Vineeto’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
Correspondent No 7
VINEETO: Thank you for your note. I will try out the link. It seemed to have given you one of those ‘spontaneously peaceful and perceptive moments’ that you mentioned in your letter. As I already wrote to Alan, I have been busy being a computer ‘mechanic’ and fiddling again with the website, besides doing some paid work that came in as well. Here, for contrast, I found some spiritual recipes in the town’s latest magazine yesterday, offering:
How about ‘breathing through your feet’ and everything will be all right?
Or a workshop with Tantra master Margo Anand who promises that for $ 2000 you can learn in one week how ‘a great lover can travel beyond the momentary Big O to lasting ecstasy’, maybe this time through another way of breathing? Another contemporary guru’s teaching was satirically classified as learning how to have ‘heaps of sex without any fun’ which I found a perfect description of the ancient art of Tantra. Why not sacrifice fun if one can save one’s imaginary immortal soul?
The trouble is that everyone is dead serious about their business and deliriously believing in the true effectiveness of their particular solution. And all that those snake oil sellers are offering is the exchange of one passionate imagination for another. For most people Potshot’s rule No. 2276 applies:
For you it may rather be Potshot’s rule No. 2248:
– which is always.
RESPONDENT: I had a wonderful flight from San Jose to Newark. I loved watching the clouds from above. It was very pleasant to fly above these white and very bright puffy popcorn-like clouds. After some time tears came to my eyes because of the light intensity but mainly due to some tender emotions caused by the experience.
VINEETO: You really get the chance to experience the full range of emotions and investigate them as far and deep as you want to go. Tender emotions are by their very nature the ones that we want to feel and keep and are therefore a bit more tricky to observe and investigate. Yet, the tender emotions are inextricably intertwined with the fearful and aggressive emotions and instinctual passions and one cannot get rid of the ‘bad’ ones without investigating love, sympathy, empathy, compassion, gratitude, belonging, pining, hope and desire.
RESPONDENT: As far as my relationship, I have been attracted (mutual attraction) to a very sensuous and wise single woman who is, by the way, also very emotional and honest with me in conveying her both positive and negative emotions. (She is very much in love with me). She is very expressive, a rare combination of an artist-extrovert and a retrospective scientist. This has been an interesting experience for me for several reasons: First, I am still married (although I told my wife about my attraction to that woman).
Secondly, that woman, with whom I spend hours on the phone almost every day lives in North Carolina while I live in New Jersey. Thirdly, I discovered that as much as I want to make the situation simple by separating with my wife, with whom I have not been intimate for 9 months, I still feel somehow painfully attached to due to probably the common cultural background and the memory of all the years of undergraduate and graduate school together and of the general life's ups and downs that we have endured in the past. The emotion arising as I am trying to resolve the issue and quit my marriage could be described as some irrational fear of ‘messing it all up’. I am writing about it here in hope of clarification it for myself by the virtue of just putting it on paper, or to be more accurate, on the list, and thus sharing my experience. It is needless to say that I have been very busy recently on the emotional front of my life.
VINEETO: A serendipitous wide-ranging field for investigation into the Human Condition indeed.
I wrote in my last post –
The more I understood the impact and the ripples that each of my feelings, emotions and instinctual passions and its ensuing action was having on me and people around me, the more my intent grew to investigate those feelings and emotions and change my behaviour in order not to cause any more of those ripples. The intent for peace, to become completely harmless, made me look not only in the direction of the obviously uncomfortable emotions like guilt, anger and fear, but also at the cherished ones like hope, love and euphoria. The more I dug into each of the feelings that I experienced at the time, the more I understood the self-centred nature of each of them. When I am drowned in emotions I cannot sensibly consider other people and the impact my behaviour has on other people around me.
So, in order to become happy – free of guilt and remorse, apologies and resentment – I also had to change myself to become harmless and stop causing ripples in people’s lives. One does not work without the other.
RESPONDENT: The main point is that I don’t want to hurt anybody while resolving my issue. I have noticed that this tendency of mine has, in a subtle way, been used by my wife (or maybe it is used by women in general) to make it very difficult for me to break up with her by apparently denying the issue while simultaneously making me feel guilty.
I think that honesty and clear communication is crucial in any relationship, be it with a lover (this seems easy but not painless, however) or my wife.
So ... I will proceed the best I can in hope of a peaceful separation and maintaining a friendship with my wife. The separation which will allow me to cultivate the relationship with the woman I am attracted to and hopefully to live together.
Well, this is my update as to what’s happening in my life. There are some spontaneously peaceful and perceptive moments combined with some confusion and fear of making a painful decision.
VINEETO: As this is obviously your adventure and your exploration into depth of the Human Condition in you there is nothing much I can add. I myself had several complicated relationship situations in my life, so I know it is not an easy task. I have learned a lot from those situations, about me, about relationship and about the things that don’t work.
The most important point for me when starting on the path to Actual Freedom was to remember that it is always only me that I can change and that I can make free. I can never do anyone else’s job and nobody can do anything for me. That’s the very nature of an actual freedom.
One of the first things I had to learn and successively understand was that obeying the ethical and moral rules of society or religion was not going to help me to reach the purity and perfection so clearly experienced in a pure consciousness experience. As long as I oriented myself on the ideas of right and wrong it always left one party ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’ and neither peace nor equity were ever achieved.
My ideas of what was morally good or ethically right would stop me inquiring, fearing to do something ‘wrong’, violating the moral code and ethical value of the tribe, the peer group and the spiritual / religious group I had belonged to. First I had to understand the workings of those moral and ethical rules in me before I could inquire further into the nature of my feelings, emotions and passions.
Having experienced the purity and perfection of the actual world and the intent to live that pure consciousness experience 24 hours a day, every day I could safely begin to abandon the moral and ethical codes that society imposed on me. Thus I whittled away at my social identity and its ensuing notion of right and wrong, good and bad. Now I can dig into the feeling that arises, find the root cause and understand why, when and how I feel this way, without the fear of ‘being wrong’ or ‘being bad’. Knowing the actual world from the memory of my PCEs I can determine what is ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ and act according to what is sensible and best for everyone involved.
