Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: For me, the spiritual process carried the seeds of its own demise because it is based on an inherent, though incredibly subtle, duality – spirit and matter. Now that I’m not searching for ‘reality’ or my real self in other realms, I am investigating very intensely this ‘rudimentary self’ that is part and parcel of the instinctual programming. For whatever reason, I was unable to settle for an even subtly split experience, no matter what the payoff in bliss and promised immortality.
VINEETO: Today I don’t consider this duality subtle anymore – it is, in fact, very crude and blatantly obvious. In my spiritual years I had to practice much denial and acceptance in order to fit all the fervent beliefs and nonsensical explanations into my poor confused brain and it was a great relief when the bubble of beliefs finally burst. I practiced denial for years, despite evidence and common sense, attempting to transcend my ‘bad’ emotions, my personal thoughts, my association with my physical body and tried to ignore all the real suffering, both my own and that of others around me. In return, I needed a lot of reassurance through feel-good energy, feeling superior by belonging to the Chosen Ones and the daily practice of meditation in the nursery of an isolated Ashram.
It is hard work to keep nonsensical belief alive, complete with moral control and the demands of one’s social identity. Although it requires a lot of effort and persistence at the start to investigate and eliminate one’s beliefs, feelings and emotions, living in Actual Freedom doesn’t need any effort at all because the actual world is already always here. One simply needs to remove everything that prevents the actual from becoming apparent.
It’s a superb bargain to exchange one’s beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions for the sensate actuality and magical perfection of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: Will this ‘I’-less state result in being slow, lethargic or will our natural body system of being active – passive self-regulate into a balanced state? There will be no more ‘I’ to psychologically motivate us and to influence the body to ‘get up and do something’ rather then, for example, to sit and enjoy a sunset. Or is being slow and lethargic an emotional state that will be weeded out by then?
VINEETO: If in asking the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I get the answer ‘ lethargic’, I know that there is a feeling to be looked at and investigated. In my experience, lethargy was a reluctance to investigate a scary issue, to question a deep-seated dearly held belief, to sort out peer-group pressure and explore what I had deemed to be the truth for many years. Lethargy, for me, is the same feeling that Alan calls ‘stuckness’, a seemingly non-feeling dull state where feelings are kept under the carpet because they are too scary to acknowledge and explore. Lethargy is simply another word for not wanting to be here, for whatever reason.
What got me out of lethargy or stuckness or denial or melancholy was always the sensible thought that it is my time and my life that I am wasting and that the issue will not go away by itself – nothing will change unless I change.
Enjoying being lazy is something different altogether. Doing nothing really well is an art that needs to be learned like every other ingredient of being happy and harmless. Doing nothing when there is nothing to do instead of running around frantically because ‘I’ need to add ‘meaning’ to life was an issue that I had to investigate over many months. For me, being capable of doing nothing involved exploring the fear and guilt of being useless, the need to belong to the group that was ‘doing something useful in life’ and the need of ‘me’, the identity, to assure my importance to others and to ‘myself’ with something that ‘I’ had produced. Additionally, there was the fear of boredom, the fear of being ostracized, the fear of loneliness, the fear of depression when there won’t be another meaningful task to get me out of bed the next day. All these fears were very real when experienced but none of them had actual validity for my physical survival.
The only thing I need to do is earn a living, pay the rent, fill the fridge and obey the laws of the land – the rest is a free choice of what pleasure to do next... There simply are no other rules as to what one has to do in life. And once I eliminated the need for, and the bondage of, the societal and religious morals and ethics, I am free to choose the best – which is to devote my life to becoming free from the Human Condition.
When I can enjoy doing nothing really well, I can also distinguish the difference between lethargy and laziness, guilt and hedonism, the feeling that I ‘should’ do something and the pleasure of getting my teeth stuck into an engaging project or issue. Investigating the Human Condition always boils down to ‘what feeling is preventing me now from being happy and harmless?’ – and then doing whatever is needed to change to becoming more happy and more harmless, until all of ‘me’ is eliminated in the final ‘pop’.
It took some time until the penny dropped but I have finally understood that ‘actual change’ and ‘radically new’ are obviously not on your menu. Out of this misunderstanding I have cluttered you with heaps of irrelevant information, but never mind. In order to ensure no change you are exactly on the right track. You might remember Peter’s equation that he introduced when reviewing Paul Lowe’s spiritual book:
‘Denial plus Transcendence Equals No Change’ (D + A = nc)
With the brilliant example of denial and applying the teachings of transcendence that you have given above you will have no trouble avoiding the dreaded actual change.
