Selected Correspondence Peter
(a Pragmatic, Methodological Virtual Freedom)
PETER to Richard: Thought I would put on to the list a report of what we were talking of the other day, so the words are not lost and the experience can be shared with the other intrepid investigators into this new freedom.
I was wondering where to start, but I might try a little summary of the stages I have experienced so far on the journey to freedom.
It’s been two years now since we met and about 9 months since I finished writing my journal. If I could put it into phases I would say that the first 12 months were essentially making sense of being a normal human being, simultaneously ridding myself of malice and sorrow, as much as is possible, while still having a ‘self’ inside this body. The very act of making sense of the facts of the Human Condition as opposed to the beliefs forces one to change, to eliminate what is essentially learned and societal re-enforced behaviour.
This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. In my case this was demonstrated in the delights of living with a woman in peace, harmony and equity and the resultant revealing of the sheer fun of sex – the fire test, the proof of the pudding, if you like. If you can’t live with someone in peace then there is no hope for anyone else. One’s life gets better and better to the point of a sublime ease, carefree-ness and delight that was inconceivable 2 years ago. The actual experience is of coming to one’s senses. I have always had a cautious reluctance to state that there is a definable state called Virtual Freedom whereby one is virtually free of the Human Condition – a 99% state or the best one can do while still remaining a ‘self’.
I think that the point is that this state is not irreversible – unless there is a sincere intent and a desire to evince the best possible one could waver. It simply means I will be the best I can, and if one has had a peak experience then the best is glaringly obvious. So, throwing my caution to the wind – I would say that the last 12 months have been a stage of Virtual Freedom – the use of capital letters to indicate a definable state only. The next phase is to an Actual Freedom – the complete extinction of the psychological and psychic entity, in short the ‘me’ who I think and feel I am. There is no doubt that I am travelling a different path to the one you travelled, one that you have carefully mapped and explored with your companion at the time. Because of this your experiences of becoming Enlightened and clawing your way out are not relevant to my experiences. But the end result and aim is the same – an actual freedom from the Human Condition – a definitive and decisive release from, and extinction of, the alien entity inside this body. In trying to make sense of my different path and your two-stage extinction, I have had a cautious approach as the Rock of Enlightenment always looms large. Having seen and experienced the power-crazed God-men in action and the willingness of their desperate followers to surrender to them and worship them has proved a valuable, if sobering, experience. The other part is having experienced the seduction of an Altered State of Consciousness. As a consequence I have been well warned and well prepared.
Despite the fact of having had a substantial peak experience (PCE) some 15 years ago and a substantial experience of Divine Love (ASC) some 3 years ago there was still a piece missing. It all seemed to involve either a looking back into my past or sideways to your experiences and trying to draw a parallel. The other nagging issue was a feeling of the unfairness or even perversity of being born into the Human Condition, of being who I thought and felt I was, finding out it was a pretty rotten mess and then having to die, or self-immolate in order to be free. To do that in order to become Enlightened is one thing as one gets to have worshipping disciples, psychic power, fame and wealth – ‘Money for nothing and your chicks for free’ as I cheekily put it. Becoming God seems a not too bad reward for the effort involved – well on the face of it anyway, as long as you are not too discriminating. Of course, once you see the down-sides of Enlightenment, it very rapidly loses appeal – but at least ‘I’ am around to enjoy it.
But self-immolation, extinction, the end of me? And even the memory of a peak experience in the past and an intellectual clarity of the whole Human Condition including the delusion and appalling consequences still seemed to leave a slight gap, a wee doubt. Virtual Freedom had brought me to a position where it became obvious that ‘I’ could do no more to clean myself up, I seemingly had done all that ‘I’ could. Something more was needed, and – loh and behold – it came along.
The other morning a peak experience snuck up on me – after a particularly good ‘romp’ with Vineeto. It was one of particular clarity marked by a complete absence of any sense of ‘self’ or ‘being’ within my body. All was perfect and pure with a magical intensity that was palpable. Not merely static – a sense of the whole universe happening at this moment with a vibrancy that was sensately experienced.
I was quickly able to discern the fact that, if I had launched ‘myself’ into that experience, it would have rapidly changed to ‘me’ taking on the experience for ‘myself’. ‘I’ would have become that experience, ‘I’ would have become the experiencer of that pure and perfect immediate happening-ness of it all. ‘I’ would have become the experience of the universe happening. ‘I’ would have become the Universe – or at very least, at One with it. I could have taken that experience and translated or interpreted it for myself, as I had done in the past in an ASC whereby I became Divine Love.
However, this experience was different as ‘I’ was absent and I was able to be appreciatively aware of what was occurring. I was able to clearly see that there could be an almost instinctual grab to make the experience ‘mine’. If one follows the spiritual path, I was at the point of Enlightenment – ‘I’ only needed to jump in, boots and all, and away one goes – Divinity, Immortality, Oneness, Infinite, Timeless, Spaceless, Fearless, Blissful and the rest. All this, however, was apparent afterwards, on reflection.
What was obvious at the time was that it is the physical universe that is always present, eternal, infinite, pure and perfect – exquisitely and pristinely so. And that I, this flesh and blood body, is the intelligent bit that goes ‘Wow! – how extraordinary’. And I am the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.
It is for this that I would willingly sacrifice my grubby ‘self’ for – no matter how ‘cleaned up’, no matter how good Virtual Freedom is, there is no comparison. For this ‘I’ will depart the scene and nothing else. This is what Enlightenment merely mimics, as a feeling, but with such appalling consequences of narcissism and Self-aggrandizement. The Enlightened Ones had and have feet of clay – to claim to ‘Be the Universe itself’ is an insanity on a incredulous scale and makes clear that whole business of God and God-men is nothing more than institutionalized insanity.
It is only with a sincere intent and a firm down-to-earth experience of Virtual Freedom – a period of coming to one’s senses both literally and figuratively – that it is possible to avoid the seduction and instinctual pull towards self-aggrandizement that Enlightenment offers. I would suspect that those who have stood at the door marked Enlightenment would gladly sacrifice their ‘normal’ mortal identity for the Glamour, Glory and Glitz of feeling like God. Similarly, as I experienced the infinitude, purity and perfection of the physical universe happening – the Actual World – ‘I’ gladly and willingly self-immolate for that perfection and purity to be evident as me, this flesh and blood body. I firmly experienced it as my destiny – an actual freedom from the Human Condition.
This PCE has confirmed for me that Actual Freedom as the only game to play in town. As I watch the sacrifices of countless people who fight for ‘freedom’ of their particular group, suffer themselves for the ‘betterment’ of others, who blindly sacrifice all in a vain attempt at ‘betterment’ for Humanity, this sacrifice is so much more sensible and valuable. And it seems to require no special heroics, no super-human qualities. It is but the inevitable and welcome consequence of sincere intent and a refusal to settle for second best. Let’s face it, the mountains have all been climbed, the continents discovered, technological discoveries, while still amazing, are a crowded field and awash with meta-physics. The human search for the beginning of time or the edge of the universe are as futile as the search for God. Wherever I looked the field was crowded – the chance of making a contribution, dwindling. The next challenge facing the human species is to rid ourselves of malice and sorrow – and a few days ago I glimpsed the ‘mountain top’ of the challenge. Of course, as I come off the peak experience I also realise the mountain top is here under my very nose, on earth at this moment – so I use the words ‘mountain top’ with a touch of poetic licence. So, after the PCE, it is obvious that my destiny lies beyond psychological and psychic self-immolation, that this event will be a definitive and decisive moment, that it is willingly and eagerly anticipated ... and that Enlightenment will be avoided. So, far from being an ‘unfair’ or ‘perverse’ exercise to cause a self-immolation or psychic death, it is the most exciting, amazing, wondrous, extraordinary journey possible for a human to make – a journey into one’s own psyche ... to the very end.