I dug out some questions that Richard has answered on the subject of ethics and morals – the first obstacle to be tackled before one can really decide about silly and sensible action ...
VINEETO: Thanks for your notes and your thoughts. It is always good to get feed-back and thus be able to further investigate an issue I had not thought of before. It is one thing to practice actualism and investigate all the upcoming beliefs, feelings and obstacles of the Human Condition – it is yet a different thing to write about the process in hindsight.
VINEETO: ‘I’ am not needed at all. Virtual Freedom is the ongoing increasing experience of ‘my’ redundancy, kind of getting used to not interfering with perfection. The way I see it now is that death is simply an extension of this continuing discovery of ‘me’, the spoiler, being redundant, turning 98% redundancy to 99% and 99% to 100% ... ... pop.
RESPONDENT: Will this ‘I’-less state result in being slow, lethargic or will our natural body system of being active – passive self-regulate into a balanced state? There will be no more ‘I’ to psychologically motivate us and to influence the body to ‘get up and do something’ rather then, for example, to sit and enjoy a sunset. Or is being slow and lethargic an emotional state that will be weeded out by then?
VINEETO: If in asking the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I get the answer ‘ lethargic’, I know that there is a feeling to be looked at and investigated. In my experience, lethargy was a reluctance to investigate a scary issue, to question a deep-seated dearly held belief, to sort out peer-group pressure and explore what I had deemed to be the truth for many years. Lethargy, for me, is the same feeling that Alan calls ‘stuckness’, a seemingly non-feeling dull state where feelings are kept under the carpet because they are too scary to acknowledge and explore. Lethargy is simply another word for not wanting to be here, for whatever reason.
What got me out of lethargy or stuckness or denial or melancholy was always the sensible thought that it is my time and my life that I am wasting and that the issue will not go away by itself – nothing will change unless I change.
Enjoying being lazy is something different altogether. Doing nothing really well is an art that needs to be learned like every other ingredient of being happy and harmless. Doing nothing when there is nothing to do instead of running around frantically because ‘I’ need to add ‘meaning’ to life was an issue that I had to investigate over many months. For me, being capable of doing nothing involved exploring the fear and guilt of being useless, the need to belong to the group that was ‘doing something useful in life’ and the need of ‘me’, the identity, to assure my importance to others and to ‘myself’ with something that ‘I’ had produced. Additionally, there was the fear of boredom, the fear of being ostracized, the fear of loneliness, the fear of depression when there won’t be another meaningful task to get me out of bed the next day. All these fears were very real when experienced but none of them had actual validity for my physical survival.
The only thing I need to do is earn a living, pay the rent, fill the fridge and obey the laws of the land – the rest is a free choice of what pleasure to do next... There simply are no other rules as to what one has to do in life. And once I eliminated the need for, and the bondage of, the societal and religious morals and ethics, I am free to choose the best – which is to devote my life to becoming free from the Human Condition.
When I can enjoy doing nothing really well, I can also distinguish the difference between lethargy and laziness, guilt and hedonism, the feeling that I ‘should’ do something and the pleasure of getting my teeth stuck into an engaging project or issue. Investigating the Human Condition always boils down to ‘what feeling is preventing me now from being happy and harmless?’ – and then doing whatever is needed to change to becoming more happy and more harmless, until all of ‘me’ is eliminated in the final ‘pop’.
RESPONDENT: As a side note, according to Richard’s understanding of the egoless state of being, there is no imagination possible in an egoless state because one is totally busy living the life as it is happening moment by moment. As a consequence, there might be no concern about the future. If there is a total dis-concern for the future and one is living – as the body – in the world inhabited by other people, will not the physical safety be in danger? Or is the very idea of ‘danger’ emotionally driven and even when a dangerous situation occurs, the body will be busy living it and hence there will be no hard feelings against the situation.
VINEETO: There are a few distinctions that are vital for an actualist –
1. In Spiritualism, particularly in Eastern Spirituality, one is taught and encouraged to get rid of the ‘I’ or ‘ego’ in order to reach a permanent ‘ego-less state’ or altered state of consciousness aka enlightenment. In an ‘ego-less state ’ there is no little man in the head as the controller, but one’s feelings, the soul – fuelled and maintained by the instinctual passions – are now without a controller and rampantly expand to a feeling-state of ‘I am One with Everything’, ‘I am not the body’, ‘I am That’, and ‘I am the Divine’.
Actualism is firmly based on the fact that the animal instinctual passions are at the core of the Human Condition, which has an additional layer of societal conditioning, morals, ethics and beliefs that have been developed down the ages in order to control extreme outbreaks of the instinctual passions. Therefore a freedom from the Human Condition includes the elimination of both one’s social identity, which consists of the morals, ethics and societal conditioning (in Eastern spirituality called ‘the mind’ or ‘the ego’), as well as the underlying raw instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
So when I was writing –
... I was talking about ‘me’ as who I think I am and who I feel I am, both ego and soul.
2. Richard lives in Actual Freedom, which is being here without any identity whatsoever. With the death of his identity the faculty of imagination disappeared along with his instinctual passions. Therefore, whatever Richard writes is not a mere ‘understanding of the ego-less state’ but an accurate description of what he is living 24hrs a day, every day. Imagination for him is simply not possible because imagination cannot exist outside the feeling entity inside this flesh and blood body – it dies with the entity. And because there is no imagination interfering, he is ‘living the life as it is happening moment by moment’.
My ‘concern about the future’ goes as far as covering the basic necessities for my physical survival – a place to live, spending money, clothes, food and obeying the law of the land. For work I found it sensible to keep a car, so I take care that it is registered, insured and running well. Neither a fearful nor hopeful imagination about the future nor feelings, beliefs, morals, values and instinctual passions interfere with this simple and solely practical ‘concern about the future’ and life is easy and carefree.
