Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Altered State of Consciousness aka Enlightenment
RESPONDENT: Been thinking about this overnight, and now offer a tentative answer to my own questions:
Perhaps what happened here was an upward shift of consciousness away from the reptilian / mammalian brain into the neocortex. From that selfless and affect-free vantage point, one can then look at the mind that one usually lives in; one becomes an amphibian who can now ‘see’ the water that a fish cannot see. Make sense?
If so, then I guess it follows that when the primitive levels of the ‘self’ are not only transcended but completely eliminated, there is nothing (inwardly) left to look at. A clear medium containing no images, symbols, feelings, no nothing, must be invisible – effectively non-existent.
VINEETO: I have read the description of your experience with interest. It looks as if you basically have answered your own questions, but for comparison you may be interested in an account of a similar experience that I had a few years back at the beginning of my practicing actualism. My experience was brought on by reading Bernadette Roberts and I experienced and interpreted it more in the spiritual context but I had a similar impression of being beyond of, or apparently free from, emotions, experiencing my psyche in its pure and boundless subjectivity.
This was my recent comment to a correspondent on this mailing list about this particular type of ASC –
RESPONDENT: First thing: neither of the above descriptions seems to quite match what happened to me. There was no ‘feeling of oneness’ or anything like that, no feeling that I am the Universe, no messianic urges, no sense of divinity, no sensory distortions, no feeling of being spaced out in a great ‘Nothingness’ or ‘Silence’ or ‘Stillness’ or ‘Void’ as described by mystics, and no loss of contact with the actual physical world around me. It was an ASC rather than a PCE, but of a rather different character from any kind of religious experience that I’ve heard or read about. (It was an LSD flashback, to be sure. I find it extremely interesting that it could be invoked at will, and I’m keen to understand what is actually happening here.)
VINEETO: Even if an experience starts off as a PCE, most often ‘I’ will step in and seize the experience as being ‘mine’ and interpret it to be a perfect experience according to ‘my’ idea or ‘my’ feeling of perfection. Or if one tries to induce a PCE as a deliberate repeat of a serendipitous event, ‘I’ want to remain on the stage in order to posses the experience as ‘my’ own. You described it well when you said –
As for ‘there was no trace of emotion’ it is useful to understand that ‘I’, the alien entity within this flesh-and-blood body am not only lost and lonely but also very, very cunning. With this is mind your experience could well be interpreted in this light – if ‘I’ have to disguise myself as a non-emotional psyche in order to stay in existence, then ‘I’ will do just that. This is precisely why pure intent is so crucial if one wants to become actually free from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: The underlying quality of my consciousness was very much like it was in the psilocybin experience I described earlier (walking through an invisible membrane into a bubble of perfection), except that there was more cognitive activity. That cognitive activity is extremely difficult to convey, but I emphasise that it did not eclipse or obscure the brilliance and clarity of the actual world, or make me feel I was a ‘spirit’, or that the world was illusory. Rather it complemented the actual world (as experienced by the senses) by exposing what seemed to be an innate pattern-matching / symbol-generating faculty in the psyche, which created a sense of underlying mathematical order and perfection pervading both mind and world.
The real difference between this ASC and a PCE, as far as I can tell after a bit of reflection, is that this ASC is characterised by what you might call ‘scientific mysticism’, but not the ‘mythological mysticism’ of religious experience. (Having said that, though, there was no suggestion of ‘other words’ or ‘parallel universes’ or ‘alternative realities’, either. It was a different way of experiencing this universe, right here and right now.)
To convey this more clearly, I’ll probably have to post some sketches of a much more extreme version of this pattern-matching / symbol-generating madness, which I experienced about 10 years ago on LSD (because this experience is very clearly an echo of that). I don’t have time to do right now ... but probably will later, because I suspect this is going to be a recurring theme with me.
VINEETO: When I read your deliberations about the experience, two things come to mind.
Firstly it is clear that you have no doubt that this ‘interesting experience’, as you called it, was an ASC and not a ‘self’-less PCE, so the difference is very obvious to you. Secondly, the perfection of the actual world is an innate quality to the infinitude of the physical universe, it is pure and magical but certainly not mathematically ordered as pure mathematicians would have it.
Many pure mathematicians apparently believe that mathematics is the governing principle upon which the universe was created and many even proclaim that God must have been a mathematician, or that pure mathematics is Truth. There seems no limit to anthropocentricity – it manifests itself in all sorts of weird and wonderful, and not so wonderful, forms.
In a PCE I am both apperceptively and sensuously aware of what is actually happening and the wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom is a journey of incrementally removing and abandoning all of one’s affective and imaginative programming that stands in the way of this experience of pure awareness.
Whereas in an ASC ‘I’ interpret what is actually happening according to what ‘I’ feel and imagine as being good and right and perfect and as such the path to a permanent Altered State of Consciousness necessitates the embellishing of one’s emotional and imaginative programming, not the elimination of it. You alluded to this when you said that in your ASC your ‘cognitive activity’ ‘complemented the actual world’ and ‘created a sense of underlying mathematical order and perfection’, which can only mean that a psychic entity needed to be present in order to do the complementing and creating.
In an ASC, as the name suggests, the psyche is altered, as in expanded, aggrandized, embellished, infused, refined and particularly flavoured according to the image or concept ‘I’ have of the perfect world. Once I had intellectually understood and personally experienced the world of difference between a PCE and an ASC, I rapidly lost interest in any detailed examination of the contents or contexts of ASCs – I simply saw them as being like wake dreams, outbursts of an excited, as in stimulated, electrified and/or feverish, psyche.
P.S. If you haven’t already discovered this – there is a topic in the library called ‘Affective Experiences vs. Pure Experiences’ and Richard’s correspondence on imagination might also be of interest to you.
VINEETO: When I read your deliberations about the experience, two things come to mind. Firstly it is clear that you have no doubt that this ‘interesting experience’, as you called it, was an ASC and not a ‘self’-less PCE, so the difference is very obvious to you.
RESPONDENT: Yep. The PCE I had last summer had none of this ‘pattern matching’ or ‘symbol-generating’, or ‘plasticity’, and the psyche was not ‘visible’ at all. There was an underlying similarity though that I can’t quite put my finger on, except to say that both seemed to have had a pure and perfect basis.
VINEETO: Would it be right to say that the first was a pure, i.e. ‘self’-less, experience while the other was an image of a pure experience created by your psyche?
RESPONDENT: Not quite. The other was an experience in which psyche was present, but it was not created out of or by the psyche. In both cases there was an underlying purity and perfection; in the latter case it was manifest in mind as well as in world. And the presence of a mind-medium (unlike ordinary ‘imagination’) did not in any way diminish the perfection and purity of the actual world as experienced by the senses.
VINEETO: The purity of the actual world means that there is no ‘self’ or psyche present and it is the affective ‘self’ or psyche that distorts the clear perception of what is actual.
If you decide to reinterpret ‘the perfection and purity of the actual world’ as being an experience of the psyche ‘manifest in mind as well as in world’ then we are talking about two different things. It does make communication a little confusing though.
VINEETO: Secondly, the perfection of the actual world is an innate quality to the infinitude of the physical universe, it is pure and magical but certainly not mathematically ordered as pure mathematicians would have it.
