Vineeto’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
Correspondent No 7
VINEETO to No 3: Once you have experienced a PCE you don’t have to ask that question. A PCE is characterized by the – temporary – complete absence of any ‘self’ whatsoever, including your faculty of feeling and imagination. You can’t invent the actual world – it is already here. A tree is a tree, I can’t invent it. I am this flesh and blood body and it is obvious that I can perfectly live without a ‘self’. After feeling and imagining has ceased completely, the actual world becomes apparent. A bit like taking one’s grey and rose-coloured glasses off and seeing the world for the first time. One experiences perfection and purity, no separation from the things and people around, but neither love nor bliss are felt as in the feeling-induced spiritual experiences.
RESPONDENT: Could you describe what you refer to a PCE experience some more.
VINEETO: I see that you have asked Richard about the same subject – a very good idea.
After all he is the expert, living it 24 hours a day, every day. Peter and I have both described our outstanding peak-experiences in Peter’s Journal, I will give you the exact spots, if you want to read for yourself:
Those descriptions are to help you either induce or remember a peak-experience and distinguish it from any other emotional, blissful or spiritual experience where, upon examination, you will always find that wonderful warm buzzing loving feeling present. In a pur consciousness experience there is no ‘feeling’ entity present, that’s what makes it different to the usual ‘highs’. In a PCE you experience a clarity, a delight, heightened senses, and everything around you is just as it is, obvious, magically perfect, always been here. For me, whenever it happened, I thought, ‘where have I been?’ It, the actual world, is so very obvious, it needs no explanation. Answering the questions below I describe my every day life, where sometimes a ‘bleed-through’ of fear happens. In a peak-experience those emotions are completely absent.
RESPONDENT: Do you mean that since one’s sense of self is totally absent there is no possibility of any planning for the future in this state? (the planning entity gone)?
VINEETO: Good, you are taking up the investigation of what this ‘life without self’ means.
It is not that I don’t plan when I need to – for earning money, or going shopping – but the feeling of worrying is gone, planning is simply a practical and delightful activity of my brain. So most planning does not happen, it has become redundant when the fear about the future disappeared.
RESPONDENT: Also, do you feel like the body is doing something and there is no entity controlling, censoring your actions?
VINEETO: With the body it is curious – the difference for me becomes most obvious in sex. The pleasures of the senses lead me on to the next movement or holding still or shifting position or pace – and there is neither a controller nor an examiner in the head, supervising the event. In the beginning it was quite uncanny and I went back into control and then out from control many times, until I dared to just be the senses. When there is no sorrow or malice nor any sex-drive happening, there is no need for a controller – nothing can go wrong. Further, there is always awareness about what I am doing, so there is no danger that I could be hurting Peter or myself.
RESPONDENT: And so you don’t know what will you do in the next moment. In a sense, are you constantly surprised, bewildered by your daily activities which become fascinating due to the novelty of life (or is the entity who could possibly be fascinated also gone).
VINEETO: Very often I don’t know what I am going to do in the next moment. Some things need to be done in the day, like food, sleep, or work. Some other things I usually do in the day like writing, having sex or enjoying several cups of coffee. But there is no schedule other than a sensible time – like don’t go shopping at 10 o’clock at night. Sometimes I am surprised, hardly ever bewildered – the bewilderment then is due to a remnant fear – but usually it makes perfect sense what I am doing next – toilet, coffee, TV, writing, talking, walking, eating when hungry... The fascination comes from every moment being fresh, never been here before, not playing a repetitive ritual but a fresh living each moment.
I found that boredom is an emotion which has a lot to do with not wanting to be here in the first place. Once I had dismantled and eliminated the cause of boredom, life has been fresh and thrilling, sometimes a bit scary with all the re-wiring of the brain, but never boring again.
RESPONDENT: I am just trying to put myself in your shoes to understand 100% what you are talking about. I think that even a small amount of misunderstanding in these matters could make a difference like between day and night. Thanks.
