Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Dis-identification and Dissociation
RESPONDENT: In another method (one of the few others which correctly identifies emotions and not thoughts as the central cause of suffering) they have a interesting insight. It is the experience of the method’s founder that all or nearly all of the main suffering emotions (AGFLAP – anger, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride) have behind them a ‘want’. Specifically, the want for approval, control, and security/ survival/ safety (there is another want, which I think is an extension of this third want, the want to be separate, but I’m not as clear about this one). I often can see one of these wants behind my emotions as well. Perhaps someone on the board might find this helpful or not. I am curious how this jells with others experience. Interestingly, in this method the non-suffering feelings are CAP – courageousness, acceptance, and peace. The ultimate goal is imperturbability. Apparently, this man achieved this by paying constant attention to his feelings and releasing them all (the basic method can be summed up as 1) become aware of the feeling, 2)feel the feeling, 3)identify the feeling, 4)relax into the feeling, 5)until the feeling releases). I found it interesting where he wrote that after living in bliss for some time continually, he saw that was still ‘imperfect’ and he dissolved that to a even deeper (and more restful) peace.
VINEETO: Ah, No. 66, yet again attracted to the age-old spiritual methods, even though disguised in a new frock?
RESPONDENT: I’m not going to deny that their sometimes is a ‘attraction’ towards emotional releasing /clearing/ integrating methods. I find some of them interesting and I am open to learning whatever I can from other people and their discoveries.
VINEETO: Personally, I had to spend quite some time investigating and reflecting in order to fully understand the radicality of an actual freedom from the human condition as opposed to the imagined spiritual freedom I had pursued before. Once I did understand however, that an actual freedom is down-to-earth, factual and pertains to this actual tangible world and is indeed a freedom for this flesh-and-blood body while a spiritual freedom is achieved by and for the imaginary spirit ‘being’ occupying this flesh-and-blood body, it was blindingly obvious that nothing short of totally freeing this flesh-and-blood body from the imaginary spirit ‘being’ would do. I knew then once and for all that there is simply no point in fiddling with the imaginary spirit ‘being’ in order for the imaginary spirit ‘being’ to have a feeling of freedom whilst the actual flesh-and-blood body remains in the same clasp of the imaginary spirit ‘being’ as ever.
As such the methods I had learnt before and the techniques offered within the human condition no longer held any attraction as I clearly recognized them as moving deckchairs on the Titanic, so to speak, while leaving the core problem, ‘me’, untouched.
VINEETO: When I typed ‘AGFLAP’ into Google and the it came up with the label for the method you described – the ‘Sedona Method’ – I had to laugh. Sedona is the spiritual Mecca of New Mexico and amongst other things is/has been the residence for a large group of Rajneesh’s ‘Inner Circle’ from where they have been holding court teaching their ‘privileged’ version of going in and letting go, a technique which was in many aspects identical to the above described method.
RESPONDENT: Rajneesh was a ‘master’ of promoting a wide selection of methods so that is not too surprising.
VINEETO: If you are suggesting that Rajneesh promoted a wide selection of both spiritual and non-spiritual methods then it may clarify the issue to contemplate if he would have promoted the actualism method without alteration.
Fact is that Rajneesh took whatever method he came across, such as emotional release therapy and human growth movements and turned them into tools for dissociation (such as ‘I am not my feelings, I am not my body’) as the sole method towards enlightenment. I remember my admiration for this mastery of adaptation at the time when I participated in those emotional release and awareness groups and as I listened to him talking about Western therapy as a tool for becoming enlightened.
VINEETO: But one does not need to know all this to find out that the ‘Sedona Method’ is spiritual through and through – just look at this explanation of ‘How It Works’ from their site –
RESPONDENT: I do remember reading that sometime and of course it did remind me of how ‘The Release Technique’ is different from actualism.
VINEETO: Not just different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
VINEETO: Whereas in actualism I acknowledge that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’ and only when ‘I’ am gone in my totality can the always already existing peace of the actual world become apparent.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I do understand that.
VINEETO: If you understand that then why the attraction to ‘the Release Technique’ which states that ‘we are misidentifying that we are the feeling’?
VINEETO: This is how the ‘Sedona Method’ is advertised –
RESPONDENT: I see the key word ‘master’ here. However, from literature I have read, it seems to suggest that ‘Lester Levinson’ was continually at peace, which does sound more than mere ‘mastery’. It should be kept in mind that the presentation of the Sedona method for everyday folk/business people and the ‘end goal’ of what Lester pointed too are somewhat different.