PETER to Richard: This first process had two components – an intellectual understanding such that the fact of being a human being made sense, and this involved a rigorous, challenging, exciting and revealing investigation into the Human Condition and its bedrock of Ancient Wisdom. This is essentially the understanding of the non-spiritual nature of Actual Freedom. The second component was the practical day to day stuff (and what else is there anyway?) of what it is to be a human being – the theory into practice if you like. The experience that Actual Freedom is not a philosophy, not a theory, but a down-to-earth experience as a flesh and blood body. Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: Couldn’t agree more. The combination of the two is vital – and perhaps inevitable. Sort of convincing ‘me’ that it is possible, while experiencing its actuality.
PETER: Just to clarify my post. Up until now the only path to freedom has been a spiritual path to a spiritual freedom – the traditional path of denial, renunciation and transcendence leading to an Altered State of Consciousness known as Enlightenment. The path leads to There – another dimension, a metaphysical realm.
The aim of the path to Actual Freedom is to come here to the actual world. The actual world is that which is evidenced and apparent in the PCE or peak experience and that is where the path to Actual Freedom leads. The actual world is the world as-it-is, stripped of the veneer of reality or Reality that the ‘self’ or ‘Self’ layers over it.
However, as the aim is to come here and be happy and harmless, one always has an immediate goal and aim every moment – to be as happy and harmless as one can possibly be right now. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the key to firstly ascertaining how one is doing relative to one’s aim in life and, if necessary, finding out what is inhibiting my happiness, in this moment. This gives ‘me’ something to do – ‘I’ clean myself up as much as possible by rigorously and remorselessly examining all the beliefs that constitute the Human Condition – all the truths and Truths that form my social identity, and the instinctual behavioural patterns that blindly run ‘me’. This process, if undertaken with a sincere intent, will inevitably lead to a state of Virtual Freedom. One then goes to bed in the evening knowing that one has had a perfect day, and knowing that tomorrow, without doubt, will also be a perfect day. Unless one is willing to contemplate being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow, 99% of the time – then forget the whole business. One is back aiming for some ‘pie in the sky’, some miracle event to ‘make it all better’. And the Sannyas list was an eye opener as far as that was concerned. When offered an alternative to ‘getting out of it’, such that being happy and harmless became one’s aim in life – none were interested in this aspect; peace on earth got a similar response, living with a companion in peace and harmony hardly raised a murmur. Nobody believes that it is possible to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, on earth, here, now, as a flesh and blood body. This is, after all, the core of Ancient Wisdom – the sacred and inviolate centre-piece of the Human Condition.
PETER to Richard: I have always had a cautious reluctance to state that there is a definable state called Virtual Freedom whereby one is virtually free of the Human Condition – a 99% state or the best one can do while still remaining a ‘self’. I think that the point is that this state is not irreversible – unless there is a sincere intent and a desire to evince the best possible one could waver. Peter to Richard, 25.2.1999
ALAN: I have always been a bit unsure what ‘Virtual Freedom’ is, so I read your comments with interest.
I have also read what Richard has written on this, though it is not something I consider of great importance – the fact that one’s life is improved and the knowledge of one’s ultimate goal (to experience the perfection and purity 24 hours of the day) are the important points for me. If this is ‘Virtual Freedom’ then fine – I’m enjoying it. One possible benefit of ‘Virtual Freedom’, I did discover, was that it threw ‘me’ into a blue funk, at one stage. ‘I’ wanted to know if ‘I’ had managed to achieve Virtual Freedom, was ‘I’ doing well, had you and Vineeto managed it and I hadn’t? Now, I could not care less – this is my life and what another is doing or achieving is of no consequence at all.
PETER: I guess my experience of talking to people on the Sannyas mailing list has tipped me into valuing Virtual Freedom more and more. It is another of the factors that makes the path to Actual Freedom so delightful, so delicious, such a wondrous culmination of ‘normal’ human existence. If one can’t or won’t contemplate living in a Virtual Freedom then an Actual Freedom will forever remain a ‘pie in the sky’, a spiritual-type, far-off, far-out freedom for those who persist with this outmoded way of thinking.
Virtual Freedom is available for everyone and anyone who has the sincere intent to be happy and harmless. If someone is not willing to make that level of ‘self’ sacrifice then any interest in an Actual Freedom would remain a purely cerebral exercise. That is what I meant by ‘two stages’ – you sort out what it is to be a human being – delve into the Human Condition and then you put what you discover into practice. If it is not put into practice demonstratively then one is fooling oneself – as is common practice on the spiritual path. An immediate aim for a Virtual Freedom will ensure one of sincere intent – any gross grubbiness, power plays or self deception will become painfully obvious to oneself and others.
Given the perfection and purity of the physical universe and its propensity to evolve to the best possible, it is no mere coincidence that a journal outlining the simplicity and down-to-earthness of Virtual Freedom is now available as a companion volume to Richard’s Journal. To ignore the obvious, the simple, the direct, the immediate in favour of always contemplating the future is to commit the mistakes of the past ‘tried and failed’ approaches. Not that there isn’t a future goal – Actual Freedom – but the practical and down-to-earth first essential step is the obtaining of and living in Virtual Freedom for a substantial period. The establishing of a base camp if you like.
One of the vital points about Virtual Freedom is that it gives one a realistic down-to-earth achievable aim. Virtual Freedom is an obtainable, realistic goal available for anyone – and is an essential step on the path to Actual Freedom. It seems to me that the traditional path has always put the Goal off into the future – some day I will, or maybe it will happen, or it’s too difficult, or .. With the firm knowledge that a Virtual Freedom is readily obtainable, the immediate and the actual becomes the focus, as this is, after all, the only moment I can experience of being alive – so if I’m not happy now then I have something to look at. Unlike the spiritual where one has only a ‘far off’ goal with a 0.0001% chance of success of achieving a permanent ASC, the path to Actual Freedom delivers the goods – one eliminates the impediments to one’s happiness incrementally and as such one has incremental success. The immediate and realistic aim being to get to the point where one goes to bed at night having had a perfect day and knowing tomorrow will be equally perfect. The ‘bar gets raised’ and tomorrow may well turn out to be even more perfect. This is not to deny that Actual Freedom is not the eventual aim – but ‘I’ have to do it and this is the way to do it. What ‘I’ can do is to become virtually free.
This is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual path where going ‘There’ is the only goal and consequently one withdraws from any thoughts of happiness now, and certainly any mundane considerations such as being harmless, being in the world as-it-is, living with one’s companion in peace, harmony and equity, being sensible, questioning beliefs and investigating the facts, etc.
PETER: Boy, isn’t this business the most thrilling, most amazing thing to be doing with one’s life. The only game to play in town, as I have call it. Says he with not a skerrick of humility nor pride, those twin shackles of Humanity.
You wrote a bit to No 4 that intrigued me –
ALAN: Your understanding that ‘I’ am not a fact was something I commented on ‘getting’ in my last post. Like you, I agreed and ‘understood’ that ‘I’ am not a fact – ‘I’ am a belief – and ‘I’ fervently believe in ‘myself’. But, getting this fact is a bit like going straight for the 64,000 dollar question – maybe you have some ‘easier’ beliefs you could work on first? Not that I would wish to dissuade anyone from jumping straight in – the ‘boots and all’ approach, as Richard calls it. It is just that, from my recent experience, this is such a whammer, so earth shattering a realisation, that it is probably the equivalent of a novice climber deciding his first climb is to be Mount Everest!
PETER: I like what you wrote. This impassioned version of the death of ‘me’ always had the ring of the spiritual to me and as such I have been always been a bit suss of it. This is not to deny the fact that a psychic and psychological death is a factual necessity for Actual Freedom. This fact is made glaringly obvious and apparent in the PCE – where the absence of self-ish or self-centred thoughts or feelings and any sense of being is evidenced. What I am talking about is the degree of passion and emotion associated with the event – the more the psychological and psychic fear the more the risk of getting on a sort of emotional swing whereby one swings from dread into awe. Where one makes an instinctual grab for Glory as a reward for suffering, or to overcome the dread. The other way is that one could make an impassioned sacrifice for the Good of the Whole and as such one would want reward and recognition for one’s sacrifice – the good old delusion of Enlightenment again.