VINEETO: Yes, I like that you are so thorough. We have but words to communicate and by now there are quite a lot of words that convey the same thing – actuality. And with a brain wired the way it comes out ‘of the shop’ (the inbuilt software from the DNA, the womb, family and school) it takes a lot of re-thinking, re-investigating, re-questioning to remove the layers of ‘who’ we think and ‘who’ we feel we are.
And from your questions I can see that you are vitally interested in finding out what this actual world is like.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your answer to my questions. I need to ask you about two things. First, in your everyday life, is there a centre in your mind or is it that all centres have been dissolved due to the process of disintegration of your psyche? And also, what is your relationship to your thinking mind (verbal thoughts in your mind). I mean, what priority it has in your everyday life. If your feelings are gone, then does it mean that you pay more attention (or maybe act upon these thoughts if there is no ‘self’ to pay attention to it) to your rational mind. Another, opposite possibility would be that the mind is chattering, thoughts floating in the consciousness (this is probably not the case since you said there is no witness personality in yourself).
VINEETO: A centre in my mind? I had to think about what that could mean?
The brain is functioning, thoughts are going through the head, sometime in contemplative way if there is a particular subject that I am focussing my attention on. At other times there are just bits and pieces of thoughts floating about ... just like now, the thought about a cup of coffee floated in, and since it was the second time, I got up to make us a cup of coffee. While I made the coffee I was thinking about telling you that little bit about thought...
Brain is a fascinating thing. It can also be not engaged. Hearing the traffic noise and the drip of the coffee doesn’t require thinking, whereas writing about it does. So the brain swings in motion when attention is applied and idles in rest-mode when it is not needed. While apperception, the awareness of the senses and the brain’s activity is always happening, while I am awake, thoughts are not always happening.
The sense of ‘centre’ or sense of ‘being’ is a function of the psychological and psychic entity. I once compared it being the imaginary cord that ties each moment to the next as emotional, ‘meaningful’ past, present and future. Once this entity is gone, each moment is fresh, only happening now. One could imagine this as very chaotic, without proper order, but it is actually a delightful sequence of moments, lived sensible, sensately, delicious, alive.
RESPONDENT: I am interested in experiencing exactly what you are talking about.
VINEETO: As I said before there is a double approach to actual freedom. On one side you try and remember or evoke a peak-experience, and it is very helpful to get more and more an experience of those ‘moments without self’. An actuality of being here which is so pure, so sensately rich, so all-involving that there is simply no room for love, God or any other feeling – no room for a ‘me’. You may find, like No. 6, short moments of ‘WOW’, or a perfection when seeing a particular cloud-formation in stunning colours, just before ‘the heart’ chimes in with gratitude, reverence, beauty, awe, love, bitter-sweet sadness or admiration. Or you have a moment of quietly enjoying the sound of rain pouring on leaves, clinking on the roof, pouring and pouring, ... before a complaint, a worry, or any other emotion sets in.
The other side of the double approach is finding the ‘self’ in action with the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
It is a perfect question to determine how the ‘self’ is present – what feeling do ‘I’ have now?, what objection to being here?, what longing to connect with someone?, what slight feeling of numbness or boredom?, what irritation about someone’s words or behaviour? Driving a car was always a good test for me, so many ways to get irritated, and so unnecessarily.
Exploring the substance the ‘self’ is made of ... ... ... ... and then, one day, a peak-experience comes sneaking around the corner.
I am looking forward to hear about your findings.
VINEETO: Good to hear from you again.
You have sent this quote from No. 1, (List C). I remember that he likes the author, Neil Kaufmann, he had posted writings from him before on gratitude. Seemed to me a load of re-hashed, modernised moral codes.
RESPONDENT: No. 1 [List C] posted a newsletter from a group dedicated to making everyday life happy. It might have some relevance to these discussions, I guess...
