Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO to Alan: And what a delight it was when for the first time, after several struggling months of investigating our beliefs and emotions, we were able to see each other for the first time in actual intimacy, one human being meeting another human being. In intimacy I am not a woman nor is Peter a man. Just seeing, what a wondrous combination of thoughts and senses the other one is, ever curious what sense he/she is making of life, what is going on in his/her head, the delight of exploring how we live and think and function and tick, an area that has been a mystery to me unto now. Now I am having a spy in the other camp, Peter tells me how men normally feel or react in a situation, how he had felt, thought or reacted in the past – such good fun!
Of course you are in a totally different situation, but still – until everything is sorted out – you are living together with a woman. Peter and I had a contract with each other to investigate the Human Condition together, but nevertheless, I think you can aspire to live with her in peace and harmony as far as you are concerned. Peter was such a good indication for me to see bits of the Human Condition when they were coming up, for instance, when I was getting irritated, when I wanted attention, wanted to live life through him or had authority issues. That has always been the checkpoint in any ‘feeling’ good for me: do I simply see Peter as a human being or do I hang any kind of relationship, security or any other emotion unto the fact that we enjoy living together?
The other can be a very precise tool to find the hiding bits in the ‘cupboard of the self’, I tell you! And why not, even when you both are preparing to separate, you are simply two human beings living in the same house, taking care of the same business... But I warn you: it might open a Pandora box of yet unexperienced emotions or feelings to tackle. But it is such a great challenge and a thrilling adventure to examine one’s emotions and feelings and eliminate them forever, one by one, the very thing the ‘self’ is made of. And every obstacle worked through leaves such a wonderful freedom and delight!
ALAN: Also, what is it that actually happens to cause a PCE?
VINEETO: As for your question how to make a peak-experience happen I can say I started to approach it the other way around. Given that peak-experience is our ‘normal’ state when no emotion or belief is in the road I am going for whatever obstacle I find at the time whenever I don’t experience this moment of being alive as perfect as I remember my peak moments. And as you know I have been finding lots of interesting ghosts in my cupboard, often unexpected forms of pride, fear, impatience, competition, love, loneliness, boredom and yet again another fear.
And whenever I am taking the bull by its horns and dig around in that specific emotion, understand and eliminate it, what’s left is the perfect moment of the world as it is, delightful, safe and imminently fascinating – there it is, the searched for PE or PCE! So my approach is kind of indirect, being busy with the obstacles rather with the outcome. Of course the intent, the goal is to eliminate that obstacle and each time round it becomes more easy and more of an adventure and a scientific enquiry rather than a ‘have-to-do-thing’. And this way I am getting more and more confident, stopped believing in my own emotions and know that absolute everything will get examined with the microscope. By now the cupboard which was packed full of ghosts is getting pretty empty...
This weekend I have been ‘busy’ on and off with being sick. Listless and a bit weaker I would have preferred not to have a cold. But then, as the weekend slowly went by being as delicious as ever, the walk on the beach as delightful I turned my attention to the famous sentence: How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? Now I this body is obviously very busy getting better, and isn’t it fascinating how it feels when inside the army is fighting in different places against the invading viruses ... and isn’t the pouring rain making a wonderful sound on the roof?! So then the complaint turned into an observing fascination without any emotion or wanting it different, just experiencing the facts and events of me, this body and my surrounding. Back here again!
VINEETO to Alan: Similarly, when I walked out of the office today after seven hours of figures and telephone calls, accounting, sorting and filing, there was nothing to shake off from the day. There was nothing from the day that would stick as being of ‘vital’ importance or that created emotional disturbance. I walked out into the moist, warm night-air, fully alive and delighting in the drive home, the moonlight peeking through the cloudy night-sky. Absolutely delightful. Hanging in time, each moment fresh and crisp...
And ‘hanging in space’, living nowhere in particular becomes obvious to me when I look at our little cozy flat. It could be anywhere, anywhere in this town, anywhere in a country where it is sensible and comfortable to live in, anywhere on the planet, up or down-under. The planet itself is nowhere in particular in this universe anyway! If it were not this particular flat, it would be a similar comfortable one, non-descript without ‘home-y’ attributes. Lots of people have walked through this flat in the last weeks when it was up for sale, examining it and commenting about it in one way or the other. There was no sense of intrusion or disturbance of privacy, no pride or sense of ‘my’ flat, which I can remember having had in a similar situation 2 years ago. Our flat is, after all, just a nice place with a balcony where we put our favourite toys and couches. If it had been sold to someone else, we would have easily and with pleasure looked for another place to put our things. What a freedom.
So the ‘plastic between the stubbies’ – to refer to an earlier used allegory – is disintegrating and freeing the senses including the intelligence of the brain for even more intense pleasure in experiencing this moment of being alive.
ALAN: At the same time as experiencing the above, I have been contemplating what Richard wrote on getting out of the ‘zombie state’, which is well worth repeating and has been of immense benefit:
VINEETO: Yes, it is such a wonderful piece of writing, I stick it right back in again. I read it numerous times and it always has its effect.
ALAN: And sure enough, earlier today, while doing something in the kitchen ‘here’ I am again, the shivers of delight up the spine, much more intense than previously, a ‘crinkling’ sensation all over the head. I realise my body is trembling all over, though there is no fear, only delight and wonder at the simplicity of it all. It is as though a second pair of eyelids have opened – 360 degree awareness as Richard calls it – and I am, indeed, the experiencing of what is happening. Everything is brighter, clearer, louder and I am free to delight in the absolute fun and joy of simply being alive.
VINEETO: What an immense serendipity to have stumbled across Actual Freedom and then to have had the curiosity, discontent and courage to investigate it – it beats every single adventure I ever had in my life so far. And then to be able to communicate about it to someone on the other side of the world, you, who is enjoying winter and snow, maybe – life is truly magical.
ALAN: So, that is where I am up to for now – more interesting times ahead, no doubt. What have you been up to? Ain’t life fun.
VINEETO: Yes, indeed fun and delight and – I think we need to invent some more words, I am always short for synonyms of delight...
ALAN: And yet it is not a joke, for this is what I have been struggling with the last few days – ‘who is it who is knowing?’ – ‘who is it who is puzzling?’
