Selected Writings from Peter’s Journal
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 of 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.
However, nobody but me could rid myself of malice and sorrow to the extent I have – it involved none of the usual spiritual, social or political ideals, no energy or karma, no trust, faith or hope, and no belief in, or surrender to, some Guru or God. I had to do it for myself, by myself, and I had to make it the most important thing in my life. Peter’s Journal, ‘Foreword’
The essential method was to undertake a total investigation into anything that was preventing me from being happy and harmless now – after all, the point of living is to be happy and harmless now, not at some time in the future, or at some time in the past. The question to ask myself was, ‘How do I experience this moment of being alive?’ Now is, after all, the only time I can experience being happy. Any emotion such as anger, frustration or boredom that is preventing my happiness now, has to be traced back to its cause – the exact incident, thought, expectation or disappointment. At the root of this emotion is inevitably found a belief or an instinctual passion. The ruthless challenging, exposing and understanding of these beliefs and instinctual passions actually weakens their influence on my thoughts and behaviour. The process, if followed diligently and obsessively, will ultimately cause the beliefs to disappear completely and the instinctual passions to be greatly minimized. The idea, of course, is to eliminate the cause of my unhappiness, ‘me’, so that I can experience life at the optimum, here, now.
It soon presents success incrementally, as freedom from these beliefs and instinctual passions will indeed inevitably result in increased peace and harmony for myself and in my relating with those around me. The method does bring up fear and resistance, because one is dismantling one’s very ‘self’, those very beliefs one holds so dearly. Peter’s Journal, ‘Introduction’
‘It is possible for a man and a woman to live in peace and harmony.’ The idea set me on fire more than anything else that was said, and when I first read Richard’s journal this was what interested me most. The journal explained that he and his companion had, over years of investigation, delved into the beliefs and instinctual passions that are the very root cause of the battle of the sexes. A trenchant and no-holds-barred approach had resulted in eliminating those beliefs and instinctual passions to a point that allowed them to live together in peace and harmony.
This idea is quite the opposite to spiritual teachings that simply give no credence to men and women living together. In fact, success on the spiritual path traditionally meant one ended up alone, celibate and Enlightened. 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.
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’. 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. Peter’s Journal, ‘Living Together’
Of course there is an alternative to love, something vastly superior, and I knew it that day I looked out over the ocean. There is an ease, a simplicity and a delight in being in the company of a fellow human being who is equally committed to discovering and permanently experiencing this very perfection that is the physical universe.
There is a contentment, satisfaction and exhilaration in knowing we have virtually eliminated sorrow, resentment, jealousy, dependency, moodiness, pining, competitiveness, neediness – indeed, all the emotions and feelings of love. The reward is a near-actual intimacy that is tangible, sensual, priceless, magical, alive, ever-fresh and ever-present. And this direct unfettered experience of the other is both delightful and delicious! We now get to constantly enjoy the fruits of our own labours. Cute hey!
We do indeed live in virtual peace and harmony... Peter’s Journal, ‘Love’
It was possible, through intensive effort and surrender, to still the mind, but from what I had experienced and seen in others, this involved a ‘getting out of it’, into some ‘other’ world. I came to see meditation as no more than sitting in the corner with my eyes shut, pretending the world didn’t exist. When they say the world is an illusion, they do indeed experience it that way. The inner, imaginary world becomes real and the actual physical world becomes an illusion! Peter’s Journal, ‘God’
Socialism, peace, love, sexual freedom, environmentalism – anything was possible to have or to change. I marched to stop the Vietnam war, I poster-pasted to save the forests, I grooved to the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in London, I hung around in Amsterdam, I travelled to the East, I became politically and socially concerned and involved. I’ve thought about these times during the last twelve months – what happened to the dreams, the enthusiasm of those times?
– that naivety was still burning within me, that refusal to accept that this was all there was to life. I am amazed to see that so many people of my generation have reverted to ‘comfortably numb’ – have lost their naivety. Surely the purpose in life is to be the best I can – to be the best possible.