The way I see it – i.e. I am just reporting what I see and experience – is that by living in Virtual Freedom for an appropriate amount of time one has noticeably less feelings and passions operating. The instinctual emotions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire are less substantial, less evident, dis-used, atrophied, almost fizzed out. Thus the final act of self-immolation is seen for what it is – an imminent inevitably, a soon-to-happen fact. And, as we know from the continual experience of Virtual Freedom, it is silly to fear a fact – it just spoils your day, or your moment. In the light of bare awareness, or apperceptive thought, fear is experienced more as a bodily sensation rather than as ‘my’ fear. So let me repeat, this is not to deny the fact of self-immolation, it is to put it in its perspective, freed of the greater part of ‘my’ affectation, fear – and Virtual Freedom does that very job. What it also means is that anyone who is sincerely willing to get to a point of a continuos Virtual Freedom for a substantial period of time can then become Actually Free. It would then be available for anyone. One would not need to be special, a freak, a fanatic, a genius – it could be anyone... The other definitely not-to-be-overlooked advantage is that the instinctual passionate grab for survival that occurs with self-immolation is weakened in proportion to the reduction of the instinctual passions.
This is a bit of an interpretation on my part – an observation of ‘work in progress’, but I do detect a similarity in our collective experiences which gives credence to it. Could we say it makes sense? I know I err on the side of caution and the facts aren’t all in yet, but I like the ordinary availability of it. I took on Actual Freedom knowing it would be the end of ‘me’ but I figured I would cross that bridge (or not cross the bridge...) when I came to it. In the meantime I always had something to do – question beliefs, investigate, read, contemplate – to de-bunk the myths, discover the facts for myself, strip the layers of belief and superstition that make up both the ‘real’ world and the ‘spiritual’ world.
PETER: A post firstly about something Alan wrote that particularly ‘pricked up my ears’.
ALAN: And, to insert a quick ‘plug’ for the benefits of virtual freedom, even if one does not go all the way. At a time considered to be the most stressful there can be in a persons life – selling a house, selling (or closing) a business and a likely break up of a marriage – here I am, enjoying every moment and delighting in the experience of being alive – I thoroughly recommend it.
PETER: Yes, indeed – this is what it is all about. This is why we delve into beliefs, explore feelings and emotions, contemplate upon the Human Condition, and dare to be different. The practical, down-to-earth results in everyday living – for what else is there? The whole aim of the exercise is to become actually free of malice and sorrow – to become happy and harmless. And this is done incrementally, bit by bit, and the results come incrementally, bit by bit. The ‘events’, realizations, wobbles, etc. are then seen for what they are – interesting by-products of coming closer to a sensible and sensate experiencing of the ‘main event’ – that which is happening right now. There is no suffering on the path – anything that occurs in the head or heart is but the consequence of daring to devote oneself to becoming free. While the challenges may seem daunting on occasions, the rewards for stubborn persistence are abundantly apparent in the increased ease and delight in everyday life. It is this everyday happiness and harmlessness that gives one the confidence to pursue the unimaginable – the living of the Pure Consciousness Experience 24 hours a day, every day.
It reminds me that whenever I have written, or said to anyone, that one of the reasons I abandoned the spiritual world was ‘that I did not like how the ‘Enlightened Ones’ were with their women, I didn’t like their lifestyle, and I didn’t like how they were with each other! ’ – I have had no response. Sort of a blank look, as though – ‘What is he on about?’ The Divine Status of the Gurus apparently exempts them from regarding and treating their fellow human beings as exactly that – fellow human beings. This superior and ‘Holier than thou’ attitude also permeates into the minds and hearts of their disciples as they worship, idolize and attempt to emulate the Gurus. Why do humans persistently worship the elite few God-men as having achieved the pinnacle of human achievement yet persistently ignore their ‘personal’ lives and behaviour when ‘off stage’. There is no ‘on-stage’ and ‘off-stage’ in actualism, there is no divine life and secular life, there is no other place or other life – be a past life, a next life or a life beyond physical death.
Actualism is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual escapism and, as such, I was delighted to read of your experiences, Alan. They accord with my own everyday experiences and are evidence of the success being reported by the handful involved at the moment.
ALAN: One thing I cannot explain is why I have not had a PCE for some time. My life now is, continuously, very close to a PCE, in that there is no (or very little) ‘self’ in existence. I experience my life as being 99% perfect. Every activity is a pleasure. What is missing is that extra sparkle and vivacity – the 360 degree awareness. Can one little connection in the brain make all that difference? Do you still experience PCEs?
PETER: Following on from what I was saying above, I found a curious thing happening in the last 12 months. At first the path to freedom was packed with wild and wonderful adventures, realizations, yippees and wows as a lifetime of beliefs were challenged and dismantled. With the realizations came moments of clarity – Pure Consciousness Experiences of both clarity of the brain and of the physical senses. Given the contrast to my ‘normal’ dull, or ‘spiritual’ head in the clouds states of being, the PCEs had an intensity and excitement of new discovery attached to them. As I more and more lived a virtual freedom wherein my days were 99% perfect the stunningness of PCEs dwindled, as did their numbers. At times I missed them and their excitement but I could not deny that everyday life was getting better all the time, and I came to see that these experiences too would have to go. I would often feel a frustration and missing in the beginning and was wary of returning to a stark normalness. At one point all did seem stark in a ‘normal’ world stripped of feelings, meaning and excitement but that soon passed. I just figured that what I wanted was to be actually free of malice and sorrow in the world-as-it-is, with people as they are, as this flesh and blood body only – if that meant what often felt like crossing a desert, being bored, or losing excitement, then so be it. It became obvious that when the dust settled only that which is actual would be left and, as such, my attention and focus became increasingly on that which is actual – that which is sensately experienced as opposed to that which is merely cerebral or affective.
What has replaced the PCE lately is a growing sense of normalness. Not ‘normal’ as I was 2 years ago, but an utter contentment and delight at the normal things of life – food, a walk, a bit of drawing, a TV-show with my feet up on the couch, a chat with Vineeto, wheeling the trolley around the supermarket trying to invent new things to eat. The things people usually see as boring, futile, spacing out, uncreative, unexciting, chores, duty, work, unproductive, etc. An ease has pervaded all, a perfection that is palpable, down-to-earth and increasingly rock-solid.
When the mundane becomes magic you know that freedom is your destiny.
So, Alan, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that your life ‘now is, continuously, very close to a PCE, in that there is no (or very little) self in existence.’
PETER to Alan: Thought I’d drop you a line about a subject that led me to a bit of pondering lately. Several times over the last 2 years Vineeto and I have met with people who have been interested in Richard and what he has to say. The reaction to us has been fascinating to observe for it is a subject of vital interest to me – at its core, ‘What am I in relation to other people and what am I in relation to Richard?’ The reaction to us can best be summed up as ‘piss off, I want to talk to Richard’ or ‘Who do you think you are – some over-enthusiastic disciple mouthing off the words of the Master?’ or some similar theme. Consequently, we have dubbed ourselves the ‘Litmus Twins’, for we seem to upset or offend those who seek only a bit of time (and space?) sitting with the ‘master’ but not those who are genuinely interested in actual Freedom and in changing themselves. My theory – and that is all it is – is that we are ‘offensive’ simply because we are the proof that it is possible to change, whereas regarding Richard as some sort of master, as in the spiritual tradition, means that all one has to do is sit back and imbibe the wisdom and truth of what he says and writes. I don’t doubt that they get something from the ‘contact’ but, for the life of me, I fail to see that any radical change can come from such a casual and cautious approach.
