Selected Correspondence Peter
Faith and Trust
RESPONDENT: I’m satisfied for now, and need to do some more reading and practicing so I can come up with yet more probing questions. Oh yeah, and study the dictionary.
PETER: Reading and practicing is a good combination.
RESPONDENT: As in most matters of any value.
PETER: And yet when it comes to the search for freedom, most people never bother to read the source material that their particular belief or faith is based on, they do not bother to recognize, let alone address any anomalies or inconsistencies in the teachings and never question why these beliefs and faiths have always failed to deliver their promises despite the fact that millions upon millions of people have arduously and diligently attempted to put them into practice. I can certainly remember how gullible I was in my spiritual years – the shamans of old demanded faith, hope, trust and unequivocal loyalty of their followers in order to silence dissent and to nip in the bud any outbreaks of questioning the teacher and the teachings. There is a vast difference between gullibly accepting the imaginary dreams of the spiritualism and sincerely investigating the down-to-this-earth pragmatism of actualism.
PETER: I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I agree with you about the above.
PETER: Which makes me wonder what you are doing on this list. I noticed the other day you wrote on the Sannyas list that you had joined the ‘Actual Freedom (does it sound nightmare?) mailing list’.
It’s such a fascinating thing to be a human being and make sense of the Human Condition. To look at the facts of the business of being here, and compare them to the story we have been told, the script we have had written for us, the fairy-tales we have been spun, the ‘truths’ we have been told are Absolutely True... ‘just trust me, have faith, and surrender to me and, ... one day, ... there will be a Golden Future’.
I gave up waiting for Godot, the Second Coming, the New Dawn, the New Millennium, the Apocalypse, the End, or the New Bhagwan ... who I see is the latest Guru on the block.
I know it is inconceivable to you that there is now a way to get out of all this mess – as it was to me at the start. But I was curious enough to find out for myself, and it seemed eminently sensible to investigate whether the things I believed to be ‘true’ were facts or not. Did they work and had they ever worked? What was actually being said, what was being promised? Had the promise been kept?
So, you are attempting the impossible to ‘try to bridge a gap’, or to use the local vernacular ... pissing into the wind. There is no such thing as a bridge between the Spiritual World and the Actual World. They are two separate, distinct dimensions. The spiritual world is other-worldly, ethereal, dreamy, affective, emotive, imaginative, idealistic, unrealistic, ever-hopeful, non-sensical, delusionary, spirit-ridden, mythical, mystical, shamanistic... The actual world is sensate, tactile, tangible, palpable, corporeal, material, sensual, obvious, factual, sensible, pure, perfect, peaceful, eternal, infinite, delightful, pleasurable, ambrosial, hedonistic and happening right this very moment, under our noses as it were.
RESPONDENT: In short, you have said I am on the tried and failed path as far as I am a disciple of Rajneesh because master-disciple relation prevents a person from questioning every blind belief.
PETER: Not only you. This is nothing personal.
It is writ large in the Human Condition, sub-section, ‘Religious and spiritual pursuits’, sub-section ‘Peace on Earth’...
‘Each Religion, God-man or Guru offers the promise of peace on earth in return for the follower or disciple’s love, gratitude, faith, loyalty, trust and surrender. Peace on earth will then occur when everyone (all 6 billion, at the moment) similarly ‘sees the light’ and becomes a disciple or follower of that particular religion, thus finally ending religious wars and conflicts on the planet. Until that magical event occurs, there will still be ‘pockets of resistance’ (wars) caused by the ‘others’ who dearly and stubbornly want to hold on to their religious beliefs – but one day, hopefully, one of the religions will win out and conquer the world – and peace will reign. The other common theme is one of Armageddon or the End of the World, in which case the true believers of one of the particular religions will be the sole survivors and, as such, peace on earth will ensue. The keys to maintaining this system in existence are firm belief, love, gratitude, faith, loyalty, trust and surrender of disciples and followers.’
RESPONDENT: And I have said my disciplehood is different from your definition.
PETER: Another of the ploys that fails to impress me. Alan has already posted the dictionary definition of disciplehood. For clarity in communication, can you choose a word (from the dictionary preferably) that more closely defines exactly what you mean?
RESPONDENT: It doesn’t prevent me from questioning but rather encourages me to question.
PETER: This again gets pretty silly. Given that you don’t accept the dictionary definition for the word disciple, maybe before we go further down this blind alley, we could see what you mean by the word question. From the Oxford Dictionary –
‘Question – seek, inquire:
Now from the above definition, for you to question you have to have a problem, a difficulty, a doubt, a matter or concern to be inquired into, a doubtful point – and you clearly have none of these prerequisites. You are obviously very happy and proud to be a disciple of a spiritual Master – full stop. Beginning and end of questioning. You have no doubts, no problem, no concern, so there can be no questioning. The very act of being a disciple prevents questioning. Having trust, faith, hope and belief are the antidote to doubt, problems and concern. You already have your answer to your doubt and he is called Rajneesh.
Any questioning of Rajneesh would involve questioning your disciplehood and you have ruled that out of court, so I think I might have saved us both a few KB’s on our monthly bill.
RESPONDENT: I wonder why you are so stick to your definition of it.
