be wrong, but this is what happened to me.
When I came across Richard I already had considerable motives for wanting to be free of the Human Condition, not the least of which was that I wanted to get rid of malice and sorrow from my life. One of the first steps towards doing this was to acknowledge that I did indeed harbour thoughts/ feelings of anger, irritation, blame, exasperation, frustration, resentment, impatience, antagonism, etc. on one hand and sadness, melancholy, loneliness, unhappiness, discontent, etc. on the other.
It’s a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous where the initial step in a cure for alcoholism is to admit you are an alcoholic. It is exactly the same with actualism. The initial step in eliminating the animal instinctual passions is to admit to their existence and to experience them in action in oneself. This is not as easy as it appears for we have been taught to deny them, repress them, control them or, in Eastern religious practice, transcend them. This is exactly the purpose of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – to become aware of the beliefs, morals, and ethics that prevent this experiential investigation, so that one is then able to get down to the core instinctual being that is the very source of the instinctual passions.
When you say you are feeling as though you are being ostracized or declared malicious or sorrowful – what I did was acknowledge, despite my years of feeling special on the spiritual path, that I was simply an average human being and therefore, deep down, a malicious and sorrowful one. I found this acknowledgement a great blow to my spiritual pride of course, but when combined with the tantalizing lure that I could do something about the situation, I found I could not help but jump in.
As for this list, it’s simply the best forum on the planet and an ideal adjunct to and testing ground for the process of eliminating the ‘me’ who is blindly programmed to fight or flee, feel offended or seek revenge, etc. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
PETER: Given that you qualified your question with the comment
perhaps you would like to share the reason you think you have lost your appetite?
RESPONDENT: I like rock music. Most any genre of music has its negative side but something I have noticed recently is that almost every song that comes on the local rock station here is a song in worship of suffering. It’s like a badge of honour to feel depressed or alone. I have always been turned off by whinny music but in reading about the nuances of suffering I have become more aware of this revelling in sadness and pain in the music I listen to.
PETER: I’ve always found it very odd that people write to this mailing list complaining of the fact that what is on offer has been labelled actualism (purely in order to define it as being an alternative to the other ‘isms’, materialism and spiritualism) and likewise some people object that it has a method (cultivating an objective unconditional awareness as an alternative to remaining unaware or practicing a subjective conditional awareness so as to avoid unwanted feelings) or that they object that what is on offer involves an intent to do something (setting one’s sights on becoming happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow as opposed to the materialist and spiritualist intent of having power over others).
As such it is somewhat refreshing to hear you report that you have understood something about the human condition simply by the act of becoming aware of the feelings and passions that underpin the human condition as they happen in your own experience.
After all, such a straightforward act of immediate awareness is exactly what asking oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is designed to promote as constant and ongoing – no more and no less.
RESPONDENT: Hi Peter/Vineeto, Would you agree that the ‘me’ becomes thinner and thinner as you apply actualism and for you it must have become so thin that it is impossible to detect? Richard took a different path (or is it the same towards the end?) – so the identity was visible (in fact stupendous) when deciding to self-immolate... What I am thinking is that the decision to self-immolate might need to occur when the ‘me’ is still substantial instead of thinning out too far – for better success?
PETER: It is important to keep in mind that there are two aspects to actualism – firstly that it is an alternative to both materialism and spiritualism and secondly that it elucidates a method whereby it is possible to become actually free from the human condition in toto.
Of the two aspects, the most important aspect is the first because the spread of actualism will inevitably lead to a decline of both materialism – the mindless pursuit of power, fame, wealth and possessions – and spiritualism – the even more mindless pursuit of power, fame, wealth and possessions in a supposed spiritual realm. Actualism unabashedly offers a robust and sensible alternative to the traditional human pursuits that have existed up until now – rather than battling it out with one’s fellow human beings in a grim instinctual battle for survival or falling into the eons-old trap of indulging in any one of the myriad fantasies of a spirit-ual ‘other world’, one sets one’s sights on becoming as happy and as harmless as is possible, each moment again.