VINEETO: Do you realize how much information you have to ignore/ put aside/ interpret in order to still consider ‘the Release Technique’ a non-spiritual method? As for ‘the ‘end goal’ of what Lester pointed too are somewhat different’, this is how you introduced the method –
VINEETO: Whereas in actualism I incrementally abandon both the good *and* the bad feelings in order that I can be what I am – a flesh-and-blood body only.
VINEETO: Do you also understand that by ‘paying constant attention to his feelings and releasing them all’ Lester Levinson focuses towards the core of his ‘being’ which is ‘empty, silent, and at peace’, something which is markedly different to an actual freedom from the empty, silent, and peaceful ‘being’ itself?
VINEETO: The testimony of a happy customer finally confirms that the ‘Sedona Method’ is nothing but the plain old dissociation technique –
RESPONDENT: Indeed, though they try to ‘minimize’ the spiritual aspect of the method, it is still there. Since, at its basic level it is a method of ‘releasing’ emotions, a more secular person may take it just as that: an emotional release method.
VINEETO: Did you know that the word ‘gullible’ is not found in any of the common dictionaries?
VINEETO: Seeing that you recommend this method as being possibly ‘helpful’ for ‘someone on the board’, …
RESPONDENT: No, that is not what I meant. I was only referring to the insight about the ‘three wants’ (Which you have oddly failed to address at all. This is all the more strange considering I even labelled ‘wants’ as the subject header.
VINEETO: The reason I did not address ‘the three wants’ themselves is because in order to understand the nature of an insight one needs to look at where it is coming from and what it is aiming for, which I did.
RESPONDENT: Is it any wonder at all to you why someone-anyone-could come across with the impression that you, Peter, and Richard sometimes answer questions in a way that appears underhanded/ cunning/ manipulative?).
Addendum: To halt any misunderstanding. I’m not making an accusation here. Just a question. Also, please disregard Richard’s and Peter’s name being put in there. I will just stick to the present post (not willing to go through old posts).
VINEETO: To stick to the present post – what you call ‘underhanded/ cunning/ manipulative’ is me filling in the information that you had (cunningly?) left out – the label and origin of the method, the message behind it from its founder, its final aim and a report of someone practicing the method (‘I am a watcher’) and then I pointed out how the Sedona method radically differs from the actualism method. How else can you assess the effects and results of a method/an insight unless you look at it in its entirety?
RESPONDENT: I thought the insight about most of our emotions coming from the want/ desire for approval, control, or security/ safety, to be possibly helpful to someone’s self-understanding.
VINEETO: Ha, I can agree insofar that to understand how one’s ‘want/ desire’ for ‘imperturbability’ can easily lead to accepting a dissociation-technique as being non-spiritual is vitally important in order to avoid the Rock of Enlightenment.
VINEETO: … I wonder what it is that motivates you to recommend a dissociation technique on this actual freedom board …
RESPONDENT: LOL! What!? I specifically did not even mention the name of this method (and gave no links either)
VINEETO: Look, just removing the street sign ‘Honolulu’ is not going to change that the road is actually going to Honolulu and not mentioning the name of this method is equally not going to change where this method is heading to – denial, detachment, dissociation and ultimately delusion. In other words, when you are ‘open to learning whatever I can from other people and their discoveries’, as you say above, while blithely ignoring the context of their discoveries – where they are coming from and where they are heading to and why – then you will only end up more confused than before.
RESPONDENT: [I specifically did not even mention the name of this method (and gave no links either)] just so this flaming cowpie of an accusation would not be drummed up. I almost just wrote about the ‘wants’, but I thought everyone would understand what I was writing better if I can the ‘context’ of the method.
VINEETO: I did not accuse you of anything, I was merely calling a spade by its proper name with the intention to inform you of the whole picture and possibly warn you and/or others of the trap of dissociation that is the basis of so many fashionable new-age techniques.
As for how ‘most of our emotions coming from the want/ desire for approval, control, or security/ safety’ – you might be curious as to which ‘want’ was responsible for interpreting my post as a ‘flaming cowpie of an accusation’.
To put in a practical plug for the actualism method, once I discover/recognize what causes my upset about what somebody said or did, be it want/desire or fear, irritability or an urge to defend a pet belief or self-image, I can simply drop those feelings because I see the silliness of something, anything, spoiling this moment of being alive – as opposed to, as Mr. Levinson makes us believe, because ‘at the core you are empty, silent and at peace’.
VINEETO: … – and why you yourself search for ‘imperturbability’ and ‘a even deeper (and more restful) peace’ at the core of your ‘being’ instead of endeavouring to live in the actual world of the senses is a mystery to me.