PETER: I am vitally concerned with peace on earth and see no sense at all in people sitting silently hoping it will happen by itself, or by some mythical Divine intervention. I see a great deal of sense in questioning and investigating the reasons that we humans live in misery and suffering and, despite our well-meaning efforts to date, continue to inflict misery and suffering on each other. For the discussion to be meaningful, a common agreed definition of words is essential and the vital interest of both parties is essential. A vital interest in peace on earth is necessary for anyone to at all consider an Actual Freedom rather than continuing on the selfish, self-centred and Self-gratifying spiritual path of denial and fantasy. One either stays in the Human Condition or actively and rigorously pursues an actual freedom from its insidious grip. There is now a choice, a third alternative, for those who want it.
PETER: Awhile ago I wrote to you of an extensive study done documenting our ‘natural’ human propensity for inflicting suffering on others. I am interested to hear what you made of the study and what your conclusions are.
RESPONDENT: Yes I am aware of this propensity in me. Before I felt I was into debate in this mailing list. I don’t like debate. It’s a kind of fighting by using words to me. And the reason why I felt I was into debate is my fear that maybe I am defeated, maybe I am wrong. So I was inflicting this my fear on others here.
PETER: Great. It is so rare for a spiritual seeker to acknowledge this simple fact. All the spiritual teachings are in complete denial of the instinctual passions imprinted by blind nature on human beings. They, in fact, teach the theory of ‘you are not the body and you are not the mind’ so as to turn away from this simple fact. Thousands of years ago these instinctual passions were seen as good spirits and bad spirits that ‘invaded’ the body but for us to continue to follow this philosophy and belief-system is to defy intelligence.
As for debate, that is what this list is about – words, discussions, facts, view points, experiences. There is no sitting in silence, energies, ‘you know what I mean’, ‘I feel you are ...’ etc, nor is there any philosophy or need to believe, trust or surrender. The trick is to see that what we are debating or discussing is the Human Condition – the state we humans find ourselves in on the planet. It is not a question of right or wrong or even true or false – given the spiritual corruption of the word true, as in Truth (that which cannot be spoken of) – because it is nought but a feeling, albeit a Grand Feeling. We talk of the facts of what it is to be a human being as opposed to the ancient spiritual ‘wisdom’ and mutually-agreed social beliefs. As such, when I write, I always present the facts ‘on the table’, and then it is completely up to the other what they do with the facts. This can have the effect of a seemingly confrontational debate, but who would have it any other way. It is not only your peace we are talking of, but peace on earth. The stakes are enormous and ‘treading softly’ or being ‘meek and mild’ is seen for what it is in the face of 160,000,000 million killed in wars this century alone. It is time to end this madness – so write on, write on.
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.
PETER to Alan: I was recently watching a TV program on a group undertaking a spiritual pilgrimage and a woman involved was interviewed. She was asked about the experience and she said that some things ‘bothered’ her – the crowds, her treatment as a woman, etc. – but she said ‘I’m not going to let it bother me’. A simple everyday statement of stoic denial and repression, but she also obviously had a passionate investment, for this was for her a profound spiritual experience and she was determined to let nothing spoil it for her. I remembered back to my spiritual times when I actively practiced to cut off from all things that were upsetting, ‘bothering’ or worrying. One was meant not to be bothered, to be above these petty concerns, one was not meant to have doubts about the teaching, or the teacher, or the organization for one was taught and extolled to have faith, loyalty and trust.
Thus it was that I actively practiced denial and transcendence – new tricks to add to the denial and repression of ‘bothersome’ feelings and emotions that I had been taught as a child. Transcendence is such a wonderfully seductive option, for one gets to swan along, literally with one’s head in the clouds, literally above it all. The real world problems of money, relationship, corruption and greed, and the feelings of anger, sorrow and melancholy were still around but ‘I’ was not part of it. The ‘real’ world became a tolerable nuisance – I was not going to let it bother me – the new spiritual ‘me’.
Three and a half years ago I was faced with the opportunity of fully abandoning the real world and, armed with a stunning Satori experience, I was about to fully enter the spiritual world but doubt and common sense prevented me. Then I met Richard who offered a simple solution to the problem of ‘being bothered by things’. By applying a simple method it is possible to eliminate ‘being bothered’ – be it anger, sorrow, melancholy, being blindly and instinctually driven to non-sensical actions, feeling bound by societal restrictions, morals, ethics and beliefs, etc. In short, to become actually free of the Human Condition, in total. The price to be paid is total and irrevocable change – ‘self’-immolation – but the lure of an adventure off the beaten, well-worn, track was irresistible. The other attraction was that this was not a philosophy, as in theory, nor a feel-good, head in the clouds, transcendence but a down-to-earth practical way of living, free of malice and sorrow, in the actual world, as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: My conviction is that it is only about extraordinary individuals, regardless of what tradition (spiritual or non-spiritual) that one comes from.