I remember a major turning point came for me when I realised I was causing ‘ripples’ for other people by my every action: however subtle sometimes, however unintentional, however well meaning, but ‘ripples’ nevertheless. And by seeing it I wanted it to stop! It became yet another motivation to do all I could to aim to eliminate my ‘self’. I wanted not only peace for myself, but for others too.
That is why I stopped battling with Vineeto. To want her to change is the traditional ‘it’s the other’s fault’ syndrome. No, if I wanted peace with her, it was up to me entirely. It had nothing to do with her – it was what I wanted, and what I could do, that mattered. So if I want peace in the world, it has nothing to do with anyone else; I simply need to do whatever I need to do to become a non-contributor to malice and sorrow on the planet. It is up to me, not anyone else. If I can’t do it – how can I expect anyone else to do it? But if I can do it then anyone else can! Cute, hey! I have had people accuse me of not caring about the world. I find this curious because caring about the world is one of the major burning drives in my life and a major motive for ridding myself of malice and sorrow as much as possible. Peter’s Journal, ‘Peace’
At one point in my investigation of the Human Condition I was studying what the psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and the like had discovered about human behaviour. I came across an experiment the results of which rocked me to my very core. A series of experiments were conducted at Yale University in the early sixties to test people’s obedience to authority. The most famous was the ‘Milgram experiment’. Stanley Milgram advertised for participants to undertake a ‘memory study’, and subsequently pairs of volunteers would turn up at the laboratory at the appointed time.
He was to start at the lowest level and increase the level each time the ‘learner’ made an error. The ‘teacher’ was a genuine ordinary participant, but he did not know that the ‘learner’ was actually an actor who received no shock at all, but was faking a response. The real aim of the experiment was to see how far a person would proceed in a situation in which he is ordered to inflict increasing pain on a protesting victim. The actor-learner’s ‘response’ at about 150 volts was a demand for release, at 300 volts an agonizing scream; at 450 volts he was writhing in tortured agony.
In the test EVERY participant went on to administer 300 volts to the learner, with sixty-five percent going to the full 450 volts! Most participants obeyed the instructor, no matter how vehement the pleading of the person being shocked, no matter how painful the shocks seemed to be, and no matter how much the victim pleaded and screamed to be let out. This experiment has since been repeated thousands of times at different universities, with identical results. And those participants were just the ‘you and me’ of this world! Ordinary, average, typical human beings!
Reading about this experiment had an earth-shattering effect on me. I had already had glimpses of this behaviour in myself. The willingness to kill for a cause in Rajneeshpuram, the thrill of killing that I had felt, the joy of revenge – and this is ‘me’ at my core! What more incentive did I need than this to rid myself of this lust for violence? This instinctual passions of aggression that blind nature has programmed in us all. I also read books and watched programs on TV about that horrendous outbreak of genocide – the Holocaust; the systematic starving, gassing and burning of millions of people. The camp guards were ordinary 50-year-old men and women – ordinary people like those in Milgram’s experiments, the ‘you and me’ of this world. When push comes to shove, human beings become monsters, and it does not take much pushing – we even seem to enjoy it!
What we call justice is, after all, nothing more than revenge and retribution. An eye for an eye! Such is the appalling extent of malice and sorrow in this world. Peter’s Journal, ‘Peace’
The way I learned to cope was to stick my head in the sand, not watch TV or not want to know anything about it – a denial of the facts and that perverse human attitude that it was others who acted this way, not me. Becoming spiritual was a further denial in that I regarded the ‘outer’ world as an illusion and the ‘inner’ spiritual world as real. To get ‘out of it’ in any way possible was the aim, be it drugs, alcohol, Prozac or bliss, meditation, becoming a ‘watcher’ or, if you hit the ‘million to one jackpot’, Enlightenment. Anything was welcome to avoid feeling and acknowledging the malice and suffering intrinsic to the Human Condition. What I eventually found was that by looking it squarely in the face and not avoiding it I was forced to do something about it in myself.
‘No more turning away’ as Pink Floyd sang.
