Selected Correspondence Peter
Writing and Words
PETER: Good to have you back on line after your move. Sounds an excellent set up you have in your new house.
Just a comment on something you wrote in your post that caught my attention. It’s something that is quite close to me – as close as the 50 or so unsold copies of Richard’s and Peter’s Journals that sit beside my computer ...
[Vineeto]: A bit like – I’m not going to breathe anymore until I get what I want – which won’t get me closer to my goal. Or, to use another metaphor, one is standing on the brakes and wondering why the car doesn’t move.
Now I have recently discovered another hump to overcome – ‘I might as well stop writing because Peter and Richard can say it much better than I ever will be able to anyway.’
[Alan to Vineeto]: I also have encountered this obstacle, though I do not agree with ‘I ever will be able to anyway’. For me, it was tied in with ‘what is the point’, as above. I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’. [endquote].
I can relate to what you are saying about writing when you say ‘when the words write themselves it is oh so easy.’ But I can’t relate to ‘I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’’ because I am not yet free of the Human Condition. Writing was an issue for me quite often whenever I read Richard’s writing and recognized the unequivocal authority of someone who is writing from the ongoing experience of being utterly ‘self’-less, i.e. totally free of malice and sorrow.
When I came across Richard, tried out his method and found that it worked, I was inexorably drawn to try to write about Actual Freedom. I naively expected that it would be good news for my friends still struggling on the spiritual path or for those who had become disillusioned. Vineeto desktop-published my journal, Richard did his own, and Vineeto funded the printing of a limited run of both books in paperback form. I ended up giving away half my copies and Richard has managed to sell about half of his, hence the remaining that gather dust by my computer. My approach to writing was simply that there would be another Peter or Vineeto out there somewhere and that has been my approach ever since, despite the evident unpopularity of the topic. The surprising realization I soon became aware of after beginning to write was that I was essentially compelling myself to make sense of the Human Condition and how discovering how it operated in me. This is why I always would encourage anyone to write – I know of no better way to facilitate contemplation and encourage clarity. It also has the advantage of counteracting the billions of words of Ancient Wisdom that is ensnaring people into a life of denial and delusion, it communicates to others the bountiful benefits of actualism and points to the newly available possibility of an Actual Freedom from malice and sorrow.
T’is a win-win situation.
There was also another, no less important, motive. I came from some 17 years on the spiritual path where one was either free as in Enlightened, an awakened wannabe as in a teacher, or Enlightened as in an indisputable God-man. Once I recognized that the path to Actual Freedom had nothing to do with the traditional spiritual freedom, it became clear that a new form of communication was possible that had nothing to do with the demeaning humbleness that passes for communication in the Master-disciple system. We now have the opportunity to move beyond the traditional bowing down before some Guru or devotedly parroting some God-man’s wisdom whereby we can now ask sensible questions from an expert, an authority on the subject of both spiritual freedom and Actual Freedom. There is also a chance for those who are interested in freedom, peace and happiness to share their successes and failures, to ask questions and get answers, to make up their own mind free of emotional pressures, to move at their own pace ... or to bail out if it is not for them. For this type of discussion to eventuate I realized I had to be both an initiator and a contributor for it to be of benefit to me and others.
Again a win-win situation.
Further, there is the obviousness of having the courage to stick one’s head above the parapet, so to speak. What struck me was the fact that Richard has been daring enough to not only to be the first to become free of the Human Condition but to then go public with his finding. For this he has had to run the gauntlet of cyber abuse and ridicule, but if it were not for that fact that he did it, neither you nor I would be as happy or harmless as we are today and this forum would not exist. If it were not for the fact that Vineeto and I stuck our heads above the parapet by writing to the Sannyas mailing list, some who are reading these words would not be doing so. What others make of these words is purely their business but that we can talk of how to become free of malice and sorrow is an astounding development that is only possible via the World Wide Web. The benefit of the Net is that abuse from others is limited to swear words in capital letters or cyber-execution from mailing lists but one is tested nevertheless as to whether one takes offence – for if there is an emotional response it is a sure sign that there is a ‘me’ who takes offence and then ‘I’ have something to look at. This communicating with others also has the advantage of letting others know that there is now available a third alternative to either remaining normal or becoming spiritual.
Again a win-win situation.
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.
Again a win-win situation.
I am not suggesting that everyone needs to write a journal or needs to write on a mailing list, but some form of ‘coming out of the closet’ is essential, for that is, in essence, what becoming free of the Human Condition involves. The sensible and easy way to do this is to follow someone who has already done it and also to share one’s experiences, knowledge, successes and failures with others who are actively doing it. Richard did it by himself, as everyone else has to, but we now have the benefit of being able to have the support of others and to give support to others ... altruism in action, if you like.
Again a win-win situation.
So Alan, when you write –
PETER: Just a P.S. from me that might be useful.
I found writing is an excellent way of holding on to or not losing those ‘flashes’ . The action of writing, labelling, a bit of subsequent contemplation and exploring, can build on and deepen those important flashes, very often into life-altering realizations. I ran a personal jotting notebook which I found most useful and I would have it by my side when contemplating. It is also an invaluable companion while you are having a PCE as you can glean much information which may fade with memory of the PCE afterwards. This way, afterwards you can read back and see what it was that you realized while free of it all. I also found reading Richard’s journal to be excellent – just a passage or two and then a stretch back for a bit of a muse about what was written, a jot in the note book and who knows what might happen?
What I am suggesting is a little game plan – maybe settle for one particular issue that you want to crack through – and you’ll probably know which one – and then establish a method that suits you and that enables you to comfortably abandon caution and slip a little deeper. Supplement your investigations with writing, observing, reading other viewpoints, etc – do anything necessary to focus your attention on the issue at hand. What I found was once I had success with one issue the next one would come swanning along by itself.