RESPONDENT: As well it should, since nowhere, and I do mean ‘nowhere’ do I mention that I’m searching for any of the above.
VINEETO: So you saying ‘the ultimate goal is imperturbability’ did not reflect your own goal? Why then did you mention as a matter of interest (‘interestingly’), in detail, how another man achieved this ultimate goal?
RESPONDENT: What is a mystery to me, is how on earth you could jump from reading me describe a method (and singling out one aspect of it that seemed insightful) to imagining that I’m a practitioner of it.
VINEETO: I imagined nothing, I said –
If your goal is not ‘imperturbability’ and ‘a even deeper (and more restful) peace’ why mention as a matter of interest (‘interestingly’), in detail, how another man achieved this ultimate goal?
The problem with ‘singling out one aspect of it that seemed insightful’ is that you have to deny and ignore the context of this insight, in this case that ‘at the core you are empty, silent and at peace’. As such, the insight of Mr. Levinson ‘that all or nearly all of the main suffering emotions (AGFLAP – anger, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride) have behind them a ‘want’’ is nothing but a rehash of the four Noble Truths, the essence of Buddhism –
Whereas actualism acknowledges the fact that all feelings and emotions are the result of the instinctual animal survival passions which form themselves into a feeling ‘being’ and recognizes the fact that unless this ‘being’ voluntarily dies, emotions and feelings will continue to arise.
RESPONDENT: My goal is still a virtual freedom. That all being said, is it possible that ‘I’m’ wasting time thinking about things like the Sedona method. Absolutely. The journey continues …
VINEETO: Does this possibility become more distinct and obvious when you put the Sedona Method in its rightful context?
Personally, in order to become free from the lure of spiritual beliefs I had to learn how to recognize and thus avoid the traps of spiritualism in its myriad forms and deceptive disguises … and believe you me, spiritualists are everywhere, even under the bed! … that is, until you drag them out and pop them like helium balloons.
RESPONDENT: In the spiritual process (even if you have not achieved perfect control of the thoughts and feelings) once you’ve gotten the clue that you are not the things you are witnessing, you start looking for the witness itself or, I should say, the Witness Itself. If you are rigorous in your investigation, you will finally come to the conclusion that there is no Witness to be found. Then you are left with witnessing. The question is, will it be Witnessing or is there simply a flesh and blood body present with the capacity to be aware of its own awareness?
VINEETO: This is where Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual belief. As an actualist I am not concerned about witnessing at all but about removing any belief, emotion and feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless in this very moment. I don’t witness the Witness in order to remove him/her, I use awareness to scrutinize my accumulated beliefs, investigate the underlying causes of my emotions each time they occur. When this investigation is undertaken with sufficient intent and depth, a realization will occur such that action inevitably follows changing my behaviour towards becoming more harmless and happy. ‘I’ am my emotions and instinctual passions and the witness/Witness is merely a by-product of these emotions and passions.
Coming from spiritual practice I had to unlearn passive watching and undo the ‘dissociating from feelings and thoughts’ in order to apply sensible thought to question and eliminate beliefs and to experience and investigate emotions and feelings. Once you abandon the idea of a Witness, there is only one self, ‘me’, my identity, whatever hide-and-seek games we have been taught to play with it. It makes it all so very simple, practical and effective.
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.
VINEETO: What you call the ‘gobbledy gook’ that everyone is ‘taken in by’ is, in fact, the foundation of all spiritual belief – the battle of good against evil, God against the Devil, the Higher against the Lower – and this battle is represented in hundreds of imagined, deeply felt and variously symbolized dualities. Within the Human Condition, nobody has a chance to escape that ‘gobbledy gook’, it comes with the mother’s milk. For instance, I had believed that my mind was divided into male and female, with an ‘inner and outer’ male and an ‘inner and outer’ female as well! Every childhood fairy tale has a bad guy and a hero (who marries the princess) and, as we grow up, this atavistic battle of ‘good’ against ‘evil’ is instilled into each person as a life-long struggle against their inner evil. It is the basic premise of human logic that everything must have its opposite and the best one can do – up until now – was to hope to ‘transcend’ the opposites. Duality is the very foundation of the ‘self’.
In order to backtrack out of the myriad notions of duality I deliberately stopped the spiritual practice of selectively watching and prejudicially labelling my thoughts and feelings. The so-called choiceless awareness is not choiceless at all. Instead, I put my whole emphasis on consciously experiencing and actively investigating the emotions that were underlying each upcoming feeling or belief in order to identify ‘me’, this singular alien entity inside this flesh-and-blood body. Given that this entity is lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning, my investigation needed stubborn bloody-mindedness and sincere intent so that I would not end up fooling myself.