I have always found it fascinating to discover in the course of my correspondence, meeting people and reading New Age publications, that the new fashion in spiritual circles is now introducing words like ‘non-spiritual’, ‘actual’ and even ‘apperception’ into their current vocabulary, because it sounds good and ‘feels right’. The New Age search that started in the ‘sixties now needs a new polishing, as it has become a bit of a well-worn path that hasn’t delivered the desired results for millions of seekers. This re-vamping process can be compared to taking one’s rotten old Ford car, giving it a new paintjob and a flashy bumper-bar and re-naming it ‘Lamborghini’. Now one can show it again, all the while it remains rotten to the core. A face-lift, à la Hollywood, is accomplished by creating a few new terms and labels – and the spiritual search can continue on for another fifty years without being considered out of date.
Actualism writings are an excellent source for such face-lift words, particularly when applied in creative combinations. The post-modern Non-Spirituality that is evolving from the New Age Spirituality now reads like this (and most examples are not even invented by me) –
Flesh-and-blood body mindfulness, apperceptive presence, non-spiritual reality, direct actual experience of truth, factuality of one’s ordinary self, a feeling of pure consciousness approaching, direct divine experience of the physical universe, non-spiritual self, spiritual ... oops, non-spiritual intimacy, thoughtless perfection, emotional facts, virtual commitment, physical Being, ever improving perfection, extremely free, exploring beyond appearance into ‘actual reality’, the all-consuming universe experiencing the moment, personal sensate-only experience, such sensuous no-mind image, natural non-spiritual living, factual emotional remembrance, timeless sense of actuality, watching without being a watcher, unfragmented observed actuality, virtual facts, greater actuality, beyond the realm of the apperceptive mind-entity.
I am sure there are plenty more examples to describe the verbal assimilation that will take place in the transformation from Eastern Religion to New Age Spirituality to Post-modern Non-Spirituality. A hilarious and highly entertaining example of such effort can be found in Richard’s correspondence, List A, No 5. No 5 took a particular liking to the word ‘apperception’.
Richard sums up his experience of years of talking to people like this:
RESPONDENT: My previous teachings to me are about the actual. For example, a key ingredient of my previous teachings is about having a direct experience of the actual which I feel is necessary to having a PCE.
VINEETO: I am stunned that you can call Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s teaching being ‘about the actual’. If you had followed a bit of Richard’s extensive correspondence with many, many people on this very same teacher’s mailing list, you would at least have noted that Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s concern is the transcendental and nothing but the transcendental. Vis:
In order to be able to say that Mr. Krishnamurti’s teachings to you are ‘about the actual’ you have to either ignore 90% of Krishnamurti’s teachings or twist the meaning of the word ‘actual’ into meaning spiritual and transcendental. ‘The key ingredient of [your] previous teachings is about having a direct experience’ of the divine, not the actual. Vis:
I have no problem with whatever name you might give to your goal and your experiences but denial and transcendence are sure methods of avoiding a Pure Consciousness Experience. For comparison I copied a description of a direct experiencing of the actual. (...)
RESPONDENT: Direct experience of the actual would be being with this monitor without having other thoughts about the past, etc. I’m not into any new age teachings. I clearly see the difference between sensual feelings and affective feelings.
VINEETO: As you might have gleaned from Richard’s description, your ‘direct experience of the actual’ and Richard’s direct experience of the actual are two different pairs of shoes. The choice is always yours.
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!
VINEETO: For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...
ALAN: Can you expand on ‘instinctually driven’. Do you mean that having experienced what is possible, there ain’t no other high – where do the ‘instincts’ come in?
VINEETO: With pleasure. I have spent wonderful hours on the balcony the other night, watching the sky and listening to the different sounds of the night while contemplating about all the different instincts that I have encountered and learnt to understand on the path to freedom. So this is what I have come up with:
Fear – We all know it at nauseam; it includes trickery, cunningness, numbness, confusion, escape, denial, excuses, guilt and beliefs in all kinds of good (helpful) and bad (harming) spirits. And, of course, there are panic, terror and good old dread and the escape into enlightenment. But fear is also the doorway to courage, thrill and excitement to reach closer and closer to one’s destiny.
Aggression – Besides physical attack, aggression has many more subtle nuances: blaming, resentment, verbal abuse, nagging, boredom, being the victim, arrogance, clever-clever, competition, self-destruction and depression. I made use of this instinct for becoming free as a bloody-mindedness, persistence, not to ‘let the buggers get me down’, smugness and refusal to run with the crowd.
Nurture – It took me a while to wade through the ‘good’ feelings and emotions down to the basic instinct of nurture instilled to preserve the species. All the romantic movies thrive on nurture to tug at one’s heart strings, both with the heroic man and the loving but helpless woman. The willingness to kill and die for love for country, justice and religion is continuously adding to the 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone. Further you find this instincts thriving on all kinds of NDA beliefs and action by attempting to ‘save endangered species’, ‘care for Mother Nature’. When leaving the fold of humanity, I found that I am moving away from this instinct of nurture – the collective belief in the ‘good’.
