Selected Writings from Peter’s Journal
on Living Together
I find myself, these days, both happy and harmless in that sorrow and malice have virtually disappeared from my life. Gone now is the continuous neurosis of the relentless self-concerned thoughts spinning in my head and the accompanying churning emotions and feelings. A calm stillness pervades within and without – it is now a delight to be alive. And I have also achieved what was a driving ambition since ‘adulthood’: I am now experiencing living with a woman in complete peace, harmony and equity with its accompanying sexual delight – the icing on the cake, if you like. I can now look back on a life well lived, complete in itself, and free of any emotional scars as I troll through my memories.
So I’m writing to tell the story of how it is possible for any man and woman to live in peace and harmony, for indeed my companion and I are anybody – very ordinary, mortal human beings. Of course, it has only been possible because I have almost rid myself Vinof malice and sorrow. By following a simple process, alluded to in this book, it is now possible for any human being to do so, should they so desire. Therefore, it is possible for any man and woman to live in peace, harmony and equity. It is then obvious that all humans can live in peace and harmony on this lush, verdant planet. Should they so desire. (...)
At this stage it may be useful to state my motives for writing. As I watch television, read newspapers, listen to people and observe the relationships of men and women around me, I see sorrow – sadness, melancholy, despair, resignation and the bitter-sweetness of love; and malice – vindictiveness, sarcasm, revenge, innuendo, gossip, jealousy, violence and hate. Nowhere do I see delight, contentment, satisfaction, benevolence, consensus and co-operation. Nor do I see any men and women living together in peace and harmony. So I thought my story could be useful to anyone who, like me, hadn’t given up yet, but who could see they had ‘nothing left to lose’ in trying something new. Peter’s Journal, ‘Foreword’
It is remarkable to look back on my life and my failed attempts to live in companionship with a woman, and then to contemplate the remarkable success I am now enjoying. That this turn-around has happened in only twelve months is equally due to the willingness of my companion to probe into exactly why men and women seem unable to communicate, let alone live together, in peace and harmony. Together we have now made sense of the beliefs and instinctual passions that caused the inevitable previous failures we both experienced and we have now simply removed ourselves from the separate and warring camps that make the ‘battle of the sexes’ an ongoing and inescapable fact of life in man-woman relationships.
What a delight it is to live with a woman in easy companionship, where I can simply be myself with no pretence, no effort, no compromises, no bargains, no bonds. I am with her because I enjoy her company in all the activities we do together; just in her ‘being around’. It is delightful to have her as a companion. ‘It’s good you’re here’ is our favourite expression to each other. People around think that we are in love (little do they know!), and that it will wear off, as it always does; or that we are ‘soul mates’, having by some miracle found the ‘right one’. What we experience in our companionship is the direct result of mutual hard-won effort and not of some hand of fate or Karma. It is silly to worry whether this will last forever or that, given a change in circumstances, either of us may have a different companion at some future time. But I live with her as though it will be forever; totally, with no doubt – one hundred percent!
No emotional bond binds us, and because we are free to be together, there is simply no feeling of separateness. Indeed, we no longer belong to, or identify with, the camps of men and women; we have actually removed ourselves from the battle of the sexes and, as such, are regarded by both sexes as traitors to the cause. Seemingly, one is supposed to forever fight for sexual and gender equality, and to simply stop the fight is regarded as an act of extremely naive foolishness. We have set up as two human beings living together, and it is delicious to share time in talking, shopping, watching TV, eating, and of course sharing the luscious, sensual pleasure of sex. It is all so easy, peaceful, harmonious and equitable. I thoroughly recommend becoming a traitor to both sides in the battle of the sexes. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
Equally my attitudes and behaviour towards the other camp – those with no dangly bit – was rigidly set. While some cultural differences are apparent, the male-female divide is universally established from birth and constantly reinforced thereafter. It is an inherent part of the Human Condition. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
Suddenly I was living in a commune of about 100 adults and children, and I found the women interesting, forthright and down-to-earth. For many of them it was the most liberating time of their lives. Mostly women held the positions of power and they proved to be extremely competent, practical and considerate. I began to be able to relate to women equally as human beings and to break through to the other camp.
However, in my love relationships, and in those of the people around me nothing had changed; there still existed the battles, jealousies, disappointments, conflicts and moodiness. But at least I was now able to be comfortable around women and increasingly found that I preferred their company to that of men.