Therein lies the significance of actualism because as more and more people make being happy and harmless their primary aim in life, the less need will there be for human beings to be antagonistic towards their fellow human beings and the less need there will be for them to feel resentful about being here. The stealth-like, word-of-mouth, spread of actualism will be what eventually brings an end to more insidious facets of the human condition – genocide, warfare, murder, infanticide, rape, child abuse, torture, corruption and so on.
Whilst I do acknowledge that it is an outrageous claim that the world-wide spread of actualism will inevitably result in the desperately longed-for peace on earth, it behoves one to take a clear-eyed look at what are commonly referred to as the ‘ills’ of humanity as well as make a dispassionate assessment of the continued failure of the traditional proposed solutions … and then to ask yourself, is it not high time to try something radically different and does it not make sense that this something involves you doing whatever is needed to eliminate malice and sorrow from your own life, to do your part to actualize peace on earth?
So as you can see, the first aspect of actualism will be of interest to those who are moved to do something practical about bringing about peace on earth by doing whatever they can to be as happy and as harmless as they possibly can, each moment again. Some people will however be attracted to take this pursuit even further and for those the second aspect of actualism is then available – an actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow. You will notice that the first and second aspects of actualism are sequential – the first is the means to the second. To put it succinctly, it is obvious that one cannot expect to become actually free of malice and sorrow unless one is prepared to do everything possible to eliminate malice and sorrow from one’s life.
One of the attractions of actualism to me was that it is not an ‘all-or-nothing’ business and that it is not a group business. Anyone who is interested in actualism can take it as far as they want, or as far as they dare, and they will be the judge of their own success depending solely upon their own aspirations and expectations … whether that is to be a little more happy being here doing whatever it is they are doing as well as being a little more harmless to their fellow human beings, or whether it is to become actually free of the human condition.
As for your comment about a thinner ‘me’, my experience is that the incremental diminishing of the usual feelings of malice and sorrow certainly results in the feeling that ‘I’ am thinner or less substantial and yet – despite the fact that to live virtually free from malice and sorrow is way beyond human expectations – ‘I’ remain an ‘I’ until ‘I’ am no more.
PETER: Many people in the world seem to hold the belief that the ills of humanity are due to evil political or social systems or evil political leaders. In this scenario, resentment and anger leads to protest, dissent, rebellion and anarchy. If these feelings persist and take root, the thin veneer of civilization can readily break down and murder and acts of terrorism, war and genocide result.
RESPONDENT: What I am saying is that it may make a lot of a difference wether one believes (or used to believe) in a Dutch, a French, an American or Zimbabwean god, be this god Roman Catholic or Islamic and so on. To me it feels that the essence of alienation very well may be rooted in tribal conditioning; our very neighbours are in fact aliens, that has been a rather shocking revelation as I feel in fact that anyone I have ever known or been with only relatively was less alien to me; that includes my family ‘loved’ ones and acquaintances with two exceptions my niece and nephew who I find for some reason not to be alien but in fact fellow human beings, but then again the feeling of being human can only be inferred as from concluding that my parents where human so my sister must be and hence most likely my niece and nephew are also. I guess I still have to do some work...
PETER: The other day I was musing about the current set of conflicts and wars on the planet. The armed conflicts that readily came to mind are those between various Christian sects, between Muslims and Christians, between Hindus and Muslims, between Jews and Muslims and between various Animist sects. There are also armed conflicts between followers of various political and social ideologies – democracy versus communism, capitalism versus socialism, environmentalism versus consumerism and ludditism versus globalisation being the more obvious conflicts. As if this weren’t enough, are also territorial conflicts and disputes, many of which have been ongoing for millennia.
If one adds to this list the many inter-tribal conflicts and the ubiquitous inter-family conflicts, it is no wonder that the idea of ‘turning away’ from being here and searching for an ‘inner’ peace, or an imaginary peace after death, is so appealing. Rather than turn away and retreat ‘inside’, it makes sense to question why one believes in a God in the first place, why one feels nationalistic pride, why one favours one ideology over another, why one resents authority and why one blames others for having the exact same feelings and passions as one nurses in one’s own bosom?
So, yes, it sounds as if you have discovered that you have some work to do. But what a wonderful opportunity that you have found out that you can do something about your own malice and sorrow – that there is work to do and that there is an on-line resource to aid you in your work.