VINEETO: I have always found the question ‘who’ would confuse me, distract me, re-create psychic dramas and keep imagination and feeling alive. While asking ‘what am I’ always brings me to my senses because ‘what’ I am can only be experienced by the senses. The actual world can only be experienced by the senses. Neither belief nor imagination nor feeling can answer ‘what I am’, but they can easily make up a lot of ‘who’s’.
I have found that by living in virtual freedom I have shifted my whole focus and emphasis from solving emotional problems and debunking beliefs to sensually and sensately enjoying ‘wee-things’ (as Billy Connolly said), the everyday things that life consists of – breakfast, rain, typing, coffee, walking, shopping, talking, sex, shower, watching TV and going to bed at night-time. And maybe half an hour of the day was spent pondering about ‘fear, death and deep matters’ of ‘me’. And thus the perspective changes, the focus changes from the imaginary to the actual, from the dramatic to the ordinary, from serious introspection to delightful hedonism – gay abandon, as Peter calls it. So it has been literally a turning away from giving importance to the ‘metaphysical’ to focussing on the actuality of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. And what a delight that is, each moment again, just to be alive, breathing and listening, tasting and seeing, smelling and touching. And then you get to do things on top of it – sheer delight.
VINEETO to Alan: I am reminded of a science-program we watched on TV. It showed how the brain’s long term memory operates: strings of neurons grow towards each other when stimulated often enough and finally merge in a synapse, a firm and lasting connection. As I see it, the stimulating input consists of various components:
All of these inputs are physically represented in neurons and their related synapse in the brain. Given that scientists are only at the very beginning of exploring the brain this might still be an inaccurate description. However, I conclude from this, that in the process of freeing oneself from the conditioning, from the feelings, beliefs and emotions, and finally eliminating the core instinctual passions there has to be physical equivalent happening in the brain. Perhaps millions of existing synapse are being disconnected, new neuron connections are growing, and the whole structure of the brain is reconstructing itself in a completely different way. I speculate that headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness, etc. are all expressions and temporary symptoms of this physical re-wiring.
Altogether, it is good fun speculating and trying to make sense – and some of it might be scientifically proven in later years – but the real proof of the pudding is the taste of the pudding – life is eminently delightful, despite and even because of the weird processes that are going on in the brain. To live each moment at the cutting edge of being alive, the important thing becomes not ‘what’ I experience but ‘that’ I am living fully aware, being the senses, 100% alive and enjoying each moment again. It can be a spectacular romp, a sleepy afternoon on a cozy rainy day or a busy working day, meeting all kind of demands. The quality has been improving ever since I started this process 21/2 years ago.
VINEETO: I noticed that PCEs are different to the stunning delightful surprises in the beginning, which were full of tumbling realization, psychedelic-like experiences of my surroundings. They lately seem to be rarer and just minute-long flashes, just long enough to recognize the sparkle and the absence of ‘me’, before ‘I’ appear back on the scene. I put it down to the fear of the ‘real’ thing that might just ‘accidentally happen’ while ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, and also to the fact that my continuous persistent obsession with the final event is keeping fear close at hand and thus prevents the ‘extra sparkle’. Since you brought up the question I thought about it and figured that this fear is actually part of me keeping death at bay, as much I may be convinced that I don’t – lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning through and through.
But I remember lots of very ordinary moments of living together, Peter doing his thing – being an architect or watching cricket or whatever else he finds pleasure in – I do my thing – playing with pictures or on the website – and us sharing lots of delightful pleasures of cooking, eating, a walk into town, a talk on the couch or a rompacious romp. These times seem so normal and ordinary that only in hindsight I recognize their innocence and particular taste of well-being. And then there are these moments, often hours of being excellent, but not quite experiencing a PCE, obsessed with the conundrum in my head of what is in the road of me disappearing. And while I am searching for and finding more and more blinding evidence that there is really, really no solution whatsoever within the boundaries of the ‘self’, there is this deliciously sweet and thrilling ‘taste or smell’ of the approaching inevitability, what Richard calls one’s destiny and I call ‘the proof of the pudding’. And, admittedly, that’s what I am more fascinated with than inducing a PCE.
In my exploration of what I can identify as ‘me’ I was wondering what made me feel guilty, impatient, frustrated and annoyed at not yet been able to prove that actual freedom is possible as the non-spiritual, down-to-earth route that Richard mapped out after his events. What I found, surprise, surprise, was that I was hanging on to a feeling of integrity of ‘me’, which was causing these feelings to erupt. When I examined what that word ‘integrity’ really means I discovered that this highly valued humanitarian value had been a great support for my investigation of feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts. It came in the same basket as sincerity, honesty towards myself and the stubborn resistance to settle for second best. But nevertheless, integrity is nothing but a nice man-made value, developed presumable in the Middle Ages, with the legends of heroic knights and fair maiden, to keep the raw instincts at bay. And what’s integrity worth as it is only covering the underneath lurking instincts, old and rotten like ancient dinosaur bones. And I noticed that it is particularly the ‘good’ bits of the self that I still defend.
ALAN: Could it be that the ‘continuous persistent obsession with the final event’ is what is keeping it from happening? This has been my experience of the last few days. I have (largely) given up the attempt to get ‘there’ and by concentrating more and more intently on what is happening and activating ‘delight’, the ease and palpable perfection, which Peter speaks of, has become more and more evident.
VINEETO: On further observation re ‘how PCEs and PCE-like times changed for me’, I can say that what I used to call a PCE in the beginning of my exploration into actual freedom is now only labelled ‘PCE-like’. This has to do with the fact that I am well aware of the thin, condom-like layer of the ‘self’ separating me from the universe and thus preventing the 100% direct experience of the magical actual perfection. Life is nevertheless pretty magical, much more than ever before are the days filled with delicate deepened sensuous experiences, an easy well-being, a delightful doing what I am doing; but the ‘self’ is hardly ever completely absent. It seems that my observation has become sharper with there being less difference between ‘normal’ and ‘magical’.
IRENE: You wrote [Vineeto]: I do appreciate and made good use of your scrutiny. In my answer to you I have not yet expressed that. Because if you are out to demolish Vineeto, so am I and we are on the same ball-game. [endquote].
