Selected Correspondence Peter
The Third Alternative
PETER: Dear Metta,
I read with interest your description of your spiritual awakening on your web-site and was taken by your very precise description. Few who have had these experiences are willing to be honest about what actually happens. I suspect it serves them better not to expose the fact that ‘I’ the self lives on through the experience to become ‘Me’ the Self who is both messenger and saviour. What saved me from this delusion was an experience I had where, like you, I had a glimpse of the perfection and purity of the physical universe, the infinitude, the sparkling paradise we live in as human beings. But, and I had a ‘but’ and I have written about it in my journal of the time:
So a different interpretation can be made from the experience you had. Acknowledging the suffering and violence endemic in human behaviour on the planet and seeing that this fear and aggression, which rages in the heads and hearts of every human being – and then realising it needs to stop, if this fair paradisiacal planet is to be free of war, rape, torture, poverty, repression, domestic violence, child abuse, guilt, shame, sorrow and despair. And the only thing ‘I’ can do is rid myself of malice and sorrow in me. To self-immolate is the only solution, the only sacrifice ‘I’ can make to put an end to this hell on earth that we find ourselves born into. To face it squarely and not merely escape into some fantasy where everything is all right as it is, you just need to ‘imagine’ a better world, fully realise it as another reality (or Reality) and swan around in its bliss.
To quote from your web-site http://members.tripod.com/~Metta_Z/Epiphany.html:
METTA: ‘‘Mistakes’, as we know them, are not possible. ‘Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.’
PETER: The first point you make in your wisdom is that ‘mistakes’ are okay. I take it that you are saying: the fact that 160,000,000 people have been killed in war this century alone is okay, that the violence, misery and sorrow, readily evidenced through TV, is okay. That if people live in malice and sorrow, entrapped by an world view made of an Ancient wisdom that says ‘you can’t change human nature’ and besides ‘suffering is good for us’, then this is okay?
The second point indicates our most fundamental freedom is our freedom to choose. So far human beings have had only two choices:
I could go on but when I read the last bit where you say, suffering is not absurd, then I wonder how you got so lost. I assume that your search was for a way out of suffering for yourself and others. And now your solution is to say ‘look, don’t worry about it, the suffering is part of the grand plan, it is not real. Just close your eyes and go ‘in’ ... feel the stillness ... there, that’s better, isn’t it. Feel the bliss’ ... ‘And don’t watch TV news because you will only get upset’.
BARRY LONG: Peter,
Many people have sent me their books or manuscripts, and I never read them. So I am returning your nice looking book unopened.
Your persistence gives me the impression your are trying to teach me something or give me something that I have not asked for – a sure sign of guru-itis.
Freedom, of course, is always actual (as well as within) and if you have discovered it, I suggest you just enjoy it and stop trying to impress me. Incidentally, as I mentioned before, the love you say you’ve discovered is an emotion, is not the love I know.
PETER: I am a bit baffled by your response to me as I offered you a chance to comment on my discoveries about freedom and you refuse to even read them. I first sent you Richard’s manuscript and then a copy of my book and have had a summary dismissal both times.
Why is it that all of the spiritual teachers seem unwilling or unable to discuss or talk about their Truth. And why is it that when someone even presumes to question their teachings they are treated with disdain, scorn or accused of being a Guru. You are the one who declares himself ‘Guru’ and a ‘God-man’, and yet you accuse me of showing signs of Guru-it is. If you had taken the trouble to read even a bit of my book you would have realized that the last thing I am is a Guru. Far, far from it – 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact.
I was always curious at your treatment of a former disciple and now a Spiritual Teacher, who freely acknowledges his debt to you as his teacher and yet you offer no comment, support, endorsement or anything. Has he discovered the same Truth as you? Is he a competitor, has he not got it ‘right’, is he somehow lesser? If anyone finds the Truth or God by being with you then what is their position? No doubt you will take offence by what I am questioning but this does not mean the questions are not valid. I always thought the Truth and its purveyors could stand a little questioning and I rather naively thought you might be of a different ilk, but it appears not.
Your comment on your brand of freedom being actual is non-sensical in that your definition is ‘Actuality is the apparent world outside the head’. So you adopt the traditional Eastern position that the physical stuff of the universe is apparent only, i.e. an illusion. Rocks, sky, computer keyboards, food, air, human beings, etc. are, for you, all an illusion – for me they are actual as clearly evidenced by the senses. The freedom that you talk about is to realise a state of consciousness where this perception of the physical world is experienced as an illusion, leading to a temporary, false sense of well-being and bliss. Unfortunately, this misconception, when fully realized leads to a state of delusion where one becomes timeless, spaceless and immortal. And yet another Saviour of mankind is born, resulting in yet another Religion, depending on the numbers of disciples he can gather.
Immortality is, of course, a grand play in the imagination, as in the actual world bodies die and rot and become compost. It is only in the psychic world that heaven and afterlife exist.
Up until now there has only been one door to ‘escape’ from the bondage of having a psychological and psychic entity that fearfully perceived the actual world as an illusionary hell inhabited by evil spirits. The door was marked ‘Truth’, ‘God’, ‘Enlightenment’ or such. This involved transcending the ‘earthly’ realm for some mythical ‘inner’ world or higher plane. To fully step through this door was to become the Self, Divine Love, God or the like.
Now for the first time there is another door that leads to an actual freedom where neither a self nor a Self exist. In actual freedom I am able to be what I am not who I am – this body, not this alien self inside. There is evidence that even the Enlightened Ones know this but they claim it is only possible to reach upon death, in some imaginary afterlife. That door, marked ‘annihilation’, is what I am now willingly rushing towards, now that I have sufficient actual evidence of the purity, perfection and fairy-tale like quality of the physical universe. And then fear – the very substance of self – will totally disappear and I can be me – this flesh and blood body only.
This discovery of a new down-to-earth, non-spiritual freedom will now relegate concepts such as spirituality and Enlightenment to history – into the curio section. Then the planet will eventually be free of Religion, Spirituality, Gurus, religious persecution and religious wars. In short, there will be heaven on earth, here, now – not in some mythical realm after death.
My persistence was to try and tell you of this new discovery. You are indeed ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ and as a fellow human being I thought it only fair to warn you, but twice you have imperiously swept my offer aside, refusing even to peek inside the cover of my book or Richard’s.
RESPONDENT: I have just finished reading the new magazine on ‘What is Ego – friend or foe’ and in it there are at least 3 rare individuals who are interviewed who make your heart sing with the fire of their victory over malice and sorrow. It’s well worth reading.
PETER: I spent some 17 years on the spiritual path with both a singing heart (love) and a bleeding heart (compassion) but I had a brief pure consciousness experience where I saw, with shocking clarity, that I had been seduced into and was firmly entrapped in nothing other than an old time Religion, albeit the fashionable Eastern pantheistic version. It took me some years to tear myself away from the instinctual need to belong to a group and strike off on my own to search.
After six months of withdrawing from the world and indulging in intensive spiritual reading and meditating, I had a particularly overwhelming altered state of consciousness experience, or Satori, when I was walking along a beach experiencing 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 this 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 spirit 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.
There is a third alternative to remaining normal or becoming spiritual and it brings to an end the genetically-instilled instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Human malice and sorrow is a product of neuro-biological instinctual survival programming and not the result of a battle between good and evil spirits, not some perverse plan of a God by whatever name, or a necessary suffering prelude to an ultimate peace after physical death, in Heaven, Parinirvana or whatever other name.
I have repeated several sections from previous posts so as to avoid confusion for I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I am very deliberately being upfront and honest as what I am saying is both radically new and unabashedly iconoclastic. I know what I am talking of is inconceivable for it has nothing to do with the traditional spiritual path that seekers of freedom, peace and happiness have been conditioned to believe as being the Truth about human life on earth. In fact, the path to an actual freedom from malice and sorrow lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the tried and failed spiritual path.