An interesting experiment occurred in the commune with much mixing of the traditional work roles, but I saw clearly that many of the situations did not suit the individuals involved. This was particularly evident in the construction work in which I was largely involved. To build most things involves a degree of physical toughness that I personally have enjoyed, but have found few women do. Much was made of Rajneesh’s experiment of reversing the traditional gender roles and putting women in power, but it ultimately proved to be a failure. The corruption, manipulation and illegal acts of the women in power in the Oregon commune was to provide evidence of this and ultimately, on his deathbed, Rajneesh was to leave a man in charge of his on-going Religion. Power is simply power over others, each gender has been taught to wield it in a different manner. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
While this has somewhat loosened in modern times, one’s companion then is but a disciple, a disastrous recipe for an equitable companionship between two human beings. The appalling attitude towards, and treatment of, women in the East and their standing in society is ample evidence of centuries of Eastern Spiritual teachings put into practice. And, of course, the pleasure of sex is a definite no-no for the serious meditator and spiritual aspirant. The appalling attitude towards, and treatment of, women in the East and their standing in society is ample evidence of centuries of Eastern Spiritual teachings put into practice. And, of course, the pleasure of sex is a definite no-no for the serious meditator and spiritual aspirant.
What was on offer was clearly radically different to both the ‘normal’ and ‘spiritual’ approaches to men and women living together but, as I had always wanted a companion to happily share life’s pleasures with, I decided to ‘give it a go’. Having made the decision, the major problem then was to find a woman.
I had been out of circulation in the social scene for quite a while so I sat down and came up with a short list of three women to whom I was physically attracted. Two of the women I had a few doubts about and that left a woman whose name I didn’t know and who I had never even spoken to. Still, if I was going to do this I needed a woman to do it with and, as I was in a hurry, this method of choosing seemed as good as any other. I finally hunted down her name and phone number, and after a few days of dithering, I couldn’t stand my lack of courage any longer. I rang, had to explain who I was, and asked her if she would like to go out for a meal. Surprisingly she said yes, and we arranged a time. After introductions and a bit of hesitant small talk, we sensibly ordered champagne, and I launched into it!
I briefly told her what I was into and said, ‘I want to be able to live with a woman in peace and harmony. I realise that I have been equally responsible for the failures in the past, and I recognise that I will have to clean myself up to do this. But I’m willing to give it one hundred percent. Do you want to give it a try with me?’ When I look back it was quite audacious, but it proved an effective line to get her interested. She explained later that she had previously come to the resolution that she was not going to try and change the other, or resort to blame in any future relationship – so my proposition was very tempting. But it was the ‘one hundred percent’ bit that really got her!
So together we entered into a simple pact or agreement. We established that the sole reason for being together was to live in perfect peace, harmony and equity and that we would each investigate and eliminate all that was in the way of that being possible. This was to not to be an aimless, listless liaison but, from the very start, a purposeful, challenging companionship.
The method that Richard and Devika proposed was simple and proved stunningly effective. The collection of beliefs, instinctual passions and behaviour patterns that are common to all human beings is known as the Human Condition. In undertaking any mutual investigation into what it was that caused the perpetual battle of the sexes that we knew so well, we resolved to put any issues that arose ‘on the table’, to discuss them, probe them and make mutual sense of them. By regarding them as the Human Condition, i.e. common to all humans, we were able to largely avoid ‘taking the issue personally’, which had proved the downfall of all previous attempts at discussing sensitive relationship issues. We further resolved that anything one disclosed or discussed would not be used by the other at some later time as revenge or to score points, and this gave us the confidence to dig deeper and explore further than we had dared to before.
The other vital ingredients to guarantee success were intent and peak experiences. We both had intent. I was willing to give it everything I could, and Vineeto likewise. The point was that I was doing it for me, I wanted to make it work and I would do everything I could to make it work. I regarded this as my last, and therefore only, chance to prove that it was possible for me to live with a woman in perfect peace and harmony – nothing less would do. Then, even if it did fail, I wouldn’t be left with that feeling that I had held back; that I could have done more, that the ‘shackles’ had won out again. But, of course, failure was not on my agenda, and we quickly organised our lives in order to spend as much time as possible together. Also, we both had had fleeting ‘peak experiences’ or pure consciousness experiences in our past where, for brief times, everything had indeed been utterly perfect. I now had a goal to aim for, and I also had a willing companion who was to prove perfect for the task ahead. Serendipitous really! Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
However, the actual changing of behaviour required my total self-obsession in order to be aware of what I was doing or feeling at every moment. What is it, in me, which is in the road between us? Why am I upset? Why am I annoyed or moody? What is it now that is preventing my experiencing peace and harmony? I was totally interested in what it was in me.
If Vineeto had an issue she wanted to talk about, fine, and if she was willing, and we could look together at something, even better, but it was my peace and harmony in living with her that I was interested in and focused upon. And Vineeto was interested in her peace and harmony. We were then each responsible for our own actions and feelings and for doing whatever was necessary to ‘clean’ ourselves up – to free ourselves of the Human Condition.
We also discovered that Vineeto was similarly able to leave the female camp. Women no longer need to allow themselves to be driven by the blind urge to produce children, nurture and protect them, while desperately holding onto their man for survival, or having to instinctually ‘rely’ on any man for that matter. No longer is it necessary to provide comfort and succour when he returns from the hunt. No longer do women need to gather ‘around the fire’ with the children, telling stories with the other women, wondering if the men will return. The modern equivalent of this instinctual protective huddle is the feeling of belonging to the ‘sisterhood’, the blind continuation of which only serves to maintain and reinforce the gender battle-lines.