As far as ‘the world inhabited by other people’ is concerned – there are some practical safety measures to be considered. When appropriate, I will keep my mouth shut and not talk about Actual Freedom, because people seem to get really upset when their dearly held beliefs are questioned. The Internet for instance, is a much safer place to have a conversation about Actual Freedom. But most of what is considered ‘danger’ is, in fact, merely emotionally perceive and disappears with the thorough investigation of one’s emotions, feelings and instinctual passions – the actual world is an imminently safe place to be.
A side-note – once you actively start investigating those hopes and fears whilst experiencing them, you will find out for yourself that they are very real but not actual. Thinking about one’s fears without thoroughly investigating what they are based on will, on the other hand, merely confirm the mother of all beliefs – that ‘you can’t change the human nature’.
Once I started to investigate a fear that arose from changing myself, the next time I found I could not take the fear as serious as before, for I knew that by exploring the fear it would eventually reveal its illusionary nature. With each fear removed, my brain was functioning better and clearer than before and was less restricted by chemically driven irrational hopes and fears. But it takes daring and initiative to start exploring one’s ‘ghosts in the cupboard’, as Alan and I used to call them. Freedom from the Human Condition does not happen by itself and it does not happen overnight. It needs persistent and bloody-minded sincere intent and thorough investigation – and then the rewards are beyond your wildest dreams.
I keep saying to Peter that if people only knew what they were missing ... all my dreams have come true, one by one.
RESPONDENT: Another side note: in the ego-less state there might be no planning and ‘control’ executed by the ‘I’ but it might nevertheless happen because of the brain’s instinct (??) of the body-preservation? Or is the instinct of the prolongation of the life also gone in the ego-less state and one is not concerned when death approaches?
VINEETO: I don’t know and I don’t really care. ‘Body-preservation’ without the instincts is none of ‘my’ business because ‘I’ won’t be here anymore...
Once the ‘self’ is as weakened as it is now, I am simply doing what is happening. ‘I’ am not needed to keep this body alive, on the contrary, ‘I’ had been continuously interfering with my physical well-being by worrying and fighting, dieting and indulging, being stressed or depressed, fearful or driven. My health and well being are now better than ever, I have stopped worrying about vitamins or minerals, starch or protein, vegetarianism or health-dieting, natural or homeopathic medicine long ago. Also I take it that the medical technology in this country is so advanced as to give me a good chance of staying healthy as long as possible ... and when my time is over I can surely say that I had had a perfect life, every day, 24 hrs a day, for years and years and years.
With the ‘self’ the fear of death also dies. Once ‘I’ am gone there won’t be anybody left to be afraid of death. Of course I can still jump out of the way of an approaching car or an attacking dog. Intelligence and apperceptive awareness together with the physical startle-response are enough to keep this body alive as long as is possible. It is the psychological and psychic fear of death that casts shadows of fear and doubt into our lives and prevents us from experiencing the safety, magnificence and abundant perfection of the actual physical universe.
So, don’t let your doubts and fears take over and stop you from investigating your psyche – there is much magic to be discovered.
PS: I found a little quote from Richard that might give you further encouragement ...
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your email. Yes, the instincts of nurture, desire, malice, fear and the related feelings of longing, anger, hate, depression, love, attachment, etc should be thoroughly investigated in one’s psyche so that when they arise next time they lose their grip on my behaviour.
VINEETO: To come to the understanding and conclusion that the package of instinctual passions and their subsequent emotions is worth investigating and eliminating is truly a big step towards actual freedom. This understanding is breaking with the traditional approach of covering up and balancing out the ‘bad’ feelings of ‘anger, hate, depression’ with a layer of ‘good’ feelings of ‘longing, love, attachment’, often spiced up with a bit of positive thinking that ‘maybe it’s not so bad after all.’
When you follow an emotion back to its origin as it arises and pin it down to an event, a memory, a belief, a fear, a part of your identity and finally the instinctual passion – then you can see it in the bright light of awareness and the emotion will lose its urgency and conviction and is seen for what it is – a bit of the software programming in the brain that can be re-wired and deleted. The next time, when the same emotion arises, it will be less convincing, the connection in the brain will slowly weaken and each time you investigate a particular feeling or belief, it will become weaker until the relevant connection in the brain is broken and replaced by intelligence and common sense. The important thing is not to act on the feeling impulse, to ‘keep your hands in your pocket’ – and I found that this applies for both the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ emotions.
RESPONDENT: But I believe that the remaining human instincts as basic as the ‘will to live’, or less basic such as to be creative, to make one’s surroundings beautiful continue to operate in the background of one’s psyche even in the state of apperception. The difference lies probably in that the focus of the psyche on ‘how I want it to be’ is relaxed or gone as one is enjoying this moment of the life.
VINEETO: Apperception, by definition, is a state when there is no self in operation, which means no social identity and no instinctual passions. From the glossary –
As for ‘to be creative, to make one’s surroundings beautiful’ –
The incentive to make my surrounding pleasing to the eye is simply common sense and delight in operation, whereby what is pleasing to the eye is different for everyone. Creativity is simply an expression of being alive as a sensate and reflective human being – it’s a pleasure to play with all that’s available, to arrange things according to my taste and liking, to produce something according to my expertise, be it for money or for mere fun. When I play on our website for hours and hours, it is not because what I am doing has some innate meaning or importance – maybe nobody will ever read it. Arranging and re-arranging, copying and pasting, sorting and collecting, scheming and categorizing is simply my way of appreciating what others and I have written about Actual Freedom to date. And it may be useful to somebody else to make sense of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being.