RESPONDENT: Would it surprise you to learn that I agree 100% here? I’ve chosen a bad way to express myself in terms of ‘mathematical purity’. First of all, I regard mathematics as a quantitative description of certain aspects of the actual universe, definitely not an inherent property of it. It’s a human invention, plain and simple. I don’t believe that mathematics is the foundation of the universe, or anything that happens within it. So why did I refer to ‘mathematical purity’? When you’re perceiving the universe in a way that makes you appreciate how wonderful it actually is, what’s the best language to use? I dunno. There’s poetic language, mythological/religious language, or there’s emotionally neutral language. I chose the words ‘mathematical purity’ because it conveys (to me) three things:
Firstly, the sense of being utterly beyond the Human Drama, in an intricately complex and marvellously orderly universe in which there are no Gods or any other mythological paraphernalia; things just unfold in their innate perfection.
Secondly, I tried to avoid one kind of potential misunderstanding in this mailing list, i.e. to differentiate the pure quality of experience from an experience with mythological/religious overtones, Paradise, Garden of Eden, etc. (But in doing that I inadvertently opened up the possibility of another kind of misunderstanding. My fault entirely)
Thirdly, in the depths of my previous ASCs I have been immersed in a kaleidoscopic world of geometrical and mythological imagery intervowen together in unimaginably intricate and fascinating ways. At that time, it seemed to me that I was looking at the very ‘DNA’ of the universe, the invisible ‘fractal forms’ that give everything its psychic and physical structure (and it didn’t matter whether I had my eyes open or closed; these self-similar fractal motifs were present throughout nature and psyche). I am still in two minds about the relevance of this perception. It may be that the universe (including the human psyche) actually is a kind of fractal generator, not set in motion by an intelligent designer, but simply as an innate property. Again, I agree with you that mathematics only describes phenomena in humanly quantifiable terms; it does not explain them, and I don’t believe it is the tool of some mysterious Creator. What interests me is not the mathematics per se, but the actualities that are quantified and described by mathematics, i.e. the splendour, the intricacy, the perfection. (A snowflake isn’t ‘designed’ to be mathematically wonderful, but it is!).
VINEETO: I have no previous experience of LSD so I can only go by what you write. I had some experiences of grand thoughts and apparent through-and-through understandings of the intricate patterns of the universe, the human mind, the secrets of everything, etc. whilst under the influence of THC, so we possibly may have had similar ‘seeings’.
Today, however, with the comparison to many PCEs I know that many of my THC-influenced ‘understandings’ then were affective and subjective and not actual and objective, they were fantasies produced by ‘my’ desire to understand everything. This infinite and eternal universe is far too big, far too complex, far too magnificent and far too wonderful to be comprehended, explained or understood by a human brain. Any attempt on my part to do so has only ended up in imagination. By the way, I think this is the very reason that human beings have invented a God by whatever name who then plays the role of someone who not only comprehends everything – is omniscient – but who is also capable of controlling it all – is omnipotent.
RESPONDENT: I’m not a mathematician or a scientist, by the way, so I have no idea why the universe chose to present itself to me this way on LSD ;-)
VINEETO: The universe doesn’t ‘chose to present itself’ to you this way – ‘you’ chose to take LSD and its effects led you to interpret the universe this way. And from what I have read of such experiences there is as much of a culture around such experiences as there is around spiritual experiences, which makes it difficult to ascertain whether what one is experiencing isn’t merely a culturally-influenced experience. It is telling that Christians ‘see’ Christ in their visions and not Mr. Buddha and that LSD imbibers ‘see’ psychedelic imagery whilst those who imbibe peyote ‘see’ ‘The Great Spirit’. Despite what human beings believe, the scope of human imagination is always limited by, and influenced by, cultural conditioning.
VINEETO: In a PCE I am both apperceptively and sensuously aware of what is actually happening and the wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom is a journey of incrementally removing and abandoning all of one’s affective and imaginative programming that stands in the way of this experience of pure awareness. Whereas in an ASC ‘I’ interpret what is actually happening according to what ‘I’ feel and imagine as being good and right and perfect and as such the path to a permanent Altered State of Consciousness necessitates the embellishing of one’s emotional and imaginative programming, not the elimination of it. You alluded to this when you said that in your ASC your ‘cognitive activity’ ‘complemented the actual world’ and ‘created a sense of underlying mathematical order and perfection’, which can only mean that a psychic entity needed to be present in order to do the complementing and creating.
RESPONDENT: Absolutely, a psyche was present, and if the presence of psyche makes it an ASC, then that’s what it was. But as I said to No 23, the psychic ‘entity’ seemed less like an ‘entity’ and more like a plastic medium in which events unfold. Not a personal thing at all, but also not a ‘divine’ thing either.
RESPONDENT: Aye, but enjoying some of the strange manifestations of one’s own nervous system, and seeing that it actually contains the same structures as the actual world, is rather different from believing in gods.
VINEETO: I don’t experience that ‘geometrical/ fractal’ patterns are ‘the same structures as the actual world’. I know that a snowflake contains geometrical patterns and that pyrite minerals for instance have very a regular cubic structure, but plant cells and animal/ human cells have an entirely different structure. A diagram of a bacterial cell structure can be found here: http://www.cellsalive.com/cells/bactcell.htm and an animal cell from the same website: http://www.cellsalive.com/cells/animcell.htm
Those ‘strange manifestations of one’s own nervous system’ are manifestations of the affective/ imaginative faculty of the brain. Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying them but they are neither pure nor actual.
VINEETO: In an ASC, as the name suggests, the psyche is altered, as in expanded, aggrandized, embellished, infused, refined and particularly flavoured according to the image or concept ‘I’ have of the perfect world.
RESPONDENT: Yep, I have no doubt that this can and does happen, and may in fact have happened to me. Some people’s visions of gods and demons and angels are very convincing, apparently. These perceptions of a fractal universe are very convincing too. I have no trouble acknowledging that being stunned and amazed by one’s perceptions is not proof of their validity.
At this stage though, I’m kind of reluctant to dismiss what might actually be a glimpse of something that is actually there.
VINEETO: I do understand the seductiveness of grand schemes, glimpses of revealed mysteries, allusions to hidden secrets – I have chased them more in the religious-spiritual context as superhuman powers, other-worldly mysteries, ethereal realms and divine revelations for many years. Others have chased them as science fiction, alien beings, mathematical meaning, magic mushroom tales and superhuman powers. As a means of distinguishing ‘my’ reality from the actual it is useful to remember that any perception by the psyche is perceived as ‘actually there’ while in a PCE I as my senses perceive directly, without interpretation, what is actually here – and it is patently obvious in a PCE that this actual world has always, already been here, right under my nose as it were.
Actuality is magical not because there is a hidden meaning or mystery but because everything is palpable, tangible, actual, not passive and right here and this actuality is available to each and everyone in the same magical vibrant coruscating way – if and when the obstructing blinkers of the human psyche are removed.
RESPONDENT: In fact there is nothing in my experience that is inconsistent with any known facts or observations, as far as I’m aware. The only objection seems to be that there was a psyche present, but why should that necessarily be an objection?
(I mean, if the psyche – or shall I say ‘mindspace’? – is experienced not as an entity but as a pure and perfect medium – as morally and emotionally neutral as air or water – is there any legitimate objection to the presence of psyche per se?)
VINEETO: The only reason that I objected to and ultimately abandoned the quest for such experiences is that I wanted to live the genuine pure consciousness experience 24/7.
What I found was that as long as ‘I’ had ‘my’ own unique (dearly held and passionately defended) interpretation of the world – be it a spiritual, moral, ethical, emotional or ‘pure’ interpretation – I remained distant from and even adversarial towards others who did not hold to exactly the same view of the world as ‘I’ did. At some point in my life this simply wasn’t good enough for me because I realized that holding onto ‘my’ personal interpretations of the world, however ‘pure’ I felt them to be, actively stood in the way of peace on earth.