What started me on this opposite path was accepting the down-to-earth challenge that if I couldn’t live with one other person in utter peace and harmony, equity and parity, 24 hrs. a day, every day, then life on earth was indeed a sick joke. I took the challenge and, together with my companion, proved it is possible.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your letter, in which you said, ‘The pure consciousness experience clearly indicates that peace on earth, an actual end to malice and sorrow, lies in total self-extinction, both ego and soul, not an ego death only, as in an altered state of consciousness’. I agree with you that swapping an identification with ego for an identification with soul is only to exchange one prison for another.
PETER: Yes indeed, but I am talking about the extinction of any psychological or psychic identity whatsoever – ‘who’ one thinks and feels one is – not shifting what one identifies with as in identification. To use a simple, easily understood and experienced definition, I define ego as ‘who we think’ we are, which can be visualized as a little man or woman located in the forehead who is pulling the levers and controlling the flesh and blood body. On the other hand, the soul, ‘who we feel’ we are is felt as located in the heart and gut and, as such, is regarded as closer to the centre of our being, ‘me’ at my core, if you like. Spiritual practice is aimed at shifting one’s identity from the head to heart – thus one feels closer to the true, real ‘me’ at my core. Spiritual believers are continuously admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’ i.e. shift your identity from head to heart, from sensible thought and sensate experience to an inner feeling-only world of impassioned imagination. It is this newly created identity that regards the physical world that is evidenced by the senses as illusionary, Samsara, a dream or nightmare – and should this new identity lose all touch with sensible thought and sensate experience they can even become so deluded as to believe they are God-on-earth. When I was a kid, being bought up in a Western monotheist culture anyone who claimed they are God-on-earth would have been locked up whereas some 40 years later, given the current fashion for Eastern pantheism, human beings are envied, revered and worshipped as God-men or God-women in the West.
It’s a wonderful time to be a human being for we are each able to conduct our own thorough investigation into religious belief and the ancient wisdom that form the parameters of the Human Condition to date. To make our own assessment if it works and is it sensible.
RESPONDENT: I am not sure, though, whether I am misunderstanding your language, in which case I apologize, or whether you are suggesting that a true practice for peace is one that necessitates the extinction of the things the self takes as its referents (ego and soul in this case) as well as the extinction of delusion about self and things. If both then the logical conclusion is that liberation is only reached when all things have ceased to be, classical nirvana-without-remainder. The alternative is nirvana-with-remainder, or liberation whilst remaining alive to and engaged with the phenomenal world.
PETER: No, I am not talking of Buddhist philosophy. Mr. Buddha clearly didn’t want to be here on earth and couldn’t wait to get out of here. I am vitally interested in being here, now, in this actual physical world of vibrant delight and stunning perfection, where we flesh and blood human beings live.
RESPONDENT: (I take your point about not recreating ourselves in the image of some spiritual tradition but ‘nirvana’ is a shorthand for something we can experience. I am not quite sure what you mean by pure consciousness, so I hesitate to use it.)
PETER: I don’t understand your seeming agreement and then the but... ‘Nirvana’ is an affective/cerebral experience – as opposed to sensate experience – firmly within the spiritual condition. It is regarded as the ultimate state possible for one’s spirit, soul, atman, bundle of thoughts and memories, or whatever other name, while still in a flesh and blood body prior to a final release, upon the death of the body, into Parinirvana – the Buddhist version of Heaven. All religions are founded on the premise of a life after death and, as such, all religious passion is fuelled by the instinctual fear of physical death. The ancient fairy stories and mythical tales that there is an ‘other world’ where one’s spirit goes – the essence of spirituality – is a powerfully seductive lure that has held human beings enthralled for millennia. Surely it’s time to get our head out of the clouds and come down-to-earth where we human beings live. Then we can clearly see that humans beings are still battling it out with each other in a grim instinctual battle for survival.
All sentient beings are born pre-primed with certain distinguishing instinctual passions, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. They are blind nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to give one a start in life and to ensure the survival of the species. While absolutely essential in the primitive days of roaming man-eating animals, rampant disease and high infant mortality, it is these very same instincts that we humans with our ability to think and reflect, have turned into a psychological and psychic ‘will to survive’, and this on-going overt and covert battle of wills now threatens the very survival of the species. Currently some 6 billion humans are still actively involved in a senseless, grim and desperate battle for survival, blindly fuelled by our animal instinctual passions. This instinctual program is no longer necessary – in fact, in these times when an ever increasing number of human beings enjoy unparalleled safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are clearly redundant. The modern challenge is to evince a deletion of these redundant instinctual passions that are the substance of our instinctual self – ‘me’ at my core.
Self-immolation is an end to malice and sorrow and the pure consciousness experience – a sensate-only experience where the self is temporarily absent – is the proof that it is possible.
RESPONDENT: It may be that we mean different things by ‘ego’. Ego is often used as a synonym for self, but to me ‘ego’ simply denotes a constructed thing in psychological space, in the same way that ‘house’ denotes a constructed thing in physical space. ‘Self’ is the supposed real and independently existing entity or being I take myself to be. That self rests on a sense of identity with some thing, or set of things – my house, my ego, my soul, my idea that I Am. In the course of practice, both material and mental things are seen to be neutral in themselves, fundamentally insubstantial and not capable of providing a convincing basis for a real self. There is no need to take quarrel with houses or egos or altered states per se as obstructions to freedom; the obstruction lies in taking these things to be real and substantive, us and ours. Since the sense ‘I Am’ is itself an idea, then the self can be dropped without the need to demolish anything other than the delusion that supported it: the thinker and feeler can be absent without annihilating thinking and feeling.
Rather than ego death, I think that for the practical purpose of living in the world, just as it is useful to have a house with walls and a roof to offer shelter against the elements, so it is useful to have a sound and mature ego structure to enable us to act with optimum wisdom and compassion, to express the goodness and Love of Truth with least distortion. What is not needed is the self arisen from identifying with the ego because that leads straight into conflict, greedy consuming, fighting and defending. Being free of attachment to substance and self in physical or mental things means we do not believe that the building defined by the walls of the house is independently real or absolute, we are not fooled into believing that the person defined by the egoic boundaries is a separately existing being. Knowing the true nature of things we can live peacefully and joyfully within the world, using everything skilfully for the welfare of all.
PETER: Well I don’t doubt the sincerity of your beliefs but the fact of the matter is people are not living peacefully and joyfully in the world.
It is well-documented that the last century was the bloodiest to date – over 160 million human beings were killed by their fellow human beings and over 40 million people killed themselves in suicides – and there is no end in sight to this human slaughter and bloodlust. These are real human beings, on this planet and not illusionary human beings, in an illusionary world. That means at least 200 million of today’s children will suffer a similar fate.
I know that while I was in the spiritual world I had the feeling that if only everyone could feel what I feel then the world would be awash with peaceful and loving people. But I eventually became aware that this feeling was still self-centred, ego-centric, me-oriented, ‘inner’, private, etc. It was after all, only a feeling that ‘I’ had, not a fact that I or anyone else I had met, or read about, was living. The other fact that shook me up was that a sincere Christian has the same feeling, a sincere Buddhist has the same feeling, a sincere Muslim has the same feeling and yet when push comes to shove people are willing and eager to kill and die for their beliefs – so passionately and fervently do they believe in their feelings and their Truth or God. This is not only a well-documented historical fact, it is clearly in operation today amongst the New Dark Age religions. In the town where I live the Rajneeshees are involved in public conflict with the Poonjarians, the Course of Miracle followers are squabbling with the Christians, and the splits and chasms that are inevitably forming amongst the followers within the various spiritual groups, particularly after their Guru dies, are anything but peaceful or joyful. When I was on the spiritual path I always felt that ‘my’ Guru, ‘his’ teaching, which became my Truth, was superior to everyone else’s belief – this is the very nature of spiritual belief for one is extolled to trust one’s feelings, have faith, and above all, don’t doubt (which means don’t dare question the teacher or the teachings).