Creativity, as it is usually understood and applied, is inextricably intertwined with the creative person’s identity, an expression of his or her ‘real me’, one’s innermost being or ‘true self’ and, as such, it only reinforces the shackles of one’s identity. Beauty is the feeling perception of what the ‘self’ loves and creativity is the process of expressing that feeling of beauty or whatever other feeling the creative person wants to express.
Now, that my ‘self’ has lost the grip over me most of the time, I am simply doing what is happening and enjoy what I am doing. That doing may be working for people, sorting their financial affairs, writing letters, thinking something through, watching TV, redressing web-pages, cooking a meal, washing dishes, having lunch in town or lying on the couch. Having eliminated the basic resentment of ‘having to be here’, I now find that whatever I do is the delightful expression of being alive. Creativity or doing nothing is now all part of the same delight – being the universe’s experience of itself as a sensate and reflective human being.
RESPONDENT: It takes lots of vigilance to investigate this since often it is very difficult to makes sense of things. I think that labelling feelings helps a lot in the process.
VINEETO: Yes, ‘often it is very difficult to makes sense of things’ when one’s previous parameters of good and bad and right and wrong are falling by the wayside. Sometimes I had the feeling as if the ground was shifting under my feet. But then I could always stick to
As you say, ‘labelling feelings helps a lot in the process’ and works to distinguish the feelings, beliefs and facts of each situation. In contrast to Eastern teachings like Vipassana, which teaches you to name the feeling and then disidentify from it, actualism goes much deeper than merely snorkelling of the surface. The making sense for me happened when I had detected the belief behind the particular feeling or emotion and was thus able to determine that it was part of my conditioning, my religious / spiritual conviction, my accumulated behaviour from my peer-group, my gender or my national identity, etc. This way I have been able to dismantle, one by one, my beliefs, feelings and emotions and my identity has become thinner and thinner. Now, without a social identity, it is a continuous pleasure to be here and life is easy, carefree and delightful.
RESPONDENT: Is it easy for you to differentiate between the feeling of love and dependency and the sensation of fulfillment, freedom and happiness that comes when two people share intimacy?
VINEETO: I like your question. For an actualist, to investigate the good emotions of love, beauty and compassion is as essential as examining the bad emotions of anger, fear, resentment and depression.
In order to investigate the feeling of love and all its accompanying emotions, I had to sharpen my awareness and become persistently alert to detect when love was kicking in. Love is, after all, the most honoured and appreciated of all human emotions, and one is very easily tempted to brush over the nice sweet feeling when it happens.
Investigating and dismantling the good feelings is a real detective adventure game, because, as you mentioned to No 8,
Our identity thrives on feelings, it cannot exist without feelings and emotions – therefore detecting the emotion ‘plastered on any simple sensation’ is to separate out and successively eliminate your very identity – ‘who’ you think and feel yourself to be.
In the beginning, my guiding light was the memory of the pure consciousness experience when there was clearly no emotion happening, as well as the first brief moments of actual intimacy with Peter that occasionally occurred.
In hindsight I can describe love as a bundle of various emotions that arose –
All in all, love produces almost visible psychic tentacles that engulf the other and make him or her a commodity of one’s own desire. After all, love is the expression of the instinctual passions of nurture and desire, packaged nicely into a possessive and exclusive concern for, and focus on, the other. What is usually considered ‘intimacy’ is most often the first honeymoon stage of love. ‘I’ love the other because he/she makes me happy, because ‘I’ feel less lost, lonely and frightened in his/her presence. ‘I’ care for him/her because he/she is the centre and hero / heroine of my dream and the moment ‘my’ hopes, needs, dreams and expectation are not fulfilled, love turns into disappointment, resentment, retreat or even hate.
You see, when one honestly investigates the so-called altruistic feelings of love, there is nothing altruistic about it. Love is utterly selfish and self-centred. Love prevents me from appreciating and meeting the other as a fellow human being because every feeling towards the other, positive or negative, makes me unable to perceive the other as an autonomous human being. Being in love, I create an all-pervasive affective image of the other, consisting of my hopes, needs, fears, dreams and expectations. Only by being an autonomous human being myself can I experience an actual intimacy with my fellow human beings.
This is how I described my first experience of actual intimacy –
The following quote describes how I tackled love at the time and might be useful when you investigate the trap of love. It needs great courage to fly in the face of the highest human values and step out of the seductive feeling of love, again and again. But once you have experienced an actual intimacy, even for a brief moment, you can never be contented with the synthetic substitute of feeling intimate instead of actually being intimate.
VINEETO: How are you doing in hot New Jersey? We’ve had now almost a week of that heavy tropical rain that pounds on the roofs, splashes on to trees and roads in bucket loads, with the sound of waterfalls all around when it starts pouring. It makes me even more comfortable in the nice warm den at home. And whenever the sun comes out after these heavy rainfalls, all the leaves are strewn with dazzling rainbow-coloured drops and everything is shiningly green. The world is washed again sparkling clean.
There was some issue in your last letter that I have not answered fully and I thought it worth explaining it a bit more.
RESPONDENT: Is it easy for you to differentiate between the feeling of love and dependency and the sensation of fulfilment, freedom and happiness that comes when two people share intimacy?
VINEETO: Also you had asked No 8 a similar question –
Sensation is the purely sensate message that the brain receives from the senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch.
And on senses from The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
My perception of sensations has drastically changed in the last few years. It has moved away from ‘sensational’ intense sensate experiences, which were mostly accompanied by emotions, to an overall increased and unpolluted awareness of pleasurable aliveness as a sensate human being. Sensation and sensuousness today is the more and more prevalent attentiveness of the ongoing delight that my senses exude – the temperature on the skin, the warmth in the stomach from the last cup of coffee, the remnant of bitter and honey taste in the mouth, the subtle ‘click’ of the radiator switching on, the hum of the fridge, the colourful scenes outside the window, cool fingers on warm face...
When one stops to observe, there is a myriad of sensations happening each moment and usually we don’t bother noticing because we are so busy feeling and thinking something else. But then, what can be more thrilling than sensately feeling alive, just sitting or lying on the couch, or tasting some food, listening to the sounds of the night, the clock ticking away ...