The other comment I would make is about working. During most of the time when I was investigating and digging deep into emotions I was working supervising a building site. I found it a rich field in which to observe and label feelings and emotions as they arose and I focussed on several consecutive major issues that arose at work and found that I was able to eliminate them to the point that both my enjoyment level and efficiency level increased. There is a lot to be said for testing oneself out in the market place for the immediate aim is to be happy and harmless in the world as it is with people as they are.
RESPONDENT: Keep up the great work.
PETER: I do like writing, which is all I do – it’s simply common sense to tell others what is now available. It’s more of a hobby than work and most of my writing has been my sorting out and reporting on experiences, understandings and facts discovered. Whenever I read any spiritual twaddle nowadays I am astounded as to its duplicity, confusion and blatant self-centredness, so it’s a joy to write of something as down to earth and non-spiritual as Actual Freedom. Writing also is great exercise for the brain given that independent and clear thinking is stifled in childhood and school years by countless putdowns and strict regimentation and is even further strangled, admonished and literally demonized on the spiritual path. The other point is that I am not working to change anyone else – as I said, that is an impossibility and it is also a ‘self’-serving exercise. It’s good to be free of that one.
I noticed your heading to the first post was about convert numbers. There can be no converts to actualism for the simple reason that one has to do it for oneself, by oneself. There are no meetings, rallies, practices, groups, etc. Just a handful of people so far, their words, a web-site, and a mailing list.
The other reason is simple – actualism is a life-as-you-know-it threatening occupation and, as such, not of great attraction to many.
Actualism is about quality not quantity. The best, not the most.
RESPONDENT: I know only too well this is not the main game ... ‘I’ save ‘myself’ first, but would not going public be more efficient if world peace is to be even considered as possible? It might even make ‘my’ lot easier?
PETER: By writing, I worked on doing both at the same time – ‘me’ first, and by writing of the process I knew it would be useful to others. It certainly made ‘my’ lot easier in that I painted myself into a corner – ‘I’ am continually forced to ‘put my money where my mouth is’, or ‘walk the talk’.
RESPONDENT: I have just taken your lead and purchased my own computer... I want to write down my story... but I don’t know how it will unfold as yet... essentially it will be for myself... or should that be for the demise of myself ...???
PETER: I do find it odd that I now write as a hobby given that it was never an interest, I was not a great reader of books and struggled with English at school. I always thought that those who wrote and taught were not necessarily those who did things well. I chose the doing things well path but it is delightful to mix the skills these days. I remember buying the computer and setting it up and wondering what I was doing and more particularly how and where to start. So I took a note pad out to the balcony with a cup of coffee and sat down .... ‘As I sit on the balcony of our small flat contemplating life, I am moved to start writing my story.’ ... and away it went.
It proved to be an amazing introspective process ... to see that all ‘I’ am is nothing more than the sum total of the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms that I had been instilled with since birth. To see that all ‘I’ am is automaton from a social and genetic assembly line, both fettered and fated to be malicious and sorrowful, is such a blow to one’s pride. But naiveté and genuine intent produces such an honesty that one finds oneself gladly ‘spilling the beans’, so to speak. To conduct a review of one’s history, one’s actions, thoughts and feelings in the light of being ensconced and trapped within the Human Condition is an extraordinary ‘inner’ journey that beats any other form of therapy hands down. One literally puts oneself under a microscope and amazing discoveries are there for the making – things one was avoiding, things one was ignorant of, things one dared not to look at, things no one had told you, things that were completely different from what you assumed and believed to be so. This is the very business of an actualist – it is only by making this ‘inner’ journey of discovery by oneself, for oneself, that one is able to become free from belief. You get to find out what you are as distinct from ‘who’ you think and feel yourself to be – the ‘who’ that others and blind nature have programmed you to be.
I particularly remember writing of my spiritual years and making discovery after discovery that literally shocked me to my core. Events that I had doubts or misgivings about at the time became crystal clear – insights and realizations came clanging along, one after the other. One that particularly sticks in my memory was of being with thousands of other disciples in a hall in India shouting ‘Yah Hoo’ to an empty chair where a dead God-man, ‘my’ Master, had sat. The Sacred Chair where He last sat – the symbolic equivalent of the Cross for Christians. I had had a peak experience at the time – a brief moment of startling clarity – and saw the stupidity and desperation of my situation, and of the whole Master-disciple business in general, and yet it still took me years to act on the realization and get out of spiritual world. It was only by meeting Richard that I finally garnered the confidence to go all the way.
Writing my Journal was excellent in aiding and abetting a Virtual Freedom. The realizations about, and knowledge of, the Human Condition in action, both in others and myself, was liberating to the extent that a virtual freedom from the Human Condition was possible. ‘One establishes a firm and stable base camp from which to launch the final assault’ was how I once described Virtual Freedom.
Methinks you are about to launch yourself on the adventure of a lifetime. It’s a fascinating business being a human being. It never ceases to amaze me.
RESPONDENT: It is so clear to see people reaching out in the ways you described for common ground. Maybe common grievance is a cathartic substitute for their sense of aloneness? To relate and commiserate through all the problems and complaints ... but it is just as easy to gain humour, entertainment through co-operative exploration. This can be done for the same purpose ... to remove the aloneness? It was fun recently to turn a whole group around from the type you described to a more sensitive and analytical social group. I simply acted without a self and watched how others became encouraged to do the same.
It has little to do with wanting to self-immolate and peace on earth ... this is, however, a possible by-product? It made me realize that people, myself included, like to hide in the group, to connect, to solve problems, to feel a part of a bigger picture, and therefore feel stronger, more important, more relevant etc...