First of all, in order to understand one another I see that I have not made it clear to you yet that I don’t subscribe any more to Richard’s goal of getting rid of ‘me’, my identity, my emotions. This is what I meant when I said that I had seen through Richard’s method and his view that this is what freedom means.
To me freedom means: to be free from the human conditioning (i.e. the belief in the man-made mistakes in their interpretations of being human and of nature in general). That what I had called ‘virtual freedom’.
Only a person who is deeply troubled by emotions will turn against them in anger and try to rid themselves of the whole plethora of emotional experiences. To me they are the palette that I use to paint my every moment onto the canvas of my immediate environment, except that this is 3-dimensional and it depicts more my atmosphere than colours or figures. Another thing you need to know about me is that I don’t see Richard as free, but rather removed from being human.
VINEETO: I have come out of a maze of strange days, full of both bouts of fear, doubt and desperation interspersed with long stretches of a wondrous soft and sensuous peace and contentment. The journey towards no-control has been a rocky one, thrilling indeed because it is so untrodden. Having experience the contents of various emotional attacks I have decided, for a change, to look at them from another angle – trying to understand what is happening. What we found was a repetitive circle of fear – frustration – doubt – and again fear, and the only way out of this circle is the intent to have the already always existing peace-on-earth become apparent.
For some reason the wide and wondrous path to freedom seemed to have turned into a thorny thicket, in itself a clear indication that I got off the road. As I have written to you earlier I had decided to leave Virtual Freedom behind and go for the genuine article – extinction. Since no one has completed the direct route to Actual Freedom before, this is now truly unchartered sea. Understanding the need to give up the way I had controlled my life I am now like a ship without tiller, seemingly tossed by the moods of the ocean. It appears that fear is the last one of those insidious instincts, the root core of each being human, the instinctual fear of survival. But in its nature it is only real, not actual. This core fear is standing in the way of me experiencing the actual world, it is standing in the road to freedom. A yet un-met challenge!
Having come that far in my contemplations I likened the whole path to freedom as a big balloon-popping party. Imagine a room full of balloons floating near the ceiling, in different colours, with different names of instincts, emotions, beliefs and conditioning written on them. The aim of the game is to pop every single balloon one by one by questioning, investigating and identifying the nature of the various beliefs, emotions and instincts. Once the last balloon is popped I am free. I imagine it to be light green, big, evasive, with fear written all over it. I need to keep it firmly in place, not getting distracted by doubt or other flight manoeuvres, and then – pop! That imagination changes the whole adventure from its heroic and dramatic frame into the thrilling and delightful journey it actually is. It also pulls the plug of making a big fuss about it. Mind you, I still consider it the best game to play, despite the other options you talked about in your letter.
I have been contemplating why there is this ‘strange’ wanting to report to you various – what I consider – interesting steps on the journey. The explanation I came up with is that I consider you as my forerunner in a baton relay race, where I took over what you had started years ago. After all, you have lived with Richard in peace and harmony for eleven years and dug deep into the male-female conditioning. If it had not been for you and Richard I would not be where I am today, and I admire your courage and efforts. Now Peter and I are mapping out the direct path to actual freedom as we stumble along, for whoever wants to take it up. Besides all the fear and thrill it is still a delight, after all, this is a perfect and sparkling physical universe and all the drama is only in one’s head and one’s heart.
IRENE: Do you indeed consider it fulfilling to live a hedonistic life only – I have nothing against enjoying all delicious aspects of life to the full – but if the emphasis is on sensual and sexual delights alone,
VINEETO: No, it is not fulfilling enough to live a hedonistic life without the intent to become completely free. At some point of the perfect life of virtual freedom it becomes unfulfilling because one knows it is only half way. That was when I turned my back on Virtual Freedom and decided it was time to go all the way. With having experienced what was possible it was simply inconceivable not to want it all, 24 hours a day, every day.
IRENE: ...there is a huge part of human enjoyment that is deemed invaluable and therefore to be rid of, exterminated, extirpated etc. In other words these aspects of human life, decreed by Richard as worthless (have nothing to do with it), perverse (malicious) and needlessly painful (sorrow) are all wrong. He blames the actual human organism, that what is naturally manifested by the universe (and specifically by the earth), an absolutely magical phenomenon that can not only have sensual and sexual experiences (like all animals and even plants to a certain degree of intensity) but comes also with an exquisite capacity for thinking, feeling, sensing, and communicating all these capacities. To Richard this natural humanness is the cause of all problems in the world, and especially the feelings and instincts, as you well know. He is therefore anti-nature: preposterous.
VINEETO: Richard does not blame the human organism, but the Human Condition. The human organism is the body complete with senses and brain and the innate intelligence to be ‘sensible’. The Human Condition, the collection of beliefs and underlaying instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, is exactly what spoils the unimpeded use of our innate intelligence. I admit, nobody before Richard has ever considered the possibility to separate the two, but they are definitely two different things. I can vouch for that with my own ongoing experience.
RESPONDENT: Yet this complete attention to what is actually so [Can we lend it the name love for a moment if that isn’t too disturbing, just to please me? Thank you, you may have the word back in just a minute, to dispose of as you wish.] can occur at any time and under any circumstances. Including the jump from a balcony, sitting in the sunlight, or sexual embrace. And anyone can love, none ‘better’ than any other. One doesn’t need words or ‘understanding’ for it! I think it is what we are meant to do. ‘The universe being aware of itself’ without condition. I think that is right on target. And I want to call it love. Perhaps out of sheer perversity I don’t want to squander the word love on what we normally use it for! Perhaps because it hurt me so much. Or perhaps I have some sense it is better used this way. I don’t know, but I have nothing to prove, it’s just how I see it. It may be that one loves continually in Richard’s actualized state, it sounds as if it might be so. It is the only thing that really matters. There is either complete attention, which I call love for just one more minute, thank you, or there is not, which is the state of being in the ego, or unconscious, or dead. And when we are love we are free, ‘actually free’ is a fine way to put it, if you wish, and we love like the sunlight, and the rain, and the wind, and the earth – because we are one.