I know that you have these affective experiences, knowings and feelings of goodness and Love of Truth (God by another name), for I have had them myself – I know them well. But the fact is that religion, be it Eastern or Western, actively contributes to malice and sorrow as is evidenced by the countless religious wars, persecutions, sacrifices, penances, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, denials, retributions, perversions and conflicts that are ever ongoing ...
What has always been avoided up until now is the fact that the affective instinctual passions are the root cause of human malice and sorrow – the loves and loyalties, impulses and urges, ideals and beliefs that human beings are willing and eager to fight and kill for, or to suffer and die for. One’s own ‘self’-inflicted problems lie in the feelings and emotions that arise from the animal instinctual passions – and the PCE experientially confirms this fact.
The ancient eastern philosophers, being ignorant of modern empirical scientific research that establishes that fear and aggression, nurture and desire are genetically instilled characteristics, wrongly assumed that wrong or evil thinking was the source of malice and sorrow. Some 3,500 years on, in these modern times, we now know from the empirical research of LeDoux and others, that it is the instinctual passions that infiltrate thought and are experienced as emotions and felt as feelings are the source of human malice and sorrow. It is vital to explore and investigate the affective feelings and emotions that arise from the instinctual animal passions – both the supposed ‘good’ and the supposed ‘bad’ – for the secret to becoming actually free of malice and sorrow lies in this very exploration.
It is essential to understand and fully comprehend that one’s feelings and emotions are part and parcel of the Human Condition and not a personal fault, failure, stigma or ‘evil’. Fear, aggression, nurture and desire are innate passions that every human being is programmed with by blind nature. This program is automatic and often psychic in nature, it is programmed within the primitive or reptilian brain and ‘felt’ in the body due to the resulting chemical surges. This blind and senseless survival program can now be safely deleted for the human species has not only survived ... it is now beginning to flourish.
We humans simply need to abandon the old ancient mystical beliefs in ‘other worlds’ cooked up by long dead shamans to instil fear in others in order to maintain their power or inane philosophies dreamed up by fearful monks in order to while away their timeless hours. It’s time to stop praying for peace, roll up our sleeves and get stuck into the job at hand – to contribute to peace on earth in the only way possible by totally eradicating malice and sorrow from within ourselves.
RESPONDENT: I am left wondering why there is always this struggle between ‘self’ and ‘Self’, with the supposed answer being the creation of a ‘third alternative’.
Thus far humans have attempted to escape from being a thinking ‘self’ seemingly trapped within a mortal flesh and blood body and shifted their identity to becoming ‘who’ they instinctually feel they are – their soul, atman, spirit, Self, Isness, etc. – an immortal ethereal being, ‘just passing through’ this illusionary physical world.
To actively undertake the process of one’s own ‘self’-immolation is a third alternative that results in the progressive eradication of both the instilled social identity and the encoded instinctual identity, thus causing the cessation of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. This is not ‘the creation’ of anything new but the deliberate elimination of all that is illusionary, instinctual, ancient, rotten and redundant.
What remains at the end of this process is ‘what’ you are, not ‘who’ think and feel you are.
RESPONDENT: This seems to be a very basic formula, but knowing that the mind can only deal in division and loves to split and then reassemble the pieces of the fractured wholeness back into what appears to be something ‘new’, there is some sense that we could be playing the same old, never-ending game again here.
PETER: Indeed, there is a plethora of claims made for a new spirituality, a new way, an ordinary spirituality, the real Truth, a third way, a middle path etc. In my spiritual years I remained loyal and faithful to one teacher for most of my time but when he died I saw the inevitable fragmenting and formaldehyding of the religion so I moved on to others who all claimed to have unique new insights and revelations. I never quite managed to replicate the love affair I had with my first teacher which, in hindsight, was very useful. I was more able to clearly look at what the others were saying and offering and I eventually came to see that they all parroted versions of that old seductive message – there is life after death and we are just ‘passing through’ before we go to a better place ‘somewhere else’. Sweet music and sweet poetry for the soul. The more one soaks up this message, the less one becomes interested in, and involved in, life on earth, where we flesh and blood humans actually live.
What I saw was that I was playing the same old denial, renunciation and transcendence game that has been played – with undoubted sincerity, conviction and intensity – by billions of my fellow human beings for millennium. That’s why I went for something new and radical – to cut to the quick of the problem –’me’ (as ‘self’ or ‘Self’).
‘I’ am an illusion, not the physical material palpable world.
RESPONDENT: The several modern day sages that I have encountered were not propagating any ancient belief structures but were speaking from their own realization of a living perspective and I think you are generalizing when you refer to ‘Eastern religion’.
PETER: I have no doubt that many are speaking from their own realizations, either from having had a glimpse of the Divine as in a Satori, epiphany, revelation, awakening, etc. or as a full-blown permanent realization where their own personal ego-program has crashed and their identity has shifted to their instinctual feeling-only ‘Self’. This experience, commonly known as an altered state of consciousness, does have cultural, religious and fashionable variations, and you are correct in saying that I am generalizing, for not all of these experiences are related to Eastern religion. I was referring to the Eastern religious realization of Enlightenment for that is the broad field of enquiry of this list.
What is common to all religious /spiritual experiences and realizations is the ages-old belief that there is life after death and we are just ‘passing through’ before we go to a better place ‘somewhere else’.
RESPONDENT: You have divided everyone into the two camps of ‘normal’ and ‘becoming spiritual’, leaving only your view as the third alternative. Could there be other alternatives that you have not yet discovered?
PETER: The wonderful thing about the Internet is that everyone and anyone who has something to say, usually gets around to ‘sticking their poster up’ on the Web. So far, extensive searching has revealed that everyone is either trying to cope, as best they can, in the ‘normal’ world or propagating some form of spiritual alternative to what is seen as, and felt to be, the human dilemma. Many, many humans have tried to find a solution to human malice and sorrow and many have tried to break the stranglehold that spiritual belief has over the search for freedom, peace and happiness. It is only now, thanks to modern rapid travel, instant world-wide communication and access to written material and religious texts that we are able to scrutinize both the teachers and their teachings, free of the fear of ostracization, retribution and retaliation. For the first time we are able to make sensible choices of our own, based firmly on facts, rather than merely believe what others tell us.
Unless I find otherwise, and I would be delighted to find that I am wrong, everyone is either coping with being normal or escaping by becoming spiritual. There are only a handful of people, thus far, who are trekking the other way.
RESPONDENT: By the way ... speaking about thinking, I have also been mainly interested in contemplation and not really tried meditation that much ... it doesn’t seem that interesting to me.
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 of 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. For example if you are buying a new computer monitor you search around for comparative information from reliable sources and make a judgment based on that. And yet when it comes to the most important decisions in life we willingly surrender common sense and make judgements based on belief and feelings.
RESPONDENT: I also have doubts about the enlightened condition ... you’re probably right in saying that it isn’t worth striving for and has no place on this earth. In fact it might not even exist other than in the twisted minds of a few deluded individuals ... look what you’ve done to me Peter ... shame on you ... hahaha ... ... ... If there indeed is very much relevance to the spiritual quest for enlightenment I can’t imagine there being anybody on this earth right now that is TOTALLY ‘transparent’ as I believe they say within the spiritual community.