VINEETO: Now if you look at this wonderful sounding first line from a practical view point, it is obvious, even without having children, that a parent cannot follow that advice without massively repressing his/her initial feelings. If you come home and the house looks like hit by a cyclone, then usually one has an emotional reaction, being inflicted with the Human Condition as we are. To talk oneself or discipline oneself into not having this reaction can only be a temporary action and may well result in an outbreak later in the evening or the next day – repression does not work for very long.
From my own experience, I know that talking myself into being happy never worked for long and always had some repercussions later on in terms of resentment, wanting to take revenge or be rewarded for not having been angry when I had a ‘right’ to. If I didn’t get angry at the car which didn’t start I would still get to work exhausted and seek sympathy from others for my ‘bad luck’. So I don’t see how this – Dell-Carnegie-style – method could work in long term. It suggests attempting mind control over emotions, it does absolutely nothing to get rid of the emotions themselves. It does not get to the root cause of the emotional reaction – the Human Condition, inherent in the psychological and psychic entity within the body.
Nowadays for me, having dismantled and eliminated the various aspects of my social identity, the manifold belief systems and the animalistic instincts in me, happiness is an easy and everyday by-product of that clean-up. I don’t need to produce it, I don’t have to tell myself to be happy instead of angry – I am simply happy because there is no emotion happening, whatever the situation. Everything is delightful because I am alive and I no longer resent being here. Being here, without the grey or rose-coloured glasses of either resentment or love, I can experience the world as-it-is, actual, not merely passive, immensely fascinating, magically wonderful, abundant, interesting and benevolent. Without ‘me’ creating fear, worries, anger, sadness or boredom I am enjoying each moment whatever it brings, each day fresh. I am simply happy to be alive and then I get to do pleasurable things on top of it. And if the car won’t start I just do what needs to be done next.
All my life I have been trying to be happy in one way or another, in my normal or spiritual life, being either rebellious or conventional, with good intention or religious fervour – without permanent success. All the tried and true methods have failed and a quick look at the news will show that morals and ethic under whatever name have obviously failed to bring peace on earth for millennia, let alone any sign of a lasting and reliable happiness.
A permanent happiness is only possible by committing psychological and psychic suicide, and one experiences the successes and reaps the rewards during the process of doing it. Life gets better with every bit of the ‘self’ dismantled, with every emotion investigated, with every belief abandoned. I can thoroughly recommend it – this method works.
VINEETO: I have gone back to work last week, doing a holiday replacement in my old job which I had left last year. Now, on weekends, I return to the pleasures of playing with the website and the conversations and discussions on the Actual Freedom list.
RESPONDENT: I think the main problem for me and also probably for most people is to overcome the habit of following emotions or impulses that habitually arise in one’s psyche. For a simple example if I sense an itch on my arm I usually scratch the itch instead of paying attention to the itch, investigating the sensation behind it. I think the itch is a good example because, at least in my case, when I start paying attention to it the itch intensifies before it goes away. Likewise when I feel unappreciated at work I tend to compensate with food or sometimes (especially in the past year) meditation!!! I would feel really calm and good after Vipassana. Chocolate and coffee with ice cream make me feel great, too. Speaking of which I have to run to the kitchen to brew us a couple of cups of this ‘divine’ liquid.
VINEETO: This question of yours fits in with the issue of the other letter about Vipassana, so I will combine the two letters. Today I find it strange that none of all the ‘oh so wise’ spiritual teachers really were able to make a distinction between sensations and feelings. I myself only learned to be precise when I came across Actual Freedom, and now the difference seems so obvious that I don’t know how I could have ever mixed the two! Peter has already explained the difference very well in his letter to No. 3 the other day:
Sensations are everything we perceive with our senses – touch, smell, taste, colour, form, sound, itch, pain, moisture, temperature, sexual pleasure, etc.
Feelings are affective reactions to our surroundings.