Ultimately I was seeking peace for myself, of course, but I found it extremely useful to gather as much motive and intent as possible. It can be useful fuel or ‘back pressure’, as Richard calls it. And what better motive to find peace for myself than to become a non-contributor to the malice and violence on this fair planet. To prove peace as an actual fact – for it not to forever remain a hope or an ideal. Isn’t it extraordinary that it is now possible? I’m not asking you to believe me: but I’m unabashedly trying to inspire or seduce you to ‘give it a go’. Peter’s Journal, ‘Peace’
What I experience now is a lack of almost any disruptions, neurosis, worries, emotions or feelings in my day. Waking up in the morning knowing I will have a virtually perfect day is what I call peace of mind. This contrasts markedly with the so-called peace or transcendence of the Enlightened Ones, some of whom I have personally witnessed as being angry, frustrated and wearied. Reading biographies of others served to shatter the myths of those ‘held in esteem’, and I do not regard the legends of the long dead ones as worth the stone they were supposedly chiselled on (...or the rice-paper they were supposedly written on!)
The continuous experience of the much sought after ‘peace of mind’ is proof that this method works. The total elimination of malice and sorrow is now a possibility. There is now a third alternative available for the adventurous and caring. Now it is simply a matter of choice.
The remarkable thing about the path to an actual freedom is that it will eventually make peace a fact for me and for others. Not only to be happy but to be harmless as well is to enjoy peace for myself and to be a non-contributor to suffering and malice in the world.
So why not ‘give peace a chance…’, for yourself and others? Peter’s Journal, ‘Peace’
In my life I have been involved in many revolutionary movements and I had many ideals about changing things. In some thirty years of adult life, I have been involved and concerned with movements for peace; for environmental, political, social and spiritual change. And I have come to see all of them as revolutionary – in other words, going around in circles. I participated in a spiritual revolution with a living Guru deriding the past traditions and the idea of religions only to see him eventually form his very own Religion and become part of the traditional religious warring campus. And the so-called ‘New Age’ of today is really nothing but a return to the Dark Age of spirits, omens, divination, witches and shamans.
And so it has been going on for millennia ... round and round in circles ... revolution after revolution. It is so good to be free of that nonsense and to have found a process that is evolutionary, that actually works. A process that is easy, simple, uncomplicated, describable, direct, and that produces both instant results and an assured evolutionary change – to eventually become actually free of malice and sorrow. It is now possible to change Human Nature. There is now a cure available for the disease called the Human Condition – for those who want to be free of it. Peter’s Journal, ‘Evolution’
I am now in the process of actually becoming a free autonomous human being. The idea of causing harm to another human being has simply disappeared: I am virtually free of malice. And also the idea that this wondrous, bountiful, beautiful earth is a miserable place to be has simply disappeared: I am virtually free of sorrow. This is indeed a perfect, delightful universe I am in, and I experience myself as near-perfect and delightful. After all, what else could I be? I am, after all, one of the ‘human being bits’ of this marvellous universe, made of the same stuff as the universe.
So it is possible for me to evolve myself. And it beats sitting around waiting for Godot. It’s the most thrilling and fascinating journey ... I can’t recommend it highly enough. This is a new, non-spiritual path to a down-to-earth freedom – an actual freedom. All my wishes are coming true and more. Life was meant to be easy, friendly, comfortable, peaceful, harmonious, ever-changing, fresh each moment, direct, obvious, and my senses allow an intimate involvement with each person I meet, each event happening, each place I am in. And I can think, reflect, talk and write about what sense I have made of living as a human being ... pure delight...
And I now await the day for the change to be actualized, to be ‘set in concrete’, as it were. The last bit obviously can’t be ‘my’ doing, because ‘I’ cannot get rid of my ‘self’ but I’ve given the dismantling of ‘me’ one hundred percent, so success is guaranteed. And it is thrilling to know that the moment is coming.
It is a fact that men and women can live together in virtual peace and harmony; I have proven that with Vineeto.
It is a fact that peace and harmony is possible on earth. Peter’s Journal, ‘Evolution’
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.