Our senses are usually strictly filtered by the censor in the primitive brain and one only perceives a small percentage of the incoming sensual information. Further, the preoccupation of ‘me’, the instinctual identity, with emotions and beliefs makes pure sensate experiencing a rarity. The psychological self in the neo-cortex and the instinctual self in the amygdala are programmed to give a feeling interpretation of all sensual input. In order to avoid merely suppressing one’s emotions one has to roll up one’s sleeves and progressively deprogram one’s brain so as to be able to more freely experience the delight of one’s senses without the suffocating layer of feelings and emotions.
RESPONDENT: Is it easy for you to differentiate between the feeling of love and dependency and the sensation of fulfilment, freedom and happiness that comes when two people share intimacy?
VINEETO: The feeling of love is clearly a feeling of the ‘good’ category. When in love, every sensate experience with the other is experienced and interpreted according to the pink glasses of romance, lust, need, longing, nurture, dependency and belonging.
But what you call the ‘sensation of fulfilment, freedom and happiness’ is also a feeling, not a sensation. Those feelings are the felicitous/ innocuous feelings of the ‘happy and harmless’ category that we actualists aim for whenever possible.
As Richard explained in his recent letter to No 8, no-one with a self still intact can live without feelings – so we actualists opt for and concentrate on the felicitous/ innocuous feelings whenever possible and remove the obstacles to enjoying those felicitous/ innocuous feelings. As such, to ‘differentiate between pure sensations and feelings constructed around simple sensations of the body’ is particularly significant, when one’s sensations are accompanied by either the ostensibly ‘good’ feelings like love, gratitude, longing, bitter-sweetness or beauty, or ‘bad’ feelings like resentment, fear, disgust, aversion, complaint or apprehension. The aim is to incrementally free one’s experiencing of the sensual input from the shackles of emotions and instinctual passions and to facilitate a sensate-only experience known as a Pure Consciousness Experience.
This is where the diagram of the grey and green arrows – ‘What am I’ vs. ‘Who am I’ – comes in. ‘What am I’ is experienced through the senses and through ‘self’-less thinking and reflection. To free one’s senses of any distorting restriction created by feelings and emotions increases the possibility for experiencing ‘what’ I am. To investigate each emotion when it occurs, to question its underlying moral, ethical and spiritual principles is to decrease the impact of ‘who am I’ on the sensual experiencing. The same goes for reflective and contemplative thought. The more I investigate and eliminate my emotions, the less impact they have on my thinking and the more clear and sensible thinking will become.
The serendipitous cycle of decreasing the identity and increasing sensate delight...
Aaah, if only people knew what they are missing!
RESPONDENT: Chasing one’s own emotional states with bare awareness is, I think, similar to a video game where one’s own mind becomes an object of this game. It is quite addictive: A thought – bang – awareness of it. An emotion – bang – awareness, a sensation – poof – awareness. All is happening in real time.
Impatience – bang, a suffocating feeling – ching, a liberating feeling – zap, a body movement – zip. Not unlike a plane taxing and then taking off where the gap between the emotions and the act of seeing (the plane and the ground) is reduced and suddenly everything happens naturally of its own accord. Until the whole thing stops and one becomes afraid again ... until the next time when it starts again: depression – wizzzz, anxiety – poof, breath in / out ... embarrassment – yeeeep.
VINEETO: What a precise and contemporary description of awareness! And it gave me such a good chuckle too.
And you are right, this game is ‘quite addictive’ – I am eager and utterly curious to find out how I function, what’s behind this apprehension, what’s underlying this apparent feeling of boredom – ah, a moral rule, maybe learned in school, or a memory of a punishment when I was quite young, or just a raised eyebrow from some authority I had admired. And when I know where the feeling, the worry, the guilt, the shame are coming from, then I have a choice and I can decide for the felicitous way, the common sense, the harmless, the delight, instead of following the straight and narrow path of what is considered ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’.
Some feelings are discovered and eliminated right away, others are rather sticky and need a lot of ‘wizzz’, ‘poof’ and ‘ching’ before one can add them to the rubbish heap of moral parameters, ethical rules and useless psittacisms and replace them with the sincere intent to become happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: 1:07 am. I can’t believe I stayed up that late again. Good night to those from the same time zone.
VINEETO: Living in this moment in time does strange things to one’s sense of time, doesn’t it? There was a whole bunch of ideas, routines and habits about time, fixed sleeping and waking hours, separated working and leisure-fun time, that I incrementally abandoned as each moment became the important one, the only moment to experience being alive. There is still time, of course, daytime and night-time, segmented into hours and minutes, but because I enjoy being here now, my full attention is freed to living this very moment and then this moment is the only thing that counts. Now, and another now and another now ...
The psychological and psychic entity usually categorizes time into ‘feeling’, ‘I’ can literally only exist out of time, never now. Therefore ‘I’ was busy nurturing sad or happy memories of the past and busy imagining fearful or hopeful anticipation of the future. ‘I’ divided time into ‘good times’ and ‘hard times’, meaningful times and boring times. Investigating and eliminating the good and bad emotions and feelings has at the same time removed feelings of past and future time and allows me to be here, fully enjoying this moment of being alive.
Who would want to chase the feeling of, and belief in, immortality when one can have such delicious moments now?
What a good thing that you discovered that
I do enjoy your posts and your humour.
RESPONDENT: PS Napster is the second best invention after the sliced bread. Don’t you all agree?
VINEETO: Is ‘Napster’ the latest production in video games? I have discovered ‘Riven’ after it was sitting unopened in my cupboard for two years and it is good fun. For the latest 3D games I would have to upgrade my computer and that needs money and therefore some thought.