I thought to post a bit of my Journal because it relates to a time when I saw the work to be done literally as a mountain –
PETER to No 7: Just a note to follow on from my recent post.
I realized that I had posted two consecutive quotes from Mohan Rajneesh to the List and thought I would include a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti just to indicate that the ‘I do not know – therefore I am Wise and Holy’ syndrome is endemic in all spiritual teachings –
The other reason to include this quote is to indicate that I have no particular axe to grind in relation to Rajneesh – he was merely yet another in a long, long, long line of failed Gurus who promised lotus flowers and left nothing but mud, bewilderment, ignorance, unliveable teachings and shattered dreams in their wake. Krishnamurti exited quietly leaving behind stories of clandestine love affairs, intrigues and malicious legal battles. Rajneesh had the temerity to declare ‘I leave you my dream’ on his death bed. ‘His Dream’ had collapsed in tatters around him in Oregon ten years earlier while he sat in his room in Splendid Isolation, above the mundane activities of the building and running of a ‘City to Challenge God’. His dream failed, a ‘million lights’ didn’t light up the world, and peace is yet to miraculously descend on the planet, let alone in the Pune Ashram. And yet another religion is born, yet another group following their own particular dead God-man who for them was the master of masters, the only God, the beloved, the Sacred One. So ‘in love’ with their God-man, so trusting, so unquestioning loyal and devoted, that they will figuratively and literally surrender their life for Him.
The only reason I write about Mohan Rajneesh is that I know the whole Rajneesh Religion ‘inside-out’, so to speak. I participated fully in a contemporary formation of a religion – a microcosm of the founding of the thousands of religions that have been formed before and are still forming around God-men and God-women.
Yesterday someone asked me if I had had any feedback from friends to whom I had given a copy of my Journal. I said the silence had been deafening and one had even told me ‘it was good that I had got what Rajneesh had been teaching’ and wondered why I was not grateful to him. Thinking about it again, I realized that many who read the writings of Actual Freedom and its uncompromising non-spiritual stance, conveniently see it merely as Guru-bashing and miss the main point.
It is obvious that gurus have been gleefully indulging in bashing their fellow-Gurus for millennia as a ‘device’ to collect and gather more disciples who are willing and eager to believe that they, and only they, are peddling something new and special. This is nothing more than the power battles of the God men, a Divine and psychic version of the secular, instinct-fuelled battles that rage between various groups of humans animals on the planet. The bigger slice of the market the more power for the Guru and it matters not a fig whether he or she is still alive. More often than not it is better if the Guru is dead as imagination, myth and surrender are better sustained if one’s God is ‘on the other shore’, waiting for you after death.
But to see Actual Freedom in spiritual terms and to see it as mere Guru-bashing is to miss the point entirely of what is being offered here on this List and in the writings. What is required of an actualist is to undertake a complete, thorough and clear-eyed examination of what it is that is being taught by these God-men and exactly why it has been, and still is, so seductively attractive. This process, if undertaken with scrupulous sincerity, will bring one to the realization that the whole of Ancient Wisdom is based upon various myths and imaginary fairy tale beliefs of life after death. This spirit-ual belief in an after-life is constantly fuelled and fired by the survival instincts and, as such, is a passionately held belief given credence by hormonally-charged hallucinations and delusionary states. ‘I’, the parasitic entity that dwells in the flesh and blood body, will do anything to survive, will actively and passionately do anything to stay in existence – anything to deny the fact of physical death. So passionate is this belief that millions, upon millions, upon millions of human beings have killed for, and died for, their own particular version of this spiritual belief. The very survival instinct within human beings is directly responsible for the continuous carnage of warfare on this planet – all pursuit of a fairy-tale of life after death for ‘me’ who lives inside this flesh and blood, physical, mortal body.
This is why one needs to read the words of the God-men and see for oneself exactly what is on offer, and exactly what has been delivered.
I got to musing a bit more about the reaction to my Journal, and to Richard’s Journal, and wondered at the lack of reaction evident in most. I remembered back to my first reading of Richard’s Journal and what my reactions were at the time.