When you have chocolate and coffee with ice-cream you mix sensation and feeling, the pleasure of the senses tasting sweet and bitter and then, consequently, you are ‘feeling’ good. But one doesn’t need ‘feeling’ to fully enjoy a cup of coffee with ice-cream, on the contrary, ‘me’ as a feeling identity acts as a buffer to the intensity of the sensate pleasure. ‘Feeling’ is only there as long as a ‘me’ is alive. ‘I’ am feelings and feelings are ‘me’, ‘I’ am fear and fear is ‘me’, ‘I’ am love and love is ‘me’. Check it out for yourself. You might find that you are conscious of the sensation and a split second later you have a feeling – or mixed feelings – about it. But in that split second you were aware only of the physical sensation.
VINEETO: And now to your second question.
VINEETO: Vipassana has to be seen within the whole context of Buddhism to understand its intentions and implications. Vipassana is the particular method to reach to the Buddhist’s highest goal – Nirvana. The idea in Vipassana is to become conscious of the sensations in the body, of the ‘stress’ of the sensations, feelings, desires, attachments etc. in order to extract one’s self from those stressful feelings. You are supposed to learn consciousness in order to become the Consciousness, thus removing your ‘self’ from the content of what you sense, feel and think. Have a careful read through the following discourses on ‘feelings’ and ‘mind’ by Buddha in the ‘Satipatthana Sutta’ (MN 10; PTS: MN i.55) and you might understand their emphasis. You will also note that Buddhists don’t make a distinction between sensations and feelings.
Essentially, they say, that you are not the body, not the mind, not the sensations, not the feelings. They say you are the ‘soul’, you are Consciousness. This is 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. In Actual Freedom you are the flesh and blood sensate and reflective body only, no ego, no soul.
But, if you get lost with their many words of going round and round and round then you know that the method is just to hypnotize oneself out of one’s normal way of thinking and feeling to end up in a pleasant drug-like state of no-mind, somewhere else, numbing one’s intelligence as well as one’s feelings and sensations. Spiritual practice is to numb your feelings and emotions while for actual freedom you need to dig into them, feel them, explore them, investigate them and trace them back to the root instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
In the above article the expression of ‘not clinging to anything in the world’ is the give-away. The whole meditation consists of turning away from something considered ‘unwanted’ to something considered ‘wanted’ – which is a moral evaluation of good and bad. The whole Buddhist religion is a very moral code of ethics.
Here is a bit more of Mr. Buddha’s teachings of how to get out of their physical senses and retreat into an imagined reality or fabricated peace and tranquillity. Of course, practicing Vipassana is like being drugged by an overdose of pain killers – when you don’t feel anything, see anything, hear anything, it is kind of peaceful – I would rather call it numb and dull! And then, removed from the world of physical senses there are no limitations to the full range of imagination – one imagines being peace, light, love, compassion – take anything from the ‘feeling-shop’ whatever you want, nothing is actual anyway.
Can you see the intense effort that goes into changing one’s sensitivity, and into fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything perceived in the physical world is considered stress and bad, and one has to work hard to dis-associate oneself from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
RESPONDENT: It has been a foggy day here in NY/NJ. As I drove through the woody areas, my windshield decorated with random droplets of mist, I was happy to be where I was and doing the driving. Mysterious misty mountains and low, cloudy skies were touching my car. It was very intimate and peaceful.
VINEETO: This is a delightful description. Did you happen to notice if there were any feelings or emotions while you were experiencing this intimate and peaceful surrounding, any feelings of beauty, gratefulness, awe or fuzzy feelings of belonging? It would be interesting to examine such experiences carefully to distinguish between a peak experience or PCE and an experience of beauty and ‘good’ feelings – that is, if you want to know the difference for yourself.
Here on the East Coast of Australia we are now having delightful autumn days, the rainy season is finishing, leaving the landscape lush and green with shiny leaves, glittering now in the softer sun of the late evening. There is a certain time of the day, when one suddenly notices that the light has changed, the shadows deepen, the colours have more depth as well, the light on the leaves has a golden glow – and the birds start singing again after a few hours of rest during the day. Then the Eastern horizon turns into that delicious combination of pink and deep blue stripes while on the Western side the sun sets in peach, light blue, purple and orange. It is a particular delicious spectrum of colours – and all with the background of twittering, chirping birds, sounds of cars driving along and the clicking of two keyboards...