But I gladly admit to bias, as I am continuously amazed by people’s stubborn refusal to even admit that they have less than perfect relationships, that they are prone to malice and sorrow, anger, resentment, despair, resignation, self-deception, or whatever other feeling. Those still on the spiritual path see themselves as having risen above these mundane worldly matters and having ascended into the higher realms of ‘love for all’, feeling ‘That Which Is’ or being ‘grateful to Existence’.
Just as an aside, while I think of it, I once chatted to a man who had just been newly inducted into the spiritual world and we got to chatting about sex. He proclaimed to me that he now had a freer attitude to sex and was not only with his partner but with other women as well. He said sex had never been better as he now felt he was making love to all women when he had sex. It was ‘universal woman’ whom he made love to – the archetypical woman. It suddenly dawned on me that this Tantric-like practice was nothing more than a fantasy escape from the actuality of having sex with the particular flesh and blood woman he was in bed with at the time. In the ‘real’ world men and woman invariably revert to fantasies to maintain an interest after the initial instinctual attraction wanes, and Tantra is simply the spiritual version of these fantasies. Of course, it is a ‘higher’ and more ‘noble’ fantasy, but it is nothing more than an escape from the reality of sex. It is demeaning to the partner one is with as he or she is not the flesh and blood body person but is reduced to a figment of one’s own fantasy world – and then they have the audacity to term this fantasy ‘being intimate’. All the ‘action’ and ‘intimacy’ goes on only in one’s head. One literally goes into cuckoo-land – all in denial of the shameful, guilt-ridden reality of the sexual instinct in action. It is all about feeling and has nought to do with the luscious sensuality of the sensate sensuous experiencing of innocent sexual play.
For me, it was such an adventure to get to the bottom of the stifling mystery, the conspiracy of silence, the moralistic mumbo-jumbo and beliefs that actively prohibit free sexual enjoyment and a direct intimacy between any couple, be they normal or spiritually inclined.
Which brings me back to people-as-they-are – (a feeble attempt to round this rave back to some semblance of order). Whenever Vineeto and I talk or write of becoming free of the Human Condition, we are often seen (judged?) as being judgemental or attacking and not tolerant or respectful of the other’s position. In considering this, the only sense I make of it is that we are threatening in that we are putting into practice the concept that one can become free of the Human Condition – i.e. how human beings think, feel, believe and imagine themselves to be and how they are instinctually programmed by blind nature to function. Now any sensible investigation of the Human Condition involves observation, investigation, comparison, contemplation, consideration and judgement. One has to come to a conclusion as to what is silly and what is sensible, otherwise the whole exercise is merely intellectual wanking. Having made a judgement as to what is best, then action is required – one is compelled to action, unless one wants to settle for second-best – but that’s another story. So no bleatings of ‘you’re being judgemental’ will work with me – it’s a furphy that’s been bandied around since morals and ethics were first chiselled in stone and devised to silence the sensible. ‘Judge ye not’ is a platitude invented by God-men and other charlatans in order that no one would question the rest of their inane platitudes. It is one of many dimwitticisms, passed off as Guru-wisdom, that have no other meaning or purpose than to keep their followers and disciples under control, humble, grateful, loyal and above all non-thinking.
But if anyone wants to remain as they are, second-rate, rooted in the past, or off in la-la land, then fine. Somewhere there is a Peter or a Vineeto who might appreciate a bit of ‘judgemental’ straight talking, a first hand account about becoming free of the Human Condition, what it’s like to challenge all beliefs, what it’s like to leave one’s ‘self’ behind. I strongly recommend being judgemental – making a judgement, an evaluation, a discernment, a decision, a finding, an appraisal, an assessment, a conclusion. At the very least one practices thinking, at best it may provoke action, at worst you may be inaccurate and need to re-assess. This is the process of learning called trial and error. One simply proceeds to what is sensible and what works, and one finds one has discovered a fact. And one can rely on a fact. It takes a little practice but eventually ‘you’ become redundant in the game as the facts start to speak for themselves.
Which brings me back to Richard and people-as-they-are. When I first met Richard there was quite a period of regarding him as a Guru for that was what a ‘wise man’ was to me at the time. It seemed that he was talking of another world or dimension, which he was, and that he was in touch with some ethereal wisdom, which he wasn’t. I remember at one stage laying on the couch – yet again – and saying ‘Okay, you can let me into the mystery now. Is there a space craft that is coming to pick us up, is this some ‘special’ group and you’re gathering people for the new world after the ‘end-of-it-all’, or what?’ All I got was a laugh, but it cleared the air for me. After that, he increasingly became a flesh and blood normal person to me, who had actually found a way to become happy and harmless. It is not that the process became any less radical and un-‘natural’, but it meant that it was possible for me – a normal flesh and blood human. It also meant that I was not going ‘somewhere else’ in the spiritual sense but it meant that the answer to the mystery of life lay under my very nose, as it were – in the world-as-it-is, with people-as-they-are. It was only that ‘I’ was in the road of the actual world’s perfection and purity becoming apparent and that was something I could do something about. If Richard could, I could. It is, after all, a process of elimination – a stripping away of the veneer of reality and the veneer of Reality in order to more and more experience the actual world. The process involves nothing more than replacing belief – both real and Real – with fact, for fact is what is actual. And the last of the line – not the first – or even the middle – is the experiential understanding of the illusion or non-facticity of ‘I’. Self-immolation then becomes imminent.
Once I had managed to get the last of my spiritual concepts and notions out of the way, on the couch that day, it became simply a matter of emulating Richard and this new way of being a human being – his manner, words, the facts he presented – how he was as a human being. Exactly as I had done when I found a good architect or builder or expert in any field – soak up all you can about what you regard as the best – why is it so good, how is it different, why does it work, why is it better than how I do things? Lately for me has been the stage of seeing what it is that is different between Richard and me – what are the innate quirks of character, differences of style, preferences, life-experiences that are genuine differences.
It has been a fascinating journey to see not only the universality of the Human Condition, to discover why and how Richard is different from ‘normal’ and ‘spiritual’, and now I come to see how I am actually different from Richard. Merely to remain following and mimicking would be to forever remain virtually free – the dare now is to be unique and individual – actually free of the Human Condition – to stand on my own two feet.
PETER to Alan: As an ongoing experience one moves into a state of Virtual Freedom whereby one goes to sleep at night time knowing one has had a perfect day and that tomorrow will also be a perfect day. This perfection is not the perfection of Actual Freedom but a 99.9% perfection and the hic-ups or stumbles are so minor and brief, that they fail to daunt one on the journey. Serendipity abounds and a fascination with life activates delight and sensuousness as one does all one can to mimic the perfection and purity that becomes increasingly apparent all around in the physical world. One’s mind, more and more freed of imagination and the chemical influence of instinctual passions, is capable of great clarity, and as apperceptive awareness replaces self-centred neurosis one knows one’s days are numbered. By this total and sincere dedication to what is actual, pure and perfect, one abandons control, so to speak, whereby the very process of self-immolation is set in motion – then it is not a process that one has any control over, it is happening by itself.
The ending of ‘me’, when seen dispassionately, is the amygdala doing its survival thing – one encounters surges of chemicals from an obsolete program playing out its death throes – fighting for its very survival as it is programmed to do. This last stages of the ending of ‘me’ is both a psychic and psychological affair, thus accompanying the chemical rushes (fear) one also experiences the psychological equivalent (angst), but one is committed by now – there is no ‘back door’, no turning back, no phoenix to rise from the ashes. ‘My’ end is nigh.
PETER to Alan: So now I find myself gaily losing my grip on reality – abandoning the glum real world-view that I had been instilled with since birth and entering into the pure, perfect and delightful actual world, the world as I experienced it in my pure consciousness experience, all those years ago. I do so not as an escape into another world but entering into the world-as-it-is stripped of both the bad and the good, the right and the wrong that has been taught to me and stripped of the influence of my instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. The last time I abandoned the ‘real’ world was when I was on the spiritual path and I ended up glimpsing the phantasmagorical world of Divine Love and turned away, somehow sensing the falseness of it – I knew that I was merely ‘escaping’ from the world as it is, and particularly from people as they are.