PETER: On the mailing list I presented in my first posting, what should be regarded as a radical proposition –
It is up to you if you are interested in pursuing your own investigations further in order to make a sensible judgement of the statements I made. ‘Are they factual or not?’ is the basic investigation to be made and the exact same questions should be asked of the spiritual teachings and the teachers. If someone is willing to do this, then they are free to come to their own decisions about the current human dilemma, their part in it, and whether they want to stay ‘normal’, become ‘spiritual’ or investigate the third alternative. (...)
PETER: Well, I happen to think I have made sufficient distinction between a PCE and an ASC for it to be more than matter of mere definition. I also think the response on the mailing list to my attempts to talk about peace on earth is a clear indication as to the fact that it matters. In the last hundred years over 160,000,000 human beings killed their fellow human beings in wars and over 40,000,000 human beings killed themselves in suicides.
All of the murder, rape, fighting, retribution, hostility, animosity, suspicion, fear, sadness, melancholy, loneliness, depression, and despair on this paradisiacal planet can be sheeted home to the animal instinctual passions in operation in human beings and no amount of praying to God or following God-men is going to do one iota to stop the carnage – in fact, it only adds to it.
PETER: Rather than being ‘absolutely convinced’, I have a solid confidence based on empirical scientific facts, my own practical experiences both in the real and spiritual worlds and an experiential investigation of my own psyche in operation. I also have the verification of checking my findings with others involved in the experiment. I mostly go by my day-to-day, ever-increasing, experience of the perfection and purity of the actual world. I enjoy all of my interactions with my fellow human beings, no matter what their particular beliefs or passions are. Nor am I trying to convince you of anything, for then you would only be swapping one belief for another, which you would no doubt agree, is a futile exercise. I am unabashedly offering a third alternative, and being as concise as possible about it, for the reward for self-immolation is peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your posts since May and have always kept admiring your beautiful use of the language as well as kept being shocked by the kind of a gross materialism you advocate.
PETER: No, I am offering an alternative to both crass grim real-world materialism and impassioned fantasy escapist spiritualism. It is something that delivers all the promises of spiritualism – a ‘self’-less perfection and purity, freedom from malice and sorrow, and peace on earth in this lifetime, without any of the downsides because it is an actual state and not an imaginary or affective state.
RESPONDENT: But I also feel you do suggest some very positive alternative to everything ‘spiritual’ that you so passionately and skillfully condemn, but I could never quite get what you mean in particular. Do you suggest as a real solution to the human malice and sorrow
– more scientific research into the mysteries of our flesh and blood in order to eliminate the cause of all suffering hidden in our bodies?
PETER: No. The process of eliminating malice and sorrow is purely a personal one for it involves undertaking a process of eliminating one’s own social identity and one’s own instinctual self. This is a process that only you can do, for although the program is common to all it is your program that is preventing you from being happy and harmless and only you can change this programming.
RESPONDENT: – helping those who desperately need practical help?
PETER: No. One of the most important things I picked up from my years on the spiritual path, and from dabbling in therapy, is the realization that the only person who I could change was myself and unless I stopped blaming others or stopped trying to help others I was missing the point. What really got me off my bum was the simple proposition that if I could not live with one other person in peace and harmony then life on earth was indeed a sick joke. Many people overlook the glaring common sense inherent in this proposition and become advocates for communal living, tolerance for others, etc. thereby avoiding responsibility for cleaning up their own act.
When I got off my spiritual high horse I found was it was me who desperately needed practical help and that I was the only one who could do anything about it. I stopped passing the buck.
RESPONDENT: – destroying roots of selfishness in us (‘elimination of the instinctual ‘being’ in this flesh and blood body, which would also eradicate the instinctual animal passions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – that are the very cause of ‘my’ malice and sorrow’)?
PETER: Yes. With no ‘self’ extant one is ‘self’-less – neither instinctually selfish nor does one have to continuously endeavour to be unselfish.
RESPONDENT: As for the second one, I do believe this is the most valuable part of all, well, spiritual teachings, the only way to apply practically ethics, religion, Truth, Love.
PETER: I note you said ‘believe’. The Achilles Heel of all religious/ spiritual belief is that it requires trust, devotion, loyalty and hope to sustain the faith in the face of its lamentable record of success for it is nothing other than a blatant act of surrender to a mythical God or higher authority and an abdication of our potential to become both happy and harmless human beings and our destiny to become free of the lamentable Human Condition we find ourselves trapped in.
RESPONDENT: As for the last one, it doesn’t sound like Marxist materialism at all, but rather as the most extreme message of ... er ... Eastern mysticism. Indeed, why would a materialist, the one who believes there is no spirit, but only this material world perceived by us all, ever think of elimination of the instinctual ‘being’ in this flesh and blood body? That would be the last thing he would ever think of.
PETER: But I am not a materialist. I am an actualist and there is a world of difference. Up until now there has only been two alternatives, grim reality, or the traditional escape, spiritualism. When I found ‘real’-world materialist only viewpoint devoid of all meaning at age 32, I turned to Eastern spiritualism passionately believing that it offered freedom in this lifetime and peace on earth. After 17 years on the spiritual path I discovered by intimate association and close observation that the Enlightened Ones were not free of anger, were not above being sad, were very secretive, often blamed and denigrated others, did not get along with other Enlightened Ones, were driven to gather as many disciples as possible, claimed their teachings were unique teachings, were power hungry and treated their women lamentably.
Genuinely Enlightened Ones – those who had a permanent Altered State of Consciousness – indeed did transcend their ego or personal sense of self, but their soul or Impersonal Self or God image became so enormous that one could call it soul-mania. What is now obvious is that transcending the ego is insufficient to realize a genuine freedom and an ending to the instinctual passions. It is obvious that freedom, perfection and purity are only possible in a completely ‘self’-less state – and a pure consciousness experience confirms this.
RESPONDENT: Please explain what you really mean when you speak about the alternative to all this illusory spiritual stuff.
I do feel you say some very right things so boldly defying the consumerist, complacent, mechanistic ‘spirituality’ where there is no place for conscience and sincere help to our neighbour in need. But I also feel you somehow mysteriously don’t see the obvious fact that it’s that very gross materialism that you so boldly proclaim, denial of anything beyond matter and selfish interests of mortal individuals, personal and collective, that has actually committed all crimes, atrocities, injustice from time immemorial up to now. That’s not a belief, it’s what I see every day around me, on TV, in the newspapers, in history books: materialists, i.e. those who believe in and are moved by individual and collective selfishness repudiating God, doing the Satan’s work on this planet.
PETER: But you are missing the fact that I am not espousing gross materialism. It is not materialism per se that has committed all the crimes, atrocities and injustices – it is human beings who commit these acts because we are all genetically programmed with a very crude set of procreation and survival instincts – predominantly those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
It is, however, a fact that so much blood has been shed and so many acts of perversion and repression have been committed in the name of religion, mysticism and spirituality that it beggars description. Speaking personally, I thought Eastern spirituality was the best on offer some 20 years ago but now there is a far, far better alternative – one that offers an actual freedom from the human condition, not an imaginary spiritual freedom from an Evil material world.
As for doing Satan’s work – how come the good and God-fearing guys always blame the bad and evil guys and never dare to take a good long look inside themselves? What if all this fantasy about Gods and demons was simply an ancient puerile belief? What if there isn’t any life after death? When I asked myself these questions I came to the irrevocable conclusion that I had better clean up my act – get rid of the malice and sorrow in me and become free – in this lifetime, here on this paradisiacal planet.