But I keep thinking about how we could make our own Actual Freedom video game with delightful landscapes of happy and harmless moments, finding and burning secret scrolls of useless spiritual teachings, removing shackles of moral and ethical programming, falling into various caves of emotions and instinctual passions and getting out again, discovering treasures of common sense, piecing together contemplative thought, plunging into a pure consciousness experience, testing one’s connection to pure intent, gathering a supply of altruism and finally winning the game when the hero goes out in a blaze of glory, fulfilling his destiny...
One day, with the right circumstances, a bunch of actualists, skills and money – who knows? So much has already happened that I didn’t even dream about three years ago...
VINEETO: You seem to be enjoying yourself more and more. It is great to read all the ongoing conversations on this list – the benefit of applying actualism in your life becomes more and more apparent, wouldn’t you say so?
Isn’t it great to experience that one can indeed change Human Nature, that one can rewire one’s own brain!
RESPONDENT to Alan: A question has just popped into my mind. I have heard Richard say on many occasions that there would be no benefit for anybody to be in his presence for he is just immensely enjoying every moment of being alive as a body and there is no energy or anything psychic in his presence. But isn’t it rare to see a person enjoying himself so much every minute of his life? I am wondering why he said that. Probably to discourage any possibility of a cult developing around himself.
VINEETO: As someone who sees Richard in person from time to time, I can confirm his statement that there is indeed not a flick of psychic energy emanating from him that would help anyone to proceed faster with Actual Freedom. Nor does he have the ability to read someone’s mind or heart, manipulate another’s energy through psychic power or transmit any wordless Wisdom. This is 180 degrees opposite to any spiritual teaching, where sitting in the Presence of the Master is deemed vital for one’s progress and for the transmission of Love, Compassion and the Truth That Cannot be Talked About. An example is this description about St. John de Ruiter’s Satsangs –
VINEETO: It is indeed ‘rare to see a person enjoying himself so much every minute of his life’ and rare to meet a benevolent fellow human being, relating to others intimately in utter equity and parity. Yet, as Alan will readily confirm, in order to learn how to become happy and harmless, the two million words written so far on The Actual Freedom Trust web site are sufficient to convey the method and answer every possible objection to becoming free from the Human Condition. To proceed on the path to Actual Freedom Richard’s presence is not needed at all, actuality can be discovered independently of meeting him in person because it is already always here under our very noses.
The Third Alternative, having been discovered by a daring pioneer, can now be pursued by anybody who wants to become actually free, exactly as nobody now needs to know Christopher Columbus in person who wants to travel from Europe to America. Any cultic activity would only serve to avoid changing the only person one can change, oneself.
VINEETO to Alan: Another outcome of not being able to empathize with others is that I start seeing the funny side of beliefs and emotions, particularly when I read Richard’s correspondence on other mailing lists. There is definitely a learning curve how not to be stumped by doubly twisted stupidity soul-d as deep wisdom, the latest spiritual insight, silly psittacisms and atavistic humbug. How is this for a sample –
RESPONDENT: It is definitely unfortunate to discover that one is a planet Earth. But even more so to discover that one’s soul is the planet of Uranus. I have to finish this email before the molten lava of my soul bursts into laughter and burns my computer beyond repair.
VINEETO: Good you are here. Does your computer still work or did it burn along with Uranus?
VINEETO: At the risk of damaging your computer when ‘the molten lava of [your] soul bursts into laughter and burns [your] computer beyond repair’ I send you this snipped of information from the ‘guru gossip’ web site –
There is a new book being released called
This new form of psychic help beats any old-fashioned attempts to heal oneself through traditional therapy and meditation. The new mode is – get raped by a Martian and then pay £130 for 3 hours to make it look real.
VINEETO: Good to hear from you and that you are having fun!
RESPONDENT: Hi Vineeto, A big smile is on my face! Crazy, isn’t it?
I am sitting in my office enjoying this dark blue-skied time of the day just before dark. The trees are already black but the sky is still deep dark blue. There are some fire flies flashing their yellow lights. Do you like this time of the day?
VINEETO: Yes, that midnight blue time of night is a wonderful time. Sometimes we go to town shortly before sunset and, while sitting in the coffee-shop with one or two delicious cups of coffee and maybe a little sweet, watch the sky turning from sky-blue to pale-blue to pink, orange and peach, then clouds turn lead blue and sometimes fiery red and orange, depending on the cloud formations of the day. By the time we walk home, the light fades, the evening has turned almost into night, with cool air and eventually the stars become twinklingly visible in the midnight blue sky. Just yesterday the sliver of the new moon graced the evening sky as well. It still amazes me how different the slice of the moon looks from the ‘bottom’ of the earth compared to the northern hemisphere – I am still remembering the )-shape of the moon from my youth.
RESPONDENT: PS I finally have got to get my ass off the chair and get these alien metal pieces and wires removed from my aura or else I might become just another victim of lightening one of these days (It has been rainy in New Jersey lately).
VINEETO: It is just as well that you are careful. Here I found another description of an alien encounter –
VINEETO to No 8: Actuality, as experienced in a pure consciousness experience, is sensuously evident, it requires neither passionate belief nor intellectual proof – the universe is happening, infinitely and eternally, whether anyone sees it or not or agrees with it or not. But to be experiencing this ongoing cornucopian unfolding of matter, animated matter and conscious animated matter is the most exquisite experience to have in one’s life. It leaves even happiness far, far behind in its superb abundance, its sparkling purity and its immeasurable variety. <snip>
Life is not a sick joke.
RESPONDENT: Hi Vineeto, I see the list has been busy lately.
I agree with you.