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, you and also others have mentioned a possibility of auto-rewiring of a brain as a result of a prolonged PCE experience. Have you noticed some old habits, gestures and body poses disappear? (If you disconnect synapses the vanishing habits could be used as indication that one is going into the right direction). As an example of what I am talking about, I noticed my semi-conscious habit of scratching my moustache (my brain must like the sensation of the moustache touching the soft skin on my fingertips), or earlier in my life, as a child, any pointed object. Or a habit of sleeping on your back, etc, etc.
VINEETO: The way you put the question, it sounds like as if one only has to find a switch ( a prolonged PCE ) and then – whoosh – the brain is auto-rewiring itself into the desired programmed position. That might be possible for computer programs, although even that is not an easy matter, but human beings function differently. One has to actively investigate into and progressively eliminate one’s emotions, beliefs and instinctual passions that constitute the ‘self’. To embark on such a thrilling adventure which will irrevocably change you, the one you think and feel you are, you will need to know what you are aiming for and why you want to question the status quo.
So the first thing which needs to be investigated is one’s intent. What is it that you are aiming for? Is it freedom from playing with your moustache and freedom from sleeping on your back? Or is there something else, something more important in your life that you want to be free from? For me, my main aim was to live with a man in perfect peace and harmony, twenty four hours a day. For that goal I successively was ready to give up religion, friends and peers, the ‘sisterhood’, job, my identity and everything I thought and felt myself to be. Living together in peace and harmony had been a longing all my life, and the failures of my former relationships had made it clear that conventional solutions including the spiritual search did not bring the desired result. While Peter and I were each dismantling our identities whenever they would hinder our peaceful living together, it became more and more obvious that there was more involved that just a happy two-some. My whole identity was at stake, my whole life was under investigation. If, for instance, I wanted to be free of being a nagging woman at home, then I had to get rid of ‘her’ completely, not just during the time I spent with Peter. So my original intent of a peaceful living together very soon extended to an actual freedom from being my ‘self’ with everyone, irrevocably.
Actual Freedom is not a small enterprise. And it is not a clip-on to one’s existing life to smooth some itchy habits and otherwise one stays the way one is. Actual Freedom is an enterprise that you decide for boots and all, to investigate into the very core of your being, into your ego and soul, in order to eliminate the very substance ‘you’ are made of – feelings, emotions, beliefs, instincts and imagination.
What I had said to Mark was:
In other words, once I have done ‘my job’, once I have investigated into my emotions, beliefs and instincts, the brain is doing the physical part of the change. But it is up to me to clean myself up, to investigate, running the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I have to remove every bit of my ‘self’ that is obstructing the smooth functioning of the brain. ‘I’ have to self-immolate. And for that I need all the intent I can gather, all the courage I can muster and whatever bloody-mindedness, patience, perseverance and determination I can pluck. And peak experiences and the success on the way give me the confidence to keep going.
VINEETO: It is weekend and I am delighted to write again.
It is very pleasant for me to work these 6 hours, 4 days a week, and then I welcome the approaching end of the job as well. I am looking forward to have time for playing with the website, for writing and being lazy. By the way, tomorrow I will put up the new page in The Actual Freedom Trust Library on Sex and another one on The New Dark Age .
Nevertheless, work has been a good test for my Virtual Freedom and, apart from one or two little emotional twigs, I have passed the test to my satisfaction and enjoyment. It is such good fun being with people as they are – sometimes I even get a chance to infiltrate some common sense into the conversation, but to talk about freedom is generally a no-no. I just stopped to ask them about their feelings. The response is such an emotional mess and nobody wants to change anything about this mess anyway. I found that my happiness doesn’t depend on other people’s opinion or approval, and then, I also enjoy working by myself.
