Selected Correspondence Vineeto
ALAN: In the light of my current discussion with Richard, it would be interesting to hear of any enlightenment experiences you had.
VINEETO: I had only one, which lasted for about three days, because I really wanted to investigate all its implications. It was an experience first of great love and compassion for all, together with the Great Wisdom that I wanted to spread to all those ‘poor’ beings whom I considered needed my advice. (oops, I knew then, that I really had to keep my mouth shut and my hands in my pocket. I did not want to do or say anything I would have to regret later or feel embarrassed about!)
With the grandeur came a great satisfaction of finally standing on the same podium that I had put Rajneesh on – now I knew from my own experience from which inner space he was talking and how he had been taking us all for a ride. I felt the power and authority and the wonderful tempting glory of it all. What a grand world it is – you know it all, you feel it all, you can help them all and you are superior to them all. Love pours out of every thought, grandeur is your nature and you swan in timelessness and eternity, forever relieved from the pain and sorrow of the personal little world of the poor mortals you left behind.
It was bloody good to have Peter as a landmark for common sense and Richard’s story and warnings as the blinking light-house and so it came that I did not ground on that wonderfully glimmering, seductively promising ‘Rock of Enlightenment’.
It took a lot of effort and re-starting my intelligence and common sense to dismantle the glory of Truth and the seduction of Power. I had to use all doubt and scepticism available to be able to discover the Truth-production machine in my head. The next thing to deal with was the attraction to power and glory. But without being able to rely on Truth, which was now impossible, how much power can you keep up? ( full description)
But it was not all over yet. The sense of love and warmth that had resided in the heart moved further down into the belly, what Japanese call the Hara. I found it to be the seat of ‘being’, of bliss. It was a less fiery passion, more of a calm prevailing blissful state of eternal ‘being here’, as opposed to the actual being ‘here’. I don’t remember much of it except for the seductive invitation to stay there, ‘you have now found your destiny, this is what they are all talking about, this is your ‘ground of being’, you have arrived’.
I knew it was time to gather all my intent and my common sense and get out of this elusive, imaginary state of swanning in imaginary bliss and ‘being’. It was time to leave the wonder-full magician-castle in the clouds and enter the actual world of senses, sex and coffee.
VINEETO: (...) Well, slowly, slowly, after a hundred failures I start to grasp that there is no point in going back into Mr. Kant’s cave...
(Note from the editor: It was in fact Plato’s story from The Republic)
ALAN: ... as this concurs with my own experience, which is in the current correspondence with Richard. I think all one can do to ‘warn’ another is to say watch out for this feeling of Love, which is definitely located in the belly, the seat of being. As we have both demonstrated it is possible to turn away from this blissful state, whether using ‘native intelligence’, ‘pure intent’ or whatever name.
VINEETO: Interesting that you talk about the blissful state. We found a book by Bernadette Roberts, a Christian mystic, called ‘What is Self?’ where she talks about no-ego and the no-self, only to describe that after enlightenment she gets even further lost into the fantasy of being one with Christ. And recently, when somebody asked me about Akashic Records, I experienced that bliss-state for about an hour, the state Mrs. Roberts seems to describe in her book. I finally got a grip on it – I could experience it and describe from the ‘outside’ what was happening. This blissful state seems unemotional, no love or compassion is felt in the heart, everything is a cool ‘oneness’. One feels all-pervading, ‘I am everything and everything is me and everything is divine’.
The experience can easily be mistaken as intimacy because the sense of ‘me’ is so expanded across the universe and spread so thin, so to speak, that ‘me’ is hardly noticeable. As ‘I am every thing’, one is of course ‘feeling’ intimate with the TV set or is able to intuit into someone else’s, in this case Mrs. Roberts, religious imaginations. (I had read Bernadette Roberts, a Christian Mystic’s book, ‘What is Self?’ prior to this experience). Fascinating and seductive and very eerie. I think this could be a bit like the parallel universe scientists fantasize about. One then lives in a universe where everything is a virtual replica of the actual, with the glow of divinity, unity and timeless-ness to it – and as it is virtual, it is controlled by the imagination of the one who makes it up. This ‘parallel’ universe ‘feels’ and is ‘imagined’ as intimate or not-separate, and yet it is twice removed from the physical body, the senses, this actual world. This ‘insanity’ of ‘feeling one with everything’ is the barrier that prevents one from experiencing the world as a flesh and blood body, with the senses. Boy, I really understand why these guys are so far out there, lost and locked in an imaginary space that has almost no return-ticket.
But then, you only have to pinch yourself and where it hurts, that’s actual.
It is good not to be trapped by this complete insanity. It is the same type of dis-association that people suffer from who are in an insane asylum. The film ‘Awakening’ depicted some of those people. There was one woman who could not walk to the window because the checker pattern on the floor was interrupted by a black line – until the doctor painted the black line into checkers. In her ‘world’ the black line was dangerous. The religious insanity is being locked into another type of fantasy-world, where one isn’t really the body and one’s True Self will be free only after death – it is an altered state of consciousness, i.e. mentally deranged, forever cut off from common sense.
VINEETO: I think it would be a great idea to write down a longer description of those outstanding events on the path to freedom. <...>
ALAN: OK, here is last night’s instalment. I went back to work in the office I was in 5 years ago. My office no longer existed and although many of the people were the same none of them recognised me and I wandered around feeling very lost and scared and lonely. This dream followed on from my further enquiries yesterday into the ‘waiting’ I previously mentioned. Behind the ‘waiting’ I discovered the fear of leaving the herd, which we have also been discussing. So, the broom is out for another rooting about in the dark corners.