It is useful for freedom as the sincere intent to have peace-on-earth not only for me but for humanity as well and to sacrifice my ‘self’ for that goal.
Desire – With desire we collect things and strive for power and improvement for ‘survival’ – ceaselessly and endlessly on the go. In the spiritual world this desire is turned into the search for enlightenment, the ticket to immortality and power in the ‘other-world’.
Now I come to the point that I was making: ‘For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...’ I experienced it as the instinct of desire that has driven me to search for freedom, to clean myself up, to be the best ‘I’ can be.
VINEETO to Alan: Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a devoted meditator of my former tribe (Sannyas) which I found interesting in many aspects. First of all I was both happy and astounded at how well and easy the discussion went – I didn’t have to struggle with any of the vagueness, psychic confusion, doubts or fears that I knew so well from earlier discussions with spiritual people. In the conversation I could easily state that with Actual Freedom I know now where I stand, what I want and how I go about reaching that goal, while he maintained that to reach enlightenment you are supposed to give up the desire and certainty of ever attaining it! The perspective and understanding of the actual world is all so easy and simple, so obvious and transparent that the hazy, mysterious hocus-pocus of ‘Truth’, ‘That’, the ‘Grace of God’ or ‘Existence’ seem nothing but passionate and silly childish fairytales.
It was interesting that in the discussion we constantly needed to define the words we used. He had different connotations about ‘instinct’ as only meaning the physical startling response or the change of breath or heartbeat at imminent danger. So he could easily hold on to his belief that without instincts one would die, not be able to breathe, or maintain one’s heartbeat. When I asked him what he would call our instinctual reactions of anger, fear, sex or rage, he had no appropriate word at all. Similarly we had to different definitions of the word ‘emotion’. Emotion to him only meant a very strong feeling, easily noticeable as emotional outbursts like screaming, crying, fighting or being shocked. When I asked what he would call emotions like hope, trust, attraction or apprehension, those feelings did not seem to exist at all and had no specific name, but were definitely not emotions. Thus he could maintain that he hardly had any emotions and that they are not the problem with human beings, since they only happen ‘once in a while’.
For him the problem lies in the mind, in thoughts, which start, trigger and continue emotions. Out of this reasoning he had to deny that children have any emotions at all before they develop the ability to think. They only suffer physical pain, but no emotional pain. I was simply astounded by such ignorance and stubborn denial. Even monkeys have been observed to suffer when their mother dies to the extent that they grieve to death, even at an age where they could easily survive by themselves.
From the premise that thought is the source of all evil it was only logical to conclude that meditation is the right method to stop the inner dialogue. By persistently watching the mind, the mind is supposed to disappear on its own accord. As with all spiritual believers, he was of the firm conviction that once one succeeded in stopping one’s thoughts there will be perennial peace of mind, no-mind as in dead mind. When I reported that I had succeeded in eliminating 95% of my inner dialogue by investigating emotions as the source and breeding ground for my ‘troublesome’ thoughts he exclaimed: ‘But I don’t want to investigate. Investigation is an activity of the mind and I don’t want to strengthen the mind .’
This statement made it clear to me again why so few spiritual people are willing to investigate their beliefs, feelings and emotions. The very word ‘investigate’ is evil, the very action of contemplation is considered the ultimate no-no. And one doesn’t even have to bother to change one’s malicious or sorrowful behaviour, because that is only one’s ‘personality’, which won’t interfere with the ‘higher self’ of enlightenment – so why investigate one’s personality or want to change it in the first place?
This conversation reminded me of an advertisement that I found in a woman’s magazine for meditation. It said:
MARK: I just reread Richard’s account of a glimpse of actual freedom and ‘his’ final disappearance into the permanent state of actual freedom and the accompanying states of fear. Is it that I must ultimately accept so fully in the end that who ‘I’ am is fear – must ‘I’, in the end ‘identify?!’ with this fear so fully that ‘I’ as an observer or controller in any way ‘exit’ the ‘real’ world, finally through fear, the primal ‘stuff’ of which the self is made? Because any ‘me’ that is left now to manage these intense states of instinctual fear, any ‘me’ who desires to watch, escape, manipulate, alleviate this essential fear is that pesky little self again, doing tricks to keep saving its ectoplasmic butt. Ah well, next stop on this train of thought may be the twilight zone – so I think I’ll leave it at that.
VINEETO: In his chapter on Death Peter has reported of the work of some researchers, and that they found five significant stages that everyone seems to go through when dying. They are denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance (although the last is better called resignation). I looked back on my process of the last 12 months investigating and approaching the death of ‘me’ and wondered if there are similar stages when the ‘self’ dies.
Denial is obvious. The first task was to admit that something was fundamentally wrong with human beings and with me in particular before I could proceed in investigating any solution.