One woman who inquired what my non-spiritual lifestyle was all about got noticeably upset when I did not agree with her that ‘we are all looking for the same thing’. She insisted that everybody deep down looks for the same truth, and how come I dare say that she was not on the same ‘Path’ as I was? I explained that I am questioning emotions in order not to create ripples in people’s lives, and she then affirmed that she liked her emotions and wanted to keep them. She would just watch them come and go in the usual ‘spiritual’ fashion. Two days later she returned only to tell me that I had tried to make her feel wrong. I had merely stated that I am not on the spiritual path and why it was not the same thing that she pursued. I explained that I did not want to create ripples in my life with my own sorrow and my snide remarks or expressions of malice and that’s why I had started to question the value of emotions as such. She was obviously happy with her emotions, yet felt attacked the moment I said I wasn’t on the same spiritual path.
Another interesting conversation happened with a very old friend who also insisted that ‘deep down I know that you and I are searching for the same thing. There is only one truth, I feel,’ he said. This statement was somewhat a surprise as he had read the whole of Peter’s book! We had quite an animated discussion where I explained in detail that I am neither looking for truth nor that we are ‘deep down’ looking for the same thing. He is searching for love, bliss, enlightenment, freedom from the misery of ‘having a body’ and admitted that he wants to escape from the world. Whereas I am questioning my emotions, beliefs and instincts and consequently can live happily in the world as it is with people as they are. After 30 minutes, being somewhat challenged by the presented facts, he said, ‘you haven’t changed at all, you are still a missionary!’ Well, that arrow completely missed its target since I had no emotional investment as to the outcome of our conversation. It won’t influence my state of well-being whether he gets interested in actual freedom or stays on his torturous search for the ultimate escape. His outlook reminded me of the last guy in the diagram which I sent to the list last week: ‘from the Dark Age to the New Dark Age’. How is it that people think that worshipping a passionately imagined ‘Truth’ or God is going to make them suddenly free and happy when it has not worked for thousands of years?
From your last letters you seem to be having a good time in life:
RESPONDENT: I recall having a big smile on my face, a warm sensation which I could describe as softness and warmth in my chest area. There was a feeling of harmony and order and life being a smooth process with myself being a part of it. Most of all, there was no desire (experienced most commonly as an urgency to do something or other) to be anywhere else at that moment. And yes, indeed it was followed by a sense of gratefulness ... to nobody in particular. Finally, I came to my work place and became preoccupied with something. The experience left me refreshed and in a light, positive mood for a good part of the day.
VINEETO: This gratefulness can be the trapdoor to becoming emotional about the experience rather than continue to enjoy the ‘ease’ that is happening. Gratefulness as much as ‘love for all’ is something to carefully watch and investigate if you want to prolong this emotionally-unpolluted experience of ease and harmony, clarity and awareness. You described in another letter:
RESPONDENT: I noticed that my ‘unwillingness to enjoy being here’, doing whatever I am doing is my major problem preventing me from being happy now. It helps me if I check with myself if I am fantasizing or not. My mind is very fantasy prone and goes on different day-dreaming imaginative trips while numbing any other prevailing sensations.
VINEETO: Yes, I remember a kind of teetering between the intensity of pleasurable physical sensations and the subsequent fear, shame, guilt, and insecure feelings at having a good time, sometimes accompanied by an automatic anticipation of punishment that immediately dampened the experience. Particularly in sex I had to uncover and dismantle layer upon layer of numbing conditioning, social morals and atavistic fears, anticipated hurts and imagined ‘wrath from the Almighty’. And whenever the actual sensation became too burdened by fears and morals, I escaped into a well-known fantasy world. The trouble was that in my imaginary world I was always isolated from my sex-partner, from my own body-sensations and from the world around me. Secondly, this imaginary world could be destroyed by the slightest remark, by the smallest event.
Yet, knowing all those disadvantages of being in the imaginary world, it still took a conscious decision not to stay there. Whenever I found myself retreating, I had to actively remove the causes of my fears and frustrations that had initiated the withdrawal into fantasy-land in the first place.