Firstly, what he was saying made sense – it was obvious to me that everyone has got it wrong; everyone knows that because fear and aggression in the form of sorrow and malice are endemic on the planet. It took a bit of digging into both Richard’s writings and those of the Gurus to understand that what he was saying was brand spanking new and a quantum leap in the opposite direction to the spiritual. When a Guru says ‘everyone has got it wrong’, what he means is ‘everyone else has got it wrong and only I have got it Right, for I am the messenger of the Divine’. This shallow Guru-bashing then is passed off as ‘the real Truth, the only Path’, whereas what can initially appear as the Wisdom of the God-man is no more than his particular condemnation of the religions of other God-men. Merely to claim that others have got it wrong while blindly ignoring their own role in the on-going tragedy is both ignorance and denial, but then again, if one feels oneself to be God, one is undeniably deluded and absolutely blinded to any common sense.
Actual Freedom is a freedom from the insidious fairy-tales told by all the Gurus – no exceptions, no maybes, no ‘it’s only the same thing that everybody else is saying’. For me, this meant that I would have to desert my Master, not only being ungrateful but disloyal as well. It soon became obvious that this meant I would also have to desert Humanity – be a traitor to Humanity – to be ‘a rat deserting a sinking ship’, as Richard put it recently.
And the only way ‘out’ – to actually become free – was to do it, despite these values, ethics and morals that bound me to Humanity’s perpetual suffering and fighting. Once one begins to break these bonds and ties, to actualize one’s own freedom, one discovers that one has been instinctually programmed to be a member of the species, and to break with Humanity – the emotional-backed concept that binds the species together – necessitates an extinction of the these instincts in operation in this flesh and blood body. The ending of ‘my’ connection to Humanity is the ending of ‘me’.
So, even in the first weeks after reading Richard’s Journal, I knew what the consequences of my actions would be if I gave the path to Actual Freedom a ‘go’. But I had had enough experience to not get into the trap of believing what others said merely because it sounded ‘right’ – so I wanted some practical proof that Actual Freedom worked. In the beginning of the Richard’s Journal are the chapters on living together in peace and harmony, ending the battle of the sexes and unravelling the mystique of sex, and this is what I decided I would ‘cut my teeth on’ – to see if this would work. I simply acknowledged that what I, and every body else, had been doing didn’t work and would never work, and decided to actually try something new. Not just read, study and understand, but put it into practice and see if it worked. To see if I could live with one other person in peace and harmony and get to the bottom of the mess of human sexuality. Actualism is not a cerebral pastime nor a feeling-based escape from ‘reality’ – it is a full blooded commitment to expunging the alien entity within this flesh and blood body that prevents one being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Anything less is chicken shit.
The spiritual path eternally promises, dreams and offers hope but it never has, and never can, deliver peace on earth. Actualism delivers the dream of peace that many humans sincerely seek and puts it into practice, but only for those willing to head in the opposite direction to the ‘Tried and Failed’. My friend who said I was living what Rajneesh taught was half-right in that I am living beyond the wildest dreams of Humanity. But I only do that because I abandoned the hackneyed spiritual Wisdom based on denial and ignorance, ‘back-tracked’ all the way out of the spiritual world and set off down the path of intrepid investigation in pursuit of common sense. The path that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction to that which every one else follows. The path that everyone says don’t go on or you will end up irresponsible, evil, insane, and a traitor to Humanity to boot! That is the meaning of everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong.
But the first thing one needs to do is find out whether you have been ‘sold a dummy’, or not. That was my first reaction to the idea that there is a third alternative to staying ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ – ‘Does that mean I have been sold a dummy?’ But the only way to know that was to find out for myself. And to undertake that investigation is to go against one’s instinctual programming that binds one to being a member of the herd called Humanity.
The return for the effort is peace, on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body. Peace is a simple, unambiguous term meaning actually free of malice and sorrow.
So, maybe this has been of use to you. I personally always find it useful to dig in and find out what the common objections to being happy and harmless are – in other words, what ‘my’ objections are – and then dare to look at the facts of what it is to be a human animal.
To explore, within one’s own psyche, the emotional passions of malice and sorrow and to investigate the commonly held beliefs that perpetuate their existence.
To discover the illusions, ‘within’ and ‘without’, will bring one – inevitably and inexorably – to one’s senses.
And then you get to find out the meaning of life.
And it’s the journey of a ‘life’-time.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.