PETER: I do sometimes wonder if anyone does or ever will read what I write because all of it gets filed away on the Web-site and one can often count the weekly hits on one hand. Long ago it became obvious that I was writing for myself and for my enjoyment and if it was of use to someone else it was a bonus. I did enjoy the book review as it bought home to me the fact that making denial and acceptance into fashionable ethical and moral values and then aspiring to Transcendence is indeed institutionalized insanity. And how actual peace on earth is eagerly sacrificed by all those who indulge in self-centred spiritual belief.
I thought a bit about your comments about words, intent and talking to others and I found some pieces from my journal which may be relevant –
Well, they are a few of my personal observations that may or may not be relevant to you.
Personally, I gave up talking to other people about Actual Freedom about 6 months into the process. By then I had none of my former friends left for the simple reason that I had nothing in common with them. They were happy to cling to their beliefs and indulge in their emotions, whereas I was moving rapidly in the other direction.
PETER: Hi Gary,
I thought I would get in another reply to you before I strip my computer down again. My glitch hasn’t gone away despite me renewing most of my hardware and re-formatting completely. The next thing is to strip it all down again and try again. The marvellous thing is that I have not got upset or frustrated throughout the whole business which is proof to me that it is possible to be virtually happy and harmless with people, things and events exactly as they are. At this stage in the process of actualism, ‘me’, who I think and feel I am, is so weakened that it is extremely rare that I get upset about the people, things and events that constitute this actual world we live in. Gone are the days of wanting to fit in or wanting to change people, things and events to suit ‘my’ whims and ‘my’ moods. There is nothing like pragmatic success to confirm that something works.
Something occurred to me to write to you about, and it is the business of writing. Often over the last three years since I wrote my journal I have been challenged with the comment ‘but you are not actually free yet’. Despite the fact that these challenges always came as a put-down from someone who hadn’t a clue what Actual Freedom was anyway, the question was nevertheless valid. Whenever this occurred or any other relevant and valid question arose, I would matter-of-factly re-evaluate what I was saying to check its authenticity and facticity, as well as run a check on own integrity.
What I always found was that I could authentically write of the experience of actuality and the actual world from my pure consciousness experiences and that I could write with integrity and expertise about the process of actualism simply by the fact that I actively was doing it and logging up down-to-earth success. Unless both of these factors are present, it is relatively easy to detect someone who is talking the talk rather than walking the walk, as the expression goes.
This is not to say, as I look back over my writing, that my experience, knowledge and expertise has not developed and that some of what I wrote in the past I would now rephrase in hindsight given the understanding I have now. But what I always wanted to do was document the lively process of actualism, warts and all so to speak, as it was happening because I knew it would be useful for anyone else wanting to become happy and harmless.
PETER: So, on to your post –
Having been full-on on the spiritual path for 17 years I had a few friends who either were either left limping along as church-going spiritualists or were still shopping in the spiritual supermarket. I naively thought they would be interested in actualism but the moment they realized it involved questioning their spiritual beliefs, their automatic self-defence mechanism cut in and when they realized it also involved effort and work it was way too much for their spiritual ego. I just refused to let this experience muzzle me, which is why I chose to write about my experiences rather than try and change other people.
GARY: I had a lively back-and-forth with some people about love and compassion recently. It provided an opportunity for me to investigate my own beliefs and feelings about love and compassion, as well as to determine how other people think about it. What I found was that I became rather exasperated or frustrated that either I couldn’t express what I was trying to say or that people didn’t want to hear what I was trying to say. This feeling of exasperation was a red flag to me that I was dealing with my own beliefs and feelings.
There is absolutely no reason why one ought to become frustrated or irritated about what someone else is saying unless it challenges or threatens some belief that they hold dear. And I think this is what was happening to me in the course of this correspondence.
PETER: Well said. My most recent experience of this was writing to No 22 and I was well pleased that I was neither frustrated nor irritated at all by the exchange. What did happen at one stage was that I got a glimpse of the utter madness of attempting to have a conversation with someone who denied even the physical existence of people, things and events and, as such, any attempt to even begin to discuss actualism is utterly futile. I experienced it as having my mind twisted around as I was confronted by someone who denied and negated every thing as no-thing, every fact presented as wrong thinking and every other human being as existing only as ‘behaviour’.
But, I find it kinda cute that the list has now attracted its own resident God-man.
GARY: I was trying to influence others, and when their opposition to what I was saying became even more determined (naturally so), I felt misunderstood and frustrated. I then commenced to ask myself why I was trying to influence others, questioned myself on my stake in the discussion, and investigated into my own deeper fears, conflicts, and doubts about love and compassion. Because I was deliberately questioning the emotion of love, and I was getting determined opposition from others, it really highlighted for me just how highly love is sought, coveted and valued by human beings. Love and compassion (and their allied emotions: pity, sympathy, empathy, etc) are really regarded to be the pinnacle, indeed the summit of all earthly dreams and hopes. To reject love is to be dead, according to what I heard these other people to be saying.
Since I have begun to investigate into these tender instincts, I have been able to see what a hold they have on Humanity, indeed what a hold they have on ‘me’. ‘I’ need love in order to confirm my existence. Without love, ‘I’ am nothing – I might as well be dead. Love, if I was following the thread of these conversations, is the do-all and end-all of earthly existence. Without it, life has no meaning, no reason. So, even though I was taking one side in the discussions, the discussions themselves were reflecting back to me the deep questions and doubts that I myself have on the topic in question.
PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.
But like you, these discussions did serve to make me look even deeper into ‘me’ than I would have had I not discussed these matters and been challenged. What I also found was that often people liked the discussions, provided they didn’t become too offended, because they rarely if ever talked about their feelings in such a way, rarely if ever sat back and reviewed how they lived their lives, what beliefs they held, in terms of what worked and what didn’t work and why not.
You may have noticed a peculiar twist in that if the person you are talking to takes a discussion about the human condition personally then they invariably become offended. If they don’t take it personally it is a sure sign they are dissociated in some way from their own complete range of feelings and beliefs that epitomize the human condition and the discussion usually trips along as a philosophical-type conversation with no depth at all. (...)