VINEETO: Yes, life is not a sick joke. One only needs to take a clear-eyed look around to know that there is no malice or sorrow in the clouds, the trees, the birds, the mountains and valleys and the stars in this wondrous wide universe. However, human beings, solely because they are inflicted with the genetically encoded program of the animal instinctual survival passions overlaid by a social identity, are unable to experience the splendid purity and vast abundance of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: I have discovered that when I check with myself: ‘how am I experiencing this moment’, and if I then realize I ‘dull’ myself, what works for me to get out of this being ‘stuck’ is to return to the basics. To contemplate my existence as a human on this planet. Actually, I often then find myself in love, in peace with the world as it is. It is not unlike the love for a woman because I have the need, the desire to be here, to enjoy it right now; the way it is. There is a certain feeling of intensity, sensual perceptiveness. There is also the sense of being undisturbed by hostile people or events. It makes me very comfortable and happy.
VINEETO: In my own experience, it has been relatively easy to be ‘in love’ with the world when everything was running smoothly, when I could maintain ‘the sense of being undisturbed by hostile people or events’. There were periods throughout my life when I had felt relatively safe, ‘very comfortable and happy’ and at peace with the world, but these moments were always conditional. Despite my temporary sense of being undisturbed by hostile people and events the feeling was fragile, my being undisturbed was not actual, i.e. permanent and my uneasiness was merely overlaid by a feeling of love. Any person or event could disturb such conditional peace and throw me right back into an emotional roller coaster.
My attraction to actualism was that, by ridding myself of the psychological and psychic entity inside this body, I can become happy and harmless unconditionally – without ‘me’ there won’t be anybody who is being riled or disturbed or scared by people, things and events.
The longer I practiced the method of asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and the further I investigated my own beliefs, feelings and emotions, the more I am now able to be happy and harmless regardless, no matter what the circumstances. The method of actualism is so effective because it is based on one crucial fact – whatever or whoever triggers emotions and feelings in me, be it love, hate, fear, sorrow or desire, these feelings are always my own feelings and I can therefore investigate them and ultimately leave them behind.
The basic program of the animal instinctual passions is ‘what can I eat, what can eat me’ – these passions divide the human world sharply into friends and foes, and the overlaying morals and ethics create further divisions of good and bad, right and wrong. One wants to feel love but not hate, one wants to feel connected to the good people and avoid the bad people, one wants to feel right and never feel wrong. In order to be able to live in the world as it is with people as they are, I had to examine this primary division whenever it surfaced.
Actualism is a process of shifting one’s focus from assessing a situation through opinions and instinctual feelings and instead investigating facts and actuality in order to come to a sensible response. If I look at a situation and I am overcome by emotions that prevent me from seeing the facts clearly then I first need to examine these very emotions and their underlying beliefs. Mulling over, nutting out, contemplating and observing emotions and beliefs in action is what enabled me to more and more see things for what they are when stripped of opinion, belief and passionate reaction – simple facts. A fact is a fact – it is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong – it is self-evident and it speaks for itself.
In the introduction to Actual Freedom it is summed it up like this –
RESPONDENT: Actually, I often then find myself in love, in peace with the world as it is. It is not unlike the love for a woman because I have the need, the desire to be here, to enjoy it right now; the way it is. There is a certain feeling of intensity, sensual perceptiveness. There is also the sense of being undisturbed by hostile people or events. It makes me very comfortable and happy. I think it is what you refer to as a PCE.
VINEETO: Richard writes about a PCE –
My first major pure consciousness experience happened after 3 months of emotional turmoil while I was trying to figure out how I could live with Peter and partake in his new discovery of actualism and at the same time not give up my spiritual beliefs and friends of the spiritual community I was involved in. It became more and more obvious that this was impossible, as I increasingly felt torn between two opposites. Within my ‘normal’ way of thinking, feeling and believing there was no solution to my dilemma, and the need for a solution became increasingly vital for my mental sanity. Further, my intent to not settle for less than the best made any compromise with myself impossible. Then, one evening while reflectively contemplating upon my conundrum, my whole belief system crashed – I popped through the fog of beliefs and saw the actual world for the first time in its – at first shocking – purity and simplicity.
In a PCE I am not in love with the world. In a PCE ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, thus freeing this body for a short period from the impact that my instinctual passions together with my beliefs have on sensory and reflective perception. There is no ‘me’, an instinctive feeling entity, assessing the situation and dividing the world into friendly and hostile people or events. Rather, I can look at the Human Condition in toto and I understand how it is operating in its totality, as myself and therefore in everybody, because I can see it from not being afflicted by it for a certain period of time.
A pure consciousness experience is vital for an actualist in order to experience the actual world in one’s own right so as to not have to rely on merely believing what any of us says or writes. A PCE is the touchstone by which I ascertain my direction towards my goal – to live a PCE 24hrs a day, everyday.
However, for me the path to actual freedom so far has always been about ‘the meantime’ – what do I do when I don’t have a PCE? In the meantime is where life is happening and this moment is the only moment I can experience being alive. To waste this moment of being alive by being grumpy, miffed, miserable, vindictive, dreamy, ‘out-of-it’ or fearful is simply wasting this moment. If I want to become actually free from the Human Condition then in the meantime I have a job to do. Actualism is certainly not an effortless path.
In the meantime I examine what prevents me from being happy and harmless right here, right now, whatever the circumstances. In the meantime I dig into my belief systems, my social conditioning, my automatic instinctual program whenever it interferes with feeling excellent. In the meantime I am using all the insights I could gain from my pure consciousness experiences in order to tackle the Human Condition in me. In the meantime I am virtually happy and virtually harmless 99% of my time. In the meantime I am now having the time of my life.
RESPONDENT: How are you? I think I know the answer to this question...
VINEETO: Good to hear from you. How are you doing?
Me, I am excellent. When I wake up in the morning I already know that I am going to have an excellent day regardless of what weather it is, if I am going to work or stay at home, if I have the flu or not. It is a remarkable way of living, particularly when I compare it with my life six years ago.