VINEETO: I sometimes suspect that my fear of leaving the herd is actually the fear of having left the herd!
Whatever tool or means, it’s good to find the reason underneath ‘not feeling good’.
Leaving the herd has been an ongoing theme for me. It started with leaving the woman’s camp, leaving the Sannyas fold, the work place and closest friends there, leaving the group of seekers, friends and well-known ways of relating. Now, when writing to the Sannyas list, whiffs of fear sweep through, sometimes for minutes, sometimes longer – it becomes so very clear that I am not only leaving one particular religious group, I am leaving the whole of the psychic world behind. By ‘psychic world,’ I mean the ability to ‘feel’ where the other is at, to intuit his or her position, to understand them psychically and psychologically. It is like speaking a different language – the language of emotions vs. the language of common sense and facts. Very often there is no communication possible. But, as I told you before, whenever I go back into the psychic world of feelings and emotions, I only get confused, and then I can’t communicate clearly at all. It is an old rut, a habit that I am determined to eradicate along with its accompanying fear.
ALAN: Nor is there any sense of ‘the feeling is that one cannot survive this appalling emptiness without going mad’, as Richard described it.
VINEETO: Well, the issue of ‘going mad’ has been on my mind a lot for the last few months. I find it very reassuring that psychologists have classified Richard as mad in real-world terms, which is only logical as he has stepped out of the ‘sane’ world of wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence, child abuse, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression and suicide. However, it is quite a challenge to get used to leaving humanity behind and going mad – ‘mad’ according to my previous standards and to society’s standards. Sometimes there is an almost audible ‘clack’ in the brain, when an old synapse snaps, when I fail to understand how other people think and feel. More and more I fail to understand people’s emotional reactions, their psychological reasoning or the psychic vibes that I occasionally pick up, when people report that they are feeling insulted, misunderstood, threatened or when they are desperately defending some non-sensical belief. It is sometimes very strange and bewildering indeed.
The other aspect of going mad is that I am experiencing the limitations of sensible thought in comprehending the infinitude of the actual world. The other night, in a flash of a PCE, I looked at Peter and experienced the abundance of an exquisite intimacy with another human being in our mutual delight of being alive, while thinking at the same time – ‘I am glad that I don’t have to believe it, it is unbelievable and incomprehensible. It is simply too vast to understand.’ I can only sensately yield to the immensity of the experience of copious perfection and magical actuality.
Freaky stuff. My thinking has been, up to now, the reliable guide for making sense of the world, after I had abandoned feelings as dependable arbiters of understanding. Yet this experience was so stunningly obvious that it cannot be brushed aside anymore – the making sense of the world, that up to now gave me confidence and security, has very clear limitations. Beyond those limits lies the thrill of the coruscating (thanks for the word, Richard) abundance of the infinite and eternal universe, clearly experienced with my senses but beyond comprehension through thought alone.
As I see it, the first stage on the path to Actual Freedom was epitomized by questioning beliefs and eliminating emotions and feelings and making sense of the world by using thought, reflective contemplation and common sense. This exercise has been a major part of the journey out of the Human Condition, leaving belief, feeling, intuition, imagination and Ancient Wisdom behind. By applying common sense I could venture out of the restrictive and myopic self-centredness of my social identity and discover the underlying bare instinctual passions at the core of my being.
These passions can be experienced and sensibly understood by reflective comprehension but not eliminated. As Richard made it clear again in his latest correspondence –
Experiencing the limitations of thought and understanding in an undeniable obviousness created a ‘glitch in the program’ that floods me now with sensate experiencing without the usual stifling attempt or ability to categorize it or intellectually comprehend it. My brain is at times as though wrapped in cotton wool, stunned by the change of perspective and the immensity of the experiential understanding that nothing is merely passive. It is utterly thrilling to be alive.
RESPONDENT: The practical investigation involved in the actualist method, from what I understand, depends on common sense and discerning facts from beliefs, as well as pure intent from the a PCE, and the PCE itself. Can someone get rid of their conditioning while not having seen that the self is a hallucination, as experienced in a PCE?
VINEETO: One can certainly begin to dismantle one’s conditioning without remembering having experienced a PCE.
One of the first parts of my social identity I examined thoroughly was my female role in the man-woman relationship, which I have described in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’ in Peters Journal. In my investigation I started with my problem of pining, examining why I did not feel happy and whole without the man I loved, dug into my gender conditioning of feeling and believing that I was not complete as a human being in my own right without having partner in life, and eventually discovered the Cinderella-like dream programmed into me since childhood. I did not stop my inquiry until I got to the very root of the problem, my identity as a woman in relationship to a man. I was then faced with the decision of hanging onto my dream or making a conscious decision to abandon the dream and with it a chunk of my female identity and then be able to relate to the flesh-and-blood person I was living with instead of seeing him as the man of my archetypal dream.
This particular investigation happened before I had a complete understanding of the full scope of actualism and a couple of months before I had my first PCE. However, it is my experience that the more one successfully inquires into one’s social conditioning and the more one abandons one’s beliefs, morals, ethics, social roles and cultural taboos, the more likely it becomes that a tear will occur in the fabric of one’s identity, which then can enable a pure consciousness experience to take place.
RESPONDENT: Are facts concerning the self exclusive knowledge to actualists who believe or know that the self is not real?
VINEETO: I think No 60 had a good point in his answer to you – the belief that the ‘self’ is not real can turn into an obstacle if one maintains it as a belief. Having said that I also remember that, whenever fears or objections loomed which threatened to prevent me from investigating further, it was helpful to remind myself that it was my identity in action – and not actuality.