PETER: I simply gave up talking to people face to face about Actual Freedom and reverted to occasionally dropping in a bit of common sense into a conversation – a much less confronting exercise, although even this does appear to stir up some issues in some people. I tried writing on a few spiritual mailing lists and was cyber-executed from one and censored off another, so I do my writing on the Actual Freedom mailing list now, but as you will have noticed even this list has now attracted a few perfervid objectors to peace on earth.
GARY: Hmm ... interesting. I was not aware that you do not write to other lists anymore.
PETER: It does take time to write and I have always preferred quality to quantity, interest to disinterest, vitality to weariness, down-to-earthness to holier-than-thouness and talking common sense rather than exchanging hackneyed and rehashed platitudes. Which is why I particularly enjoy writing to you given that we are able to talk freely about any-thing at all.
GARY: What I found in my brief experience of writing to others recently was that, yes, it did seem to be stirring up some issues in others, but it was stirring up the same issues in me. I found it was a fascinating way of observing my own psyche in action, and to sharpen my own thinking about some things. I think in the future I am going to be a little more circumspect in what I say to others. I have noticed that when I involve myself in groups, cyber or otherwise, I tend to come in guns a-blazing. Perhaps for me this is some kind of defence mechanism in action – you know, the best defence is a good offence. I have sometimes jumped right into these things and offended other people, rather than trying to ease in gradually and observing etiquette (or nettiquette).
PETER: I do like the Net as a means of communicating. The very nature of writing brings out a clarity and conciseness that is not possible in the normal vagaries of casual conversation. The written word encourages a consistency of thinking, by its very nature it can expose contradictions and inconsistencies. On this mailing list particularly, it can lead to a common understanding of the facts of the human condition and can serve to eat away at and eventually demolish belief.
I am often aware that what I write is often repetitious but I know, for me, that repeated little incremental understandings would begin to prise a ‘crack in the door’ such that it would eventually swing open and I was able to have a realization about some fact or another. Often it was a different phrasing, a different way of putting something that would all of a sudden make something clear that before had been obtuse or unclear – or hidden by ‘my’ emotional reactions.
This type of conversation is such a pleasure and such an adventure, yet to others it is often boring and apparently even offensive in the extreme. The only alternative that would satisfy some would be to shut up, which would only mean that the chance to spread peace on earth would be stifled by the spiritual-ists. This is not an alternative that makes sense to me.
Whenever I wrote on mailing lists I always liked to be up-front about what I am writing about. I wanted to make it clear that what I was writing was both iconoclastic and brand new – not that many really listened or took the time to try and comprehend what was being said. I was, however, initially very taken aback that so many people took what I was saying personally, or Impersonally, and those who wrote to me became progressively desperate and silly in their denial and, if they persisted, ended up offended and often downright angry.
PETER: I find myself more and more unable to write of a process that now seems to have passed its active phase where ‘I’ am in any way involved in it happening or continuing to happen. It is as though my work is done both as an active actualist and as a documenter of the process of actualism. This stage has been going on for some months now and shows no sign of abating. At first I attributed it to laziness but I suspect it is more than that. I suspect it is the end of an era, the end of one extraordinary adventure and the beginning of another.’
GARY: I can relate in a sense to what you are saying. I am not sure if it is the same thing though. I feel some greater hesitancy in writing now than I used to. It seems that I have read so much about actualism and talked so much about it on this mailing list, that now the only thing left is to do it, rather than talking about it or thinking about it. It seems like most of my questions have been answered and, if they have not, somebody else has asked the same questions and I could find a response somewhere in the writings and correspondence. I no longer feel quite the thrill of writing and I seem to take a great deal longer to mull over what I am going to say and how I want to say it. I have thought that taking this more deliberate approach to writing, as opposed to a more spontaneous, off-the-cuff style, is throwing a wet blanket over things. However, I think what I am talking about is a bit different in what you are saying in this respect: I think there is still plenty of ‘me’ left in my writing, as evidenced by emotional reactions of not wanting to appear foolish or ignorant or anything else. I also have the uncomfortable sense at times that I do not know what the blazes I am talking about and that I have got it all wrong after all.
These ego-centric reactions in writing and talking seem to be telling me that perhaps I want to project the appearance that I know more about this process than I really do.
PETER: What I was saying was typified recently when I was writing about fear and then you made comment in a subsequent post about the atavistic fears that you experienced when abandoning the comfort zone of spiritual belief. It struck me that you were more able to write of this experience because it was for you a recent experience, whereas I had forgotten the experience because it has long past and has left no emotional scars whatsoever.
The other issue about writing is that I have always regarded it as a way of exploring my psyche and of making sense of the world I found myself living in. To write while you are in the process of still making discoveries and whilst still in the human condition is a risky business for you are continuously sticking your neck out or putting your hand up to be counted.
PETER to No 33: Perhaps it might also be appropriate to explain the history of the glossary at this point. After my initial successes with actualism I wrote my journal in order to provide a personal account of the successes of practicing actualism. When it was finished I then took on another project that I thought may be of use to anyone interested in making sense of what actualism is about – a glossary of terms that are commonly used in the actualism writings so as to define their meanings and point out where they differ from common spiritual meanings. I did this because when I first came across actualism, my own cognitive dissonance – my inability to understand new concepts due to a lifetime of programming of real world and spiritual world beliefs – meant that I initially understood actualism to be another form of spiritualism purely because I was incapable of considering, let alone understanding, anything so new and radical.