PETER: What comes from the spiritual extraordinary beings such as Mr. Jesus of Nazareth and Mr. Siddhartha Gautama, to name but two of the many, are shaky mythical stories of their lives and character, a set of unliveable morals and ethics and an idea of human existence on this planet that is firmly rooted in ancient superstition and ignorance. We have dismissed the old views of the earth being flat, that women are full of little people that pop out every now again for some strange reason, that the planets are gods in the sky, that good spirits do battle with evil spirits in the cosmos, etc. And yet we still desperately cling to the concepts of a spirit-ual world in whatever image, a God by whatever name, and an ongoing life after death, in whatever form. We now know that we humans come from the meeting of a sperm and an egg, and after at least 3,500 years of spiritual belief, trust, faith and hope there is still no empirical evidence of an ‘other’ world apart from this physical, actual universe.
Any of the traditional stories, teachings or wisdoms coming from the extraordinary ancient spiritual ones still require faith, trust and hope for us to believe the stories to be true.
Non-spiritual is another matter. While the spiritualists have been busy sitting with their heads in the clouds in their churches, monasteries and ashrams other human beings have been getting on with the practical down-to-earth business of making life on earth more safe, comfortable, leisureable and pleasurable for human beings. Actualism is firmly in the latter category, for it is all about eliminating malice and sorrow in oneself. The next step in human progress is both obvious and urgent ... actualizing peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: The reason I bring this up is that I’m interested in seeing everything clearly and as untainted as humanly possible, if there is going to be any hope for mankind we have to be able to rid ourselves of every false notion and face the stark reality of life as it is and to be able to see what we’re actually doing. Delusion has endlessly many faces and it’s a constant challenge to avoid getting caught in a limited view, most people aren’t really interested in the facts of life but prefer to stick to obvious misconceptions, obvious even to themselves. Not many dare to live a life of integrity. So that’s why it’s important that you and I and everybody else really look into our motives for the way we act in the world and how we relate to every aspect of human existence.
PETER: I would hazard a guess that your emphasis on integrity is why you have dared question the spiritual life where any integrity is forsaken for surrender, loyalty, faith, discipline, trust, humbleness, conformity. Integrity demands that we humans find a way to walk upright in the world as-it-is, free, beholden to no-one, happy and harmless – actually free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Question: Once again, how do you relate to the possibility of there being a god or something else beyond our comprehension, are you even interested in that enigma?
PETER: Personally I have no belief in God by whatever name, therefore the notion of God has ceased to exist. When one stops believing, hoping, trusting and having faith that something exists it simply withers away by itself.
I recently saw an interview with a Christian monk who said the first thing he was going to ask God was ‘How come there is so much pain and suffering?’ – an excellent question I thought. If there is a god or something that is pulling the strings or creating all this human suffering then it is about time we told He/She/It to butt out.
The excellent thing about stopping believing in God as the ultimate authority was that I was able to grasp the tiller, so to speak, and steer the boat away from the rocks – including the rock of Enlightenment.
RESPONDENT: The Christian monk should maybe consider another line of duty if he can’t come to terms with the fundamentals of Christianity ... where’s the trust for Gods sake!?
PETER: I take it that you are now saying the monk should come to terms with the fact that human pain and suffering on earth is fundamental to Christianity yet above you indicated that God ‘gave us the freedom of choice’.
Which is it or are you having a bet each way? By the way, having a bet each way is not a sign of trust – it is a sign of doubt.
Let’s face it, whatever messages God has sent or whatever human form God is manifest in, He/She/It demands that we suffer rightly because this God also suffers for us and He/She/It demands that we defend our belief in this God even to the point of sacrificing our lives.
God is indeed a sorrowful and wrathful God, but as you said – ‘God created man in his own image’.
RESPONDENT: My perspective is somewhat different from what I have been reading here. I, too, have had many awakening experiences over a span of 35 years. I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that. It is very clear that religion has failed to bring about anything close to peace, and in fact has caused far more suffering than any other system in the world. I saw this many years ago and knew that if I was to find the truth it would have to be just seeing the facts as clearly as possible.
PETER: Sounds a sensible approach to me but what I came to see was that I didn’t have to see a fact, a fact is something that already exists and I simply had to acknowledge it. I am not being pedantic here but many people ‘see’ fairies, goblins, ghosts, Santa Claus, flying saucers and all sorts of apparitions but that doesn’t necessarily make them factual. All of these seeings are culturally, religiously or historically influenced. A follower of Eastern religion and philosophy doesn’t hear the Voice of God, a Christian doesn’t feel Buddha in his heart and 19th Century people saw horse and carts in the sky and not flying saucers.
A fact, on the other hand, stands by itself whereas any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence.
Something I am curious about is that you stated that –
and yet you continued on following Eastern religion and philosophy. Did you not see the madness in Eastern religion or was your seeing based on a rejection of the Western religious world-view and the adoption of the Eastern religious world-view? Many spiritual seekers tend to wear rose coloured glasses when looking at the East and fail to see the appalling ignorance, arrogance, oppression, poverty, class structure and religious persecutions that is the result of thousands of years of intense devotion and practice of Eastern religions and philosophy. It is only now that some brave scholars are beginning to question, investigate and document the Eastern religious ‘madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’. Two of the studies that I found particularly revealing about the Zen tradition is ‘Zen at War’ by Brian Victoria Weatherhill, 1997 and ‘The Rape Of Nanking’ (The Forgotten Holocaust of World War I) – Iris Chang, Basic Books, 1997, http://www.darkzen.com/.