RESPONDENT: Can you blame spiritualists for believing nonsense if they have not had or recall a PCE?
VINEETO: I don’t blame spiritualist for believing nonsense – I was a nonsense-believing spiritualist myself for most of my adult life. But now that I am free of these beliefs I simply call a spade a spade and nonsense I call nonsense. To do anything less would be to do a disservice to any of my fellow human beings who are also interested in becoming free of their spiritual beliefs.
RESPONDENT: In general I find it makes sense that the self does not have any actuality, but that doesn’t mean that I am any more sure of it than theologians convictions and arguments about the existence of God.
VINEETO: The non-existence of ‘me’ as an actuality makes sense because it is an experience that everybody has had at some stage in their life albeit one that most people only have a very vague whiff of a memory tucked away in the mist of early childhood.
The existence of God, however, does not make sense – god is a product of fervent imagination and even devout theologians cannot answer all the questions that arise from the mysteriousness of God’s supposed nonsensical qualities. But the belief in God has a certain emotional appeal for most people – for ‘me’ as an identity it might be comforting to believe in a creator and protector god because ‘I’, by ‘my’ very nature, am lost, lonely and frightened and very cunning.
RESPONDENT: So are matters of investigating conditioning dependent on being able to say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’ and getting a clearer perspective on the issue from there? I find that if I didn’t know that the self was not real, I would not be able to think clearly when I investigate various topics.
VINEETO: In a way this question is now irrelevant because you have already said that
As such you can use this intellectual understanding to practically question the actuality of ‘you’ in action whenever ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings prevent you from being happy and harmless. In the moment of my decision to let go of the Cinderella dream ‘I’, the ‘self’, felt to be very real and what helped me to become free from this part of my identity was not the knowledge that the ‘self’ is not an actuality but my intent and determination to get rid of my feelings of pining and dependency whatever the cost.
After the decision of course I knew that what had felt so very real was not actual because it had disappeared without a trace. In other words, when I found that I could do without a part of my self that was causing me to be unhappy and in doing so I felt more happy and more free, it became more obvious to me that whilst ‘I’ don’t exist as a physical actuality, ‘I’ am real in that ‘I’ manifest myself as malicious and sorrowful feelings. If you are interested in having an experiential understanding of how ‘you’ operate then there is only one way to do it and that is to do it – thinking about it is not the same as doing it.
RESPONDENT: However, earlier in my investigative process I did not recall a PCE, but saw that Richard’s written experiences made sense, and that upon looking for the self the oft-repeated bit ‘you are your feelings and your feelings are you’ rang true. But still at that point, and I’m not 100% sure at this point, could I say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’.
VINEETO: I found that it was useful to have a good intellectual grasp, as in making sense, of actualism and the information involved before I began to translate the theory into practice. However, I was never a great fan of theories and particularly in the case of actualism I was eager to apply what I had understood in order to become more happy and less antagonistic towards others as soon as possible … and the more I practically applied myself to the investigation the more I theoretically understood what Richard was talking about.
This is no different than learning anything new – read up a bit on the theory, read through the instruction manual, try it out, learn by trial and error, check back with the manual if needed, if you get stuck then ask questions of someone with more expertise, keep at it until you develop a certain level of competence and then all of a sudden it all makes sense and you find yourself doing it effortlessly. Learning anything new requires an initial interest, then the intent to do it and the rest is application, diligence, patience and perseverance.
As such you could say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’ as an intellectual understanding which will then give you the confidence and the courage to go ahead and confirm this understanding as an actuality – first by questioning certain aspects of your ‘self’ and not being distracted by the smoke-screen ‘you’ will inevitably produce, and then by the happening of a ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience.
VINEETO to No 8: When I came across actualism, the first thing I had to do was dust off my brain and shift it back into thinking gear – discovering how to think, contemplate and inquire in a way that there is some result. I found it useful in my contemplations to always remember to keep coming back to the question or issue, and not – as our usually untrained brains tend to do – get lost in the different alleys and branches of speculation, imagination or irrelevant side issues. I became aware that whenever the subject was too close to the bone, whenever a dearly held belief was questioned, I was usually very quick in changing the subject and steering away from the ‘dangerous’ area. I remember that surprised to discover how roundabout and aversely my way of thinking often had been.
Mind and thinking has such a bad press in the spiritual world where one is taught that the gateway to ‘inner peace’ is to ‘follow your feelings, trust you intuition and leave your mind at the door’. When I started on the path to Actual Freedom it was a pleasure and delight to re-instate, lubricate and develop my common sense and intelligence in order to make sense of all the beliefs that I had adopted, the instinctual passions that I was driven by and begin to understand the actual world.
It was fascinating to observe and experience my brain clicking into clear function – at first only once in a while with what one would call a ‘striking thought’ and then I noticed that I could actually make sense of a down-to-earth conversation about Actual Freedom I had with either Richard or Peter. Eventually I was able to think straightforward thoughts, unclouded by fear or imagination and come to startlingly obvious conclusions. The outcome of such application of common sense was often very staggering, new, fresh and shockingly different to what I had believed, ‘felt’ or ‘intuited’.
Down-to-earth practical common sense, of course, has nothing to do with rational theorizing, useless philosophizing, cerebral masturbation or conceptual imagination.