Experiencing actuality in its purity is the same actuality for everyone – flesh-and-blood bodies experience the actual world with remarkably similarity – both sensately and sensibly – and many descriptions of PCEs from people who have never read Richard’s reports give testimony to both the commonality and universality of PCEs. (see )
VINEETO: Or if one tries to induce a PCE as a deliberate repeat of a serendipitous event, ‘I’ want to remain on the stage in order to posses the experience as ‘my’ own.
RESPONDENT: This is true I guess, but what it felt like was not exactly a conscious desire to possess it as my own (though I do see the potential for that happening), but rather a desire to play around with it aesthetically, like a kid with a kaleidoscope. I suppose one can desire to ‘possess’ something for two different motives, either as a way of empowering and glorifying one’s ego, or as a way of entertaining oneself. I think the latter is probably what made this PCE into an ASC. (But I can accept that the self is very cunning indeed).
VINEETO: ‘A way of entertaining oneself’ implies that being here is experienced as needing some more entertainment, …
RESPONDENT: No, not exactly ‘needing’ entertainment, rather delighting in possibilities that were not there before.
VINEETO: Yes, exploration often starts as curiosity but ‘I’, i.e. my desires and my fears, determine both the direction of the exploration and the interpretation of its results. Over the years I have explored different aspects of life – various forms of relationships and ways of living together communally, attempting to understand emotions in therapy groups, practicing meditation techniques, diets, alternative medicine and other superstitions, and many of them I explored just for the sake of exploring and experiencing, for curiosity’s sake and because it gave me something to do. However, whenever I took stock after years of such idle exploration I found that I had gathered experiences of all sorts but in terms of benefits I came out with very little result – in short, I still didn’t know how to live in utter peace and harmony with a companion and with all of my fellow human beings.
When I came in contact with actualism I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to find out in my explorations, and the clearer I became about my intent the more focussed I became as to which alleys to explore and which ones to ignore because they were dead-end streets in terms of my aim. The task of becoming genuinely happy and harmless was challenging enough in itself to keep me ‘entertained’ for years and the journey is not only utterly thrilling, it also gives ‘my’ life a purpose and a meaning.
VINEETO: … which is an assessment that ‘I’ make because there is no role for ‘me’ to play in the stunning clarity and sensuous delight of being right here in this moment in time.
RESPONDENT: Well that really depends on what is meant by ‘I’ and ‘me’, doesn’t it? Being right here in this moment in time, can there be any sense of intention? In my experience, the answer is yes, for sure.
VINEETO: When I am right here in a ‘self’-less PCE there is no intent, I am already experiencing perfection. The intent comes in when the PCE ends and ‘I’ make an assessment what it is that ‘I’ need to do in order to live this experience 24/7.
RESPONDENT: In a PCE ‘who’ is it that dips his/her toes into a cool stream just for the joy of it? Dipping one’s toes in the stream doesn’t mean that ‘I’ and ‘me’ are there with all their status-seeking and emotional baggage, but the action happens. In a PCE there can be an ‘intent’, without there being an ‘intender’.
VINEETO: In a PCE there is no ‘who’ to ‘dipping one’s toes in the stream’ but ‘what’ – this body delights in the coolness of the stream on a hot day. ‘Who’ is the psychological and psychic entity who thinks and feels ‘he’ or ‘she’ is in control, whilst in a PCE this controller is temporarily absent. There is no intent in a PCE for I am simply the doing and experiencing of what is happening.
RESPONDENT: There can be thought without a thinker.
VINEETO: Yes. In a PCE thoughts happen or don’t happen depending on the situation.
RESPONDENT: And, in my experience at least, there can be visualisation without a visualiser, and no accompanying loss of the perfection and purity of the actual world.
VINEETO: This is how you described your experience with the visualisation –
The psyche, which you said was ‘definitely’ present, is the visualizer. Whereas in a PCE the ‘self’ /the psyche, which is not only the ‘Human Drama’ but the very motor for ‘images and symbols’ is absent. In a PCE I am this psyche-less flesh-and-blood body only, apperceptively aware of the sensual delights and reflective thoughts while they are happening on their own accord.
The reason why I am so persistent about keeping a clear distinction between the quality of a ‘self’-less experience as compared to the quality of an altered state with ‘a psyche present’ is because if anyone decides to want to become free from the Human Condition in toto then he or she needs to have an indubitable benchmark and therefore make a clear distinction between the two experiences. Otherwise one would waste one’s time chasing an Altered States of Consciousness instead of an actual freedom from the human condition. (...)
RESPONDENT: I would argue (not to be contrary, and not to suggest that you are wrong to do so, but simply because it seems like the truth to me) that it is indeed ‘one of your tricks’ to treat as ultimately valid only those experiences in which ‘you’ are entirely absent. Within the terms of your goal (actual freedom), this is understandable. But that goal is necessarily ‘one of your tricks’, even if you choose to define it as the only thing that is not a trick.
VINEETO: What you are arguing is that ‘my’ experiences of ‘my’ psyche are as equally valid as the only experience that is common to all flesh and blood bodies – the pure consciousness experience of the already-existing purity and perfection of the actual world. I can only suggest that you contemplate on the fact that it is precisely because everyone values their own psychic experiences so highly that peace on earth between human beings remains but a pipe-dream. (...)
VINEETO: At first I had only Richard’s report that he has no imagination whatsoever and that imagination is an affective faculty of the psyche – later in the actualism practice I could confirm this report by my own experience in that my imagination more and more disappeared and nowadays I have a hard time to activate it, for instance when I try to visualize objects others talk about that I have never seen. I don’t miss it though – it is one less distraction from sensually experiencing what is right here.
RESPONDENT: Right. I can understand this because in the PCE on a country walk I thought idly about where I was in relation to the town and river, found I could not construct a mental map, and did not give a damn. It didn’t matter in the slightest; it had no relevance. I was ‘here’, and that was all I needed to know. Besides, I was too busy perceiving to worry about creating some internal shorthand sketch of what was all around me in all its splendour. I do know what you’re talking about in this respect.
VINEETO: Good. And I take it that there was also no ‘desire to play around with it aesthetically, like a kid with a kaleidoscope’ as there was in your ASC. Interesting Experience, 15.12.2003
RESPONDENT: However, I am now starting to think that one can have one’s cake and eat it too.
VINEETO: Before you get carried away with this thought let me ask you how you think this would work in practice. The cake we are talking about is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, a ‘self’-less flesh-and-blood body living a pure consciousness experience 24/7. To ‘eat it too’ means to simultaneously have a psyche, which perceives the world as ‘pure’ in images and symbols? In other words you want to be ‘self’-less whilst remaining a ‘self’.
You can certainly entertain this as a philosophy but never live it as an actuality.
RESPONDENT: I do not currently accept that the presence of an image generating / image-hosting psychic medium (‘psychic’ = ‘supernatural’) is necessarily identity-bound because I have no reason to think so. It seems to me now that the ASC I described (and I’ve had more echoes of it subsequently) is no less ‘pure’ than a PCE. (It is indeed much harder to convey the purity in words, because ordinary ‘imagination’ is a very shoddy thing by comparison, but the purity and perfection are there in abundance). In the ordinary state, the ‘world’ is (for me) divided into what I call ‘worldspace’ and ‘mindspace’. Worldspace is the actual physical world of three dimensions that we all share and move around in. Mindspace is a private ‘inner’ ‘space’ which has no dimensions, mass, substance, or physical location. The phantom ‘objects’ in this mindspace are not actual, in that they have no substance, mass, location, dimensions, etc. If I conjure up a winged tortoise with a pink shell and Santa Claus riding him, white beard a-blowing in the breeze, it’s pretty easy and it takes only a split second. Where does the image exist? It is caused by electrochemical impulses in brain, no doubt, but it is not these electrochemical impulses, any more than these words are the electrical impulses that cause them to appear on your screen. The cause of the image is my brain, but the image is not in my brain. It is not in the room either. Where the hell is it? It’s not anywhere, it has no location at all, but I experience it right enough. There is no question of believing it to be ‘real’, it is obviously a ‘psychic’ (clearly not ‘supernatural’) phenomenon. That’s ordinary imagination as I know it. Nothing special there. The kind of ‘psychic’ (but not ‘supernatural’) phenomena I’ve been talking about are not even similar to ordinary imagination. It has the quality of perception. It is as different from ordinary ‘imagination’ as the actual world (as experienced in a PCE) is different from the ‘real’ world (as experienced ‘normally’).