RESPONDENT: For example, you write:
Not only is this disrespectful towards individuals who actually did and do have a tremendous amount of true wisdom to offer in the name of the evolutionary potential of our species – i.e. how do I make the right decision as the right time for the right reasons – but it assumes that:
These assumptions do serve your conclusions, but are they true?
PETER: Firstly ‘you’ can never trust yourself to make the right decision at the right time for the right reasons for one man’s right is another man’s wrong, or woman’s wrong. It becomes a matter of whose opinion you respect, who you feel is right, who you doubt and who you trust, what your ideals are, who speaks to your heart, etc. The whole effort of trying to live unliveable ethics and morals is the cause of so much angst and confusion that it is much better to ditch the lot and decide matters on the basis of what is silly and what is sensible, what works and what doesn’t. This is what I mean by eliminating one’s social identity.
Then what remains is the problem and effort of keeping the feelings and emotions that instinctually programmed to automatically arise under control and hidden from view. Better to ditch the lot for these ‘self’-imposed shackles are the very feelings and emotions we yearn to seek freedom from. This is what I mean by ‘self’-immolation.
By the way, just to correct your assumptions in the interest of clarity –
The question of whether something is true or false is one that fascinates spiritual seekers for they are obsessed with doing the right thing. I remember watching an interview with a medical researcher and he was questioned about the ethical and moral considerations of implementing the results of the research. He replied that we don’t necessarily do what is the best thing; we have to do what is right thing. Give me a fact any time – you can rely on a fact, there is no doubt, no right and wrong, no good and bad with a fact. A fact is a fact, whether we like it or not, whether we think it is good or bad does not change a fact nor make it magically go away.
RESPONDENT: I think this is an Impersonal Fact rather than a personal belief.
PETER: Are you implying there is such a thing as a personal fact or a belief that is an impersonal belief? To avoid confusion and aid communication I like to keep to simple dictionary definitions of words.
A fact is a fact, it stands on its own – it is neither personal nor impersonal and it requires neither faith, trust or hope for it to be so.
Beliefs are always personal and are usually said to be real if other people share the same belief. The more people who believe the more real the belief appears to be and is often claimed to be a truth or Truth in spiritual terms. However, even if everyone believes something to be true it doesn’t make it a fact.
Long ago everyone believed the earth was the centre of the cosmos and the sun went around the earth, but now we know it was just a belief based on the limited viewpoint of at the time. It took nearly 400 years for the Pope to finally acknowledge only in the last decade that the Bible was wrong.
Long ago everyone believed that humans were born innocent and corrupted by evil in this world but we now know this was just a belief based on an idea that the world was populated by good and evil spirits. It may well take 400 years for Eastern religion to acknowledge that Mr. Buddha and the other Ancients were wrong.
RESPONDENT: Surely when one experiences the falling away of all false belief structures and human conditioning and programming it becomes obvious that there are no separate selves in the first place.
PETER: Now you are introducing the notion of a false belief. Are you implying there are false beliefs and true beliefs and that your belief is true? To believe means to ‘fervently wish to be true’. The action of believing is to emotionally imagine, or fervently wish, something to be real that is not actual – actual as in tangible, corporeal, material, definitive, present, obvious, evident, current, substantial, physical and palpable. A belief is an assumption, a notion, a proposition, an idea that requires faith, trust or hope to be sustained in the face of doubt, uncertainty and lack of factual evidence. Whereas a fact is a fact, demonstratively evident to all that it is actual and/or that it works.
Many beliefs are masqueraded as ‘truths’ or are merely accepted as facts in lieu of any serious scrutiny, or are protected by the blatant and stubborn refusal to question the facticity of that which is ‘dearly held’ to be true.
As for ‘there are no separate selves in the first place’ you are talking of the spiritual belief that we have a false self who feels separate or thinks itself to be separate (ego in spiritual jargon). The spiritual Truth is that if we dissolve this identity and become our true self who feels unity or oneness or God, or whatever, then that new self lives in a state of Nirvana, Oneness, Wholeness, Unity, Timelessness or whatever. This cunning shift of identity, called Enlightenment, Awakening, Freedom, Liberation, or whatever, is not an elimination of the psychological or psychic identity – nor does it claim to be, if you read any spiritual offerings with a clear eye.
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: (...) 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).
RESPONDENT: I find reality as I thought it was very flimsy, a small island in an endless sea, but in no way an illusion. So I agree with No 00 that there is something to say about how we conceive of life, it is very flimsy.
PETER: Both a real world reality and a spiritual world Reality are indeed very flimsy. Both these conceptions about what it is to be a human being and the physical, actual world we find ourselves in are illusions conceived by the psychological and psychic entity that inhabits the flesh and blood body. ‘Who’ we think and feel we are is the flimsy thing – lost lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. Eastern religious philosophy has it that ‘who’ we think we are – the ego – is the problem and teaches devotees to give full reign to ‘who’ we feel we are – the soul. Spiritual believers are continuously admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’. This shift of identity from ego to soul gives rise to a narcissistic soul uninhibited by intelligent thought, and there is no greater narcissism or stupefied intelligence than to believe oneself to be divine. The path from ‘self’ to ‘Self’ is a path of self-aggrandizement, not self-immolation. No wonder there is such doubt and confusion on the spiritual path for one is constantly having to deny common sense, the physical world as experienced by the senses and the fact of physical death as a finality.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: Then came Pune 2, and delicious years of worship in the Ashram, architect/builder for the Samadhi, meditation and groups, and then He died. I continued on devotionally for some 2 years, but found myself following a dead Master – something that was at odds with my understanding that when a Master dies the formation of a Religion is the inevitable result. Sure enough, one night in White Robe it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was shouting ‘YA–HOO’ to an empty chair. Is this what it had all come to? This was undoubtedly religious practice, church if you like, the organization with its own rules, ethics and morals was a Religion, the Ashram was Mecca, the Samadhi a holy shrine, and Sannyas a world wide religious-social club.