RESPONDENT: (...) What has happened is I have picked up new sets of beliefs. I compare others with my own belief of how they should live their lives. I have a set of beliefs on what a Master is supposed to be, why I or everybody else should meditate in order to ‘know themselves’ and be happy, peaceful, blah, blah, blah...
I have stopped meditating because I find this routine not enjoyable anymore, it does not make me happy and I have this mind-fuck idea that meditation will help me to be more happy and peaceful, then just going on as I am and relaxing in what ever is happening.
Like you I want to experience ‘peak living’ 24 hours a day but doing the meditations is just like taking marijuana or cocaine, it gives a temporary high and it seems like a ‘chemical’ reaction. I have to meditate over and over just to get this experience again (and it does not come always).
Is not possible to be happy just the way I am, living here and now and doing whatever makes me happy, not thinking of enlightenment, mediation or being silent.
Is not happiness NOW more important then trying to do something, which will bring about this happiness?
I am going to look into this ‘third alternative’.
PETER: There is a great myth put about by many in the spiritual world that goes something like ‘you are already That or God, or Enlightened, you only have to realize it’. It is a prime example of being in cuckoo land as it denies the fact that, as human beings, we are born with instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. And it attempts to transcend the animal biological heritage by inventing some mythical ‘divine world’ and going off and dwelling in it ‘for eternity’. The problem in humans is a neuro-biological, not meta-physical. And only by ridding ourselves of the Ancient belief in Gods and Goddesses, can we begin to tackle the problem. Without God it is up to each of us to sort out our own ‘self’ and why not? It is such an amazing journey of discovery that it makes any normal or spiritual therapies seem like kindergarten. To find out ‘what’ you are as opposed to who you ‘think’ or ‘feel’ you are!
No longer do I dwell or wallow in the psychic world. No longer do I need good spirits, Masters, guides, omens or charms. No longer does a battle rage inside my head or my heart. Free of fear, doubt, feelings and emotions I am able to be here, in this moment of time, sensing the physical world – delighting in typing, with a fan blowing cool air on my back, my body still loose and tingling after a ‘romp’ with Vineeto. The actual physical experiencing of the perfection of the physical world, the ease, the comfort, the pleasure of food, sex, coffee, writing, reflecting, talking. The delight, the thrill of doing what is happening is definitely where it is at!
RESPONDENT: How would our decisions change if we understood that whatever we do to our neighbour we do to ourselves?
PETER: The concept falls down badly on the first point which is that when ‘push comes to shove’ nobody cares what they do to their neighbour, everybody reverts to ‘survival’ mode. Each human comes into the world wired with a set of instincts (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) and a primitive self. This is overlaid with a set of social conditioning and we then adopt a social identity in order to fulfill the role expected of us. Thus there are 5.8 billion humans, each with a ‘self’ that is basically lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. No wonder, we still need to keep up law and order with the point of a gun. Adopting moralistic or idealistic concepts is to treat the symptoms and not the disease. It is merely sticking one’s head in the sand.
To go ‘in’ to some imaginary world of bliss, God, Oneness, Love, Truth, etc. is merely to put one’s head in the clouds – to go off into an imaginary la-la land. The only reason this imagination maintains any credibility is that it appeals to the psychological and psychic entity within each of us which desperately fears death and seeks immortality in some ethereal metaphysical realm. The soul going to heaven, the spirit going home, the essence rejoining the Source, or however else it is imagined according to the belief held.
Personally, I found a thorough investigation and understanding of all the social conditioning and instinctual drives with their resulting feelings, emotions and passions led to the stage that I am free of them. Being free of malice and sorrow is a state so superior to moral rightness or spiritual bliss; and it is actual and factual, not imaginary and fickle. (...)
RESPONDENT: What is good for all is good for each of us, because We All are One. In considering each action you take, just think to yourself ‘if everyone took this action, would it benefit Us as One, or would it not?’ Choose accordingly. That’s how we can choose a different path – a path of love that benefits Us All.
PETER: This concept has been tried by every religion for centuries and does a reasonable job (aided by armies and police forces) to keep our violence and aggression to reasonable limits. Only 160,000,000 killed in wars this century.
RESPONDENT: Your actions will serve as a seed in fertile ground – others will understand through your actions. Others will catch the spirit of the truth in that way.
PETER: Religions, philosophies, revolutions, popular movements, Gurus and the like have been planting seeds for millennia and we get no end to malice and sorrow. A little discerning reading of history will attest to this fact. Or you could just watch the television news – we humans inflict far more violence on each other than we do to anything else. In fact we enjoy it. One of the best selling computer games involves killing pedestrians while driving a car. Most jokes are based on putting somebody down. All of our ‘entertainment’ involves either violence or sorrow (usually termed ‘love’ stories).
RESPONDENT: If there is something different you would do given the truth that We Are All One, simply change what you do. Change your actions to those that are helpful for All. Show others by your example what works better. Together in this way, we can make a difference today for tomorrow. It is the natural way of things – to choose again.
PETER: The ‘natural’ way is sorrow and malice – it is programmed into us by blind nature. It is time to be un-natural.
The way is now open to for anyone, given sufficient intent, to rid themselves of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. To re-run another version of Ancient Wisdom is to follow the well-worn track leading no-where new. If becoming happy and harmless seems a worthy aim in life, there is an alternative.
If you wish to remain with another group of ‘chosen ones’ then, of course, you will wait for a Doomsday for your ‘rewards’. It is good we are all free to make choices in our lives.
I simply made an assessment of the Old Ways and found that they hadn’t worked. When I dug further I found out why. Someone read my Journal the other day and said he liked it and that it was a modern version of what all the mystics are saying. He missed the point completely – still it’s early days.
I do enjoy living in these times of comfort, technology and communication, when I can type a few words, a few clicks and off it goes, and then I waddle over to the couch for an afternoon nap.
RESPONDENT: ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’
PETER: Are you denying the technological and physical changes that have occurred this century in medicine, transport, science, communications, agriculture, etc. The very computer you sit at now is a marvellous new thing, an amazing machine linked to a communication network the likes of which would have astounded anyone a mere century ago.
But, yes, I do agree with you that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ in terms of humans becoming free of their instinctual behaviour patterns. We are still driven by fear and aggression, nurture and desire. The imposition of morals and ethics – backed up by strict laws, police and armies – generally keeps a lid on it all and the whole system runs remarkably well, apart from the various outbreaks of war, terrorism, murder, rapes, etc.
Many humans, however, are moved, for whatever reasons, to seek a freedom from this ‘normal’ world of fear and aggression, and many seek a solution to the Human Condition such that the human species, as a whole, could live in peace on this planet.
Unfortunately the search for freedom is based on the Ancient Wisdom of Gods, spirits, other-worlds, future lives, etc. It is based firmly on that mother of all beliefs that ‘you can’t change human nature’. Seeing that we can do nothing about the ‘real’ world the only thing available – up until now – has been to escape into an imaginary world, created and sustained by belief – a meta-physical world.
There is now available a third alternative. The actual physical universe, being infinite – having no outside to it – and eternal – having no beginning or end – is pure and perfect. Most humans have experienced this purity and perfection at some stage in their life in what is called a PCE or pure consciousness experience.
There seems also an innate sense of this purity and perfection, but it is normally inaccessible to us humans, as we are born with an instinctual separate sense of ‘self’ with its accompanying instincts and are further imbued with a social identity. This very ‘self’, the who I ‘think’ I am and the who I ‘feel’ I am keeps me forever separate and alien from this purity and perfection.
The spiritual search is a vain attempt to seek ‘union’ with this purity and perfection by ‘feeling’ connected, feeling Goodness, God, Love or whatever – the best on offer to date. The major and ultimately disastrous flaw is that ‘when really cranked up’ these feelings lead to Union, Oneness, God-Realization, etc. and yet another Saviour or Guru is realized to form yet another Religion to cause yet more wars ...