For me, the crucial test of common sense always is – how can I put my understanding into practice, how can I actualize my realization, how can I act on the ‘striking thought’. In my spiritual days, striking thoughts would come and go and I did nothing but revel in the feeling of ‘knowing’. Those insights, even when they were sensible realizations, disappeared without a trace after a few hours or days and didn’t have any impact on solving my problems. Nowadays, because I am vitally interested in being here, I enjoy the stunning clarity that the human brain is capable of and I also put my understanding into action – and what excellence, what a thrill!
So keep us posted, if you like. After all, this is a list of bold pioneers, investigating the Human Condition and questioning the mother of all beliefs that you can’t change human nature! Well, you can, why not!
VINEETO: However, the more I learnt, read and understood about actualism and Actual Freedom, the more I realized how much of my beliefs, feelings and emotions felt as though they were ‘under attack’ by the very understanding that relying on facts made more sense than relying on faith, hope, trust, intuition, feeling and belief. After a few months of painful doubts, fierce defence of my former life-style including my spiritual beliefs, and intense questioning of what I wanted to do with my life, my ‘necktop computer’ crashed, resulting in a significant pure consciousness experience. After this experience, I realized there was no way I could simultaneously insist on keeping my beliefs and familiar feelings and at the same time investigate my identity with sincerity and common sense. I realized everything had to be ‘put on the table’ – not all at once of course, for that is impossible, but as issues to be investigated the moment they arose in my daily life. I was hooked, more than I realized at first, by three things that made actualism that very attractive to me –
What I’m trying to convey is that the first weeks of hitting upon something that is 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual beliefs, to all that one thinks and feels oneself to be, can at times be compared to an earthquake – it is bound to be confusing, frightening and ... ... thrilling. The curious thing about Actual Freedom is that it is utterly safe because actuality is what remains after all the false layers are peeled away.
Whenever I dared to investigate a particular belief and emotion to its very core, this piece of my familiar identity fell apart and underlying the identity I discovered actuality – that what is actual, palpable, tangible, sensate, direct and corporeal. At first there seems to be a yawning abyss of fear and nothingness at the start of the investigation, but with enough courage and bloody-mindedness, one eventually discovers the utter safety of the actual world – that which becomes increasingly apparent when the psychic and psychological construct is being dismantled.
Once one fully commits to being hooked to the bait of common sense, the process of dismantling one’s ideas, beliefs, feelings and emotions becomes fun instead of a fight against one’s own intelligence.
RESPONDENT: Well, it’s too soon to say exactly just how common is this sense I am committed to, but I am certainly having fun not fighting against my own intelligence.
VINEETO: The common sense we talk of is indeed uncommon, for human intelligence is always fettered by feelings and emotions arising from our blind instinctual survival programming. As such it is something which needs to be discovered, cultivated, activated, liberated. No human being that is instinctually driven by blind animal passion is capable of common sense. Every soap opera movie and every evening news is witness to this very obvious fact.
RESPONDENT: I have begun to apply the method of ‘how am I experiencing being alive now?’ and am getting some results. I’m beginning to see what a pain ‘love’ and ‘beauty’ can be – even though that’s what many of us spend our lives pursuing.
I’ve had to confront the fear of being a social outcast and winding up alone – even losing one’s own ‘sanity.’ Anyway, it does seem that when one has gone down the spiritual path for awhile, enough is enough – which can become momentum 180 degrees the opposite direction.
VINEETO: To be upfront I have to say that by pursuing actual freedom one does indeed abandon one’s sanity – the sanity that consists of human morals and ethics, the sanity that perceives a universe ruled by an Almighty God or a Higher Intelligence in one form or another and the sanity that maintains that you can’t change human nature and therefore sets in concrete the instinctual animal passions that every human being is endowed with.
Questioning each of my worldly and other-worldly beliefs, all of my morals and ethics that I had imbibed since birth often left a bewildering sense of disorientation as I successively left the sanity of the real world and the delusion of the spiritual world behind. However, in the process of becoming more and more free from my beliefs and automatic affective reactions, the emerging sensuousness, intelligence and common sense always confirmed that I am moving towards a salubriousness that far exceeds any real-world sanity or otherworldly bliss.
VINEETO: The other major improvement of my well-being, both physical and emotional, was due to investigating my social identity and all the ensuing emotions, tensions and fears. Sure, sometimes while investigating a particularly fearful topic, I would have a stomach pain, a head ache or tense shoulders, but the more I got rid of ‘who I think and feel I am’, the more I also rid myself of the strain that the beliefs, feelings and emotions had on this flesh-and-blood body. With increased awareness and common sense I can now easily figure out which of the physical symptoms are psychosomatic, due to temporary emotional stress, and which symptoms need (scientifically proved) medical treatment. Further, I have learned that to be sick and then being fearful, upset, resentful or miserable about being sick would only make matters worse. Overall, I can say that the best I could do for my health was to get rid of my beliefs, superstitions, peer-pressure, societal influence, moods and feelings. (...)
GARY: As I am not free from fear, I can only imagine what happens to the body when it is expunged of instinctual fear. If fear is greatly reduced or diminished, through a state of Virtual Freedom, I would think there would be a tremendous benefit that ensues to the physiological organism. Whilst naturally there are diseases that arise of a viral nature or due to unhealthy life-styles, or even cancer, I am wondering what happens to people when the feeling-affective faculty has been expunged. I could further imagine that this might work both ways: both positive and negative. You seem to be pointing to some negative effects and dangers to the process.
VINEETO: In the process of investigating the Human Condition in oneself, one first and above all applies one’s common sense to each and every situation. Common sense will only operate when intelligence is freed of one’s beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad and spiritual virtues and values. In practical terms, common sense meant that I made sure that my physical needs such as food, work, comfortable living circumstances, sufficient money as well as physical safety and health were taken care of. From this solid basis I then could venture into the dark areas of my psyche and rock the boat of beliefs and emotions.