VINEETO: Complete attention is only possible if there is no personal investment in you whatsoever, in that moment. This complete attention is not something ‘I’ do, this attention is what is left when there is nothing else that distracts that attention or apperception. Then you simply delight in the very is-ness of things, people and events, without directing, feeling, fearing, inventing, controlling, planning or hoping. So in my experience, it is freedom from the ‘self’, freedom from ‘me’, the feeler and believer, that has to come first and then you don’t need any love. Without malice and sorrow one is simply benevolent, magnanimous, intimate with everyone and swimming in delight. You probably remember this from your PCEs.
RESPONDENT: This would seem to mean that pure intent is based on fact. For me this would be the fact of the release that occurs when a major hurdle is realized. The point that dullness masks emotion and emotion masks belief has also been of assistance. I have a bit of trouble summoning up delight (as Richard suggests), as it seems imaginary, as opposed to the release that comes with facing issues. That is still under consideration though.
VINEETO: Pure intent is derived from the purity of a peak-experience. If the intent is based only on the release from the tensions of hurdles one will be contented with temporary and second rate solutions.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I have considered this. It is always a hurdle getting out of struggling and the agitated state of objection to an emotion. So when that state of struggling ends it does feel like a reward of sorts. My solution is a permanent ‘no objection at all’. That at the present is not a one off and requires continual effort of inquiry.
VINEETO: When an emotion is happening, for instance anger, it is harmful in two ways. Firstly I am not happy because I am angry and second I am angry at someone else and may cause harm to that person, be it by snide remarks, withdrawal or any other action. Of course I don’t want to be angry. If the aim is to be happy and harmless then I no longer tolerate anger in my life. One does everything possible to eliminate it and not merely watches its rising and falling in the mind or heart.
But the only way to successfully get rid of anger is to examine the root cause of me getting angry in that particular situation, find the expectation, the frustration, the ‘self’ in operation. Once I found the root cause and ‘got it’ – as Alan says – it is immensely rewarding, a great relief and a joy to have dismantled yet another obstacle to being free.
And with every success there was more eagerness to find the next hurdle. The obsession for freedom takes a life of its own, wearing down the original objections. And then it is like Mark was writing on the list a few days ago:
Your ‘permanent solution’ of ‘no objection at all’ sounds a pretty dry experience to me. Freedom from the churning emotions, feelings, beliefs and instincts, which is freedom from ‘me’, results in a delicious, sensuous continuous enjoyment moment after moment, fresh each time, rich and magnificent, crisp and perfect. An ongoing delight to be alive.
VINEETO to No 3: Virtual Freedom is an essential prerequisite for Actual Freedom. Actual Freedom does not happen over night. It is the result of whittling away all the layers of emotions, feelings, beliefs and instincts that one comes across in daily life until there is hardly any disturbance happening and hardly anything left of what used to be the ‘self’. Virtual Freedom can be described as perfect days, day-in, day-out, and heightened senses delivering ongoing pleasure and delight – be it a cup of coffee, the saxophone playing next door, the whistle of a chain-saw, the twitter of the birds, the soft breeze of the fan in may back. Virtual freedom is when the ‘feeling’ of time has disappeared, when the days have no names and the hours have no numbers – I am simply here living in this perfect moment each moment again. It does not matter if I go to work or stay at home, if it is day or night, rainy or hot, if I am meeting people, on my own or with Peter at home, I simply have a perfect time.
RESPONDENT: Although, the suggested method of trying to recall a PCE to get out of stuckness only helped in that it brought the obstacle into focus.
VINEETO: This is great success, don’t you think? To have ‘brought the obstacle into focus’ and to know what the obstacle is about which keeps you in ‘stuckness’ is an excellent starting position for investigation. Now this obstacle can be identified, labelled and experientially explored, using apperceptiveness to detect its reasons, connections, source and implications. This has nothing to do with the Buddhist method (Vipassana) of labelling a feeling and then dis-identifying from it. 180 degrees opposite again. An actualist labels the feeling to get the bugger by the throat, to explore it as a scientist, to check out its silliness or sensibility, to determine how it is part of the Human Condition and then, when all is said and done, to permanently step out of having that emotion. This final stepping out often results in a pure consciousness experience.
Last night I was contemplating about Alan’s description of his ‘reflective contemplations’, ‘practising the actual’ and arriving here in the actual world and how this records with my experience. Further Alan says:
Recalling step by step my own process into a PCE last night I found that contemplation serves to focus on the direction – being happy, dismantling the self, comprehending enough of the real world in order to see the self in operation and to step out of it. Contemplation always helps to focus on and remove obstacles and then, with no feeling or belief interfering I can build up the sensuous awareness of this moment of being alive. The wind on the skin, the sounds around, the wiggling of my toe, visual delights, tastes and smells ... Increasing sensuousness tips over into gay abandon, the self as both the controller and the feeler are abandoned and bingo ... I am experiencing what I had previously only reflectively contemplated about – this moment of being alive as a flesh and blood body only.
The gay abandon can, of course, also happen without the reflective part, as a nature experience, in sex or any time when sensual pleasure is sensuous enough to tip over into the self-less experience of being alive as a flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: Could you describe what you refer to a PCE experience some more.
VINEETO: I see that you have asked Richard about the same subject – a very good idea. After all he is the expert, living it 24 hours a day, every day. (...)
Those descriptions are to help you either induce or remember a peak-experience and distinguish it from any other emotional, blissful or spiritual experience where, upon examination, you will always find a wonderful warm buzzing feeling present. In a peak-experience there is no ‘feeling’ entity present, that’s what makes it stand out. You experience a clarity, a delight, heightened senses and everything around you just as it is, obvious, magically perfect, always been here. For me, whenever it happened, I thought, ‘where have I been?’ It, the actual world is so very obvious, it needs no explanation. Answering the questions below I describe my every day life, where sometimes a ‘bleed-through’ of fear happens. In a peak-experience those emotions are completely absent.
RESPONDENT: Do you mean that since one’s sense of self is totally absent there is no possibility of any planning for the future in this state? (the planning entity gone)?
VINEETO: Good, you are taking up the investigation of what this ‘life without self’ means.