Writing the glossary was a considerable challenge at the time because I have always attempted to write in my own words, independently of Richard. In fact, from the time I started to write my journal, I deliberately made a decision to stop reading Richard’s writings because I wanted to suss things out for myself, understand for myself, be able to describe actualism and actuality in my own words and from my own experience. It was also obvious that it was useless to merely parrot Richard’s writings and regurgitate them as ‘my’ wisdom, as is common practice with the ‘do as I say but not necessarily as I do’ spiritual teachers and famed Gurus’. This is why I term myself a practicing actualist – I can stand by what I write because I write from lived experience and not from wishful thinking, plagiarized theories or impassioned imagination.
Some of the phrases and terminology I used in the glossary, and indeed in all my writings, are those that Richard uses and I use them because they are concise, to the point and very well thought about. Some sections of the glossary are also direct quotes of Richard’s because they were topics where I was out of my depth as it were, i.e. I lacked the understanding and direct experience of the subject to write authoritatively on the subject. I make no bones about acknowledging Richard’s superior expertise – he has not only spent far longer studying the human condition than I have but also he is actually free from the human condition – he writes from the ongoing, 24 hours a day, experience of a flesh and blood body sans identity.
Writing for me is a way of being able to cultivate clear thinking about the human condition and, like all first-time activities, a lot of trial and error occurs and a lot of nutting out has to be done in the process. I am a practicing actualist and the practice of actualism is to strip away the beliefs and passions that constitute the human condition in me so as to experientially unearth the facts of what it is to be a human being. The way I did this initially was to read the words of the only person thus far free from the human condition, and check out whether what he was saying made sense, i.e. was it factual, and then get on with the job.
But nowadays a world wide dissemination of actualism is happening and this is where reports from practicing actualists about the difficulties encountered, the issues that commonly arise and the successes achieved are equally important and useful to someone genuinely interested in actualism. If someone only reads Richard’s writings and ignores the rest of what is offered on the Actual Freedom Trust website and this mailing list, the natural tendency will be to remain an armchair theoretician, forever dreaming of change or to regard Richard as some sort of non-spiritual, spiritual Guru and clip on a bit of actualism terminology to their borrowed spiritual wisdom.
It is in this light that the two sections of the Actual Freedom Trust website – the Third Alternative and Actualism – should be understood. Richard writes of a brand new alternative in human experience – to be actually free of the human condition as distinct from the spiritual delusion of Freedom – whereas the practicing actualists write to verify that this possibility can only be actualised by doing it yourself.
You may have already noticed that some fervent spiritualists hold Richard in high esteem, lauding him for his Wisdom and writing style, whilst simultaneously deriding whatever the practicing actualists have to say on this list . Being a believer and believing in a Guru is far, far safer than finding out for oneself, because that involves both stubborn effort and actual change. You can see the same propensity played out all over the planet – spiritual believers are amongst the most passionate resisters to change. Their held to be sacred wisdom is firmly rooted in the dim dark past when it was believed that the world was flat and inhabited by good and evil spirits, when life was indeed a grim and desperate battle for survival. To continue upholding and defending these primitive beliefs and superstitions is plainly nonsensical in this emerging post-spiritual era.
Due to Richard’s discovery, there is now available a practical means for anyone with sufficient motivation to become actually free of the human condition of malice and sorrow. And due to the reports of practicing actualists, this way is now becoming easier and easier to understand and follow as more and more is written about the human condition. I liken this supplementary information and reports to ‘trampling the long grass’, so as to make the path easier to follow for others.
PETER: You recently wrote to Richard querying the accuracy of something I have written –
RESPONDENT: I did look up the word in the actualist glossary and found a few noteworthy statements: ‘As this is being written, only a handful of people have managed to become free of the Human Condition ...’ As it has recently been established that the number is 1 – that hardly constitutes a ‘handful’. Respondent to Richard Re: ‘Spiritual’ 30.3.2004
PETER: It is quite clear that the statement, when taken at face value, is not correct but it is relevant to consider the timing and circumstances in which it was written.
When I became a practicing actualist, I found it useful to write down my understandings and realizations in a notebook as I found the very act of writing itself was a very practical way of ordering my thoughts and keeping my thinking on subject and on track. Very often I would do this last thing at night as a way of reviewing the events of the day, noting the emotional reactions I had to particular events and then taking a clear-eyed look at whatever aspect of the human condition that had caused me to feel aggravated or to feel unhappy.
After about a year of this intense process of ‘self’-investigation, I came to stage where I noticed that my life had changed so much that I was indeed virtually free of malice and sorrow, i.e. feeling excellent was my normal state. It struck me at the time that it would be useful to others if I wrote a journal that documented the steps I took in this process and the discoveries I had made about the nature of the human condition – so I purchased a computer and wrote my journal. After I had finished it, it then occurred to me that it would also be of use to others to write a glossary of terms used in actualism as many people who had read either my journal or Richard’s writings did so without bothering to understand the meaning of the words that were written, i.e. they skip-read looking for a feeling-understanding within the context of the human condition and their own particular conditioning rather than take on board the iconoclastic message that the actual words conveyed when taken at face value.
Writing the glossary proved much more difficult than writing my journal as it often involved writing about issues and topics that I had not necessarily tackled in my journal and a good deal of the writing remained unedited as can be seen from the piece you quoted. As I look back on it now, much of the writing reflects the difficulty I had in understanding many of the issues and much of it is very passionate in nature. The very business of exposing the human condition is not an intellectual exercise – it is a passionate, hands-on business and whilst I wanted this fact to be reflected in my journal this passion is also evident to me in the writings that form the glossary.
Much of my writing in the glossary reads as though it was written as the realization, or moments of clear thinking, were happening and some could have indeed even been written whilst I was having a PCE, which would explain the statement I made that you have queried – for when one is having a PCE, one is temporarily free of the human condition. Indeed it is my experience in being virtually free of the human condition that I am, in fact, free of most of the human condition for most of the time – which is not to deny that I will only be actually free of the human condition in toto when the singular event of self-immolation occurs.