VINEETO: From you description it appears that ‘mindspace’ is the experience of normal consciousness while ‘worldspace’ is the experience of altered consciousness. I do acknowledge that ASCs can be experienced as an extremely pleasant and desirable state – that’s their very lure. Words like grand, clean, beautiful, vast, open, good, powerful, in order, stunning, great, cosmic, wholesome, luxurious, wonderful, miraculous, mysterious, inexplicable, deep, fulfilling, oscillating, greatly enhanced, gratifying, majestic and so on come to mind when I think of my past ASCs. An ASC may even appear as ‘no less ‘pure’ than a PCE’ particularly when one wants to ‘have one’s cake and eat it too’.
My only point in this discussion is that there is an enormous and vital difference between the two and that the twain shall never meet. (...)
VINEETO: Actuality is magical not because there is a hidden meaning or mystery but because everything is palpable, tangible, actual, not passive and right here and this actuality is available to each and everyone in the same magical vibrant coruscating way – if and when the obstructing blinkers of the human psyche are removed.
RESPONDENT: Or, it seems to me (so far), looked through rather than from.
VINEETO: In your latest post you made it clearer what you mean by ‘looked through’ –
Despite the fact that you stress that there ‘was nothing ‘metaphysical’ about it’, the ‘psyche as medium’ is non-physical, non-material and as such non-actual, which is exactly what the word ‘meta-physical’ means. And bit of research into the methodology of Eastern Mysticism will reveal that the technique to ‘clearly look at the self-generating psyche’ instead of ‘through or from’ is precisely the technique of dissociating from the ‘self’ in order to transcend it. And, as Peter put it in his journal –
RESPONDENT: Only got time for a quick response right now, but this little passage has turned on a huge light bulb for me:
Thank you! That this ‘invisible membrane’ actually is my psyche had not occurred to me. It has a genuine ring of truth about it.
VINEETO: This is excellent because now you know a bit more about the nature of the difference between a PCE and your second experience. This is good news indeed.
RESPONDENT: Yeah, I think so. Let’s see how this sounds ...
In a ‘normal’ state of mind, I walk around in the ‘real world’ that most people share. In this state, I experience the mind/psyche as a bundle of personal thoughts, memories, feelings, desires, fantasies, etc, all emanating from ‘my’ brain, all revolving around ‘me’ and ‘my’ world. This is ‘reality’. Walking out of this felt like walking through an invisible membrane, right out of the (comparatively) grim, grey, miserable world of reality and right into the sparkling clear, brilliant, wide open spaces of the actual world.
VINEETO: Yes. And as Richard puts it, in doing so, you leave your ‘self’ behind.
RESPONDENT: I’d always thought of ‘me’ as something contained wholly within the body; I didn’t realise that the miserable bugger actually creates a virtual bubble of ‘reality’ that encapsulates and distorts the whole of the ‘real’ world as I experience it – but it’s obvious now. When I walked out of that, I walked out of ‘me’. In hindsight it makes a lot of sense. (As Richard said, not ‘into a bubble of perfection’ but ‘out of a bubble of imperfection’).
VINEETO: Yes. Not that anybody did the ‘walking’. I would describe my transition into a PCE more as if a curtain rips, a bubble bursts, a shell breaks, and then suddenly I, this body only, am here in this sparkling actuality, which has been right here all the time. And when the PCE fades ‘I’ know that ‘I’ have work to do, the work of thinning, diminishing, weakening the shell that ‘I’ at the centre create and which in turn separates me, this body, from experiencing the sparkling ever-present actuality.
RESPONDENT: It also sheds some light on the ASC. In the ASC, the personal self, the ego, is gone – but the psyche remains. In that state, the psyche has a wholly different experiential character. It is experienced as something impersonal, something ‘I’ could never produce. And yet it is not actual, not physical, not available to anybody else’s gaze, therefore it is specific to this brain.
VINEETO: Yes, any ASC experience is ‘specific to this brain’ because it is produced by the affective/instinctual part of the brain, the limbic system.
RESPONDENT: It is experienced as a jelly-like medium in which thoughts and images arise. I think the images that arise from this ‘medium’ are probably what Jung called the archetypes of the collective unconscious, but Jung was mainly interested in their mythological meaning …
VINEETO: When I explored my instinctual passions, loosely classifiable as fear, aggression, nurture and desire, I recognized quite a few of what Jung described as archetypal features and a few more to boot – they are the basic emotional patterns that everybody has regardless of cultural differences or idiosyncratic predispositions. Given that in the altered state of consciousness only the ego is temporarily absent, the archetypal instinctual features come to the fore, stripped of the moral and ethical limitations acquired in one’s conditioning.
In an ASC the personal ego and its associated notions of what is right and wrong, good and bad is no longer functioning, which means that all of one’s instinctual passions are then perceived in a new light. With guilt and shame, fear of punishment and hope for reward no longer functioning, an ego-less person then re-interprets all of their instinctual passions as being good, beneficial, justified and/or glorified by the Divine. If you study the lives of people who permanently live or have lived in such altered states of consciousness – Ramesh Balsekar, Da Free John, Mohan Rajneesh, Jiddu and U.G. Krishnamurti or those who occasionally experienced an altered state by chemical stimulation such as Timothy Leary or other drug researchers – you will find that they not only espouse the tender instinctual passions but also defend their savage instinctual passions as not only necessary, but right and just – a clear indication that an altered state of being is within the grip of the passions that underpin the human condition.
RESPONDENT: …whereas, for me, any mythological meaning (including the whole ‘human drama’) was entirely eclipsed by the ‘psychedelic’, geometrical, mathematically perfect structure of the medium in which they arose, and of the actual world in which this body was moving about. (I am quite certain that these ‘structures’ are direct experiences of actual neural mechanisms that underpin perception and cognition; they are not produced by imagination. The similarity of ‘psychedelic’ experiences across cultures and eras tends to bear this out too).
VINEETO: Although your psyche felt itself to be impersonal, it nevertheless overlaid, tainted and re-interpreted the physical world ‘in which this body was moving about’ and thus actuality was as much distorted as it is in normal reality. ‘The similarity of ‘psychedelic’ experiences across cultures and eras’ is due to the fact that the psyche of all humans produces similar images and feelings in similar circumstances – the very basis for Jung’s observation of archetypal emotional patterns ‘across cultures and eras’. It might be useful to reflect on the fact that your PCE accorded with those that others describe as being a brief glimpse of being actually free from the human condition, whereas your psychedelic experience accords with those who take psychedelic drugs in order to temporarily escape grim reality.
RESPONDENT: This is my current (tentative, provisional) model of self/world:
To extend the physical metaphor of the membrane for a sec, bearing in mind that it’s only a model ... consider a virtual egg. The yolk is the normal self, wherein ‘I’ and ‘me’ exist. Surrounding the yolk is the clear jelly-like goo which is the medium of the impersonal psyche.