It is not that I don’t plan when I need to – for earning money, or going shopping – but the feeling of worrying is gone, planning is simply a practical and delightful activity of my brain. So most planning does not happen, it has become redundant when the fear about the future disappeared.
RESPONDENT: Also, do you feel like the body is doing something and there is no entity controlling, censoring your actions?
VINEETO: With the body it is curious – the difference for me becomes most obvious in sex. The pleasures of the senses lead me on to the next movement or holding still or shifting position or pace – and there is neither a controller nor an examiner in the head, supervising the event. In the beginning it was quite uncanny and I went back into control and then out from control many times, until I dared to just be the senses. When there is no sorrow or malice nor any sex-drive happening, there is no need for a controller – nothing can go wrong. Further, there is always awareness about what I am doing, so there is no danger that I could be hurting Peter or myself.
RESPONDENT: And so you don’t know what will you do in the next moment. In a sense, are you constantly surprised, bewildered by your daily activities which become fascinating due to the novelty of life (or is the entity who could possibly be fascinated also gone).
VINEETO: Very often I don’t know what I am going to do in the next moment. Some things need to be done in the day, like food, sleep, or work. Some other things I usually do in the day like writing, having sex or enjoying several cups of coffee. But there is no schedule other than a sensible time – like don’t go shopping at 10 o’clock at night. Sometimes I am surprised, hardly ever bewildered – the bewilderment then is due to a remnant fear – but usually it makes perfect sense what I am doing next – toilet, coffee, TV, writing, talking, walking, eating when hungry... The fascination comes from every moment being fresh, never been here before, not playing a repetitive ritual but a fresh living each moment.
I found that boredom is an emotion which has a lot to do with not wanting to be here in the first place. Once I had dismantled and eliminated the cause of boredom, life has been fresh and thrilling, sometimes a bit scary with all the re-wiring of the brain, but never boring again.
VINEETO to No 7: Here is a bit more of Mr. Buddha’s teachings of how to get out of their physical senses and retreat into an imagined reality or fabricated peace and tranquillity. Of course, practicing Vipassana is like being drugged by an overdose of pain killers – when you don’t feel anything, see anything, hear anything, it is kind of peaceful – I would rather call it numb and dull! And then, removed from the world of physical senses there are no limitations to the full range of imagination – one imagines being peace, light, love, compassion – take anything from the ‘feeling-shop’ whatever you want, nothing is actual anyway.
Can you see the intense effort that goes into changing one’s sensitivity, and into fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything perceived in the physical world is considered stress and bad, and one has to work hard to dis-associate oneself from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
RESPONDENT: A side thought: Non-emotional but deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship is a great way to live as a couple. But what would you do if your partner was both sensuous and very emotional?
VINEETO: For me, No. 7, ‘a deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship’ had been a life-long yearning – to live with a man in peace and harmony, equity and intimacy. It took a great number of years to be able to question the ‘truth’ that love was the answer to a fulfilling relationship.
I do like your question and I had to chuckle because in one short sentence you encompass what is both the attraction and the problem for men regarding women while at the same time the ‘sensuous and very emotional’ qualities are the very substance of the covert power that women hold over men. On the path to becoming happy and harmless it can be of great benefit for your investigation into the Human Condition and your discovery of the actual world to have someone around who can trigger both your sensuousness and your emotions.
One can be aware of one’s sensuality on one’s own – the sounds around, the breeze on the skin, the delight of colours or forms, the joy of walking, etc. And it is even more fun to explore sensuousness with your partner. Sexual play with Peter often initiated a switch in me from philosophizing and worrying to refocusing my attention to being sensately alive here in this moment in time. Reflective contemplation, sensuality and sensuousness are the doors to experiencing the actual world, being alive as this flesh-and-blood body only, while the emotions are usually what stops you from being here in this moment.
As Richard describes in his article ‘Attentiveness, sensuousness, apperceptiveness’, the cultivation of attentiveness towards sensuousness is an essential step towards apperceptiveness.
RESPONDENT: Even before knowing about actual freedom, I was reasonably happy and peaceful as I could get rid of (I would not use word ‘eliminate’ here because that would not be honest) anger, envy, malice etc. to a large extent, but now I am discovering the roots of good feelings like love, gratitude, humility etc.
VINEETO: After seventeen years on the spiritual path, including lots of therapy and new-age discussions, I had still experienced myself to be in utter confusion as to how to deal with emotions. Some emotions were to be kept, some to be transformed, but then most of them would reappear without invitation and did not disappear permanently by ‘watching’. Then again, I was not only to rise above the bad thoughts and emotions but also to dis-identify from ‘being the body’ all together, which ultimately proved to be neither possible nor an option.
So it was a great revelation when I first discovered that to be alive and happy I don’t need to have emotions at all – in fact, the emotions were the very thing that prevented me from being fully alive and permanently happy. Sorting my emotions into good and bad always reminded me of poor Cinderella who had to sort out peas by their size, ending up totally exhausted and bewildered. What a relief and how much easier, to start to eliminate all the peas, i.e. emotions. Of course, that proposition rocked me at the very core, but I was desperate and daring enough to give it a go. And the more I stripped away the ‘good’ feelings like love, gratitude, humility, unselfish-ness, compassion and belonging, the more I discovered the genuine article underneath the emotions and beliefs – actual intimacy and delight.
See, the quality of the actual world is delight. The very actual-ness of everything is pure delight. Actualism is ‘the experiential understanding that nothing physical is merely passive; the personal experience of the universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being as opposed to a cerebral or affective perception.’
For instance, listening without the layer of emotions, morals, values, beliefs and instincts, to the hum of the fridge, the sound of cars passing by, the rumbling of the computer doing its thing, is delighting in being alive and this very hearing is one function of being alive. No love is needed to layer on top of the very happening of things, it only destroys the purity and perfection, it only binds it into a man-made system of conditions, belonging, control and fear. If you love one sound, you reject another. To love silence is to despise and be upset by noisy business. Love would utterly spoil the game of being happy, here, now, each moment again, for no other reason than being alive, fully and sensately experiencing the universe around me. Without the self being sorrowful and malicious, fearful and lonely, loving and belonging, compassionate and grateful – nothing else is needed to delight in each moment again.