On a few occasions, when encountering intense fear, I have experienced light-headedness, nausea, almost fainting, numbness in the limbs, even heart palpitations – and within a safe range that is all part of the adventure of exploring the deep seated emotions. However, whenever I was pushing too hard for quick results, due to my desire, aggression and impatience, I noticed that it was the ‘I’ producing and increasing those symptoms and I then realized that did not make any sense to endanger my physical well-being. In our correspondence, Alan and I have called these symptoms the ‘drama queen’ in action, and once one has seen through such a scenario it is actually quite hilarious. Becoming aware that ‘I’ am creating, imagining and continuing the drama is bound to spoil the plot. This does not mean that I won’t fall for it when the ‘drama queen’ appears next time, but each time it will be a little bit less convincing. Encountering and exploring one’s psychological and psychic identity can produce weird symptoms, to say the least, and it is vital and sensible to remember that Actual Freedom is about freeing the actual physical flesh-and-blood body from the software program of the psychological and psychic entity inside. Therefore indulging in anything that endangers one’s physical health is certainly to be heading in the wrong direction. Life was meant to be easy.
As a rule of thumb one could say that it is always the ‘self’ that throws up the smokescreen of such physical symptoms in order to divert from the issue of the investigation, which is ‘me’, my beliefs, my identity, my feelings, my emotions and my instinctual passions. As Richard terms it, ‘I’ am lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning, and it is a fascinating ride to uncover all the trick and ploys that ‘I’ am capable of.
GARY: Any further information that you or others could impart would be greatly appreciated. If such information exists already in the archives, I would appreciate you directing me to it.
VINEETO: There is not much information about this subject on the web site yet. You can have a look at the glossary term ‘body’ and the related correspondence to see if you find some useful information.
Once one starts questioning one’s beliefs and emotions and replacing them with facts and an assessment of what is silly and sensible, any health issues will automatically be judged by the same criteria. To be actually here in this moment in time and to remove everything that prevents one from being happy and harmless now is simply the most sensible thing to do. This body and brain is very capable of looking after itself and ‘I’, the identity and ‘me’, the survival instincts can only spoil that healthy sensibility.
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. (...)
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: 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: 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...
RESPONDENT: ... and I chose to sort of categorize you in the same way that you categorize people. That tendency towards categorization is a characteristic of the virtual freedom stage.
VINEETO: I think there is some confusion when you say that I am ‘categorizing people’ and this being ‘a characteristic of the virtual freedom stage’. Maybe you do not understand as yet about virtual freedom.
Categorizing people is something that everyone does – it is an activity that arises from the Human Condition. As a lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity we think and instinctually feel it to be necessary to categorize people, things and events not only in terms of dangerous or friendly but also according to our cultural moral and ethical conditioning, according to our spiritual beliefs and psittacisms and according to our individually acquired personal prejudices.
Just a side-note for No 7 – psittacism is derived from ‘psittacosis’ which literally means ‘parrot fever’ and it is a perfect description for the way people passionately hang on to and repeat the opinions and convictions they have picked up from others without ever bothering if they are factual at all. The dictionary defines psittacism as
In actualism, virtual freedom is defined as the state that you live in when you have rid yourself of most of your social identity, which consists exactly those morals and ethics, beliefs and psittacisms and the individually acquired personal prejudices. What one encounters after removing the cover of the social identity are the raw instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that come to the surface – but by then one is well equipped for this next adventure on the road to freedom. Because the outer layer of the social identity is removed, one is able to see and meet people as they actually are without the need of categorizing them in moral and ethical terms. Now, with my guard down, with no identity to defend, I can meet and talk to people as they are, relate to what they are actually saying instead of feeling, intuiting, assuming or imagining what they might mean. It is an intimate, refreshing, satisfying, utterly simple and enjoyable enterprise, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Of course, sensible judgement, common sense and clarity function better than ever, now that the fearful feeling part of relating to people has all but disappeared. I can sensibly assess what someone says by his or her very words. I don’t have to revert to prehistoric means like feeling, guessing, intuiting, assuming, inventing, imagining and assessing them by their star-sign, appearance or gender. There are also certain facts due to the Human Condition that apply to every single human being – the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by the social identity of their particular tribal, religious and cultural upbringing. Having explored the Human Condition extensively and exhaustively in myself, I know about it intimately in everyone else as well, because ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’. On the way to an actual freedom from the Human Condition you firstly explore this humanity and then leave humanity behind. What thrill.
RESPONDENT: Being so busy telling other people how they must do it and all.
VINEETO: I am simply sharing my discoveries and my success with the method of the third alternative. Given that six billion people are involved in a cruel and often terrifying game of survival, that has been ongoing for thousands of years, I consider it a great leap forward in the evolution of mankind that Richard has discovered how to live permanently in the actual world. There cannot be enough words written and talked and shared about this radical alternative at this stage, it being so new and 180 degrees opposite to all the Ancient Wisdom that everyone else, including what Mr. Wolf, Mr. Veeresh, Mr. Rajneesh and Ms. Margo Anand are espousing.
VINEETO: But the Human Condition in each of us is not just a belief. At the core, ‘I’ am the instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: Yes I agree that this is so. The scientific evidence is indisputable. ‘I’ am the instinctual passions and I don’t like it but right now I’m tired of becoming. ‘I’ just feel like accepting the fact that ‘I’ am my instincts and be done with it. <snip> I don’t have any drive left. <snip> I feel like just staying with the ‘feeling being ‘and quit trying to change it. I feel bogged down and stuck.