Such was my pride and loyalty that it took another year or two before I finally began to look for something fresh and new in the spiritual world and tried out a few other scenes. None was satisfactory, but I did begin to gain a broader vision of the spiritual world. Finally, I realized that the Spiritual is nothing more than Eastern Religion, that in fact I had only traded believing in Western Religion for believing in an Eastern Religion. And all of it merely ‘that Old-time Religion’, to quote from the song. Peter to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now
RESPONDENT: ???? pride? what has pride to do with that? and loyalty to whom? your girlfriend? Somebody ever asked you to be loyal, who was it?
PETER: At the very core of religion is the belief in the meta-physical i.e. another world other than the physical. This world is the world of spirits and Gods, energies and auras, good and bad. Given that these are all things that can only be experienced affectively (by feeling), it takes a good deal of faith, trust and hope to maintain the belief in something which is not physical. Many people who did not believe in Rajneesh saw him as just another Indian Guru and others (like the American Christians) saw him as evil. Belief in someone or something demands loyalty and gratitude, usually demanded unquestioningly.
Along with loyalty and gratitude comes pride, it’s all part of the same package. The man who is loyal to his country is proud of his country, and will die for his country (... or Religion, as at the Ranch).
PETER: Hi everybody,
Well, as the subject said I’m sitting back and taking stock of things. It has been a couple of weeks now, of what often seems an endless list of objections to what I am saying.
I mused back to the time I first came across Richard and tried to remember what my reactions were at the time. I am looking for some yardstick in order to compare and maybe offer some words to anyone who is interested. When I first met Richard I was full on in the Spiritual world looking for freedom from the ‘shackles’ I felt that stopped me living fully. I naturally assumed that what he was talking about was spiritual in nature and as I had a chance to talk to him personally of his experiences of Enlightenment, I leapt at the chance.
Then the shit began to hit the fan as I realised he was not talking of Enlightenment but of something far more radical – the total annihilation of the ‘self’. I remember at one stage it dawned on me what I was in for – the end of ‘me’. I thought, what happens if this thing works? The end of ‘me’! But I had vowed to find a way to free myself of the ‘shackles’, I had determined some 10 years previously to find the ‘meaning of life’ as I stood by the coffin of my 13 year old son. So the offer to become happy and harmless was too good to pass up whatever the cost. And I had decided that the whole spiritual game and spiritual world was increasingly weird. But it took a good deal of bloody-mindedness and intent to get out of the meta-physical world and to even consider that there was an actual world, a world outside of imagination.
When I propositioned Vineeto about investigating the possibility of living together in peace and harmony, she was still firmly in Sannyas and for some 6 months we agreed not to talk about the ‘war’, as we put it. But seeing the success of ruthlessly questioning all beliefs around gender, sex, relationships, love, etc., she eventually became interested and was able to question her spiritual beliefs, love and loyalty, surrender and trust.
So I do appreciate that it is difficult – such is the all-encompassing belief in a Something or Someone Else, and all I am saying is, to anyone who has any doubts that the spiritual path might not be delivering the goods for you – my experience is this works. It is radically, 180 degrees in the other direction, in the physical world there is no God, guru, Energy, Existence, Truth, Absolute, Intelligence, Spirit, Mother Nature, Afterlife, Karma, Reincarnation or whatever. I wrote in my journal of my battle with God and this is a bit from the end of that chapter.
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.
RESPONDENT: This will be your new name, Swami Anand Deleeto. Will it be difficult to pronounce? Anand means Bliss and Deleeto means clean, wiped away. The bliss of wiping away.
PETER: Ah, yes. The feeling of leaving the ‘normal’ world behind – to take on a new name, a new identity and a new role – the spiritual seeker – and to join a commune of fellow seekers. The Club.
RESPONDENT: It is such a bliss to silence the endless stream of words. Sometimes one has to do it again and again because the words keep coming. The words are so alluring, perhaps I am missing something, one thinks. So one stops a bit and looks and listens, but after a while one sees that it is only a repetition.
PETER: Ah, Anand Deleeto. I see here that Sw. No 27 is alluding to silencing the ‘endless stream of words’ from the actual world, from this very computer. He is advising you that it is boring repetition, and not to get trapped in it. But I guess if you bother to wade through the words you will make your own evaluation. I just like it that there is now an alternative to the ‘Tried and True’ spiritual path. I would also point out that the Tried and True is the ‘Tried and Failed’ in that it has been persuade by millions, if billions of people for millennia with only .0001% achieving Enlightenment and the countless religious wars, cleansings, perversions persecutions, tortures and repressions are the inevitable result of the whole spiritual – i.e. spirit-based – belief system.