You might remember moments of comfortably stretching out on the couch, an ease and a well-being spreading through every cell, no feeling or emotion interfering in the peaceful moment, everything is perfect for that particular period, be it a second, ten minutes or longer. This is when you come closest to experiencing the actual world – the world as it is and people as they are. This is the most intimate one can be – as a ‘self’ – when, for a moment, there is no emotional demand on how the situation should be. That’s when you are closest to a peak-experience...
And then... the next disturbance is such a good opportunity to investigate...
RESPONDENT: Enjoyed writing to you.
VINEETO: … if you are sufficiently discontent with life as you experience it right now, to want to change fundamentally and irrevocably then this quote from Richard explains in detail how to conjure sensual delighting –
RESPONDENT: I have read this piece from Richard earlier and tried following this but could not get out of ‘stuckness’. I have not even intellectually understood what does ‘delight’ mean or what is ‘naiveté’. May be I need to try more.
VINEETO: I appreciate the honesty and sincerity of your introspection. A good bout of sincere introspection can be very revealing, a bit like taking stock as to what you have done in your life and what you want to do with the rest of your life. The mere fact that you are taking stock indicates that you have some doubts about your stock and that you would like your stock to be better.
The way I discovered naiveté was to actively rid myself of cynicism, and the first step was to become aware of the fact that I had cynical thoughts and feelings – i.e. to experience how cynical I was and to recognize the maliciousness of cynicism. The next step was to stop feeling cynical because a cynic is someone who despises being here, is not someone who can delight in being here and is not someone who likes his or her fellow human beings – a cynic being ‘one who sarcastically doubts or despises human sincerity and merit’. Oxford Dictionary
Delight is the joy of being here for no reason at all and naiveté is the innate quality of encountering life in wide-eyed wonder and amazement. If you want to re-awaken your dormant naiveté and rekindle your capacity for delight it is vital to recognize and abandon the cynicism and the resignation that is inherent in all Eastern religions – there is no other way.
VINEETO to No 15: When, for the first time, I not only contemplated but also really understood that an actual physical infinite universe has no physical place for god who, by definition, resides outside of the universe, it blew my whole belief of a higher force to pieces. It then became all too obvious how many other beliefs were feeding from this one imaginary and passionate assumption that there is something ‘higher’ than human beings that is running the show. Bang, here I was, suddenly realizing that I was all by myself, alone and lonely, frightened and unprotected, but free of that imagined authority that had controlled my life. For an hour I experienced in a pure consciousness experience the delicious perfection of this purely physical, utterly un-spiritual universe.
VINEETO: Hi Everybody,
There has been such good writing lately in both Peter’s and Richard’s latest correspondence with paragraph upon paragraph of accurate descriptions of what actualism and Actual Freedom are all about. As the self-appointed librarian I wish there were adequate ‘exhibition rooms’ in order to not have those words disappear in the vastness of the website.
Yesterday I found in Richard’s latest correspondence a description of the self in action that I found so excellent and brilliant in its accuracy and preciseness that, in view of our latest discussions about emotions on the list, I will post it here.
‘Pushing away’ and ‘grasping’ – these are indeed the two opposite actions that I observe as ‘me’, the ‘self’ in action, depending on the emotion that is arising at the time. And in this very description of the ‘primitive self structure’ there also lies the solution for catching the bugger and moving closer towards self-immolation. To stop pushing away bad, fearful, angry and sorrowful feelings and to stop grasping the good, loving and blissful feelings leaves ‘me’ with nothing to hang my hat on – an absolute fascinating experience when put into practice. There is a quality of suspense when I not let feelings take me on a ride, be they ‘good’ or ‘bad’, a thrill of doing the unfamiliar, an aliveness that is experienced just before popping through into the actual world in a PCE.
The other fascinating observation was that refusing to go along with any emotion in one direction – ie fear – the temptation then appears to draw me into the opposite direction – i.e. feeling on cloud nine. Considering that instinctual passions and chemical reactions in the brain go hand in hand the pairing of emotions makes sense because to counteract a strong fear the amygdala will pump a strong dose of chemicals producing ecstatic feeling in order to overcome the fear to ensure one’s survival. In order to permanently get rid of the bad feelings, at the same time I will have to examine and get rid of the accompanying good feeling as well.
Peter said it well in his recent letter to mailing list B:
Co-Respondent: 3. Is the PCE neurological, biological, psychological ... or what would you say?
Peter: Given that a PCE, or peak experience as it sometimes referred to, can often be induced by drugs or traumatic experiences that alter the brain’s chemical balance it would indicate that the onset of a PCE is neuro-biological phenomena. This is confirmed by the fact that modern neuro-biological research by Joseph LeDoux and others are beginning to trace emotions such as fear to the automatic reaction of the primitive brain. The amygdala in particular is being identified as the source that activates a flow of chemicals in the body as an automatic fight or flight response in the face of danger. This instinctual chemical flow reaches the neo-cortex or modern cognitive brain a split second later and is interpreted by the alien entity as psychological and/or psychic fear. In the PCE, it would seem that this pathway from the ancient instinctual brain to the modern cognitive brain no longer functions, i.e. it is temporarily blocked. The modern brain, thus freed from its instinctual ‘self’-centred passion-producing companion, the primitive brain (amygdala), is able to operate freely with a pure consciousness.
The physical senses – the stalks of the brain – are similarly freed of the ever-fearful guard duty that is imposed on the modern brain by the instinctual primitive brain. This freedom from chemical assault results in a startling sensate-only experience of the actual world that is best described as sensuous delight. It is as though colours are far more vibrant, sounds far louder, tastes more flavoursome, touch more sensual, smells more fragrant and everything is experienced as vibrant and not merely passive.
In the PCE, the experience of ‘self’-lessness, the lack of any instinctual passion, the clarity of thought and reflection and the heightened physical senses all accord with the neo-cortex being freed from the insidious influence of the animal instinctual reptilian brain. How this happens physically in a PCE is, to my knowledge, yet to be mapped by empirical science but there is clear evidence that a permanent disconnection has been deliberately induced by at least one person and is being deliberately induced by a handful of others.