This time, as I again abandon the real world, I do so with impunity – with the utter confidence that my destiny is the actual physical world of purity and perfection, not the imaginary substitute I experienced before. The recent experiences of being able to glimpse the instinctual ‘me’ at my core and experiencing the survival instincts as nothing other than a chemical producing redundant program in my brain has literally been the last straw in the ending of ‘me’. It’s been a fascinating journey into my own psyche to investigate ‘who’ I am – to discover all the morals, ethics and values that is ‘me’ the social identity – all the gender conditioning, all the tribal or national conditioning, all the religious conditioning – both Western and then Eastern. And then to dig deeper to discover the instinctual passions that lay beneath one’s social conditioning – to be able to dispassionately investigate what people consider to be hellish realms of fear, dread, anger, hatred as well as blind nurture and desire.
It’s an investigation that ultimately strips one to the very core – leaving one freed from malice and sorrow.
Two further points I would make for emphasis –
The means of facilitating this investigation into one’s psyche is contemplation. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the question to run. Whatever is preventing one from being happy or harmless is the issue to contemplate upon and away you go on an inner journey into beliefs, morals, ethics, feelings and finally instinctual passions. When you have removed one impediment then the next one pops up. Just do them one at a time and then back to experiencing the world as it is. This is the diametric opposite to meditation where the journey ‘in’ is an escape into an inner world as a solace and succour from having to experience and live in the world as it is.
The other point is that the experience of Virtual Freedom is essential – the on-going experience of the world as it is, as being 99.9% perfect. Being able to go to bed at night honestly saying one has had an almost perfect day. One does not fool oneself and this is where sincere intent comes in – the refusal to settle for second-best, the best being the impeccable benchmark of the PCE. This period of Virtual Freedom gives one the confidence to abandon the real world and proceed with impunity to the actual world without being instinctually seduced into escaping from the world as it is, and adopting some God-like identity.
Well, that’s it from me. Summer is beginning to break through the delightful spring weather here – the rain is warm and the ‘atmospherics’ are vibrant with many electrical storms this time of year. Often the sky pulses with lightning over the ocean for hours at night and the days are an ever changing flip-flop of clear, cloudy, misty, rain, downpours, lightning, sunny, stormy, thunder, hot, moist, cool, still, etc. The days and nights are literally cram-packed with weather. What a paradise I live in on this fantastic planet, and what a time to be alive!
PETER to Alan: Just a report from the far side of the planet.
Well, this path to Actual Freedom is proving continually fascinating and thrilling. Lately two events have proved particularly revealing as to the fact that no matter how much I clean myself up, or strip myself of the emotions that arise from the instinctual passions, they are still there lurking beneath the surface. Richard reported the same occasional bleed-throughs, even while in his enlightened phase, and this is the empirical evidence that only self-immolation can remove the impediments to living a pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs. a day, every day.
Virtual freedom – the 99.9 % version – is not to be sneezed at, for it is a state that is far more salubrious, sensible and harmless than any dissociated state that the spiritual world offers. Only by freeing oneself of all spiritual belief and actively investigating and diminishing the instinctual passions that lie beneath is it possible to be 99.9% happy and harmless. Only then can one be almost actually happy and harmless and then the obsession focuses on the ‘almost’ bit. Almost means that one can never quite trust oneself that one’s happiness and harmlessness cannot be disturbed by someone else or some event. That a bleed-through of malice towards another, or sorrow for oneself, will not occur. However it is only by living in Virtual Freedom, the ‘almost’ stage, that enables me to clearly see ‘me’ at my core, free of the cloud of beliefs, emotions, feelings and neurosis that is normally ‘me’.
One of the events that triggered a bleed-through was my starting to write about Actual Freedom on another mailing list. As I have written, there was a whiff of fear at sticking my neck out, a why do I keep doing this, why not stay safe? This only came after the action and as I looked beneath the fear, the underlying reason was an insecure ‘me’ – unable by ‘my’ very nature to be 100% free of malice and sorrow, unable by my very nature to be sure that there would be no ‘bleed-throughs’. I remember reporting to No 5 about feeling frustration when I wrote to him last year, but it was only by sticking my neck out, actively exploring while remaining aware, that the issue was stirred, the discovery made, the observation noted and the next ensuing action taken.
This sequence initially requires stubborn effort but as success breeds success a momentum gathers, serendipity abounds and the process becomes not ‘my’ doing it and then all ‘I’ have to do is dare to take the foot off the brake.
As for the whiff of fear, and as Vineeto noted the other night, the real discovery, the real issue to investigate, usually lies beneath the fear. Take the action, feel the fear and then look at what lays beneath the fear. If you stay stuck with the fear, no action in the first place, no discovery, no adventure, no change.
Another feeling that arose from starting to write to this list was when Vineeto said she would write on the same list as well. A feeling of ‘it’s my turf, don’t butt in’ arose, a childlike possessiveness that was rationalized away by the quite sensible consideration that two of us writing would be too much and the list members would feel attacked. They will no-doubt feel personally attacked anyway, as it is par for the course whenever anyone is faced with facts that expose the failure and mendacity of one’s cherished beliefs. For me, if I simply rationalized away my feelings and emotions I would have missed the opportunity to experience them in action, as my ‘self’. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is not about an abrupt rationalization, denial or repression of feelings and emotions. Nor is it about interminable therapizing and never-ending superficial-only investigation. There is a third alternative – an active experiential investigation, both as an instantaneous observation and a thoughtful contemplation, solely aimed at evincing a radical empirical permanent change
Vineeto and I, as usual, came to a mutual sensible consensus that, for now, one of us writing on the list would be better than two. And I liked the fact that without taking action – in this case writing to a mailing list – ‘I’ would have remained safe, hidden, unveiled, unrevealed, forever lurking, however quietly.
The other event worthy of report relates to my now being fully involved in the world of people, things and events and not a spiritual hermit in some sheltered workshop for those shell-shocked by ‘real’ world, as I was for years. This probably relates to No 3’s work experience that he posted. I’ll include it in this post as the value of this list is in the mutual sharing of experience, information and discoveries in order to test their validity and effectiveness – to glean from others what works and what doesn’t, mainly so we don’t have to unknowingly and needlessly repeat what others have already found to have failed.
I have always found the idea of having to retreat from the world into an ashram or an insular community somehow a cop-out, albeit an attractive one compared to having to battle it out in the ‘real’ world. Many talk about bringing their meditation into the market place, withdrawn into their own inner world, protected by a self-made bubble or cocoon, isolating them from the ‘bad vibes’ of others, all the time claiming they are being ‘present’. This is what Richard means by being twice-removed from the actual world.
My experience is that one can become virtually free of malice and sorrow and can activate delight to such a level that one’s interactions with one’s fellow human beings are invariably harmonious and pleasurable – 99.9% of the time. This is in itself quite outstanding. I do not grumble, bitch, complain, blame, berate, beset or attack anyone, nor do I feel resentful, jealous, envious, belittled, hard done by, pissed-off, etc. However, on very rare occasions an emotion will be triggered for there is still a ‘me’ lurking around, instinctually programmed and thus ever-ready to rise to either defend or attack.
The particular occasion that raised a feeling response was of having to do something that made no sense – just a wee bit and such that I was easily able to observe the fact that ‘I’ was not needed to be in control, quite the opposite, in fact. This having to do something silly is a common occurrence in the market place where one sells one’s time in return for money and most decisions are made on the basis of right/wrong, good/bad, me vs. you, etc. and not on the basis of mutual consensus based on common sense.