RESPONDENT: Peter, but you are always repeating yourself about the same issue. Every e-mail I read from you sounds the same in so many words. No matter what argument, no matter what question, it’s always the same answer.
PETER: Yes indeed, and I get the same objections back – I am either wrong, or I am saying the ‘same thing’ as everybody else has since time immemorial.
Hardly anybody has bothered to consider that there might be something new under the sun.
Everybody insists that humans will be forever plagued by sadness, loneliness, depression, suicide, anger, violence, jealousy, dependency.
That there could not possibly be another way – other than turning away from the fact that we humans still, when push comes to shove, are driven by the base instincts of fear and aggression.
The solutions to date, trying to bring an end to all this malice and sorrow have failed miserably and the traditional turning away and finding God just leads to humans forming into gangs and fighting it out as to whose God is the best God.
Surely there has to be another solution – and now there is. Get rid of malicious and sorrowful feelings in you.
It has two benefits.
You become happy and harmless – no longer plagued by sadness, loneliness, depression, anger, jealousy, dependency – a personal peace that is pure, perfect and delightful.
You make an actual contribution to peace on earth. You do the only thing you can do if you are concerned about all the wars, rapes, murders, suicides, sorrow, abuse, domestic violence, religious wars, persecutions. You rid yourself of malice and sorrow. You put your money where your mouth is.
Feeling sorry for others, or blaming others is a cop out from fixing yourself up – from ridding yourself of the Human Condition, from having the courage to step out from Humanity.
So if anyone writes to me with more objections to being happy and harmless – I am always happy to talk to anyone about personal peace and peace on earth.
Such a lovely word – peace.
It’s a good thing I never get bored – I can’t even think how anyone could be bored with life as a human being on this planet in 1999.
The food, the technology, the comfort, the networks of services, the entertainment and information at the click of a mouse or touch of a button.
How could anyone object to being here or want to turn away back into sadness, loneliness ... or escape into an imaginary inner world of fairy tales and Gods?
Why not be free of the whole Human Condition?
PETER: As there is not a spiritual bone or spirit entity in this body I’ll pass on the spiritual bit. As for arrogance, as I have written many times before I regard it as the height of arrogance to call oneself God and have others as fawning disciples ‘loving’ and worshipping you. That this sick system has prevailed for so long, and has been revered as The Solution to the human dilemma begs the question – Why?
RESPONDENT: I wondered the same. Yet if you open to the reality that there are different folks, needing different strokes... it becomes apparent that there are any number of paths to climb a mountain, skin a cat, etc.
PETER: So far, one has had two choices only – to remain normal or become Divine. There are indeed many paths and methods available and increasingly proposed to become Divine and in the last 20-30 years many westerners, myself included, turned away from the western idea of waiting for death until Heaven was available and sought the ‘Divine while alive’ option offered by Eastern religion.
PETER: So, it’s one more time again for you –
RESPONDENT: OK, one more time with feeling. Perhaps we can get somewhere here. (Progress on the road to nowhere.)
PETER: If you are trying to ‘change my mind’, get me to ‘see the light’, show me where I have got it wrong, then – it is indeed the road to no-where.
As Galileo is reported to have said to the Pope when hauled before him for contradicting the Bible – ‘Okay Mr. Pope, but even if I do say that I am wrong and the sun does go around the earth it won’t change the fact that the earth goes around the sun.’
The facts are that in Ancient times primitive humans believed the sky was another world inhabited by strange objects – the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars. They gave them names and worshipped them as Gods, prayed to them and offered them gifts. Soon particular tribe members took over the roles of shamans, the representatives of the God’s on earth. The God’s were split into Good and Evil and anyone in a fit of rage or depression was said to be possessed by Evil and the power of the Good spirits was evoked.
Of course, now in 1999, we know that the source of sorrow and malice in humans is but the instinctual program of fear and aggression. In a valiant but ultimately doomed attempt we have called on the instincts of nurture and desire as a balancing act. The Good to do battle with the Bad.
Indeed, all does pretty well, as we now have a sophisticated system of moral and ethical rules, backed up by police, prisons and armies to keep the violence to ‘acceptable’ levels. This still leaves the feelings of fear and sorrow rampant, and as a succour to this we still turn to the spiritual world of Gods and good spirits – we get to feel Good and appease the Gods on the side and with the promise of a better life after death thrown in for good measure.
It was the best on offer up till now.
But there is a way out of this washing machine of neurotic thoughts and churning emotions that avoids the inanities of believing in good and bad spirits, Gods and Demons.
Become free of malice and sorrow – snip the problem off at the roots – our instinctual program and our self.
I am curious as to why you keep trying to convince me that I am saying the same thing as you are when plainly I am not? I never had a great deal of trouble with the idea that there could be something new. It seemed obvious and it explained a lot of things that were wrong in the spiritual world.
PETER: 3,000 years of well-meaning effort by billions of people give proof to the failure of the traditional methods to end suffering and violence in human beings. I decided to give something new a whirl and am simply reporting that it works. It is a fact that the ‘tried and true’ doesn’t work.
RESPONDENT: It is very clear that every belief system may lead to suffering. Many have said that in the past and everybody criticized everybody else from the past (for example U.G. Krishnamurti). Hundreds have pointed to being here-and-now. Many have said: Don’t look at my finger but see the moon for yourself and ‘there is no path’. Many Poonjaji-related people are spreading the message of ‘instant freedom this moment’. If, as you say, ‘tried and true’ doesn’t work then either you believe that your system is not true or you are saying it is true and so obviously it will not work (as a ‘packaged method to be followed’, ‘an instant beyond enlightenment pill’). Can you point out how the actual-ism is different from any other here-and-now-ism?
PETER: Yes, I saw many similarities between what Richard was saying and what the spiritual Gurus were saying (or anti-Gurus in the case of U.G). Both point to the ‘self’ as the problem and that its elimination will result in freedom. The problem is that the self is both a psychological entity – who we ‘think’ we are – and a psychic entity – who we ‘feel’ we are. In the East, freedom is freedom from the psychological self (‘mind’ is a common word used), and the personal identity shifts to the ‘heart’ resulting in an enormous self-aggrandizement wherein one becomes God or at One with God. So the ‘self’ in fact survives – to become the ‘Self’. One then lives in a psychic, imaginary world of bliss, wonder and Universal Love. This is most definitely not the actual physical world, and an astute study of all spiritual writings will attest to this. Look for clues such as any words with capitals – like ‘That’, ‘Truth’, ‘Universe’, ‘One’, ‘Existence’ etc (read as ‘God’), any talk of an ‘inner’ world (read as imagination), any talk of spirit, essence, Atman, true self (read as that which survives physical death) and any words such as absolute, universal, cosmic, oceanic, moon, (read as heavenly realm).
Actualism is firmly based on what is actual, factual, physical, sensate and sensible as opposed to ethereal, imaginary, affective, spirit-ual and based on ancient wisdom and tradition. See ‘Time-Chapter’ of my journal for a description of the spiritual here-now as opposed to actually being here.
Do you remember the scene from the Life of Brian when he is queuing up and the guy asks him in for ‘crucifixion?’ or ‘freedom’? and he says ‘freedom ... no, just kidding!’
I liken it now to the question ... ‘Enlightenment?’ ... and most will opt for the traditional.
RESPONDENT: If you go beyond the mind first all the stupid belief systems are exposed for what they are!