RESPONDENT: I have had a kind of ‘natural high’ experience marked by a natural ‘ease’ in the last couple of days. I was driving home from work and, as my radio is broken, I had nothing else to do but think. I have noticed that I have been, in a subtle way, fighting myself. First desiring something that was impossible or dangerous but exciting and then indulging into sadness, despair, longing, imagination provoked by this longing. I have recognized that if I want to be happy it must happen now. So, I looked what was keeping me from happiness. And then I noticed my tendency to imagine things. As soon as I recognized this I felt a great relief as I realized that if I really, really want to stop doing that... I can, by just putting my effort into it and by just stopping doing that right now. As I realized this I felt a renewed commitment to continuing these investigations and to being happy right now.
VINEETO: It is so good to come back here into the physical world whenever one notices oneself going ‘off the planet’. From my experience, this commitment ‘to being happy right now’ included looking at everything that kept me from being happy. That could be pleasant or fearful fantasies, social conditioning, power struggles with the opposite sex, rigid ideas of how people or the world should be and many other facets of the Human Condition. But each time I removed one of the obstacles of being happy right now, whenever they appeared, I was rewarded with a greater sense of freedom, one reason less to be unhappy and a great sense of achievement – the method actually works.
It’s been good fun to talk to you, No 7.
VINEETO: This post has been written several days ago – and then the shop of the server got burgled. Someone walked away with our and Richard’s website under his arm, hidden in the computers they were after. Now our server has to set up shop all over again and it may take a few more days. In the meanwhile we are using the internet shop in town to send. I don’t know if the background will stick.
Thank you for your note and your concern. I have been busy with the question about obsession since Alan’s post and now your input has brought the investigation to fruition –
VINEETO: I noticed that PCEs are different to the stunning delightful surprises in the beginning, which were full of tumbling realization, psychedelic-like experiences of my surroundings. They lately seem to be more rare and short minute-long flashes, just long enough to recognize the sparkle and the absence of ‘me’, before ‘I’ appear back on the scene. I put it down to the fear of the ‘real’ thing that might just ‘accidentally happen’ while ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, and also to the fact that my continuous persistent obsession with the final event is keeping fear close at hand and thus prevents the ‘extra sparkle’.
ALAN: Could it be that the ‘continuous persistent obsession with the final event’ is what is keeping it from happening? This has been my experience of the last few days. I have (largely) given up the attempt to get ‘there’ and by concentrating more and more intently on what is happening and activating ‘delight’, the ease and palpable perfection, which Peter speaks of, has become more and more evident.
RESPONDENT: I think it is true that the anticipation, excitement about the expected ‘final event’ in one’s brain is a form of dreaming, escaping the reality. Is it a final barrier? I don’t know.
VINEETO: The wording of ‘final barrier’ reminded me of a horse race, because of the similar speed we seem to move towards Actual Freedom. After carefully checking it out, I have come to the observation that I needed my ‘obsession’ to acquire the speed required in this journey into freedom and now ‘being obsessed’ is simply part of the game. Obsession or no obsession, I have gathered enough speed to jump the ‘final barrier’, and the obsession is only something that my mind is occupied with some of the time while observing instincts and feelings and trying to make sense of them in the face of extinction.
The reason why I have written about my thoughts and feelings around leaving my ‘self’ behind is to give a report about the process we are involved in as accurately and extensively as possible. The idea is that you, or others, who take up Actual Freedom for themselves might profit from the description, avoid the pitfalls or find similar happenings less threatening. My obsession about not settling for second best – in my case staying in Virtual Freedom – and a certain impatience to make it happen has surely and deliciously something to do with a joyous anticipation, but nothing at all with ‘dreaming’ or ‘escaping the reality’. On the contrary, aiming for freedom is going in the opposite direction of the spiritual version of ‘freedom’– the ‘freedom from the marketplace’ into the fantasyland of an imagined peace and private bliss. From my earlier peak experiences I know the actual world and what I am aiming for very well, and my obsession has been, and is, to find out how and where I am possibly standing on the brakes.