This is exactly the reason I decided to start writing when I did – I had some hands-on experience to pass on about the actualism method and the nature of the human condition that was best written raw and first-hand rather than as a hindsight account. If you read my journal and some of my early correspondence you will also find many other statements I have made that you could also rightly dispute. At the time they were written I was full-on into investigating the human condition and the very process is a daring and passionate one and whilst I fully stand by my earlier writings in terms of substance, flavour and intent, they were not necessarily intended to stand close intellectual scrutiny.
At one stage I thought to go over my earlier writings and edit them for accuracy and terminology but I realized that in doing so I would inevitably loose some of the immediacy and spontaneity of an experiential account so I haven’t bothered. Thanks for pointing out the inaccuracy. I have changed the particular statement you pointed to, but I will leave my journal unedited for the reasons stated above.
RESPONDENT: Just a simple question, maybe you can spare some time to answer it. What motivates you to spend so much time writing to all these people here?
PETER: I have posted several replies in the past, which you may have missed in your deleting –
From another post –
From another post –
From another post –
RESPONDENT to No 23: No, their written material will be highly regarded by our children.
PETER: This comment really intrigued me. Are you saying that the next generation will be the one who will finally abandon the idea of good and evil spirits roaming the earth, and that the earth will no longer be a place where humans are forever meant to suffer and fight, as some sort of cosmic ‘penal’ colony.
RESPONDENT: No Peter, I was not addressing that. I believe it is a cop-out to place responsibility on future generations to ‘do something’.
Part of the reason I get off the Sannyas list for awhile is I am becoming more and more aware of my tendency to write unclear sentences. I have a tendency to allude to things rather than state them clearly. As I write, my meaning seems clear to me, but the feedback I get is undeniable – my language is open to multiple interpretations. I admire your ability to be more literal. I do not rest with this; I aim to learn. In fact I am learning.
The comment above is more directed to No 23 personally. It was a reply to his statement that what you guys write is a load of crap and perhaps if he met you personally he may find something of value. Clearly he does not place much value on your written material. I do. Here and now it is interesting, fascinating and valuable to me. It changes me. I am guilty of throwing a barbed spear at No 23 – ‘if you can’t understand, perhaps your children will’. It is this communication via barbed spears that I am wanting to cease.
PETER: One of the reasons I wrote my journal was to make sense of life. To check out for myself what my experience had shown were the facts of being a human being on the planet, as opposed to the beliefs I had taken on board. I deliberately avoided much contact with Richard and dipping into his writing at the time as a way of checking it out for myself. I wanted to check if what he was saying stood up to the test of common sense and gelled with the facts. It did and 100% so. Of course, I freely acknowledge bleeding him for information, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Human Condition. His experiences of Enlightenment are unprecedented in that he is the only one who has escaped from the massive delusion of Divinity.
So, writing is such a useful tool for clarity, I always want to say what I want to say clearly and concisely. It also means I have to know clearly what it is I want to say – for me that is simple, as all I do is state the facts. What others do with the facts is their business.
PETER: Hi, in reply to your good question –
RESPONDENT: Are you a missionary?
PETER: A missionary, by definition, usually refers to the spreading of a particular faith. Since I see no sense at all in merely believing what anyone says I pass on that one. I am not flogging a spiritual or religious method. I am saying that there is now an alternative to being normal or becoming spiritual – there is now available a new, down-to-earth actual freedom from the Human Condition.
‘Missionary’ can also refer to the ‘style’ of presentation or wording. I thought a lot about this when I wrote my journal as I was writing with enthusiasm at the time, and I knew with the general cynicism abounding in the world, that it would generally be regarded as missionary. But what to do ... I am enthusiastic that at least we are beginning to talk sensibly about that ‘which cannot be spoken of’.
At some point in my spiritual search I noticed that my scepticism was turning to cynicism and I deliberately attempted to turn my scepticism into investigation and scrutiny.
The other thing about a missionary is that he has the power of God with him, he is doing God’s work. He represents the ultimate authority – God.
I am, most definitely, not an authority in that sense, but I am an expert on how to become happy and harmless and how to live with a woman/man in peace, harmony and equity.
So it is my pleasure, for a few hours a day, to get an opportunity to write of how it is to be actually free of the Human Condition.
It beats Enlightenment by a country mile ...
RESPONDENT: It is amazing how much time you find to post these many 10 to 30 KB heavy messages to the list every day. Do you still find the time to connect with people in real life or is your computer just the most beloved companion, meeting all your needs?? Just wondering.
PETER: I do a few hours a day on the computer and nothing much else. We walk downtown for a meal, watch a bit of TV, have a romp, lay around a lot. I do enjoy writing and did think I might make a living out of it, but what I am saying is not very popular stuff. The only way to get a discussion going so far, has been to drop in on this list. I know it is pissing some people off but a few seem interested, so I’ll keep going for a bit.
It is funny, though. I naively thought that the spiritual seekers, Sannyasins in particular, would be the ones who would be interested in this.
Particularly seeing the religion is so obvious now. I suspect that many have invested too many years to even consider something else.
I gave a few books to friends but they have gone mostly unread. I think many are scared that it might actually work, and nobody – deep down – wants to change.
So, I have plenty of time, I never run out of time – it’s impossible.
A bit from the end of the Time chapter of my journal might explain why ... (I managed to tackle all the big topics in my journal – it was the only way to come to my senses).
Good, Hey ...
RESPONDENT: You are feeling responsible for all the unenlightened people on the planet?
PETER: No, I pass on that one. I found that the only person I could change was myself. I tried blaming others, trying or hoping everybody else would change and then it would be all right. I set a realistic goal of changing myself. Now, it is possible to help someone else but only if they are interested. But I limit myself to a few hours a day, a few e-mails seems a good balance.