RESPONDENT: The mind can only endlessly repeat thousand year old arguments. There is nothing new under the sun. It is all a futile exercise like moving furniture around in an empty room.
PETER: Anand Deleeto, here he is obviously referring to the Ancient texts and myths. Indeed within the spiritual world there is nothing new under the sun. Rajneesh himself talked endlessly about all sorts of Masters and all sorts of other religions and teachings and was a master at telling old myths, stories and legends
What I am talking of is outside of the spirit-ual world. You see, I am an atheist – I live in the actual world where Good Spirits and Evil Spirits, Gods or Demons simply do not exist. They are but a collective fantasy of the psychic world. These Spirits or ‘energies’ – all generated in the psyche by a fear ridden ‘I’ do not actually exist.
So, No. 27 has told you, there can be nothing new under the sun and that this is the best we human beings can expect. To be born into a world where everyone is fighting and squabbling and you end up doing it yourself because ‘this is the way it is’. And there is a ‘reward’ for our suffering ... we simply turn away, go inside and imagine there is a ‘somewhere’ better or a ‘someone’ who is looking after me. Surely there has got to be something better under the sun, and there is. An actual freedom from sorrow and malice is now available if you are interested.
RESPONDENT: Slowly, slowly one gains courage. Be brave, Anand Deleeto, trust your intuition. It was not there before, it is not there now. Dare to wipe away and enjoy the bliss.
PETER: On the spiritual path, Deleeto, you will be admonished to leave your mind at the door, surrender your will, and trust your feelings. You will be encouraged to sit silently and go within to encourage a stilling of personal thoughts in order to begin to feel Bliss and Oneness. In short, you will give full reign to your feelings and emotions. ‘You’ who you feel you are will become grander and grander, bigger and bigger, and if you really work hard at it, one day – POP! ... you will realize that you are GOD!
So if you trust your intuition, trust your feelings – you are but doing a wonderful job in keeping your ‘self’ in existence – from ‘self’ to ‘Self’.
For me, I knew my ‘self’ was the problem and eventually saw that to blow it up in self-aggrandizement was to be going 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
But this is just what I have found. You will obviously make your own observations and judgements as to what you do with your life-time on earth.
It has been nice to drop you a line (... or a post, as it is these days), Deleeto.
It was really just to give you a couple of sites to check out if you are ever interested, and have the time ... but then I got off on one of my raves again.
But then again, if you are true to your name, you won’t even be reading this, but maybe someone else will, and maybe they will be intrigued.
PETER: To become free of the belief in good spirits and bad spirits. To break free the slavery of the Master-disciple business.
RESPONDENT: It is you who calls it slavery, that is your interpretation.
PETER: Well, the first thing asked of any disciple of a Master is to surrender to the Master. I remember in the early days of Sannyas the need to surrender was an essential requirement. One surrendered to the Master and put one’s faith and trust in Him. This is not my ‘interpretation’. I can distinctly remember the phrase ‘You are not surrendered enough ... Swami’ that was so often used in the commune.
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: Dude, you and everyone will awaken when it’s their time. I heard Osho say ... the fruit drops from the tree the moment it is ripe.
PETER: I got tired of waiting for some mythical Existence or God to do it. I was also running out of time as I saw it. I took the bull by the horns and decided to make freedom my total focus.
RESPONDENT: Do you believe you have these answers? It’s simple... love is the answer, and don’t hurt each other anymore... duh.
PETER: If love is the answer, how come it hasn’t worked, and if it hasn’t worked why do we still advertise it as ‘the’ solution. If it was on sale as a product the makers would have been sued for misrepresentation centuries ago. All parents, teachers, priests, gurus, pacifists, moralists, ethicists, humanitarians say, ‘let’s don’t hurt each other’ but we still do. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to try something else. Maybe the problem lies within each of us and that is also where the solution lies. This would mean that the only person who can fix me up is me. It is radical I know, but maybe, just maybe, it is worthwhile a moment or two of reflection.
RESPONDENT: Do you think you’re the best guru ever?
PETER: No. If you had read anything of what I have written, you would have realised I regard Guru-ship as a demeaning profession, both for the disciple and He/She who swans around demanding trust, surrender and worship by others. The whole rotten set up has had its day. It was so good to get out of it and regain my will that I had surrendered.
PETER: There is that diving ‘inside’ for a bit of ‘emoting’ again. The trouble is that even if you find the feelings of Good or God or Love in there, it is but a temporary fix and does nothing at all to cure the dis-ease of the Human Condition.
For the 0.0001% of seekers who manage Enlightenment (that of the permanent kind, not the modern ‘got it one day and lost it the next’ or ‘I already am, I just need to realise it’ variety) then one becomes fully deluded. Even of this crew, many report a ‘leakage’ or occasional anger or sadness.
RESPONDENT: Now, with these statements, this is where you lose credibility with anyone who sees, or has glimpsed REALITY.
PETER: Credibility means ‘believable, worthy of belief, trustworthy’, and if I have a point to make it is to stop believing what others say. It is imperative to find out the facts rather than merely believe, to sort out what is silly and what is sensible rather than merely accept what others say is right and wrong, good or bad, if one is to be actually free of the Human Condition in it’s entirety.