The myth that you have to give up what you want in order to get it is part of the spiritual – Christian as well as Eastern – fairy story which has perversely kept people in misery and confusion for centuries. I am not giving up my goal, the actual world, but ‘me’, the driver and controller, ‘me’, the instincts and identity, ‘me’ who is standing in the way of the perfection and magnificence of the actual world becoming apparent – irrevocably apparent. And there is no doubt that it is going to happen soon.
Great to hear from you. How are you doing? Spring in New Jersey?
VINEETO to No 3: As for ‘self-doubt’ and ‘considering another’s point of view’ being ‘the basis of some confusion’ – that issue may be enough of a back pressure to investigate further, whenever the issue re-occurs. Just as some food of thought – although it might not have any relevance for your situation – I am posting you something I wrote at the time when I discovered the root cause for my continuous problems with authority and my fear to stand up for myself...
RESPONDENT: I like your post Vineeto.
A side thought: Non-emotional but deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship is a great way to live as a couple. But what would you do if your partner was both sensuous and very emotional?
VINEETO: For me, No. 7, ‘a deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship’ had been a life-long yearning – to live with a man in peace and harmony, equity and intimacy. It took a great number of years to be able to question the ‘truth’ that love was the answer to a fulfilling relationship.
I do like your question and I had to chuckle because in one short sentence you encompass what is both the attraction and the problem for men regarding women while at the same time the ‘sensuous and very emotional’ qualities are the very substance of the covert power that women hold over men. On the path to becoming happy and harmless it can be of great benefit for your investigation into the Human Condition and your discovery of the actual world to have someone around who can trigger both your sensuousness and your emotions.
One can be aware of one’s sensuality on one’s own – the sounds around, the breeze on the skin, the delight of colours or forms, the joy of walking, etc. And it is even more fun to explore sensuousness with your partner. Sexual play with Peter often initiated a switch in me from philosophizing and worrying to refocusing my attention to being sensately alive here in this moment in time. Reflective contemplation, sensuality and sensuousness are the doors to experiencing the actual world, being alive as this flesh-and-blood body only, while the emotions are usually what stops you from being here in this moment.
As Richard describes in his article ‘Attentiveness, sensuousness, apperceptiveness’, the cultivation of attentiveness towards sensuousness is an essential step towards apperceptiveness.
That brings me to the second issue – emotions, and there is only one solution – apperceptiveness.
The way men and women are raised in our society is that women are allowed and encouraged to have and express emotions and instinctual passions, particularly the tender ones like nurture and desire but also the fierce emotions like fear and aggression. Men on the other hand are taught to be tough and rational, stay level-headed and in control. This is where the method of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is really effective in both bringing men fully into their feelings, maybe for the first time in their life and getting women to examine their feelings one by one instead of being run by a basketful of them all at once.
Once you understood that it is the emotions and feelings and the underlying instinctual passions that prevent you from experiencing the actual world, then every situation and everybody that triggers an emotion gives you another opportunity to contemplate, examine and explore this emotion in order to be able to get rid of it. Once the emotion is eliminated in yourself, nobody can trigger that emotion in you again, however emotional that person may be himself or herself. Here is what I wrote at the time of my first year of exploration into the gender battle and into the nature of my emotions and feelings. You might be able to ‘translate’ the issues as to how they apply to the male gender conditioning and the male biological instincts.
I just found another piece that might be useful – it had been a ‘very emotional’ situation for me back then:
What a delight it is now that I am no longer driven to automatically react to the other person’s emotions, be they fearful or sorrowful, lovingly manipulative or outright threatening. Now intimacy is possible because it is always only my own emotions that prevent me from being intimate with others – their emotions are their problem and I neither have to worry about them nor change them. I only have to change myself for actual intimacy to be possible.
And it is the adventure of a lifetime.
PS. If you are interested to find out more what has been written about the gender issue and male and female conditioning – there is plenty of selected correspondence to be accessed from the glossary under ‘male and female’.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.