On this occasion, all of my usual skills of persuasion, facilitating an open discussion of the pros and cons, etc. failed to elicit a consensual sensibility and I was left with that childlike feeling of being forced to do something that I saw as silly. T’was just a flash, an irrational and impulsive response, but again it was ‘me’ at my core. These little flashes, startlingly apparent when all the usual emotional clutter is removed, serve as a reminder to the fact that no matter how much one cleans oneself up, or strips oneself down of the emotions that arise from the instinctual passions, they are still there lurking beneath the surface. The whole point of the process that is undertaken on the path to Actual freedom is to actively whittle away at one’s social identity – all the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms instilled and co-opted since birth – so that one is able to get down to investigating the raw instinctual passions – both the supposed good and bad. This investigation is the hairy part where any who have managed to get there have traditionally opted for safety and gone with the ‘good’ passions, adopted a new set of spiritual beliefs, morals ethics and psittacisms and away they went – with a new identity pasted over the old rotten ‘me’. This explains why the enlightened ones still have malice, albeit excused as Divine anger, and still have sorrow, albeit disguised as Divine Com-passion – feeling pity for others from their higher, holier and more exalted position.
To get back to my work-related issue. I do like it that I can function and operate in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are – without a protective cocoon – with an impunity and salubriousness that I would have deemed an impossibility a few years ago. This is directly attributable to abandoning the folly of accepting myself as I am, to not sitting in the corner with my eyes closed, but getting my head out of the clouds and coming down-to-earth – where meaning is abundantly and sensuously obvious each moment again. The key to the ultimate stage of self-immolation lies in experiencing and dispassionately observing these bleed-throughs. In knowing that perfection and purity, the total eradication of malice and sorrow is only possible with my extinction. Utterly fascinating and thrilling.
As I went back over what I wrote there is one sentence that is worth elaborating on. It is when I said ‘an event raised a feeling response – just a wee bit and such that I was easily able to observe the fact that ‘I’ was not needed to be in control, quite the opposite, in fact’. What I observed was that ‘I’ was the source of the feeling response – as a thought and as a chemical flush – and yet ‘I’ was redundant in taking appropriate sensible action and being considerate of the person I was talking to. Normally ‘I’ am the source of the trouble and ‘I’ proceed to stuff up the solution. ‘I’ am nothing but a chemically-fuelled rotten little feedback loop, an errant, stubbornly perverse virus in an otherwise perfect operating system.
ALAN: I have been very busy doing nothing – it is amazing how much there is to enjoy and marvel at when one has nothing in particular to do – such as the mass of rooks which have just passed by on their early morning flight from their roosts to, presumably their feeding grounds for the day.
PETER: Doing nothing really well is a not inconsiderable achievement, to say the least. For human beings it is an impossibility – it goes completely against the grain of all our programming – that life must have meaning, that one must struggle, that life is a journey, that one must contribute, do one’s bit, be useful, be creative, etc.
A friend who also does nothing really well is often advised by others to ‘get a life’, but given the emotional suffering and frenetic neurosis she sees in others’ lives she is increasingly being deterred from being part of the ‘real’ world insanity and increasingly emboldened and seduced to step out of it.
ALAN: On further consideration I find that I have, indeed, been ‘burying my head in the sand’ over the last few weeks. Much as I have enjoyed what I have been doing, I was aware there was something ‘missing’, an incompleteness – and that ‘incompleteness’, I now find, was the ceasing to investigate and actualize what it is to be alive as this body, at this moment in time. It is so, so, easy and attractive to try to live a ‘normal’ life that one is easily seduced into ignoring what is possible.
PETER: My experience with trying to ‘look back over the last few weeks’ was that it was an impossible thing to do. I had the benefit of being with Vineeto and was therefore able to check on the accuracy and reliability of my memory of past experiences. Sometimes either one of us would say ‘I’ve felt ... for days now’ and the other would say ‘Well, yesterday you went to bed saying what a perfect day you had’, and ‘you had a really good time walking down town and you really enjoyed writing to ..., or playing on the computer’.
When the supposed memories were checked against the actual situation it may well have only been some little time ago that things turned but it felt like it had been for a long time. We are all programmed to be miserable, so much so that, given any opportunity we will even re-invent or re-interpret past events and memories into sad ones. That is why saying to yourself when you go to bed ‘I’ve had a good day, or and excellent day, or a perfect day’ is important. Even a log book or diary can be useful. One needs to actively affirm to oneself and record feeling good or being excellent or having a PCE. One needs to drag oneself out of misery by one’s bootstraps – actively and scientifically.
The trick is to get the feeling of lacklustre as soon as it comes and track the event that caused it. Dig around, investigate a bit and get back to feeling good as quickly as possible. Feeling good leaves few, if any, emotional memories and, as such, can feel like lacklustre to ‘me’ who thrives on strife, excitement, conflict, etc. and feels lacklustre or bored if there is nothing to fight for. The question is always ‘How am I experiencing this moment’ – the past is past, spilt milk, gone, finished, kaput, stuffed, no more, extinct, non-existent ...
My experience of feeling normal is that one is closer to the Pure Consciousness Experience than when one is feeling extraordinary. Feeling normal is the result of feeling good. It is the best one can do as an entity – it is finding magic and sensual delight in the ordinary things, events and people. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one is not deluding oneself. Feeling normal is a healthy sign that one can go insane by ‘real world’ standards – becoming a nobody, not enjoying feeling sad, not feeling the need to fight to be here, having no need to belong to a group – and still function sensibly. This normal is neither the ‘real world’ normal – grim reality – nor the ‘spiritual world’ super-normal – a deluded fantasy. It takes persistence, patience and diligence to become free of both illusion and delusion and become a normal, sane flesh and blood human being free of the Human Condition.
ALAN: And yet, all the time, running in the background, was this nagging doubt, the niggling thought – ‘this is not what it was meant to be’. What I have been doing, the last few weeks, is wanting to ‘belong’. It is hard work, very hard work, to go against the tide of ‘humanity’, to turn one’s back on all that one knows and loves, to ‘boldly go where no man (except Richard) has gone before’.
PETER: Again from my experience, at the start of the path to Actual Freedom, the difference between the PCE and ‘normal’ experience are black and white, startlingly different. The further one progresses on the path this difference diminishes as one’s very ‘self’ is incrementally diminished by the very process. For an actualist, the trick is always, when one is experiencing a PCE, not to sit back and go ‘wow’ but root around a bit to see what it is that one needs to do when the ‘normal’ state re-establishes and ‘I’ resume control. This then gives ‘me’ something to do and then ‘I’ experiment with, and implement, ways to remove what is causing me to be unhappy and causing harm or ripples to other people. In my experience the causing harm or ripples is the most easily avoided and most life-changing to implement. It’s what the spiritual avoid by transcendence and what the actualist will tackle with sincere intent.
The PCE thus becomes one’s standard to achieve by stubborn bloody minded effort, rather than a state to achieve by grace of something or other. This means that one cleans oneself up as much as possible – this is the work to be done. And this involves change, not just superficially but fundamentally. A way to look at it is – ‘I’ got myself into this mess and ‘I’ need to clean up the mess and ‘get off stage’ in order that I as this flesh and blood body can be here. This is ‘my’ job and there are no short cuts and no quick fixes.
ALAN: As I write this, I am again entering that magical world of the PCE, this world where all is actual and I am the doing of what is happening. What joy, what delight! There is an overwhelming sense of ‘I’m back’ and an ongoing theme of ‘just do it’. I became aware of ‘me’ chattering – the constant ‘struggle’ to find a way, to do what is right, to try to live the perfection – and ‘I’ cannot do it. Everything is SO LOUD and so vibrant.
PETER: Yes indeed. In the PCE one’s senses are heightened to the extreme. For me the most outstanding change that happens is an all-round all-inclusive soft perception – a sensate-only awareness such that it is as though everything has been turned up or a filter has been removed. Sound becomes louder and distinctly separate, colours more vibrant and distinct, one almost swims through the air, food is a delicious fusion of varied tastes, sex is a sensual, intimate play, thinking is a fascinating freewheeling process – a softness and palpable friendliness pervades all around.
And the more one has of these PCEs, and the more work one has done to diminish one’s ‘self’, the more normal and liveable they become.