VINEETO: In moments of extreme fear and doubt, these feeling seem to be the only thing that exists and they seem to last forever. The very nature of instincts is that they are utterly convincing and trigger an overwhelming automatic ‘quick and dirty’ reaction, if you remember the findings of Josef LeDoux’. (You’ll find relevant information under ‘Instincts’ and ‘Fear’ in The Actual Freedom Trust library.)
In the beginning it is often only some time after the ‘attack of the instincts’ that is one able to look at the situation with awareness, common sense and intelligence. You may then question if the response to stop the inquiry because of fear was really your best shot.
But if you prefer to stay ‘with the ‘feeling being’ and quit trying to change it’, at least you are not alone – six billion people prefer to stay with the Tried and Failed. Being a ‘feeling being’ usually means feeling ‘miserable’, ‘bogged down and stuck’, ‘helpless and hopeless’, not to mention anger, hate, malice, resentment, jealousy, insecurity, fear, neediness, greed, loneliness and sorrow.
VINEETO: Personally, it took two months and a lot of discussions with Peter until I finally understood experientially, what the term ‘spiritual’ stands for. For me, ‘spiritual’ had implied the ‘godly’ way of life, following the highest aspirations of mankind, a dedication to be good, to be part of the group of people who also aspire to the same goal. The day I finally understood the literal meaning of the word ‘spirit-ual’, a whole new world opened up. Suddenly the spiritual world was not the only alternate world to the ‘real’ world, not even the best world. Suddenly I understood that I – like everyone else – was producing this world in my head and heart – with my very spirit, so to speak – and this world consisted of spiritual morals, ethics, ideas, beliefs, emotions, loyalties, pride and the belief in the immortality of the soul.
A major distinguishing factor between the spiritual approach to life and the path to an actual freedom is that spirituality teaches one to enhance the ‘good’ affective feelings. One is to indulge one’s intuition, trust, belief, faith, hope, guesswork and is encouraged to sense (as in feel out) a situation. Whereas, on the path to Actual Freedom, one explores actuality by applying thought, common sense, contemplation, practicality, intelligence and undertakes an investigation into verifiable facts of the situation.
VINEETO: PS: It is definitely a good idea to get out of the spiritual world. Here are two examples that I came across the other day that made the institutionalized insanity of spiritual belief-systems ever more apparent. The first is pure Buddhism from a Buddhist mailing list.
Isn’t it amazing to hear the opinion from an obvious expert on the subject matter. As a faithful student you are to put aside your common sense and practice denial and transcendence in order to become as much of a hypocrite as the Guru whose ‘apparent’ flaws you should not perceive. ‘Very subtle skill in means’ indeed!
RESPONDENT: When you have something that you can’t seem to conclude because you know your gene programming will make you feel bad if you don’t do it, and it makes you feel ok/good if you do do it, what do you ask yourself to progress beyond this? Let’s take something we can all relate to – wearing clothes in public.
VINEETO: In most societies, there is an etiquette and quite often laws regarding wearing clothes in public that are considered decent in this particular society and if you don’t follow the laws, social rules and etiquette of the country you are living in you will cause trouble for yourself – you will be punished, ostracized or inconvenienced in some way or other. Therefore, wearing clothes in public is simply a matter of common sense.
RESPONDENT: Labels are not needed except as you say, ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’... and it is good fun.
VINEETO: I have never talked about ‘labels’ ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition’. I said – as you have quoted at the very top of the letter:
Label according to the dictionary means: ‘...to put in a certain class, to describe by a certain label’. Macquarie
When you say ‘labels are not needed ...’, I take it that you don’t mean words or descriptions, but use ‘label’ as in making a moral judgement. Personally, I find that both precise descriptive words and accurate judgments based on facts are essential for the inquiry process. How else is it possible to distinguish silly from sensible, malicious from harmless and sorrowful from happy? The important thing is what one’s judgement is based upon – and most people use their feelings and intuition to judge a situation, a person, a statement or an event. But to base one’s judgement on facts, common sense, pure intent and the memory of a pure consciousness experience is the only way to find one’s direction in the maze of old wisdom and NDA beliefs, ancient psittacisms and self-centred emotion.
So, labels are very much needed, for fruitful communication, for clarity and for in-depth investigation into the substance and content of the Human Condition. Once one gets rid of the moral and ethical judgements (usually the self-recriminations are the hardest) of good and bad, right and wrong, then the clarity that comes with sound judgement is all good fun.
RESPONDENT: I don’t have 21 or 17 years of experience with a spiritual journey or 11 years of ‘enlightenment’ (whatever that is, and I truly don’t know, but I suspect it isn’t real).
VINEETO: To judge ‘Tried and True’ as ‘Tried and Failed’ you don’t need 17 years of spiritual journey but common sense. When I heard Richard or Peter say for the first time, ‘why don’t you judge the religion – Eastern or Western – by the outcome’, it hit me like a brick. Never even once had I looked at the factual outcome of what I was aiming for – how people are living in India, how Indians, especially enlightened ones treat women, how religious wars are raging in many parts of the world – to judge the workings and sensibility of what I was trying to achieve. At that time I felt quite stupid, clumsy, thick and thought I had wasted my time. But then, there had been nobody pointing it out to me and it seemed the best solution on offer at the time for the misery and desperation I felt about life.