RESPONDENT: And show yourself for nothing but a perfectionist, a judgmental asleep one at that!
PETER: It’s a good thing I gave no credibility to the Mother of all beliefs – ‘No one’s perfect’, ‘life’s a bitch’, and ‘you can’t change Human Nature’.
What helped to crack this one was that it was okay to call yourself God, and then have other people worshipping you?
It is a strange world we find ourselves in, and it is good to make sense of this nonsense.
RESPONDENT: If you don’t understand this poem, you just don’t get it.
PETER: I do understand the poem, its perfectly clear that it points to getting nourishment from one’s soul, retreating from the real world into the spiritual world of the soul. Maybe, just maybe, it is you who do not get what I am saying.
It took me about 6 months of pride-demolishing, scary investigation, contemplation and ‘self’-demolishing realizations before I was able to get it, and even then the work was not over, as I dug deeper and deeper.
But it does end. The search does stop – the train does arrive at the station – as I am fond of saying.
Well I’ve enjoyed it again, it’s such a pleasure to write of something that requires no belief, imagination or affectation.
Something that is actual, tangible and available right now – the actual purity and perfection of the physical universe, right now, right here, happening at this very moment.
PETER: What does being a disciple mean to you, what did you expect to get out of it? ... have you ‘got’ what you were searching for ...?
RESPONDENT: I feel I had three masters before Osho. I say feel because the relationship was not so clearly defined. In each case, I found myself attracted to that person, having realizing I had something to learn. And I can truthfully say that I did not know what I was going to learn. Early on my path, I learned that the more I saw truth, the less depressed, the more peaceful and joyful I became.
Before Osho I felt a kind of enlightenment ... perhaps of the kind you sense, Peter. I did not know my heart, but I knew how to process energy. I could transform any feeling in my body, any sensation ... into a transcendental conscious state. And I remember [group leader] Amitabh shocking me out of doing it in the first 5 minutes of the first group I did. He said I was killing myself. I immediately saw his point, and through trusting Osho and his group leaders, I relaxed my efforts. I didn’t see any change for some time, but eventually I woke to a ‘higher’ place. For me the key word is trust. And I see this word much misunderstood.
PETER: I found the book ‘Collisions with the Infinite’ quite interesting, for here was a woman who, after abandoning years of intensive meditation practice, had a profound perception-altering experience. It appears she lost some personal sense of self, and lived for several years in a barren no-man’s land. Gradually after trying psychiatric help, she was taken under the wing of the spiritual fraternity and soon ... Bingo! ... what appears to have been a full emergence into an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) whereby she realized her Divinity and Immortality.
The interesting thing for me was the influence that her spiritual guides and confidants had on her experiences.
What if there was another path apart from becoming God and Immortal?
What if there was a way to become actually free of malice and sorrow and live as a flesh and blood human being, happy and harmless?
How many would choose it and abandon the hope of Oneness, and especially of immortality?
For one, it would mean that when the body died that was it – finito, kaput, the end, no more, extinction, oblivion.
And secondly, to experience this Actual Freedom one would have to actively pursue ‘self’-immolation.
For me, once I found out about it, dug into it, remembered a peak experience, it activated a sincere intent in me – a burning desire that we humans find a way to live together in peace and harmony on the magical fairy tale like, paradisiacal planet.
As I explored into things in the spiritual world, I eventually realised that the only reason I needed to trust was that I kept having these feelings of doubt. If I had no doubt, if I was absolutely certain, if it was obvious and factual – then I had no need to trust, trust then is irrelevant. Once I saw the role trust played as the guardian and defender of beliefs, I was then able to investigate the doubts to see how valid they were. To really begin to challenge my beliefs which required trust, faith and hope to sustain – to ‘prop up’ as it were. Of course, then the feelings of guilt, being a traitor, being ungrateful, etc. come up, but what to do.
For me, once there was a crack in the door I couldn’t keep from peeking further.
Just some notes on trust – dictionary meaning in italics
RESPONDENT: Peter, Are you saying you were on the ranch for 5 years?
PETER: I am surprised you are still reading my posts – another case of ‘once again with feeling’? I cut the end off my story for the sake of brevity, so I will take the opportunity to post it now. I spent the Ranch years in a Rajneesh commune, visiting the Ranch each year with one 2-month stay and one 4-month stay. My story is very clear if you read my journal, but I’m very happy to post it to you bit by bit ...
You didn’t comment on what was the main point of the story – a disciple’s willingness to kill and be killed for the love of his Master. How do you stand on this? What were you willing to do if the National Guard came over the hill?
I guess it is relevant to your ideals of pure-love and trust. I usually dislike hypothetical questions but this situation was very real and evidently only days away from happening, according to some reports.
RESPONDENT: It is true that the ranch was a very dangerous place. I know, but I wonder if you know why?
PETER: Was it because both sides were armed, and both sides were convinced they were ‘right,’ and were convinced that the other side was ‘wrong’? Just a guess, but that is the basis of most wars, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, sectarian violence, disputes, troubles, etc. in the world.
RESPONDENT: First of all, I had no ‘stated position’. Where do you get this stuff? Pure love and trust has got to do with killing for the master? How you try and confuse everything.