ALAN: After the above experience, I went out for a long walk. It was such a wonderful, bright, crisp, winter’s morning, that I just had to be part of it, Several miles later, my deliberations had led to no further conclusion, except this overwhelming sense of ‘just do it’. Evidence shows that, for the last ten days, I have again been ‘sticking my head in the sand’. The tearful episodes have abated, but the ‘sparkle’, the joie de vivre, has again been missing. No one said it was going to be easy – do I have the necessary intestinal fortitude to proceed. Time will tell – or, I could ‘just do it’ as ‘seen’ in that PCE – it is that simple.
The phrase I particularly find relevant is – ‘glancing lightly with caressing eyes’. Normally people associate the idea of awareness as being ‘on-guard’ – looking out intensely through the eyes, listening intently with the ears, etc. Spiritual people associate awareness as cutting off from the physical senses, disassociating from the world and focusing one’s attention ‘inside’ on what they are feeling and thinking. What is being described here is the third alternative.
In the early months on the path to Actual Freedom I was intensely involved in what I was feeling and thinking – ‘a psychic search-and-destroy mission’ was how I termed it. This introspection was not selective as to the good and bad feelings as is the spiritual practice but was concerned with all emotion-backed thoughts and all passions. I was determined to eliminate all that was in the road and stopping me being happy and harmless, and sincere intent is vital in this stage of the process. This process fairly rapidly bought on a state of Virtual Freedom – being virtually happy and virtually harmless.
What was then necessary was to abandon control, and abandon any notions I had of a ‘me’ being aware and simply let awareness happen by itself. This awareness is not ‘me’ being aware for this only serves to keep ‘me’ in existence. This is not an outer intense ‘on-guard’ awareness for this wariness only serves to keep the instinctual ‘me’ in existence as a fearful guarding entity. Naiveté is vital in this stage of the process, but beware of being gullible for the world is still as-it-is and people are still as-they-are – it is only me who is changing. It still necessitates keeping my wits about me and making a few practical adjustments now and again, but the emotions have all but disappeared from what would have been tumultuous events not so long ago.
Thus it is that more and more I can look with soft eyes at a friendly world, let my guard down, relax my defences, give up being in control and I, as this flesh and blood body, can be here in this actual world where I have always been.
Alan, I don’t know how relevant that is to your experience but it took Vineeto and I both months and months to get past the ‘looking back over the past weeks’ syndrome and I think it is something that is going to be par for the course for anyone on the path. It is the last fling of a habitual program of ‘me’ who delights in wallowing in past memories, even more so when nothing much is emotionally happening ... but it is a tenacious bugger. And feeling normal can feel as if something has gone wrong until one realizes that what we call life is actually a seamless flow of experiencing this moment – and any activity one is doing in this moment is normal. Eating is normal, typing is normal, sleeping is normal, going for a stroll is normal, sex is normal. It is how one is experiencing this moment of being alive that is of vital significance to an actualist.
Of course, once you know and understand and can empirically observe something, the illusion disappears and another ‘wheel falls off the cart’.
As you can see I’m trying to keep up with Vineeto’s metaphor rate – it’s a little competition that I always lag behind.
PETER to Alan: Another point that comes to mind is that becoming free of the Human Condition is not a dispassionate affair – it is not about stripping one’s ‘self’ of emotions or making sense of the Human Condition such that one becomes a stripped-down clever cool ‘self’. The motivation to get beyond this stage has to be a ‘self’-less concern and consideration for one’s fellow human beings, such as is experienced in a pure consciousness experience. The utter futility and sheer pointlessness of human beings being instinctually driven to battle it out with each other in a fear-driven struggle for survival on this verdant and bountiful planet becomes startlingly evident ... and one is inexorably drawn to do something about the situation. You realize in a pure consciousness experience that the only thing possible to do is to ‘self’-immolate – to rid this flesh and blood body of the entity that is, by its very nature, malicious and sorrowful, that ‘I’ can only be a contributor to violence and suffering on the planet. You realize that this act is the only sensible and practical contribution you can make to peace on earth.
Thus the essential fuel for ‘self’-immolation is altruism – the instinctual passion to sacrifice oneself for the others. This passion has to be activated and cultivated as a burning desire, for it is the only fuel that can get you through when the other passions begin to diminish in Virtual Freedom and comfortable ‘normal’ threatens to set in. Personally, this passion has always proved too strong to sit on for too long – soon I find myself back writing again, sticking my neck out, taking another risk, saying yes to being here and playing this game of being alive.
So many people seem to be put off by any passion for freedom after their failures on the spiritual path but I fail to see how one can become free of the Human Condition unless it is a burning ‘self’-consuming passion. For me, one of the ways to both activate and cultivate this passion has been to write, both as a way of going beyond my comfort zone and of my fuelling my altruism. Also, I know that what I write about actualism and Actual Freedom will be of benefit to other actualists.
PETER: But to keep one’s feet on the ground – even an easily obtainable Virtual Freedom is to live beyond normal human expectations anyway, and Virtual Freedom far exceeds the old well-worn, flogged to death, delusionary state of Enlightenment. A ‘win-win’ situation as Richard puts it. As for your comment on relationship, I’ll flog my new version of Living Together again. I have written it specifically about what we have been talking about – putting actualism in practice in one’s daily life and, as such it may be of interest. Vineeto has been busy collecting together writing and correspondence about the Pure Consciousness Experience which she is about to upload, so I am also announcing that for those interested.
RESPONDENT: Are you STILL happy? (Is there such a thing as being stuck on happiness – I think so).
PETER: Yes, it seems it is a permanent affliction by now, bordering on an inherent addiction. So commonplace is it in my life that it requires no effort, no excitement, no looking for it, no trying. It is a delight to be alive, there is a tangible, palpable underlying well-being – and I get to do enjoyable pleasurable things as a bonus. Those extras sensation-al activities such as eating delicious food, smelling and drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, strolling through town or trolley-pushing through the supermarket, or a romp with Vineeto, tip the ever-present sensate pleasure of simply being alive over into rampant full blown hedonism. So ingrained is malice and sorrow in the Human Condition that the life I lead now would have been inconceivable to me 2 years ago, yet now it is the effortless norm. So much so, that I ‘take it for granted’ that I will have a perfect day when I get up in the morning. The ease comes from this very being able to ‘take it for granted’, for perfection is intrinsic to the actual world.
Now, in this new scenario, ‘I’ as a social identity am totally redundant and ‘me’ as an instinctual ‘self’, no more than an occasional whiff of nuisance. There is a final break yet to be made, an extinction, a self immolation, and it is one of the reasons I write on the list – to facilitate this end, to avoid being stuck where I am now.
I met a friend of ours lately who has had some inklings that Vineeto and I were ‘doing something different’ with our lives. We got chatting and I said that it was about being happy and harmless. She seemed interested but when I said this meant being free of malice and sorrow she seemed doubtful. When I asked her wouldn’t you want to be free of sorrow she said she really liked to feel sad occasionally. Unperturbed, I asked her about being free of malice and she said that she liked to get angry, to defend herself, to make her point. She said she wouldn’t have survived in her life without her anger. I asked if she had ever been in physical danger and she said no, she just wouldn’t have survived ... And so it was that the conversation rapidly moved on to the weather – (or El Nino as it is now called – all our weather forecasters here talk Spanish now – La clouda, Ill Stormo, coldo fronto, etc.)
PETER: An actualist does not fall for the trap of merely pretending he or she is a flesh and blood body – adopting yet another identity or belief and thus ignoring or denying his or her unwanted or covered-up behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions. One doesn’t wave a magic wand by changing the name of things or learning a new language – the extinguishing of the instinctual passions that are ‘me’ at my core is the commitment of a life time.
RESPONDENT: Yes I do understand what you are saying, but in a way the first step into Actual Freedom is via a form of pretence, an imaginary virtual freedom. And we gather here on this list fully acknowledging our human tendency to fall into yet another senseless belief trap.