It does not take 20 years of spiritual experience to look, for a change, at the facts of the particular belief-system instead of the promised solutions that it never delivers. So you are not missing any ‘time done’ here. Everyone who dares to look further than the herd can find out the facts for him/herself. Maybe the frustration of having had so little success after so many years of effort helped me to get over my pride and fear so that I started looking in another direction.
VINEETO to No 3: You mentioned ‘approval of your achievements’, so I use it as an example. I found that wanting approval – or pretending to reject it – was based on the belief in authority. I believed that I was not authority enough to judge my doings and leavings, to approve of me or judge certain behaviour silly. As a woman I had it especially with men and thus had spoiled all my relationships with men. It took quite a bit of digging into the causes of why I believed everybody else more competent to judge me, to judge right and wrong, than me. One thing is, it is a strong part of every upbringing. But underneath the conditioning I found an immense fear to stand on my own feet, alone, by myself – the survival instinct of belonging to a group or a person. I was continuously looking for an authority to protect me, guide me, love me, and for a gathering around those authority figures. Now it looks silly to me but at the time it produced immense fear-attacks, days of wanting to hide, to run away, a nightmare to decide between Richard/Peter as the supposed authority figures or Rajneesh and his disciples as the guiding principle.
To dissolve the nightmare I decided to not stop until I had found the root cause. And the root cause was, strangely enough, a belief in God. I had thought I had dismissed God years ago, when I went to Poona and left Christianity behind. But the Christian God was just replaced by Rajneesh then. Questioning and understanding my fear as the fear of a judging, punishing and very powerful suddenly made it all very clear – finally I could step out of the circle of creating and then fighting human authorities (God’s representatives) and simply decide for myself, with my own intelligence and common sense, what I wanted to do with my life, in each particular moment, in each situation.
It has been a fascinating and liberating discovery. To sort out and eliminate authority was essential for living with Peter in peace, harmony, equity and intimacy. And it was necessary for avoiding the trap of believing anybody – and that includes Richard – and now I am happy to find it out for myself, in my own autonomous experience. Of course, Richard is still the expert on actual freedom, but not an authority figure to be believed and followed.
RESPONDENT: The reason that you felt so much relief and freedom after you could break away from your earlier beliefs both at the time of meeting Osho and Richard, was perhaps you had very strong beliefs both the times. So the contrast made it so surprising (180 degrees opposite). But I don’t find such a contrast, because I don’t have such strong beliefs. I am always in doubt whether my beliefs are true. And I owe this attitude to Osho and my eastern background and that is why I feel gratitude towards them.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh? And is doubt enough for you to be happy?
I was a strong believer, already as a Christian girl. I believed in authority and replaced one authority with another. The change for me was radical – and obvious. But as long as you have beliefs, you will have doubts. The very presence of doubt points to a belief. Peter wrote a definition of ‘doubt’ and of ‘intent’ in his glossary.
Only facts can make you confident and certain, they are evidenced by the physical senses, they are actual. Actual Freedom is to replace beliefs by the actual experience of the physical senses and common sense.
Most part of my investigation has been to find where I believed – once I could see a belief as a belief, it was already dissolving. But most beliefs are disguised as truths, so-called facts, gut-feelings, intuition and trust. One has to remove that blanket first to discover underneath that it is just a belief.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh?
RESPONDENT: I feel gratitude towards Osho, not just because he instigated doubt in me, but also for the way I think now about life, universe, God, myself. Not that I just follow what he says about these things, but his words helped me a lot to make my own mind about these issues. I don’t agree with many of the things he said. I could not understand his life style. But still what I learnt (learning is not following) from him is enough for me to feel gratitude towards him. However now after having some e-mail discussions with Richard, I am reviewing the feeling of gratitude per se.
VINEETO: Gratitude and loyalty were the two strongest ties I had to Sannyas. I had to literally take apart my beliefs in love, loyalty and gratitude before I could even begin to question what other authority issues I had had with Rajneesh. Only after dismantling all those feelings and eliminating them in me, was I able to investigate the content of what he was saying – which then became increasingly obvious as being 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. Whenever morals or feelings are operating within us, we cannot examine the issue with common sense. The only way common sense works is as bare awareness – bare from feelings such as gratitude, loyalty, love, aversion, etc. (...)
RESPONDENT: I don’t think my insight was anything near peak experience. I did not experience ‘no I’ and I had no feeling of bliss, happiness, being perfect or being one with all which I read in others’ description of peak experience. In fact I would just call it a striking thought. I have had a few more striking thoughts in last few days. One is when I was reading Richard’s reply to somebody when he said something like ‘past is dead and the future simply doesn’t exist, every moment is happening afresh, now for the very first time’. I could see the truth of this fact like a flash. But again I have no evidence to call it a peak experience. I am understanding this purely with my brain’s thinking faculty.
VINEETO: Do you refer to the following correspondence? –
It was fascinating for me to experience my brain clicking into clear function – first only once in a while with what you call ‘striking thought’ and then I noticed that I could actually make sense of a conversation I had with Richard or Peter. Eventually I was able to think straight forward thoughts, unclouded by fear or imagination and come to ‘striking’ conclusions. The outcome of such application of common sense was often very startling, new, fresh, shockingly different to what I had believed, ‘felt’ or ‘intuited’. Now, I often can’t grasp how people don’t see what to me are simple and obvious facts.
VINEETO to No 7: I don’t see how this – Dell-Carnegie-style – method could work in long term. It suggests attempting mind control over emotions, it does absolutely nothing to get rid of the emotions themselves. It does not get to the root cause of the emotional reaction – the Human Condition, inherent in the psychological and psychic entity within the body.