PETER: Again, for me, I came to see that the Eastern religions and philosophies tackle the mind (ego) only to give full reign to the heart (soul). This has the effect of completely stifling and denying any clear intelligent functioning of the brain. This stifling causes the mind to retreat into the fantasy world of blissful and divine feelings and taken to it’s extreme can result in an altered state of consciousness (ASC) whereby one becomes Love or God. The second ‘I’ of Ramana Maharshi’s fame, the Self, is a mere delusion – a self-aggrandizement.
RESPONDENT: Giving people, things to do with their minds is a waste of time!
PETER: The most intelligent thing in the universe is the human brain. The technological achievements wrought by this intelligence never ceases to astound and amaze me. This physical universe, in its perfection, purity, infinitude and fairy-tale like magic is indeed a paradise beyond our fantasies. And yet we humans feel sorrow and malice, sad and lonely, separate and alien. And the remedy to this – the spirit-ual way – is to cultivate ‘feelings’ of bliss, Love, and Divinity.
What about questioning ‘feelings’ themselves – the passions and feelings that we kill and die for, the instinctual urges that take us over in fits of rage or depression, the instinctual needs to belong to a group, blindly follow and trust a leader, the need to belong?
RESPONDENT: Ask yourself the question ‘Who is thinking?’, what is beyond the mind?
PETER: If you ask this question you end up with the Buddha Nature, God, Love Agapé, That, Self, The Universe, Existence, or whatever other name. It’s funny isn’t it that one always discovers one is ‘God’ at heart.
By asking ‘what’ am I, one discovers a different answer – the third I, this flesh and blood body and definitely mortal – free of the illusion of ego and the delusion of soul.
RESPONDENT: Nothing else matters except discovering ‘THAT’!
PETER: It matters not at all what we humans discover, feel, experience, discover, proclaim as the ‘truth’ or the ‘way’. Nothing has fundamentally changed on the planet – there is still depression, loneliness, grief, despair, murders, rapes and suicides – even in the spiritual world.
So far, there have only been two choices, remain ‘normal’ or become ‘spiritual’, and I am pointing out that a third alternative now exists.
RESPONDENT: Peter, Peter Guru eater,
PETER: Yes indeed, and it is a thing I make no apologies for. Millions, if not billions, have assiduously practiced their methods, sat in their presence, and gave their lives in loving gratitude and humiliation for nil result – except for a tiny few who get ‘it’ and then get to become the ones to whom others then practice their methods, sit in their presence, and give their lives in gratitude and humiliation ...
This insanity has gone on unquestioned since unquestioning obedience in the name of ‘trust’ and ‘faith’ is the inherent price one pays when joining the various groups involved.
But to merely be a Guru-eater would be a poor and useless waste of time. But to write of a third alternative – an actual down-to-earth freedom as opposed to a spirit-ual other-worldly freedom is a delight.
PETER to No 27: This insanity has gone on unquestioned since unquestioning obedience in the name of ‘trust’ and ‘faith’ is the inherent price one pays when joining the various groups involved. Peter, List C, No 27, 9.1.1999
RESPONDENT: Again more speculation and projections. What the fuck do you know about what people have or have not questioned.
PETER: I made it a point when I came across Richard and his writings to check out for myself the facts of the situation rather than merely believe him or blindly defend my own beliefs. In the many, many books that I read (and re-read in some cases) I found no one who had dared to question the whole package of both Eastern and Western religions, yet alone offer an alternative path to freedom. Many do indeed question bits and pieces now and then, criticizing others as being not as good as them, or flawed in some way as they have the only true message, but this is usually only a self-serving exercise aimed at attracting more followers.
RESPONDENT: Why do all this people talk so much about silence?
PETER: Well, I don’t know about you, but what I began searching for, all those years ago, was silence – a peace of mind wherein all those chattering thoughts and the resulting feelings and emotions in me would cease.
I am just talking about a new way to actually achieve a personal peace – to sensately experience the actual universe as pure and silent in its vastness.
On the spiritual path one merely ‘feels’ silent on those occasions when one is in a trance-like state of ‘no-mind’ or when one has the delusion of feeling ‘one with the Universe’. A synthetic silence achieved by turning away from the physical and the actual – to the metaphysical and imaginary.
Two different approaches.
Imagining the silence or directly experiencing it.
But it is a wonderful thing to talk about as we sit on this planet, hurtling around the sun, in the vast, silent infinitude of this physical universe.
It makes it all seem so silly really – this Ancient Wisdom talk of spirits and Gods and going Somewhere Else rather than being here.
PETER: Just a little comment on what Mr. Watts has said,
RESPONDENT: In a certain sense
Zen is feeling life
instead of feeling something about life. Alan Watts
PETER: It is another of those poems that clearly point to the spiritual path as being a feeling path to an ‘inner world’. One becomes a ‘watcher’, ‘feeling’ one’s way in the world and as such is cut off from the direct sensate experience of the actual world that is ever-present – under our very noses.
To ‘feel’ life is not the same as fully living life, exactly as ‘thinking’ about life is not the same as fully living life.
To be actually here is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway.
To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe.
Coming from no-where and having no-where to go, we find ourselves here in this moment in time, in this place in space.
To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being.
For those who are interested, below is a fuller explanation of the three ways that we humans experience life – cerebral (thought), affective (feeling) and sensate (senses). Dictionary definitions are given in italics for clarity.
The human brain is the most sophisticated development of this extraordinary universe. Not only does it see, hear, smell, taste and touch with its nerve tentacles or sense stalks, but it can think, cognitize, reflect and communicate, and be aware of itself doing all these things. It also comes in a pretty neat body-packaging, able to move freely and easily and perform an amazing amount of dexterous activities. The prime activity of human animals that sets them apart from other animals is their ability to think and reflect. Unfortunately this same faculty is the source of so much suffering and angst given the insidious influence of animal instinctual passions sourced in the primitive reptilian section of the human brain.
Given our genetically inherited instinctual self is overlaid with an instilled social identity, so much of our thinking is self-centred producing a relentless avalanche of neurosis. These thoughts are most often backed up by emotional memories of past hurts, fears, doubts, aggression, etc. which produce chemical responses in the body, giving rise to deep feelings and passions which only further add to our confusion. This self-centred neurosis is identified in the East as the problem with humans but they attempt to eradicate only half of the problem. Eastern religions aim to eradicate the ego (who we think we are), while ignoring the soul (who we feel we are). The resultant attack on, or repression of, all thoughts and thinking (not just the self-centred neurosis) results in the complete denial of intelligent thought such as can be readily seen by the East’s lack of technological progress, appalling poverty, repression of women, theocratic empires, etc.
This attack on sensible thought is a traditional, ancient, spirit-ridden approach to what is essentially a neuro-biological problem. The spiritual search is a search for one’s roots and one’s original self which involves identifying with one’s primitive ‘self’ sourced in the amygdala – one’s soul or essential on-going instinctual genetic heritage. Having found, and become identified with, this ‘source’, one has found and identified with the ‘source of all’ – or God, by any other name. This backward-looking primitive approach is to favour, enhance and indulge in the instinctual passions, giving full reign to nurture and desire and translating them into the imaginary passions of Divine Love, Divine Compassion and Immortality. One transcends fear and aggression by regarding them as Evil or a ‘necessary’ temporal period of earthly suffering from which one is only ultimately freed after physical death. Having found, and become identified with, this ‘source’, one has found and identified with the ‘source of all’ – or God, by any other name.
This flight into myth and fantasy is but a discovery and cultivating of an ‘inner’ imaginary hiding place as a desperate attempt to escape from being factually aware of earthly human malice and sorrow that arises from the instinctual passions. It equates well with the childhood trick of huddling under the blankets and creating one’s own imaginary world, the only difference being the adult spiritualist’s ‘safe world’ exists solely in their heads and hearts – it has no place in actuality.