VINEETO: I think the egg is an excellent metaphor. Generally I use the terms ‘I’ and ‘me’ according to how they are used in other consciousness studies whereby ‘I’ stands for ego or the small-s ‘self’ and ‘me’ stands for soul, psyche or the higher, big-S ‘Self’. In an altered state of consciousness one experiences that the centre, the yolk in your metaphor, has disappeared which results in a feeling of freedom and an expansion of consciousness. But only in a pure, both ‘self’-less and ‘Self’-less, consciousness experience can it become apparent that there is another part to the human condition, the very core in fact, the ‘jelly-like goo’ of the egg-white, which is as much contained within the hard shell of the egg as is the yolk.
RESPONDENT: Outside the shell is the actual universe as experienced in the PCE.
RESPONDENT: In the ASC, the centre of experience/awareness/cognition is situated not in the yolk or outside the shell, but in the jelly.
VINEETO: Yes, or more accurate, one experiences oneself to be centre-less – without a centre as in not having a personal ego or identity but affectively experiencing oneself as boundlessly living in one’s own version of a perfect world.
RESPONDENT: From there, it is possible to look outward to the clear open spaces of the actual world, without any distortion (just as in a PCE),
VINEETO: No, the ‘the clear open spaces of the actual world’ are images ‘I’ project on the inside of the eggshell, not a direct perception. The ‘jelly-like goo’, the sticky instinctual substance of the psyche, prevents any direct perception of the actual world outside of the shell, while it simultaneously creates the feeling of boundless freedom.
RESPONDENT: … or to look ‘inwards’ at the virtual entities emerging from the yolk.
VINEETO: The one who is looking ‘‘inwards’ at the virtual entities emerging from the yolk’ as well as looking outwards its projected image of ‘the clear open spaces of the actual world’ is but another aspect of ‘me’ … and the most cunning of them all.
RESPONDENT: I understand that the goal of actual freedom lies outside the ‘egg’ altogether.
VINEETO: O.K. Do you also understand why?
RESPONDENT: I am still not 100% sure, but I suspect that being outside the ‘yolk’ is sufficient to enjoy the same results with fewer compromises (and perhaps even some as-yet-undiscovered benefits).
VINEETO: With this assessment you are in agreement with all of Eastern mysticism, Western mysticism, Sufism and the secular branches of human consciousness studies. The search for ‘some as-yet-undiscovered benefits’ of altered states of being within the human condition has been going on for at least 5000 years of human history, so you will find the supposed benefits listed in the literature of spiritualism and mysticism as well as in the results of psychedelic experimentation.
As is apparent from the way human beings, nations and cultural and racial tribes relate to each other, peace-on-earth is not amongst the benefits of ‘being outside the ‘yolk’’.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me, and this is the key point, that the instinctual passions are operative only within the ‘yolk’, but I need more experiences to make sure.
VINEETO: What is not operative ‘outside the ‘yolk’’ are the morals and ethics that one normally uses to assess one’s instinctual passions and this is what causes the deception that the instinctual passions themselves are not operating. However, the more you become attentive to, and familiar with, the cunning disguises of the identity and the more you become sensitive to the feelings hiding beneath denial and transcendence – a well-known toxic side-effect of an altered state of being – the more you will come to experience for yourself that the instinctual passions are fully operating ‘outside the ‘yolk’’.
Richard has lived an altered state of consciousness –‘outside the ‘yolk’’ – for eleven years without interruption and he was able to step out of the ‘Self’ into the purity and perfection of actuality only by systematically investigating the instinctual passions, particularly the tender instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: If I’m wrong about that, the whole egg is shattered, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can all go home.
VINEETO: In order to find out that I was wrong about my favourite beliefs I needed a good reason to doubt them and the only reason good enough to doubt my identity-sustaining beliefs was my passion for peace-on-earth – something which all of my well-meaning beliefs had not been able to deliver.
In my experience, the process of becoming actually free from the human condition is not a matter of hoping for a one-day sudden shattering realization but it is a steady effort to firstly acknowledge, become aware of, discover and diminish and then to successively abandon one’s beliefs and feelings of malice and sorrow, one’s schemes and dreams, one’s hopes and fears that prevent me from being harmless and happy. Then, one day, with apperception more and more in operation, the last of the weakened ‘me’ will simply wither of starvation. It being an actual and not an imagined felt freedom there is neither a leap nor a short-cut.
I think No 32 put is very well when he said to No 58 –
RESPONDENT: I got quite stoned last night (for the first time in many years) and was quickly reminded of the prominence of the soul. How ‘me’ is such a presence, and influence. At the same time, I was more aware of what I was thinking and feeling, and instinctually responding. It was an altered state of consciousness, but it lent a lot of insight into how ‘i’ am the way ‘I’ am. The things I fear, I desire, and how others are as well. I was questioned about childhood, and relations with my family, and I remembered some things I had forgotten, and felt some things I had suppressed and somewhat avoided feeling before.
I remember reading somewhere that Peter and you used to (do you still?) smoke pot to talk more openly. I wonder about the ‘open-ness’ that happens. Is it different for different people?
VINEETO: From what I’ve been told experiences are different for different people. What it did for me at the beginning of practicing actualism was to allow me to become more aware of the magic and wonder of being alive and the possibility of taking life as the adventure and the discovery it actually is. The important thing was not to let myself get ‘stoned’ but to maintain awareness throughout and then it enabled me to distinguish between the various emotions that occurred without being overrun by them. Once I got the hang of it, I was then able to recognize, discern and, if necessary investigate, my emotions without the use of THC.
RESPONDENT: My experience last night was that I was ‘talking from the heart’, really ‘baring my soul’, exploring, and discovering, what I really felt about things. Is that what it was like for you?
VINEETO: You may remember Peter writing in his journal –
RESPONDENT: I didn’t believe what I was feeling and saying to be factual – simply that I felt it strongly. Was it ever that way for you?
VINEETO: Yes, when I am adding awareness to my feelings as they happen, it is obvious that feelings are not actual and factual but it is also obvious, when I am being attentive to the feelings whilst they are happening that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’ – in other words, my feelings are my very soul.
RESPONDENT: The experience showed me how powerful people’s feelings are for them, and how sometimes, self-belief (or Self-belief) is really convincing.
VINEETO: There is no need to either believe in one’s feelings or in one’s ‘self’ in order to make them real – as an entity I *am* my feelings/ my ‘self’, and believing or not believing does not alter this fact. It takes much more than dis-belief in order to disempower the grip emotions have on us.
RESPONDENT: Hmm. But what I meant by self-belief is feeling – and operating on the feeling – that the self is actual (which is what I do when I am a social identity and am not experiencing this moment of being alive), and what I mean by Self-belief is feeling that the soul is actual (which is what I would have done in the past when I was stoned, had I not come across actualism/ had a PCE/retained its memory).
VINEETO: Yes, I understand that. It was my experience in some altered states of consciousness that the social identity disappeared and with it the morals and ethics that I had taken on board in the course of my life, the doubts, guilt and shame and the usual rationalizations and justifications, and at the beginning of actualism these morals and ethics included my *philosophy* of actualism as well. This absence of my social identity brought the ‘real me’, my bare soul, fully to the surface and made it all the easier to discover and explore how ‘I’ operate as a soul, as the instinctual passions, in all their glory and all their menace.
In the paragraph above I was merely stressing the point, because many people in past correspondences have misunderstood or missed this point, that to stop believing in a ‘self’ or a ‘Self’ does nothing at all to become free from one’s ‘self’ and ‘Self’ nor does it rid you of any of the accompanying feelings and actions. Disbelieving one’s deep-seated feelings obviously makes it more difficult to bring them to the light of awareness.