RESPONDENT: From my experience, certain emotions like anger can be dealt with by plain common sense. Just by understanding (and I am talking of only intellectual understanding), that anger is not going to improve or help the situation and on the other hand, it is going to harm yours and others’ mental and physical peace, the anger vanishes. I have tried and tested it and it works. It is not repression so it doesn’t come back even in long run. Not that the anger does not arise, but as soon as it arises, you can see it vanishing in the light of your understanding.
VINEETO: What you are describing sounds like more than just intellectual understanding and more than the method of ‘positive thinking’ that [ Respondent No 1, List C] was proposing. You say you are using ‘common sense’ and ‘not repression’. And you say, anger about that issue does not come back? Not even in the long run? It does not hang around, maybe as being peeved or annoyed? Or an expectation for a reward, a righteousness, a better-than-you-feeling?
If that is so, then you have found the first ‘key’ to eliminating anger – seeing the actual situation, sensibly considering everyone involved and understanding that your particular feelings will do nothing to help the situation, on the contrary, they are harmful. You can apply the same understanding to any other emotion arising, be it love, gratitude, resentment, doubt, anguish, sadness, etc. None of our so-called precious feelings are useful for dealing with practical, every-day situations. Care, consideration, attention, intelligence and common sense can do the job much better. The trick is to question the ‘good’ feelings as well as the ‘bad’ feelings, and a great part of the social identity will disappear, issue by issue.
The second ‘key’ is to examine the underlying reason why anger (and any other feeling and emotion) arises in the first place. What is ‘my’ perception of the world, which of ‘my’ expectations are not met, what is it that ‘I’ am imposing on the world-as-it-is and the people-as-they-are that ‘I’ feel angry about? Persistent questioning of the root cause of my getting angry as well as applying common sense had immediate and drastic results – more and more the ‘self’ was seen for what it was in the light of this awareness; it was seen as an alien intruder that continuously spoiled the joy and ease of being ‘here’.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I also think that it is more than intellectual understanding. Till I find a more appropriate word for it, I would prefer to use ‘common sense’. It is not positive thinking and it is not in expectation of reward. But I guess this common sense is the result of good old Vipassana. The difference after getting introduced to actual freedom is that now I know that ‘I’ am not different from anger, whereas in Vipassana I am the witness watching the anger passing away.
VINEETO: I don’t see how it can be ‘the result of good old Vipassana’, where you were ‘the witness watching the anger passing away’, if you say that at the same time you ‘know that [’you’ are] not different from anger’. Either you know that ‘you’ are the anger, that ‘you’ are the emotion, which is not what is taught in Vipassana – or you practice Vipassana and merely witness the anger passing away until it arises next time. But that does not eliminate the emotion, as ‘you’ remain intact, and at the most ‘you’ only transcends it.
To really grasp the fact that ‘you’ are emotions and emotions are ‘you’ results in you being willing and eager to investigate into the deeper layers of ‘you’ to eliminate the very cause of anger arising in the first place. To really face the fact that ‘you’, and only ‘you’, are the cause and reason of anger arising – as well as all the other emotions – is the first and essential step to do something about this emotion rather than merely witness it. The acknowledgment of the fact that the Human Condition in you is preventing you from being happy and harmless creates the burning intent and necessary guts to investigate further into the very substance of who you think you are and who you feel you are. That’s when common sense starts to come to fruition.
RESPONDENT: What is mind anyway? A thousand and one times a zillion different things including ‘awareness’.
VINEETO: The human brain is a fascinating thing. Not only can it think and work out problems, it can also be aware of itself – apperception.
I wrote to someone the other day:
VINEETO: To question all of the values agreed upon by humanity was, of course, not possible without re-instating and lubricating my common sense, my intelligence. It had originally been trained in school and university, but had been distorted and weakened through my conditioning as a girl, a woman and later as a spiritual seeker. To release this common sense out of the cupboard and to start using it in order to understand the actual and factual world was essential for me to be able to distinguish belief from fact and silly from sensible. Every time I recognised a belief as just ‘taken on’ from some authority, it faded into irrelevance and left me with this new thrilling experience of freedom, confidence, autonomy and equity. After all, intelligence is possible in all human beings, it simply needs to be re-instated, polished and exercised, disentangled from beliefs and superstitions and freed from the stupidity of instincts and emotions.A Bit of Vineeto
RESPONDENT: I guess that you assume that the intellect or common sense is generated by biochemical processes within the body?
VINEETO: How else? Do you assume there is a Divine Source that puts intelligent thoughts into our brains? Intelligence is part of the normal functioning of the brain. The problem is, that this innate intelligence, which humans have applied to create, for instance, all the technological progress, is distorted by the malice and sorrow of the Human Condition. With emotions and feelings operating one cannot think clearly, considerably and benevolently, everybody experienced this. Beliefs and concepts stifle intelligence because we prefer to believe and trust an authority rather than investigating facts for ourselves. Fear and the resulting self-centredness are the main hindrances for common sense.
RESPONDENT: ... you, as an actualist advocate the use of common sense. You say that benevolence is the attribute of the physical universe. Since the universe is infinite, we can assume that anything limited in space, say a chair, is not benevolent.
VINEETO: Common sense is not logical imagination, but using the brain’s innate intelligence without ‘self’-ish or ‘Self’-ish interference. Common sense is general sagacity involving all senses to assess the entire situation and act accordingly and sensibly, considering everyone involved in the situation. Common sense is the capacity of the brain to make sense without being disabled by the Human Condition.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.