I wrote my journal as a definitive piece and reading a bit of it the other day it is a good story. I wanted to ‘point the way’ to Richard’s writings, which were the tool by which I became free. So, anything I do beyond that bit of writing is a bonus... I do like the ‘live’ aspect of typing these words ... not knowing what is coming next ...
RESPONDENT: or you are intellectual masochist ...
PETER: No, neither. I trained as an architect but found the whole business a bit too intellectual. So I spent most time actually building, on site, hammer and nail bag stuff. I like practical hands-on work so words, writing, and the like are new to me. I have no interest in intellectual pursuits – I find so much of it to be mere ‘wanking’ (masturbation).
I write now because I enjoy it, it is good fun to offer – for the first time – an alternative that works.
It is the next significant change that will happen with humans – that we will gradually see peace and harmony spread on the planet. It is no small thing that Richard has discovered. It is a leap to a new species no longer driven by felines of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
And each person is free to do it themselves or not. Cute Hey ... Perfect.
As for masochism, I aim for safety, comfort, and avoid the possibility of pain. I am a coward of the first order.
RESPONDENT: I pay you respect and I’m not sarcastic. But tell me what is the real reason for all this?
PETER: Why do I write?
To finally put an end to war, rape, torture, famine, suicide, sexual abuse, repression, suicide, slavery. This is happening right now as I write these words to real, actual flesh and blood human beings. It is not an illusion. I live in a relatively safe place, but we have policemen with guns to curb and control the worst of violence, and this country spends a lot of money on maintaining an army to keep other tribes from invading.
If you are in it for yourself then Enlightenment is the thing – self-aggrandizement if ever there was one. If you care about your fellow human beings then to become actually free is the only game to play. I write iconoclastically because we have been fed too much bullshit, lied to, conned, promised the moon, put off asking questions and told to trust, have faith and it will ‘all be right’. It is time for some straight talking ... a dialogue, a discussion about the Human Condition, some intelligent conversation based on facts... rather than what some fairy-tales some guys made up 2 or 3,000 years ago, and what we still regard as Sacred or Wisdom. Or should I be more humble? Am I not bowing low enough to the Divine? The good thing about not believing in the Divine is that I also don’t believe in blasphemy, so I am free to write of facts rather than merely regurgitate beliefs!
Why do I write?
Because there will be another Peter out there who admits to be lost, lonely, frightened and very, cunning ... and desperately wants to be free.
For me, as I was when I first came across Richard ... I just felt I had nothing left to lose ... and what else was I going to do with the rest of my life anyway?
The idea of becoming happy and harmless and of being able to live with a woman in peace and harmony was the best offer I had come across yet.
And what an adventure ...
RESPONDENT: Maybe your intentions are sincere, but then how can you expect from the people to just believe you and take you for granted only on the basis of dead words presented somewhere on the Internet?
PETER: I said in the Afterword to my journal, and here in this mailing list, not to merely believe what I am saying. It is such a poor way to live one’s life on the basis of believing what other people say.
For me, facts and common sense beat belief and feelings any day. If I was running a business and wanted to be successful I would rely on facts and common sense. I simply applied the same sense to being here as a flesh and blood human being and then the magic really began to happen.
PETER: Richard has something to write about that is invaluable for any who are sufficiently interested. The writings on the Actual Freedom Trust website probably total well over a million words and yet are but a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions and squillions of words parroting and trumpeting the ancient spiritual gooblygook.
G. G.: But no one reads all of them or his words.
PETER: No, all seekers of freedom peace and happiness are seduced by the ancient spiritual gooblygook for t’is sweet music to the soul and very, very few even bother to read spiritual words with a sensible clear eye for they are usually in-love with the whole fairy tale idea of spirituality.
G. G.: Are those your words? They seem old-fashioned and like Richard.
PETER: No they are my words typed on this very keyboard. If they do seem similar to Richard then it is due to the fact that we use consistent terms and that we are talking of the same thing. If they seem old-fashioned to you it may be due to obsession with style and not content. (...)
PETER: You seem interested in what others think of him, his appearance, etc. but what do you make of the content of what he is saying?
G. G.: Too tiresome for the most part. PCEs exist – so what? I don’t think it as astonishing as he makes out. He obviously still has an ego because he talks about himself. You now repeat yourself twice – duplicating two paragraphs. Are you trying to bore me?
PETER: Not at all. You are the one who is bored yet still writes to me in order to be even more bored. I’m having the time of my life writing to people about being happy and harmless and logging up countless objections for the record.
PUBLISHER No 1: PS. Were you a Sannyasin once? You sound a bit like all the other cynical disillusioned ex-sannyasins (which is not to say your comments are not without validity).
PETER: Yes I was a Rajneeshee for some 17 years. I have written of the incident that heralded the beginning of the end for me, in a book I wrote ...
As for ‘cynical disillusioned’, I have had this charge levelled at me countless times. Below is a typical exchange from the Sannyas mailing list before I was cyber-executed from the list for being too heretical and iconoclastic ... (examples snipped)
Your statement – ‘which is not to say your comments are not without validity’ makes little sense to me. Judging something as valid or invalid is a subjective evaluation that is most often applied in the form ‘what you are saying has some validity, but I believe ...’ What about examining and evaluating a comment on the basis of whether it is factual and sensible. Is it a statement of fact and does it make sense, or is it silly?
Most people live their lives on the basis of feelings, imagination, hope and belief and stubbornly ignore facts and sensibility. My exchanges on the Sannyas Mailing List offer ample evidence of the stubborn hold that fervent belief and impassioned feelings have on human beings. Hiding behind, and wallowing in, spiritual belief makes any sensible consideration and discussion of facts an impossibility, and forestalls any consideration of the third alternative that is now available to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’.
One of the reasons I was moved to write to you was that your magazine seemed to indicate a willingness on your part to question spiritual belief, but it is now evident to me that it was simply written in sarcastic style and was aimed at deriding the beliefs of others who are not part of your religion.