For Vineeto, a major issue was the final dissolution of male authority; of relying on, or rebelling against, a man’s presence or opinion to guide and protect her in everyday life, or of searching for a strong and powerful man to follow or worship in spiritual life. Tackling this issue allowed her to eliminate the patterns of dependency and rebellion, expectation and blame, frustration and withdrawal – and to finally begin to become an autonomous human being, in every aspect of life. What a joy it is to be in the company of a woman who has done this – I am full of admiration for her courage and common sense. With an end to the social and instinctual gender divide, at last equity, a vital ingredient for peace and harmony, is possible between man and woman. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
One day, as I was driving to see her, it struck me like a thunderbolt. This is not just an intellectual theory – this is about changing my actions, changing my life. A theory is useless unless it is practical, workable, i.e. can be proven in practice that it works. If the battling was to stop, then it was me who had to stop it! This was not about changing Vineeto – this was about changing me! When I saw her that evening I told her I was not going to battle her anymore, wanting to get my way or wanting to change her. The realization that it was me who had to stop battling was so obvious, so complete and so devastating that it was impossible to continue on as I had before.
It was to prove a seminal point, a break from my past view of relating with women. It meant that instead of trying to bridge a separation, there was a beginning towards finding a genuine intimacy – to eliminate the cause of the separation. Instead of wanting to prove ‘my’ point or defend ‘my’ position the emphasis shifted to discovering what was common ground, what was mutually agreed. Instead of conflict the emphasis shifted to peaceful resolution. This realization proved to be the beginning of being able to sincerely and openly investigate all that inhibited our living together in peace and harmony – a 180 degree shift from the normal relating. Not a ‘surrender to the other’ as in losing a battle, not a withdrawal, not a sit it out on the sidelines, but a genuine seeing and understanding of the very futility of the battle itself. It was the beginning of getting down and getting dirty to look unabashedly at all the emotions, feelings and instinctual passions that arise between men and women. To talk about and thoroughly investigate love, jealousy, dependency, sex, authority, power, gender roles, etc. without any conflict or battle. Our investigation became an exploration of the Human Condition it self and how it was manifest in a male body and how it was manifest in a female body. We became fascinated with finding and analysing the differences rather than continuing to blindly and stubbornly defend them. Which of these differences were merely socially imprinted, which were instinctually programmed, and which, if any, were genuine? This investigation and fascination proved to be the beginning of the end of conflict, and this was despite the fact that at many times the findings were uncomfortable, confronting, disorienting, bewildering, and at times appalling.
What we found in our investigations has been quite shocking – a blow to that insidious feeling of pride that inevitably causes human beings to refuse to admit that their behaviour is just plain stupid and that ultimately prevents any possibility of radical, effective change. How could I have been so stupid? But the facts spoke for themselves. How could I have believed that simply because ‘everybody behaves that way’, I should also behave that way? How could I believe that everybody else was ‘getting it wrong’, and not me? Was I going to endlessly try and change every woman I was with or somehow try and find the ‘right one’ amongst the billions? How could I not see that the only one who l could possibly change was me?
But now, I have discovered that it is possible to change – to rid myself of the beliefs of who I ‘think’ I am – my social identity relative to others; and the instinctual passions of who I ‘feel’ I am – the ‘self’ as in self-preservation, fame. Now I am closer to ‘what’ I am: a sensate, thinking, flesh and blood body able to reflect on what an amazing universe this is – perfect, except for human beings, and even that is now possible to change. Not merely to superficially change or alter one’s human behaviour but to eventually become actually free of the Human Condition in its entirety – to become both happy and harmless. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
I now enjoy a near-actual intimacy, a direct experience and knowledge of another human being with whom I have shared this amazing, tangible unravelling of myths, beliefs and instinctual passions. Here is a woman with whom I not only bared my dark side – I virtually eliminated it, together with the ‘good’ side as well. Not the emotions and feelings merely paraded out in some sort of superficial ‘sharing’ but an honest and thorough investigation to root out the source of all that stood in the way of our living together in peace, harmony and equity Deep sea diving, if you like. Boots and all, no holds barred, the full Monty, all the way.
And the rewards thus far are extraordinary – l have complete freedom to be ‘me as I am’, and for Vineeto it is likewise. No expectations, no bonds, no wanting to change the other – why should we? She is perfect; she has made herself that way by ‘cleaning herself up’. And what a delight to meet equal intelligence, equal common sense and an equally sexual being! We experience equity as two human beings and delight in the physical differences, as those differences allow us to enjoy delicious, sensual sex! The hours and hours of talking, discussing and dissecting the Human Condition; the ‘What it is to be a man or a woman’; the ‘What’s going on for me’; the ‘Oh! That’s how you see it?’ – the fascination of discovery! It is astounding to actually meet another human being, naked of pretence and defence. It leaves the temporary fickleness of love for dead!
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.