VINEETO: I am always astounded how deeply spiritual people are, and in particular how much humans have been trained to dissociate themselves from the uncomfortable situations they find themselves in, or from the undesirable feelings they experience. This afternoon I talked to a woman who said feelings and emotions come and go but they don’t disturb her wellbeing. Because I was curious, I asked her how she felt when she was feeling sad. She said she could feel wellbeing while being sad because sadness is transient, it comes and goes and does not affect the core of her wellbeing. She said feelings were only at the periphery whereas inside she felt ‘wellbeing’ and real ‘presence’.
By following this practice of considering her emotions as peripheral, she is in fact distancing herself from what she is feeling in the moment in order to maintain the idea that her inner wellbeing remains untouched. When I observed and examined my spiritual beliefs and practices, I found that distancing or dis-associating myself from what went on in my head or heart only produced a new, imagined and thus spirit-ual identity – a true ‘self’, a higher ‘self; a more desirable ‘me’. I discovered that the very act of distancing oneself from anything one is thinking, feeling or doing is a spiritual act, as in ‘I believe that I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my body’.
As an actualist, I acknowledge that everything I feel, think or do is ‘me’, the passionate identity, in action, and the only thing ‘I’ can do to weaken this identity is not only to take full responsibility for all of my thoughts, feelings and actions but also to bring them into the full light of awareness. Actualism is all about ceasing the habit of dis-association, luring the identity out of hiding and convincing ‘me’ to exit the stage for the benefit of this body, that body and every body.
Then the peace and splendour and purity of the actual world can finally become apparent.
RESPONDENT: My life goes very well. There are circumstances (some more than the other – like for example a walk in a park in New Jersey) that trigger in me questioning, checking with myself. Sort of: my head, ‘check’, two hands ‘check’, two legs walking ‘check’, body tension ... mood ... is there any discomfort... is there any stress ... am I happy, smiling... what about my motifs... what motivates my actions... How am I experiencing this moment of being alive... Sometimes I just catch myself reacting based on some emotional response.
One of my most subtle emotions is that I am somehow better than others, a ‘special’ person. It is difficult to see it because it is a very ‘quiet’ emotion; it does not create any discomfort thus signalling its presence...
VINEETO: To become aware of and discover the more ‘subtle emotions’ – the so-called good emotions that don’t seem to ‘create any discomfort’ – is indeed a bit more difficult, and feeling ‘better than others, a ‘special’ person’, is a good example for such a ‘good’ emotion. I found this feeling to be one of the core obstacles in being able to regard and experience other people as my fellow human beings.
In my spiritual days I had plenty of feeling superior to others – it was part and parcel of my belonging to ‘the master of masters’ and ‘his chosen people’. I felt specially blessed and I spent my life trying to become a ‘good’ person by listening to the ‘right’ teachings, practicing the ‘right’ spiritual practices and knowing the ‘right’ way to becoming one with the divine.
But, you guessed it, something was utterly wrong. The ‘right’ teaching did not result in peace and happiness and the ‘chosen people’ fought feuds against others religious groups and amongst themselves, just like everyone else. Over the years it became more and more obvious that my feelings of superiority couldn’t cover up what was very rotten underneath – in my honest moments I knew damn well that I was not ‘good’, let alone the best I could be. I knew that there were times when I was jealous and angry, sad and depressed, bitchy and grumpy, irritable and scared. In fact, despite the millions of wise words I had absorbed, I was neither wiser nor better than everyone else and my feelings of being superior only served to increase the separation I felt from other people.
Then I discovered actualism and began first to whittle away the ‘bad’ emotions, the ones that are very obviously in the way of becoming happy and harmless. But just as my life became easier because I was less sad and less angry, some other emotions came to the foreground and amongst them the feeling of superiority. At some point this culminated in feelings of being perfect and with it a rush of glory, compassion for all and an all-consuming pride swept over me and catapulted me into an altered state of consciousness. ‘I’ had grabbed the perfection of the actual world and claimed it as ‘my’ achievement, ‘my’ prize and ‘my’ glory.
That’s where the second half of becoming ‘happy and harmless’ comes into play. During the time when my feelings of being better than others was exaggerated and magnified like all get-out in this altered state of consciousness, these feelings were rather easy to examine and I could soon recognize that ‘I’, with my imagined superiority, was not harmless at all. On the contrary, in this delusionary state, I was so convinced of the ‘rightness’ and power of my thoughts and feelings that, had I acted on them, there would have been great potential to do harm to others.
The point I am trying to make is that feeling ‘somehow better than others’ is par for the course and is a very interesting part of the human condition to investigate. Soap operas and movie dramas are a fertile arena to observe this trait in action, where the good and pious heroes’ every word and action drip with righteousness and superiority whilst propagating hope, love and virtuousness. So yes, the feeling you discovered is an essential part of the human condition, and is well worth extensive exploration.
RESPONDENT: On a different issue: I just saw some commentary on the issue of ‘Crop Circles’ – a statement of a crop circle hoaxer who said ‘You could say what we’re doing is propagating belief systems’. It shows how deeply rooted is this urge in us to propagate belief systems, even these that we know are bogus.
VINEETO: Talking about ‘propagating beliefs’, I watched a television program called ‘Touched By An Angel’ for a while and found it to have great educational value. In the program God’s all-knowing angels patrol the world, plying God’s will to be done, offering hope and consolation with amazingly simplistic explanations about God’s messy creation, while their only response to the malice and sorrow in the world is that ‘God loves you very much’ . Banalities such as ‘God is as angry as you are that you have cancer but he will be with you all the way’ or ‘God is fair but life is not’ are offered as truths and are eagerly lapped up for want of a sensible explanation for the situation human beings find themselves in.
I always find it amazing that such convoluted fairy-tales have such a grip on the human race. But then again, the market for beliefs, be they old, newly propagated or recently recycled, is inexhaustible and people will seemingly do anything but give up hope – hope that somehow, somewhere, Somebody loves you, is in charge and has things under control.
It is such fun nowadays to know that I don’t have the need, or even the interest, to buy into any belief whatsoever, because the actual world I live in is so much more magical and magnificent than any fantasy can ever be.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.