We now know that the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are sourced in the primitive brain and are but the component parts of the single-pointed genetic programming instilled by blind nature purely in order to ensure the survival of the species. To continue to seek solace and succour in the ‘good’ half of the feelings arising from these animal passions while denying and transcending the other ‘bad’ half is to both deny intelligent thinking and modern empirical scientific research.
Given that God is but the figment of passionate imagination (a radical thought) then human beings’ only possibility of living in peace and harmony is intelligent, sensible, non-spirit-ridden, down-to-earth apperceptive thought (another radical thought). To date most people have trouble even considering one radical non-populist thought, let alone two in a row – still it’s early days. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
Physical sensibility other than sight, hearing, taste, touch or smell. The condition of being emotionally affected or committed; an emotion (of fear, hope, etc.). Emotions, susceptibilities, sympathies. A belief not based solely on reason; an attitude, a sentiment. Oxford Dictionary
The three ways a person can experience the world are: 1: cerebral (thoughts); 2: sensate (senses); 3. affective (feelings). The arising of instinctually-sourced feelings produces a hormonal chemical response in the body, which can lead to the false assumption that they are actual. Given that the base feelings are malice and sorrow (sadness, resentment, hate, depression, melancholy, loneliness, etc.) we desperately seek relief in the ‘good’ feelings (love, trust, compassion, togetherness, friendship, etc.). To live life as a ‘feeling being’ is to be forever tossed on a raging sea, hoping for an abatement to the storm. Finally, after a particularly fierce storm, one ‘ties up in port’ to sit life out in safety or putters around in the shallows, so as not to face another storm again. We are but victims of our impassioned feelings – but they can be eliminated. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts and, as such, we can free ourselves of their grip upon us. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
As can be seen from the definitions the word sense has two distinct meanings (a, b and c, d), but in the emotional turmoil of real life, or the fantasy meta-physical world of spiritual life, the distinction is rarely, if ever, discerned.
The first two definitions
point to a practical, pragmatic view or sense, such that a tree is a tree, the universe is infinite, when you die you die, the sky is blue, and this is the only moment you can experience being alive. The world, as perceived by the body’s senses, the ‘stalks’ of the brain, is a physical one only. The physical senses of the brain allow us the sensual feel of touch (the skin of another), the aromatic delight of smell (a frangipani at dusk), the complexity of sight (colour, light, movement, depth, focus), the variety, intensity and layering of sounds and tastes. Further, the human brain has an awareness of this sensorial input and can think, reflect and communicate with others. The brain, when freed of the dominance of ‘self’-centred feeling and thought and the chemical based instinctual passions, is able to function with startling clarity and common sense and the faculty of apperception – the mind’s ability to perceive itself – comes to the fore. This sensate-only experience is known as a Pure Consciousness Experience – a temporary state of ‘self’-lessness.
The ability of the brain to function sensibly – as in definition (b) – is essential for the individual and collective functioning of human beings and is seen in operation in the superb objects, systems and in operation of services, communication, trade, transport, etc. in the world.
The second pair of definitions points to a different scenario, a different perception of the universe. This definition alludes to an emotional, feeling and cerebral (thought) perception of the world – the perception of the psychological and psychic entity within the flesh and blood body. With the continual operation of instinctual feelings of fear, aggression, nurture and desire combined with one’s social identity of morals, ethics and values, one is forever ‘feeling’ or ‘thinking’ one’s way in any place, at any time and with all other people. As such, we are continually psychically afraid of the world. We tend, when operating in a psychic-instinctual mode, to see everything as though coated in sorrow or malice. Our only relief is to add a coating of beauty, ‘spirituality’ or gratitude in order to make our perception a tolerable one. But one can never ever make any sense of the world this way, for it is all seen and experienced as either a ghastly nightmare, or a beautiful dream, depending on one’s feelings or thoughts at the time. As a social identity we are instilled with a perception of the world alluded to in definition (d). We are thus bound to having a moral or ethical interpretation or perception of things, people or events – relentlessly evaluating everything as good or bad, right or wrong.
The consequences of the human brain functioning under the influence of instinctual passions, emotions, feelings, nightmares and dreams is most clearly seen in all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, corruption, depression, suicides, etc. that continually plague Humanity.
The consequences of the human brain functioning under the influence of socially instilled morals, ethics, principles, values and psittacisms is most clearly seen in all ethnic conflicts, religious persecutions, ethical disputes, fights for rights, demands for justice and retribution, etc. that are used as a justification to indulge in war, rape, murder, torture, etc.
There is now a practical down-to-earth solution, such that will bring an end to this madness. When actually freed of a psychic and ‘self’-oriented affective and cerebral sensing of the world – the ‘who’ one thinks one is and the ‘who’ one feels oneself to be – one can’t do anything other than perceive the world directly, sensately, sensuously and sensibly. To experience the physical universe without the emotions of fear and aggression is to continually delight and wonder in amazement at it all. One at last comes to one’s senses, both figuratively and literally. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
RESPONDENT: Can you see that out of three indications (on the sannyas list; the word boredom in a sentence; reference to ‘our children’), you made an assumption?
Each of those indications involved an assumption on your part. Assumptions built up into meta-assumptions, and before you knew it you saw it as obvious that I was talking about some sort of next lifetime interaction. I was not. That is a fact. Can you see that your assumptions led you to an erroneous conclusion? The conclusion was in regard to how I was thinking about things, so surely you reached an assumption about my state of mind. is it the case that you began with the pre-supposition that No 8 is speaking from a spiritual mind-set and then you let my words prove that to you? Ok, do that if you like. But I am really glad that we can write words to each other so that you can begin to understand me a little more clearly.
PETER: If you say so. But I obviously can’t ‘assume’ anything by the words that you write.
As you yourself have said –
It still seems a spiritual mind-set to me – oh. well. Maybe next lifetime?
RESPONDENT: I find that sometimes after I have taken someone at face value, I get to communicate with them more deeply, and then I really understand what they were communicating to me from the beginning of our interaction and then I wonder how in hell I could have got the original impression at all! Sure, written communication is great here. It is great to go back to the words that someone wrote to us and say ‘Ah! I didn’t see that the words meant that, before’
PETER: As you yourself have said – ‘part of the reason I get off the Sannyas list for awhile is I am becoming more and more aware of my tendency to write unclear sentences. I have a tendency to allude to things rather than state them clearly.’
RESPONDENT: I am still fascinated by what Richard and you are saying. I am slowly going through the journals. As I read I relate your words to my experience.
PETER: Just a suggestion – if you try and relate what is being said to your experience you will end up no-where. What the words relate to is that the fact that, at last, ‘there is something new under the sun’. New, as in never seen before, new as in never experienced before (except in a PCE), new as in non-spiritual, new as in down-to-earth. To attempt to fit it in with your existing ‘experience’, terminology and spiritual mind-set is a total waste of time. You will confuse both yourself and those you attempt to communicate with. Exactly as Mr Edison would have stared in wonder at this computer and would have had to sit down and learn it from first principles, Mr Buddha would have had to throw out all his beliefs, concepts and ideas of spirits, other worlds, perpetual suffering, etc. and simply begin again.
What a wonderful, amazing thing – to wipe the slate clean of old psittacisms, to begin life again. Not only free of all that has been programmed in us and that we have adopted in order to be a ‘fit’ member of this fighting, squabbling, fearsome and suspicious Humanity, but to be actually free of malice and sorrow. To have gone beyond the limits of Enlightenment.
The spiritual path is nothing more than an ancient attempt to transcend our instinctual malice and sorrow with the idea of Good, good spirits, God and a better place ‘somewhere’ else. And it not only has failed to produce peace on earth after five thousand years – it has actively and mightily contributed to the appalling violence, misery and suffering on the planet.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.