RESPONDENT: That night’s experience was such a strong sense of I am this soul, this is the ‘true self’. Although right now, as I sit here, I know I am my feelings, it’s such a different relationship from feelings as when being an egoless soul. I knew that I was my feelings so much more immediately.
It was funny because I’d experienced it so many times before, but not for years… and I’d really almost completely forgotten about it so that when I first read the Actual Freedom Trust website, the break-through happened when it shook my complacency (which was kind of like wishing and waiting for the Absolute to come back) and made me stop believing in the power of the absolute. But when I was stoned and was completely the soul, I was feeling all these things that are discussed on the Actual Freedom Trust website that I’d never seen before. It was like having scoured a map for a whole year then getting seeing a territory that it referred to for the first time, and being able to recognise references to it. Such as the in-your-face psychic currents, the preoccupation with the after-death (immortal) state… but not the absence of things like malice and sorrow (which were experienced quietly, in a way that didn’t really bother me like they can often, when I am a social identity), nor the supremacy of love and compassion (which were experienced only in the form of empathic understanding of others’ feelings). I speculate that if I had generated love and compassion in that state, maybe I could have overrun the malice and sorrow, but I had no interest in it. I was fascinated enough at how I was experiencing everything, and also aware of how all this isn’t actual and I don’t want to perpetuate it or make ‘i’ any stronger than ‘I’ already am.
VINEETO: I suppose you can now understand why actualists have stressed the importance of diminishing one’s social identity first in order to be able to dive deeper into the stygian depth of one’s psyche. And the only safe way to diminish one’s social identity (the morals and ethics imprinted by society) is to make being happy and particularly being harmless the number one priority in one’s life.
RESPONDENT: Also, I wondered often during the night how it could be possible to go from being this soul to not being at all. It can’t be impossible, because Richard’s done it, hasn’t he? After he realised his enlightenment was a delusion, and prior to ‘his’ total extirpation, he still had no ego, did he not? So it was from an altered state of consciousness straight into extirpation.
VINEETO: You’ll have to remember that Richard’s was a *permanent* Altered State of Consciousness, his ego became extinct in 1981 – he could not have gone back to being normal even if he wished. The other thing is that Richard had nobody to show him the way; he stumbled in the dark, so to speak, except for his own PCEs that indicated that there was something fundamentally wrong with the state of enlightenment. And if you read personal reports of enlightened people, for instance Da Free John, you will find that they are still prone to negative feelings such as jealousy, panic, ‘divine’ anger, sexual urges, intense frustration and such like.
The problem with endeavouring to become actually free via Enlightenment – and Richard has talked about it many times – is that the ‘Self’, the instinctual passions, are expanded like all get out with no social identity to keep a lid on them, which in turn makes them more powerful and less transparent. You may be interested in a conversation Richard had on this topic with No 16 and a few days later with No 60.
From my own experiences with altered states of consciousness, where common sense was pushed way back into the background, I know that it will be much easier to become actually free when both the social identity and the instinctual passions are diminished than when the instinctual passions are in full swing. The path to an actual freedom via virtual freedom is indeed wide and wondrous because by bringing beliefs, morals and ethics to the bright light of awareness they successively disappear and by bringing your instinctual passions to the bright light of awareness they are disempowered and can easily be channelled into the felicitous feelings of amazement, marvel and wonder. Feeling felicitous/ innocuous life becomes more and more easy, sensate and sensuous awareness prevail, naiveté flourishes and apperceptiveness almost happens on its own accord.
RESPONDENT: There seems to be a lot to get lost in an altered state of consciousness. But there seems to be a lot of freedom in seeing it so clearly too, even if you’re seeing it from the inside (being a self, after all).
VINEETO: Here you put your finger right on the nub why Altered States of Consciousness, and the search for permanent ASCs known as Enlightenment, is so attractive to people. The lure is to just stop struggling and ‘be Who-You-Really-Are’, your feelings freed from the social conscience that normally keeps them in check. However, when you look at the actions and teachings of people that live in states of Altered States of Consciousness /Enlightenment you’ll discover the extreme narcissism that underlies their state as well as all of their actions – they proclaim that ‘I am the only arbiter of what I experience, what I do and what I teach’, ‘I am the center of the universe’, even ‘I am the Creator of all that surrounds me’.
RESPONDENT: I haven’t read this yet but will in a little bit... just want to get the email out to you while I know clearly what I write. It’s not often i can write thoughtful, feeling-relevant letters like this because I don’t always experience my feelings directly and clearly enough to write my responses directly... when I don’t, they often get mediated by secondary or tertiary social identity type responses that end up being kind of irrelevant and distracting.
VINEETO: Yes, for an actualist it is vital to whittle away at the restraints and controls of one’s social identity in order to be able to fully experience and explore the underlying raw instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: What was (or is) marijuana smoking like for you? Did it ever lead you into an altered consciousness that you recognised to be such? I don’t know if I should smoke again. I guess I feel a little uneasy about it.
VINEETO: In combination with practicing actualism it did lead to several altered states of consciousness which allowed me to experientially explore this state (that I had previously been aspiring to for so many years on the spiritual path) and to recognize and explore its traps and pitfalls to my satisfaction. It’s good to know what to avoid when embarking on a journey into one’s psyche in order to leave it behind. If you are interested here is where I wrote about these experiences on the website.
RESPONDENT: Did all these experiences happen while you were feeling the effects of smoking marijuana?
VINEETO: Some of the experiences I described where THC-induced and some of them just happened because I inquired intensely and sincerely how I was experiencing this moment. The deciding factor was that I wanted to know how ‘I’ tick – otherwise those experiences would either not have happened or remained mere curiosities and not the revelations about the human condition that helped me to become free from it.
RESPONDENT: Another question… there’s another part of the site, I think its the descriptions of PCE page, where Peter talks about that PCE of his many years ago that resulted after taking MDMA, which also appears in the journal. But on that page, the parts that reference the drug were removed… How come?
VINEETO: The collection of PCE descriptions was put together for people to be able to determine if their experience is a PCE or some altered state of consciousness. For that purpose I took the description of Peter’s PCE only and not the circumstances that initiated the experience. A PCE is not dependant on taking drugs and many PCEs happen without people taking any substances at all.
KONRAD: I also talk about enlightenment as a stage of development, whereby consciousness becomes conscious of itself, but I do NOT consider this an end-point. It is just a stage of development, no more, no less.
VINEETO: Yes, enlightenment is a stage of development, not a very desirable one either. One develops hallucinations about being ‘one with the universe’, about being timeless and spaceless, about being another saviour of mankind, where so many others in the same business have already failed. Enlightenment is a development of imagination and emotion, from personal, selfish feeling to Grand, Universal Feeling (called GUF).
KONRAD: This denies what I myself write about enlightenment. I also consider all of these things false. So you disagreement on these points is not with me. Therefore your response is not to my words, but to Richard’s description about what, according to him, all enlightened persons have in common, especially false one’s. In fact, Richard’s words only apply almost exclusively to false enlightened one’s, or malicious one’s like Osho Rajneesh who want to be Gurus, or to people like J. Krishnamurti, who has nothing else to offer than this enlightenment. I myself do not say these things. And, if you look closely to the Zen literature, like in those stories of Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, most of them in those stories do not say these things either. And the person who has given me that ‘push’ that started it in me also never has.
VINEETO: So Rajneesh and Krishnamurti are false or malicious or have nothing to offer? Who is a ‘true’ Enlightened One then. What makes him/her true? What criteria do you apply? The Zen-people I had to ponder about at first, they are not so obvious with compassion. But if you have a closer look, they talk about beauty in their poems, which is an affective quality. And they talk about Oneness, Unity with the Whole, which is a delusion.