It is an impossibility to engage in a discussion about facts – what works and what doesn’t work and why – with those who fervently believe something to be true and desperately uphold it to be the Truth. But if someone is sufficiently motivated and willing to take stock of their lives and examine what has worked and what hasn’t, then a sensible and dispassionate investigation of facts of spiritual belief is possible.
PUBLISHER No 1: Why do you keep going on about your book?
PETER: I thought you might be interested in an alternative to Eastern religion and philosophy, but I was wrong.
PUBLISHER No 1: Is this a reference point in your life?
PETER: Indeed it is. I wrote it for others who may be sufficiently dissatisfied and disgruntled with Eastern religion to be interested in something that was down-to-earth and non-spiritual. I also wrote it for myself in order to make sense of life. Any writing is a process of clarification for oneself as well as a means of communication to others. That’s why I enjoy writing.
PUBLISHER No 1: Can’t you just get on with your life?
PETER: No. In fact I didn’t like myself the way I was, nor my life the way it was. This burning dissatisfaction with ‘who’ I was proved to be the very reason I inquired about Actual Freedom in the first place. ‘Getting on with life’ was always a poor, second-rate choice for me. My life was always searched for genuine freedom, peace and happiness and I was never content until I found it. (...)
PUBLISHER No 1: Why is your opinion so important to you that you have to write a book? Is this your catharsis?
PETER: So, now you object to the fact that I have written a book! Thou art clasping at straws to denigrate me. Would you have me silenced if you were ‘the controller of those who wrote books’. There are literally thousands of Eastern religious New Dark Age books and there are only two written by actualists and you ask ‘why is your opinion so important to you that you have to write a book?’ Not so long ago we would have been more than cyber executed for our iconoclastic, heretical stance against all religion but thanks to the Net we now have an outlet which is thus far free of, and secure from, those who would silence us.
As for ‘catharsis’ – I’ve already posted quite a bit about my motives for writing but you either don’t read what I have written, or chose to ignore it for whatever reason.
Once again, this is the reason I wrote a book, and why it was so vitally important to write. It’s from the introduction –
PUBLISHER No 1: So once more my question still stands – why did you write the book? You’d already reached clarity, you had found peace and happiness and yet you still had to tell the world. I sincerely don’t understand. I also find your alluding to ‘the controller of those who wrote books’ a violent and malicious statement.
PETER: We have travelled this road many, many a time. Maybe you could use your imagination and imagine someone who found that the spiritual path hadn’t bought them freedom, peace and happiness but didn’t give up the search and the came across someone who offered a method to become actually free of the Human Condition in total. A freedom from both reality and Reality. He tried it out, found it worked and was moved to write a book about it to tell his fellow human beings of his experiences in the process of becoming free. So maybe you can imagine why he wrote the book and why those who are still happy on the spiritual path think he is spoiling their game.
There are literally thousands of Eastern religious New Dark Age books and there are only two written by actualists and you ask ‘why is your opinion so important to you that you have to write a book? Not so long ago we would have been more than cyber executed for our iconoclastic, heretical stance against all religion but thanks to the Net we now have an outlet which is thus far free of, and secure from, those who would silence us.
PUBLISHER No 1: Are you serious?
PETER: Do you doubt my sincerity?
PUBLISHER No 1: Why is your opinion so important to you that you have to write a book? Is this your catharsis?
PETER: So, now you object to the fact that I have written a book! Thou art clasping at straws to denigrate me. Would you have me silenced if you were ‘the controller of those who wrote books’. There are literally thousands of Eastern religious New Dark Age books and there are only two written by actualists and you ask ‘why is your opinion so important to you that you have to write a book?
As for catharsis – I’ve already posted quite a bit about my motives for writing but you either don’t read what I have written, or chose to ignore it for whatever reason.
PUBLISHER No 1: I’ve read what I’ve snipped below and see no answer to the question. It’s a how story, not a why.
PETER: If you think what I have posted is a ‘how story’ then I must have mixed up why and how, but as you said – ‘the Oxford dictionary is one thing, what I mean is another.’ So therefore ‘how’ I wrote my book becomes – on a computer, in MS Word, self-published and printed at SCU, Lismore. And ‘why’ I wrote it was put succinctly above –
PUBLISHER No 2: I am left wondering why you are so concerned about the image of Sannyasins.
PETER: At one time I had many friends who were Sannyasins, as I was, and most were very sincere and totally dedicated in their search for freedom, peace and happiness. As I have said before, at the time Sannyas was the best game to play. I now see a watering down of this search amongst many Sannyasins to the point were many are ‘happy and content’ exactly as they are, with no desire for change. I think this is evidenced by the fact that many are attracted by the teachings that ‘you are already That – all you have to do is realize It’.
To me this is a sorry and lamentable demise of a movement that began in the fervour of 60’s and that was going to change the world and bring peace to this fair planet. This passionate search for freedom, peace and happiness has degenerated into an utterly self-centred fashionable New Dark Age spiritualism that cares not a fig about peace on earth. The current image of Sannyasins in the wider community is that they at the forefront of this self-centredness and are deliberately turning away from the original spirit that was around in the ‘early days’.
Perhaps this just makes me an old fogie but I, for one, still remain vitally interested in actual peace on earth.
A bit I wrote for the Introduction to Actual Freedom may be relevant –
Sannyas has become yet another ‘old time religion’ and peace on earth is sacrificed yet again. As you can see, I am more concerned about the content and consequences of the Sannyas message than the image of Sannyasins. That’s why I write – purely and simply to say to anyone who is discontent with the spiritual path that there is a now a third alternative available to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual.
The reason I wrote to you guys was to warn you of the apparent perception of intolerance towards other religions in your magazine. But you don’t seem to see what I see, so I see no point in continuing to flog a dead horse.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.