This is, of course, a clinical scientific description only and the process cannot be separated from its psychological and psychic ramifications and, as such, the term ‘self’-immolation is a more evocatively accurate term to describe this process. Peter, List B, No 10
Contemplating further I realized that to stop pushing away and stop grasping might at first look similar to the Buddhist practice of ‘neti-neti’, ‘neither this nor that’. The approach of Buddhists and all other meditators is to remove the self from the source of trouble which at the same time removes one from the experience of the sensuousness of being alive. Spiritualism moves away from sensate and affective feelings in order to not be here while an actualist questions and eliminates affective feelings because they prevent me from being here, being the senses-only experiencing the delight of being alive in this actual perfect abundant magical world.
But Buddhists are exercising a technique to remove themselves, to dis-identify and finally to dissociate from either this or that feeling, implying that there is a true self, which they want to keep, that can remove itself from this or that feeling or thought. In actualism the emotion is experienced by neither repressing nor expressing, neither pushing nor grasping and thus one is able to examine it in reflective contemplation so as to explore the very nature of this emotion. One does not remove the self from the emotion but whittles away at the self which is the very program producing the emotion in the first place. This process, if undertaken diligently and persistently, will inevitably lead to self-immolation.
VINEETO: For instance, there is Betelgeuse, the top left star in the constellation called Orion, recognizable by the three bright stars in his ‘belt’ – the diameter of this single star is bigger than the orbit of Jupiter around the sun!! Unimaginable vastness, and that is only one star of a huge nebular galaxy, of billions that are known – and billions that are not known (yet). The infinite variety of matter leaves me gasping for breath, the magnificence and perfection are fascinating, to say the least – and I am the bit of the universe that says: ‘Wow, how phantasmagorical, how magical!’
RESPONDENT: Makes ‘me’ seem very insignificant.
VINEETO: ‘Significant’ or insignificant are only words relative to our human values. Of course, the infinitude of the universe puts every ‘self’-centred vision into perspective and belies one’s imagination as to one’s self-importance. When the actual world becomes an everyday experience, there is neither significance nor insignificance, only facts and delight.
Yet, to become free from the Human Condition in order to experience the actual world has been the most significant thing in my life. Every bit that I cleaned up in myself was significant for it changed my life for the better and stopped creating ripples of malice and sorrow in other people’s lives. The only significant thing that ‘I’ can do is to get out of the road.
VINEETO to No 16: When I look back to see what it was that gave me the first glimpses of the actual world as opposed to my only-known world of thoughts and feelings, I can say that it was a repetitious reading of Richard’s journal, extensive discussions with Peter to find out what his words actually mean and the desire to find out exactly what it was different to the spiritual teaching that I knew. I was looking for the difference, not for any seeming similarity. I was not satisfied with the outcome of my spiritual search, I was looking for something that worked – and Richard obviously had discovered something that worked.
The next vital and essential break-through in understanding was my first major peak experience (PCE). What had started off one evening as ‘a roaming in the vast chambers of my mind’, psychic experiences and an expanded state of consciousness suddenly took a turn from ‘inner reality’ to actuality. It happened when Peter looked at me and said ‘hello, how are you doing?’ I popped out of my inner world of feelings and imagination and, questioning the very validity of all I felt and thought, entered the world beyond beliefs and feelings – the actual world. Here was another human being, a flesh-and-blood person without any particular identity and he wanted to talk to me. And here I was, also a flesh-and-blood person without a particular identity, sitting on an old couch and curious to talk to this man that I was meeting for the first time.
I had never met the actual Peter; I had only related to him through the curtain of my expectations and classifications, through the filter of my social identity, through the grey or rose-coloured glasses of my ‘self’. What was initially a shocking surprise quickly turned into fascination and delight to have discovered something so simple and so pure – actual intimacy with another person and the perfection of the actual world. Here we were, two human beings, meeting for the first time, without past or future. No grand feelings, in fact, no feelings at all, but the pleasure of mutual undivided attention as to what the other is going to say next...
All my churning questions from the weeks before as to what was right and what was wrong had disappeared from my tortured head and heart; the experience of the moment was all that mattered. In the course of the evening and the following night, insight upon insight occurred as the edifice of my beliefs system tumbled – the actual world, the world beyond belief opened up. Unbeknown to me it had been here all the time, a world where everything was simply obvious, perfect, pure, delightful, actual, factual and ‘wysiwyg’ (what you see is what you get). No deeper meaning, no God, no soul, no philosophy – meaning and significance abounds when living this moment without the burden of the ‘self’. A complete description of this PCE here.
This pure consciousness experience became my reference point for what I wanted to achieve. It was also an essential reference point to understand what Richard was saying and writing. After all, this actual world is the very world he is living in all the time, and my PCE had just demonstrated how this world is usually tucked away behind the normal/ spiritual worldview.
RESPONDENT: I was practising Vipassana with the intent to be as happy and harmless as possible while facing the numerous feelings of both hardship and bliss that were revealed by the scrutiny of attentiveness, in order to eliminate those feelings and end up more happy and harmless... and what followed was a period of genuinely feeling really good, and then of naiveté and felicitous sensuousness, and then that resulted in a PCE!
RESPONDENT No 60: Sounds like actualism with your eyes closed!
RESPONDENT: Yeah that’s what I thought too, and it worked.
VINEETO: Given that you have asked for my input let me say that I found it exceedingly useful for clarity’s sake to exactly label what I was feeling and what I was doing. In this case, going by your description you were not doing Vipassana as taught by the authorities in the field but an adaptation that was more like No 60 said, ‘actualism with your eyes closed’ and it had a very different effect than the original Vipassana.
This is not to say that a PCE cannot occur doing the original Vipassana or anything else for that matter – I had a PCE whilst helping in a ‘Fisher-Hoffmann’ emotional release process, during a ‘Who-Am-I’ group, during an Avatar technique session and even during a discourse of Rajneesh, all of which I only recognized as PCEs in hindsight. A PCE, being a glitch in the generally operating control-program of ‘me’, can happen any time in life under the most ordinary or extra-ordinary of circumstances. However, if I want to not only have PCEs occur on a regular basis but also use them as a tool for becoming free from the human condition then it makes sense to stick with the process of actualism so as to avoid slipping into altered states of consciousness or getting hooked on the experience only whilst ignoring the process of becoming increasingly free from malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT No 60: (Or does it have ... ‘spiritual’ ... side-effects in your experience perhaps?)