Enlightenment is death of the ego plus the usual inevitable aggrandisement of the ‘Self’. It applies to every enlightened person because nobody has ever questioned the delusion and proceeded further to eliminate the ‘Self’ as well. They all got stuck with the GUF.
VINEETO: Alan from UK has brought my attention to your web site through our mailing list and I am indeed intrigued and fascinated by what I found there. You describe very honestly and detailed the events that happened to you in 1997 and it is easy for me to understand the experience you had and the experiences you are now having ‘by thinking about’ what happened then.
You wrote in your introduction:
METTA: The intense waves of emotion that accompanied the ‘Awakening’ were rekindled simply by thinking about it, and it seemed that no words were large/broad/deep/magnificent enough to do justice to the power, intensity or vast extent of the experience.
VINEETO: Further you wrote about your ‘awakening experience’ in the epiphany (http://members.tripod.com/~Metta_Z/Epiphany.html):
METTA: ... transforming into an wave of complete and absolute euphoria, an indescribable contentment that extended far beyond the bounds of human expression.
Suddenly, I recognized that the world is absolutely complete and perfect, exactly as it is. The present moment was whole and integrated. Any sense of fundamental separateness was gone. ‘I’ was still there, but any anxiety I had ever felt was completely eliminated. All I knew/felt/experienced was the complete and absolute perfection of the present moment. Within this timeless, euphoric space, I suddenly realized and knew with unmistakable clarity that the universe, exactly as it is within the present moment, is absolutely complete and perfect.
This was a moment of overwhelming revelation, of pure and absolute joy. The perfection and wholeness of the universe seemed so obvious, so simple, so complete, so absolute. Like a bliss-filled fool, I alternately laughed and cried, spontaneously and irresistibly, at the exquisite perfection of All That Is. Even as I eventually awakened my partner, and began to shower and prepare for our client’s meeting, this astonishing energy continued to move through me, in wave after wave of sweet and unspeakable joy.
VINEETO: What you describe here sounds like a powerful Peak Experience. It can be brought on by various circumstances including certain drugs and lasts for periods from a few minutes to days. ‘I’, my identity, get a taste of the actual world in its utter purity and ‘as-it-is-ness’, in its clarity and perfection, and I experience everything including me-as-my-body being made of the same stuff as the rest of the universe. In a pure consciousness experience I don’t have the feeling of ‘Oneness’ but know for the first time that there is no actual separation between you as a physical body and the rest of the universe. In a peak experience I experience the world as it is, in its marvellous actuality, factuality, while ‘me’, the ‘self’ is temporarily in abeyance, not interfering. Then it is possible to see the world as-it-is, without the psychic and psychological web of human emotions, beliefs, instincts and fear. The peak experience is a glimpse into what it is to be a human being without the ‘I’ being present and spoiling it all.
But then you go on describing – as I see it – an emotional and affective interpretation of the perfection you experience, reverting to the ‘normal’ frame of good emotions, bliss, euphoria, gratefulness and the belief in Oneness and Wholeness:
METTA: I became keenly aware of the river of energy flowing through
each of us – an energy arising from within and intuitively guided by this exquisite perfection. I realized that everything appearing before us
is simply a manifestation and expression of this energy, and that this energy is always moving through each of us, guiding us throughout our
lives. Suddenly, I realized the fundamental simplicity of our existence and our purpose:
And I understood that this realisation will dawn upon each of us, naturally and inevitably, as we begin to release our resistance to the flow of this energy moving within our lives. With this realisation, I began to understand, more clearly than ever before, the value of paying attention to:
VINEETO: And here, I think you went off the originally pure experience. From experiencing the world in its purity, actuality and perfection ‘you’ jumped in and gave it a name and a philosophy, creating and repeating yet another belief ABOUT perfection. It is a grand scheme, it is viewing the ‘normal’ human belief structure from a grander, wider perspective, but still fully within the psychic web and within the limited and distorted interpretation and imagination of the ‘I’. You say it yourself, there is an identity still operating, enjoying the bliss and the euphoria of the realisations.
METTA: I was also delightfully surprised to discover, in this moment of ecstatic euphoria, that ‘I’ – the little identity I recognize as ‘me’ – did not disappear or extinguish! I was astonished that ‘I’ didn’t have to die in order to ‘experience’ this magnificent Wholeness! The Realisation of this incredible integration occurred, and yet ‘I’ still remained conscious and aware. The personality remained intact: ‘I’ was still ‘me’, and ‘I’ was still here, but ‘I’ was now contained within, and not separate from, the Presence and Essence of vast and integrated Wholeness.
VINEETO: Experiencing an altered state of consciousness or enlightenment, when fear transforms into ‘energy’ filling up the chest area and turning into the bliss of knowing and seeing it all, is so tempting, so alluring, so engulfing. And it is such a wonderful alternative to the fear of death. I know what you are talking about. I myself have started on a journey to eliminate the very core of instincts, beliefs, emotions and the whole psychic construct of making sense in order to live 24 hours in this often experienced peak experience. And one of the powerful experience on this journey was an ‘enlightenment experience’, lasting for 3 days, until I managed to get myself out of the web of my own very powerful passionate imagination, interwoven with the universally collective web of the world of Bliss and Oneness.
Fortunately I was warned by Richard (see our web site about Actual Freedom), not to run aground on the Rock of Enlightenment, but to stay courageous and keep going. So when the ‘enlightenment experience’ with the experience of Power and Glory hit me, with the overwhelming fascination of the Great Realisations, as I have only read them from the Enlightened Ones, I curiously followed this so alluring Grand Emotion, but nevertheless kept my faculty of scrutiny switched on. I kept my hands in my pocket and my mouth shut. I did not forget that I was heading for an actual freedom from the whole of my identity and not for the delusion and calenture of enlightenment.
Because what I understood from Richard is that when he was enlightened he still knew that something was wrong. His experience of enlightenment was not the same as his first Peak Experience, it was distorted by grand feelings of Love and Compassion, saving people and being superior. And this was exactly my experience as well. It was very different to the purity of my first pure consciousness experience. And from what you describe of your Epiphany compared to your state of being now, there is a qualitative difference. You say that you need to ‘rekindle simply by thinking about it’. This is not the genuine article, it is a copy of the original experience. The original experience did not need to be thought about, it just happened.
This imagination is a faculty of the very ‘I’ that stands in the way of experiencing the world as it actually is, fresh, pure, perfect, magical, ever-new and independent of someone’s thinking, feeling or imagining. But, for the genuine article you would have to die, psychologically and psychically, to disappear completely, give up your identity that you are now and your capacity of making sense and seeing laws and realisations. But also you will eradicate the fear of death completely, never to return, this instinct of survival, which has driven human beings to murder, rape, to waging horrendous wars, torture others and themselves.
Because, as was my experience with ‘enlightenment’, the fear of death is not eradicated. It is pushed into the background by the euphoria and power of the Light, protected by the flood of imagination that sets in as soon as the small ‘I’ that ‘was now contained within, and not separate from, the Presence and Essence of vast and integrated Wholeness’. You describe that very precisely. But as soon as I applied only an inch of a serious doubt to that imagination, it proved its fragility and revealed the lurking fear underneath.
Fear of death can only be eliminated by dying psychologically and psychically. Imagination is a castle build on sand, the moment you really stop imagining, it is falling to pieces. And I am searching the genuine article – the world as-it-is, without my doing or non-doing, without applying any kind of psychic effort.
I have experienced this perfect world as-it-is in Peak Experiences and thus I know it is actual, factual, always here. There is no ‘I’ needed to create or maintain it, on the contrary, it is exactly this ‘I’ that prevents me-as-this-body to be and experience the purity, magic and perfection.