PETER: This gets a bit silly here. Are you saying you have not written about your valuing pure love and trust?
The reason that I probably would have killed or died for Rajneesh was out of ‘love’ for him and because I put my ‘trust’ in him. We are usually willing to kill in order to protect those we love – be they kin, kind or leader, and further, would often sacrifice our own life in order that they may live. This is a common reaction – a direct product of our instinctual programming. This is all very straightforward and basic stuff.
RESPONDENT: Peter, your statement that you made that you became absolutely sure that you were right and everybody else in the world (excluding Richard) has been wrong is very strange.
PETER: I am sure it is very strange to most people and it only makes sense when experienced from ‘outside’ the real world and the spiritual world. When seen from the actual world, as experienced in the peak experience, the full extent of the Human Condition becomes obvious. You might have had an experience where you have seen everything as perfect as it is ... if only we humans stopped fighting it out with each other. And then, for me, afterwards I would find myself doing the same old things, back into the same old neurosis and emotions.
A bit from the time this really hit me might be useful to describe the realization that hit me during one of these experiences –
PETER: (...) So, Ancient Wisdom is the Wisdom of Humanity – the set of ‘rules’ how it is to be a human being on the planet.
The mother of all Wisdom is ‘you can’t change Human Nature’. When I met Richard he said ‘Of course you can! Why not?’
I liked that ... Why not indeed!
RESPONDENT: That’s not my understanding. But if a human wants to change its nature a set of rules is fine. One has to start somewhere. Intelligence will find its way.
PETER: No, the essential requirement of the ‘set of rules’ on the spiritual path is to leave one’s intelligence and further to surrender one’s will to God. One is doubly doomed. Intelligence is thwarted by the call to trust and unquestioning faith and the demand of surrender, devotion and loyalty enslave one for the term of one’s natural life. A high price to pay for the hope of a mythical after-life. The only benefits in this life is the feeling of being one of the chosen few – one gets to feel sorry for those not especially chosen or those who are backing the wrong horse in following a lesser or false God. For this insanity one sells one’s freedom, denies one’s intelligence and surrenders ‘lock, stock and barrel’. To surrender is to admit defeat to the possibility of living, on this earth, as a flesh and blood human being – and this act of surrender inherently requires an enormous faith in an after-life – one is trapped in a vicious circle.
RESPONDENT: As for Sannyas, I’ve never been into believing in God; as a matter of fact, Osho repeatedly said God doesn’t exist.
PETER: I know many discourses where he talks of God, Oneness, Divine, Sacred, Holy, Nirvana, Love, Being, Buddha Nature etc. The use of words with capital letters in all his writings and books is a clear indication of God or the Divine in whatever form or description. The Eastern spiritual tradition is not monotheist like most Western spiritualism and, as such, God is a slippery concept, and deliberately so.
RESPONDENT: Yes, slippery, like a bar of soap one desperately tries to grasp when taking a shower. Don’t know why you insist on talking about God. There is no God, for Christ’s sake!
PETER: I keep forgetting that for Sannyasins now Rajneesh is God, not merely the Master ‘who’s finger points to the moon’. He is the moon, hence the shift in Sannyas from seeking enlightenment and freedom to grateful prayer, worship and devotional servitude to Him. I wrote a bit in my journal of the time when it first became apparent to me that Rajneesh was God and Sannyas was a Religion –
RESPONDENT No 23: Well now that Vineeto and Peter have gone to talk on their own list, what shall we talk about?
RESPONDENT to No 23: Don’t worry, priests will not go voluntary!
PETER: No indeed. The priests have a vested interest in maintaining the belief in God for that is only the source of their power. The God they represent is an entry into a promised after-life, a ‘dispenser’ of personal favours to the ‘good and the faithful’. Their God is also a jealous and wrathful God, so look out if you step out of line or dare to criticize, for they are the defenders of the faith. The other essential ingredient for the power of the priests is to play on people’s fears, and I have described my experiences of this, if you are interested –
PAUL LOWE: We do create our own lives. If you think and believe something strongly enough, it will happen. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: Yep. If you think and believe something strongly enough you will imagine and feel that it has happened. It doesn’t mean it has actually happened but you sure get to feel it has.
PAUL LOWE: I am suggesting to you that any misery you are experiencing, without you realizing it, is being created by you. You do not need to create any more pain and you might never be unhappy again. That is truly possible. I am not saying it is likely to happen, but I am not ruling out the possibility. If I were to say that it is not possible, I would be adding to the human tendency to be closed to something unexpected that might, in fact, be possible. I know this could be true, but I am not suggesting you believe me; just stay open and allow for this possibility. Your life could change now – totally, utterly and completely. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A New Way to Live
PETER: The spiritual cliché of staying open. Stay open to the possibility. Never decide anything. Don’t have an opinion about anything – except what you believe, of course ,and then one needs to have faith, trust and true belief , in which case, one is anything but open.
There are few who are more closed to sensible thought and factual evidence than the spiritual believers. It is a necessity that they remained closed for if they didn’t they would be open enough be to scrutinize their passionately held belief ... and then the bovine faecal matter might hit the whirling blades – to pinch a Richard-expression.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.