The anger was less obvious since I was culturally and spiritually trained to hide the ‘bad’ emotions but every squiggle and squirming, every blame I cast on somebody else – or the weather – could go into the account of anger.
Bargain is the most familiar. The whole path to actual freedom, the whole process of dismantling the ‘self’ I could call one bargain after the other. Although it was clear right from the beginning that the end-prize for freedom would be all of ‘me’, all along I have been bargaining – a little belief here for more time, an emotion there for another bit of time. Once I ran out of beliefs and emotions to trade, I had to take from the stock of instincts. I’m almost running out of things to bargain – uaaaah – now what?
At this point in making up the story I thought about the metaphor of the cinema again, which I used when writing to Alan:
It occurs to me that not only do I become aware of me-as-this-body ‘going on a ride’, as you say, but I am also the movie-maker. I am writing the script, when and how this movie is going to end. And as nobody has ever gone to actual freedom without going into and out of enlightenment I have all the freedom in the world to write a perfect-measured script, as I would like it best. And you see, Mark, with this insight I am now throwing the whole bargaining out of the window. Enough is enough, enough of the haggling.
RESPONDENT: When the garbage man came he missed your mind, either that or he replaced it with one you think does not exist! Mind is mind, whether it is a nice mind or a not so nice mind, mind is mind!
VINEETO: Mind is a fascinating word. By using it the way the East has used the word, it means you are to throw out your whole thinking capacity, stop thought in whatever form and then, one day, you will be in mind-less bliss and live on forever in Union with the Universal Mind as an eternal spirit.
And yet, there was something in the understanding that ‘mind’ should be the problem that appealed to me – that’s why I searched for enlightenment. ‘Mind’, our brain is also wired with the social and cultural conditioning, with belief-systems, with fixed thinking patterns, self-centred behaviour and self-centred outlook and this part of the brain (mind) is certainly an essential reason for unhappiness and violence. This part of the mind we identify with as the ‘self’ and it certainly needs to be tackled.
But ‘mind’, our brain, consists of much more – it is also the capacity for common sense, for intelligent reflection, for practical investigation, for in-depth contemplation. But in order to ascertain the clear functioning of the brain you have to remove the psychological and the psychic entity residing within yourself.
The self-centred neurosis of Human Nature is identified in the East as the problem with human beings but the Eastern religions attempt to eradicate only half of the problem. They aim to eradicate the ego, the ‘mind’, who we think we are, while ignoring the soul, who we feel we are. The resultant attack on, or repression of, all thoughts and thinking (and not just the self-centred neurosis) eventuates in the complete denial of intelligent thought such as can be readily seen by the East’s lack of technological progress, appalling poverty, repression of women, theocratic empires, and a disastrous standard of health and environment.
RESPONDENT: What you might call the witness or the watcher is just the state of being without thought. It is consciousness, being without thinking!
VINEETO: What you are trying to tell me is just a psittacism of Eastern teaching. That does not make it a fact.
I take it that this sentence is supposed to be an answer to my last letter to you where I wrote:
This ‘ state of being without thought ’ is exactly the problem. The affective identity of this ‘thoughtless being’ is fully alive and kicking, causing even more havoc now that all sensible thought is removed. Nobody wants to acknowledge that it is the ‘feeling’ faculty that is the main problem with the Human Condition, and nobody has even bothered to acknowledge or investigate the instinctual emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire at the very core of ‘being’.
You may not yet be aware that my emphasis is upon examining and eliminating the feelings – affective feelings – that cause our thoughts to dominate the brain the way they do. Thought – the only tool that can bring about peace-on-earth in this life – is denigrated so much ... and the feelings that infiltrate thought get always off scot-free. Maybe re-examining the whole concept of ‘mind’ as being the problem would give you some insight into the actual world as opposed to the spiritual and affective world of ‘no-mind’. Just have a good look at the outcome of life in the East!
VINEETO: I have not found ‘the truth’, which is indeed different for everyone. I talk about facts, about experiencing the world without notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, true and false. You can be maybe ‘right’ according to your affective experience, but the physical senses without emotions and feelings give a clear experience of the world-as-it-is. You cannot call a coffee-cup a chewing gum. This is where actual freedom differs from spiritual truth in that it is definable, describable, factual, physical, obvious and perfect, as evidenced by the physical senses.
RESPONDENT: But the physical senses differ from human to human, so everybody have their own facts, their own obvious perfection., so it occurs to me you are deluding yourself here.
VINEETO: Exactly, our physical senses are not fit to respond to the divine, and there is no need to. The ‘divine’ is a product of our imagination, like everything else that cannot be evidenced by the physical senses. God is a mere fiction of the human psyche, the ignorant human invention based upon the dualistic need to explain anything and everything in terms of cause and effect. And what human energy is powerful enough to give birth to this imaginary god? Passionate human energy, of course, all in a desperate search for immortality, a denial of physical death.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.