Further you say in the epiphany:
METTA: Nonetheless, in spite of both the ineffable quality of the epiphany, and the overwhelming depth of emotion that has accompanied it, I have still felt a continuing desire – indeed, a strong and compelling urge – to try to find some words, some means, some way to convey the Essence of this experience. As paradoxical as it may seem, I have felt an almost irresistible desire to try to find a way to describe and share the Indescribable.
VINEETO: I have strongly felt the urge to proselytise and shout it from the rooftops, as they say, during my days of the ‘enlightenment experience’. After all, it is such an emotionally overwhelming experience, that one wants the whole world to know about it. But exactly those emotions are the unreliable part in the whole affair! Emotions are never facts. They can, at the most, be an emotional interpretation of facts, a frame of identity, as you so well state:
METTA: The almost indescribable sensation of ‘opening’ that triggered this experience of ‘Awakening,’ and the incredible flood of intuitive ‘insight’ that followed were, quite simply, the most significant turning point in my life. As a result, the Realisation inherent within the epiphany experience has increasingly become the Ground and reference point for my own identity, and my understanding of the Reality within which we live.
VINEETO: But did you ever consider that the way one feels compelled to bring the message to other people is both interfering with your own freedom to do or not to do, and with the freedom of other people who cannot relate to you as a fellow human being now. In enlightenment there is no equity, there is only the messenger and his people. The relationship can never be from fellow human being to another fellow human being, there is always a strong aspect of superiority and inferiority in the relationship. You have something that the other desires. You are the pathway to the other’s happiness. You have the Truth, the message, the key.
Freedom is something everyone has to find out for themselves. There are only a few signposts around, because only Richard has explored the path. I have explored a fair way, enough to tell you my story about the ‘enlightenment experience’ and the ‘getting out of it’ too. And if you can get out of it on your own accord, it is proof that this is not the genuine article, it is dependent on one’s imagination and the upkeep of the Grand Emotions.
RESPONDENT: When I said that Papaji and Gangaji have got a heart, which can be felt – a transmission, it has nothing to do with human feelings as you describe in your mail. It is the heart of their being which is perceived, the sweetness coming from the divine. I don’t sense this in yours or Peter’s or Richard’s words. On the contrary, I find your words to be very firm and closed to the fact you want to deliver, your words are not flexible or poetic, they stem from the very logical world of materialism and don’t offer any juice to the spirit.
VINEETO: Yes, this is exactly the difference. The enlightened ones talk about and experience the heart of their being, juice to the spirit, poetry, sweetness and flexibility , all of which are qualities of the affective nature of their experience. You rightly don’t sense this kind of transmission in Peter’s or Richard’s words, because it is not part of actual freedom. Actual freedom is to experience the physical world – only. To experience this physical world without the Human Condition, without fear, aggression, nurture and desire, without the overlaying ‘self’, without the delusion of ‘soul’, is pure delight. If you would take the trouble to read a bit deeper into the matter you would understand that Richard is indeed the very first person who discovered the perfection of the actuality that is usually obscured by any kind of emotion, instincts and imagination, be it ‘normal human’ feelings or divine feelings.
I notice that you first assume that actual freedom falls into the same category as Papaji’s or Gangaji’s enlightenment, and then you criticise that our words don’t describe the state of enlightenment. Of course not. Actual freedom is something completely different altogether, in fact 180 degrees in the opposite direction of enlightenment. It is impossible to imagine the actual world – a world without concepts – and that’s why it is so important to remember one’s peak-experience. But then, we are not talking about the same experience. I will explain further down.
Richard described it best in his introduction to his journal:
RESPONDENT: What you sense as emotional responses on the list are just plain human responses, emotions are alive in the human realm and can cause both pleasure and pain. One does never get rid of these unless one suppresses the human nature and seduces oneself into enlightenhood....
VINEETO: I am not talking about suppressing the Human Nature or the Human Condition, and I am not talking about ‘seduction’ into enlightenment. Richard discovered that it is possible to completely eliminate the Human Condition, instincts, emotions, the whole lot. Enlightenment happens when you get rid of the ego and become divine feeling – the Self one with God, while actual freedom is the state when every bit of identity, ego, soul, being, Self, That, Truth, Divine Love, Universe and God have altogether disappeared. What remains is just the body with its senses and its wonderfully functioning intelligence.
VINEETO: Your third level, what you call ‘freedom’, sounds as if one simply gives up searching and resigns into confusion and being lost. Not a very attractive alternative at all!
RESPONDENT: Well, I can see you haven’t been there. Ever heard it said that the more one knows, the less one knows? The enlightened state is exactly not knowing anything, but a blissful sense of wonder. It is lost-ness with love. And before you start thinking in terms of sex or relationship, I am speaking of love from one’s heart. The love that transcends all division.
VINEETO: The enlightened stage as I remember my experience being in an Altered State of Consciousness – and as I have read about in many descriptions – is not only a blissful sense of wonder but a feeling of being one with everything and therefore knowing all and everything, having the answer for everyone and the urge to emanate ‘truth’ to all and sundry. Yes, it is being lost in feeling, so utterly and completely lost, that there is no common sense left. One is feeling superior to all, because these other poor mere mortals have not ‘got it’ yet. And one is so swamped by one’s feeling of love and ‘truth’ that it seems the only ‘truth’ there is, irregardless that there were already hundreds of enlightened ones with different messages creating various religions all over the planet.
VINEETO to No 12: I have had all kinds of psychic experiences of ‘being the heart’, ‘knowing’, feeling compassionate for everyone and everything, at one with the Divine and the imaginary bliss of being one with the universe – they are all very nice for the experiencer, but none of them is a solution to both personal and global peace-on-earth. And none of those experiences are actual – they all happen in the head – affective imagination to the point of madness.
The other day I wrote to Alan about such an experience of this religious insanity:
It is such a relief that I am free of these eerie, seductive and imaginary experiences, which had completely removed me from the physical senses and any common sense. It is considered the pinnacle of religious achievement and yet the opposite of, and anathema to, living as a human being in this actual world. The objection to being here on the planet has created this insane paradise of spirit-ual imagining where one is not this flesh and blood body, but a spirit and feeling, waiting for the final redemption at the death of the body.
Now there is a third alternative – one can eliminate beliefs, emotions and instincts and be happy and harmless instead of feeling compassionate and swanning in an imaginary bliss. One can live in this actual, physical, magnificent universe without God but a magic that surpasses every possible imagination.
VINEETO to No 13: I had wanted to become enlightened and the more I learned about it the more I wanted it. But firstly after Rajneesh’s death and the resulting transformation of the Ashram into another religion-headquarter induced my first doubts about enlightenment being really such a good solution to life. Finally coming across Richard, the picture of enlightenment began really to wobble, and slowly, slowly I started to understand why so many things had not made sense.
This is the sense I made out of it afterwards – all the great moments, all my blissful experiences and all the love-filled moments I had put into the one category – ‘that’s what enlightenment is going to be like, just much better and going on forever’, a bit similar as I imagined heaven to be as a kid. But those experiences had all been of a varying nature, some were esoteric, some were plain imagination (like past-life fantasies), some were group-induced highs and some were insights into my practical life that hit like a hammer. But in hindsight, a few of those were pure consciousness experiences, where there was no affection, love or feeling of beauty involved, but which were an experience of purity, clarity and non-separation.
These were the experiences that had been the most appealing. Once I saw and understood the different quality between an emotional high, a blissful devotional séance, a powerful imagination and a pure consciousness experience (PCE), and once I had such a PCE again, it became clear what I wanted. It was obvious in that very moment.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.