PETER: One cannot imagine what Actual Freedom is like. The closest we can come to experiencing Actual Freedom, while being normal, is in a PCE where, for a brief period of time, the ‘self’ is temporarily in abeyance and the actual world is directly and sensately experienced in all its fairy-tale like magnificence, purity and perfection.
However, what ‘I’ can do is to do the very best ‘I’ can to clean myself up of malice and sorrow such that I am happy and harmless 99% of the time, such that I go to bed at night time able to say I have had a perfect day, and knowing the next day will be perfect. This state of near-perfection, the best one can be while remaining a ‘self’ is called Virtual Freedom – virtual as in almost, more or less, near, effective, in effect, tantamount to, for all practical purposes. Virtual Freedom is not an imaginary state, but is the result of a lot of intense, focused and bloody-minded effort. It is a state where one lives beyond one’s wildest dreams anyway – it is beyond normal human imagination but is easily achievable by anyone willing to make the effort. It is the necessary launching pad for Actual Freedom – the ultimate state where the perfection and purity of this physical universe is actualized as this flesh and blood body.
PETER to Alan: While it is both fascinating and intriguing to contemplate upon an Actual Freedom – what would it be like, how would it be, etc. – it must always remain unknowable to ‘me’ as ‘I’ am now. Peter to Alan, 17.3.1999
RESPONDENT: The above is part of your post to Alan. So from this, should I assume you cannot really talk about Actual Freedom at all.
PETER: You are obviously free to assume anything you want. I personally gave up assuming along with believing, trusting, hoping. I don’t know how much of my story you have read, how much of my journal, the sense I make of being a human being, my experiences on the path to becoming happy and harmless, how I live in peace and harmony with Vineeto, etc. If you are making your assumption on the above isolated one-sentence quote, I guess you will make of it what you want to make out of it. I find it curious that you said nothing about the rest of what I said –
Maybe becoming free of depression, sadness, loneliness, boredom, resentment, anger, animosity, annoyance, etc. is not of interest to you.
Richard was recently talking to someone who had an academic interest in Actual Freedom but when he met Vineeto and I he appeared to lose interests rapidly for we were the proof that the method to become happy and harmless – free of the Human Condition – actually works. That meant that he came to a point to move beyond a mild curiosity and a safely-distanced philosophical appraisal to seeing it as something practical that worked. To get off his bum, up out of the lotus position, out of his head and heart and come to his senses – there are many ways to say it. Seems he may well join the countless others who have turned away to follow the tried and failed. At least there is no chance of failing on the spiritual path – one simply becomes a devotee, it requires neither effort nor intelligence, neither independence nor autonomy, neither sincerity nor any degree of risk at all.
To have come to a Virtual Freedom is to live beyond normal human expectations anyway. Being virtually free is second best to being actually free, but it is far superior to the spiritual insanity whereby one sells one’s freedom, denies one’s intelligence and surrenders ‘lock, stock and barrel’ to some God-man. One is then twice removed from the actual world, and usually trapped in the spiritual world for the term of one’s natural life by the demands of loyalty, trust, faith and hope.
So, I would be interested in what it is you assume, on what evidence you base your assumption and whether you had come to a conclusion that evinced any action?
PETER to No 5: The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List has been established as a forum for those with a genuine interest in being free of malice and sorrow and assumes they at least have some degree of reading and investigation. To this very purpose Vineeto is currently changing our web-site into being topic-oriented with associated links to a glossary, writings and relevant correspondence from Richard, Peter and Vineeto. We are setting this up deliberately in order to allow quick appraisal, personal preference and in-depth investigation.
Most spiritual seekers seem either to want an easy path to instant Enlightenment or when that fails, to ‘hang around’ the spiritual scene to absorb a bit of Feel-Good-energy. The ‘all or nothing’ approach as Richard recently said. Given that only .0001% get it ‘all’ and become Enlightened that makes the rest the ones who settle for nothing as they become devotees, worshipers, followers, true and faithful believers, at the slave-end of the Master-disciple business.
Actual Freedom is about getting off your bum, or out of the lotus position, and doing something to become free of malice and sorrow. You, yourself, as-you-are-now, can get to the 99% stage, a virtual freedom – this is factually validated by the experience of the handful of people who are writing of their successes on this list. The next quantum leap to the state of being actually free of the Human Condition has yet to be actualised in anybody other than Richard. That it is possible in others is clearly evidenced by the PCE, an experience very common to humans whereby the psychological and psychic entity is in temporary absence or abeyance. We all have had a glimpse of our destiny – a glimpse of an actual freedom, a glimpse of the actual world. The combination of the PCEs I have experienced and the continuous, superb, so-near-to perfect life of Virtual Freedom means that I now know permanent actual freedom is imminently inevitable... and that ‘I’ will never experience it.
There, I’ve blown it again. Just when I said I have nothing to say. The spiritual people accuse me of being a ‘Born Again Christian’ or a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ which I find cute. One shouldn’t be enthusiastic ... or they will try cut you down to size!
RESPONDENT: What good is virtual freedom if you get frustrated because No 5 does not understand what you are trying to say. I will read the rest of your posts.
PETER: Virtual Freedom is a inestimable state whereby I am virtually happy and harmless and I go to bed at night time having had a perfect day and knowing I will have a perfect day tomorrow. Any issues or situations that do arise to disturb my happiness and harmlessness are easily dealt with and I then quickly get back on the wide and wondrous path. The reason I wrote to you was that one of those situations arose and I wanted to discuss it on the mailing list. Having nothing to hide or want to keep secret is another of the estimable qualities of Virtual Freedom, as is the honest acknowledgement that I am not yet living an actual freedom, as evidenced by the experience of a PCE. The difference is as thin as a cigarette paper but ‘t is a world of difference. Of course, unless one can be virtually free of malice and sorrow – the best one can be while remaining a ‘self’ – then Actual Freedom will remain forever a nice theory, something that has miraculously happened to someone else, or something that is not possible for me.
Thanks for your note. Perhaps when you read the rest of my post you may understand the point I was making about anger and frustration. I would like to continue this discussion as everyone else sees human anger simply in terms of bad or evil, or subscribes to the theory that we are born innocent and ‘contaminated’ afterwards.
PETER to No 15: I have lived in a virtual freedom from instinctual passions for some 12 months now – ‘virtual’ as in as near as actual freedom as one can get while remaining a ‘self’. All of the coarser feelings and emotions such as anger, grievance, despair, sadness, resentment, etc. have disappeared from my life and my ties to a blighted Humanity are almost non-existent. But just in the last 2 days I have noticed a touch of annoyance on several occasions which is a clear sign that the only solution for my personal peace and for peace on earth is the complete elimination of my instinctual self – there are no short-cuts, there is no ‘other’ solution, for all have been tried and found wanting, by me and billions of others.
I remember when I first met Richard I joked to him that he should have a sign above the door that says – ‘Abandon hope – all who enter here’. I was fortunately ready to abandon hope (and trust) that following the traditional methods could ever make me happy and harmless. I had seen too much of the hypocrisy, power-plays, corruption, deception and duplicity in all religious and spiritual worlds. The utterly ‘self’-ish search for immortality that has forever plagued human beings must be clearly seen for what it is – narcissism in the extreme.
But it is not something that one person convinces another of – it is for each to make their own discoveries, make their own decisions as to what they want to do with their lives. It takes a bold decision to admit to failing to find peace and happiness, to admit that one is not being the best one can be, to admit that one is neither happy nor harmless. And then to decide to set out in completely the opposite direction to what everyone else is doing, one needs to be both desperate and daring.
For me, I always enjoy writing of the third alternative to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ and participating in – and documenting – its success. To not only point out what doesn’t work but also to report on what does. This physical actual universe is too grand, too magnificent, too amazing for human beings to be forever trapped in primitive survival mode – endlessly battling it out for survival, endlessly living in fear. And we have all had glimpses of that – now there is a chance to put an end to malice and sorrow for those who want to.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.