RESPONDENT: It has in the past, yes. I should point out though that my attitude towards it was different then. I considered the dissociated ‘I’ a stepping-stone toward a PCE. I didn’t recognise the basic, subtle resentful attitude that is in operation often, and so I rarely did anything about it, choosing instead to tranquilise the things it gave rise to… basically, controlling the instincts instead of eliminating them.
On that course, I didn’t notice any spiritual side effects. I haven’t really sat much since because I just haven’t felt like it. My life’s been markedly better than before since I started with actualism in November last year. Sitting does make me feeling good, and I’m thinking of doing it from time to time as a way of giving myself a kick-start and activating delight… but I want to talk to Richard and the gang about it too.
VINEETO: I am not surprised that you ‘haven’t really sat much since’ as I had the same experience. Why waste my time sitting in the corner with my eyes closed when I can instead be out and about enjoying being alive doing everyday things!
Besides, I found that the trouble with wanting to integrate some old (spiritual) practices into the practice of actualism was that this would generally blur the distinction between the spiritual goal of dissociation and transcendence to a higher ‘Self’ on one side and the actualist’s goal of ‘self-immolation or ‘self’-diminishment as in a virtual freedom on the other. And going by my own experience, particularly in the beginning of practicing actualism I needed all the help for clarity that I could give myself.
Two things I particularly remember that helped me ‘kick-start and activating delight’ in the beginning – one was to deliberately change my habit of only being focussed on my plans and worries of the day the moment I awoke, and instead pay attention to my surroundings, the delights of the ever-changing weather and the many little sensate delights whenever they happened. The other was to regularly take time out, look around me, enjoy the weather, notice my fellow human beings, the delightful interactions that do occur and then, especially after an eventful day, put up my feet and contemplate about the specific events of the day, about the human condition in me and the feelings that occurred, why they occurred, and how I could prevent me from getting upset the next time round. Inevitably having worked out some emotional problem that had surfaced in the day would automatically re-activate delight and make me aware of how good life really is when all the petty worries of the day are neatly left behind.
RESPONDENT: Communication for what? Perhaps to reaffirm ‘I’ am on the right track?? Perhaps there is no track at all ... simply living well so all may simply live well too?? Sounds moralistic but is actually common sense ... in operation.
VINEETO: I don’t know what your reasons are to communicate.
I write to tell my experiences of this new and effective method to permanently change from the miserable, fearful, angry and sorrowful person who was deeply immersed within the spiritual world of hope and postponement, into the happy and harmless human being that I am today. I find that worth communicating to anybody who is interested in becoming free from the Human Condition.
I know for a fact that I am ‘on the right track’ – my daily life proves that actualism works. I don’t need reaffirming that I am ‘on the right track’ because by applying the method I have become happy and harmless. The only way I got rid of belief and doubt was to find out for myself that it worked. If something works, it is a fact.
But there is a track all right – we call it the wide and wondrous path. It is very easy to find, yet ‘not for the faint of heart or weak of knee’ , to quote Richard’s expression. One simply asks oneself each moment again ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – and then one takes whatever action is necessary to return to delight, leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, bit by bit.
RESPONDENT: I might still not be at ease regarding the everyday mundane repetitive tasks and once I start enjoying even those, I would think that I have changed for good.
VINEETO: Part of being able to enjoy ‘everyday mundane repetitive tasks’ for me was to have a close look at what was really necessary. For instance I decided to reduce my overheads in order to be able to sell less of my time for money. Having adjusted the balance of my time as compared to ‘their’ time it was then much easier to enjoy the time I had to sell for money and the fact that when I do my work well this in itself is a satisfying activity helped in enjoying the process of it.
The other thing with ‘everyday mundane repetitive tasks’ was that I had to look at some underlying resentments – as if someone else was making me do those task and not that I had in fact chosen the situation where those tasks were a necessary part of my life. For instance, what’s the point of objecting to having to wash the dishes when I clearly made the choice that I prefer to eat from clean dishes rather than have last night’s dinner still on them? Once I am aware, and am able to determine, that all I do is in fact my own choice, if possible my deliberate choice, then any resentment goes out the window. And without resentment any task can be a joy, a sensate pleasure or a mental challenge to do, if only I apply enough attentiveness to all that is involved in accomplishing it.
RESPONDENT: I clearly see the sense behind your approach… but I still have the ‘resentment’. The feeling inside me refuses to go away… the silliness expresses itself as postponement and switching to more enjoyable tasks. Most of it is gone but still something is left. I have some task to do which is not all that bad but still I seem to prefer reading a book and reflecting about things rather than doing the task at hand. I am not sure how to get rid of this basic resentment. Any more tips on this aspect would be welcome.
VINEETO: You are aware, are you, that you make a choice, each moment again, to hang onto the resentment in favour of taking on the challenge of enjoying the task at hand?
Nobody said that becoming actually or virtually free from malice and sorrow (resentment being a facet of sorrow) was effortless and on the way personal sacrifices have to be made in order to achieve your goal. Your resentment is one of those sacrifices required.
KONRAD: Consider that in Africa malaria is so prevalent, that a certain blood type is developed that makes people immune to exactly that type of disease. So why should ‘evolution’ react to an immunizator against such a disease, and not reacting at such a major mental crisis in a similar way? That is illogical. Therefore I suspect, that within the three of us [Richard, Konrad and No 12, List B] this ‘organ’ has been developing as a reaction to the constant wars, and has become dominant.
VINEETO: Now, don’t fool yourself, Konrad. This thing does not just happen at random out of some mystical evolution. It requires pure intent, a lot of it, and the sincerity and honesty not to escape some cheap ‘shortcut’. This ‘I’ has to die and each one has to find it in him/herself and induce it to die – self-immolate. The measuring scale is delight. The more free, the more delight. The less fear, the more delight. Not the spiritual, cerebral bliss, but the delight of experiencing the senses without the mantle of the ‘I’.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.