RESPONDENT: Also, I appreciate the simplicity and commonsense of this approach. The spiritual universe is sooooooo convoluted.
VINEETO: Yes, in the actual world there is no duality whatsoever because when the ‘self’ disappears, the feeling of separation and any notions of duality also disappear. So now, instead of enhancing the ‘Good’ and fighting the ‘Evil’, I trace down both good and bad feelings and instinctual passions and aim for immolating the very ‘self’ that maintains the feeling of separation and the notion of duality in the first place. I am reminded of poor Cinderella who had the job to sort out peas into large ones and small ones – now I am simply throwing out the whole lot, all of me. That’s what makes actualism so simple – for the ones who are daring enough.
RESPONDENT: Clarity does not arise, but the intensity of looking and listening to the ego is deepened.
VINEETO: I see from our conversation that you seem to take Richard’s writing and his method as just another spiritual writing about how to get free from the ego. But his discovery has nothing, nothing at all, to do with any of the familiar spiritual approaches. His finding is not about getting rid of the ego, ‘watching’, and maybe becoming enlightened. In fact, actual freedom lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to any spiritual beliefs whatsoever.
Richard was enlightened for 11 years and with diligence and effort managed to work himself out of the massive delusion that enlightenment is. It is very hard when one lives inside the passionate belief-structure to see that the whole thing is only a belief-structure and not the ‘truth’. For me, when I understood it for the first time with all its implications, it was like leaving planet earth in a spaceship and seeing it as a globe hanging in space for the very first time. A completely different perspective indeed.
VINEETO to Alan: I want to tell you about a movie we watched lately, called ‘Fearless’ by Peter Weir. I found it interesting for various reasons. First, the hero has a near-death experience shortly before the plane crashes. He encounters an altered state of consciousness, being fearless and driven to help people, in particular the survivors of the crash. As I see it, the film describes well the delusion of an altered state of consciousness and even more so because the hero is an American, living in a Western society and not in the East. One can see the oddness and the ‘loony-ness’ of his state.
The only person who is not impressed by his heroic efforts to save people is his wife – as a down to earth, common sense and practical woman she can see that he is in severe physical danger indulging in his fearlessness in many silly ways. (He believes that he has already died and can only die once). She is then able to convince the woman whom the hero is currently saving and both try to reach his common sense.
He ends up seeing the point and in a dramatic second near-death experience he seems to come back to his senses. At least, that is how I would like to interpret his exclamation: ‘I am ALIVE!’ It could very well mean something completely different! Unfortunately, this is how the film ends. I guess that both the playwright and the director have no idea what happens when one actually comes to one’s senses! Peter sent him his journal to show that there is an option for a life after the altered state of consciousness.
I think, not many people would interpret the film like this. But the ‘state beyond fearlessness’ is definitely what I am aiming for! Promptly I had a few sleepless nights after this movie, contemplating death. The days were sparkling and gay, but the nights brought up the fears. The pictures in my mind is that of a death-cell, being sentenced to death, waiting for the day of execution.
ALAN: Your mail has prompted me to investigate further the ‘zombie state’. I discovered that I was waiting until I had more ‘time’ to actually be ‘here’ – what a joke – this moment is all I have and here I am waiting – and what a lovely excuse for not being ‘here’. I discovered doubt – doubt that you, Richard and Peter are living a delusion, doubt that you and Peter are blind followers of Richard – and what a lovely excuse for not being ‘here’.
VINEETO: Yes, I do understand the doubts you are talking about. After all, we are just a handful of pioneers compared to the whole world of believers. I had these doubts again and again, they usually took the form of doubting my effort, ‘Am I really on the right track’?, ‘Am I doing all that is needed’? or ‘What if I end up enlightened?’ Peter and I found emotions going round and round in a circle: fear – frustration – doubt – fear and the only way out was to muster our intent and investigate the facts of the situation. I take it that when you are ‘here’ there is no doubt that you are not following a delusion?... or following the only sanity there is?
As for being a blind follower of Richard – Konrad’s favourite objection – yes, I did and do watch Richard very closely, taking him as a mentor and teacher to find out as much as possible about living in freedom for 24 h a day. And compared to Osho and other authority figures which I had tried to emulate in my life, Richard is the most candid, the most approachable and ‘ordinary’ teacher I ever had. On the other hand I notice again and again with delight that there is no authority issue neither from my side nor from his, our discussions are lively, equal and open, and never before have I been able to ask so many questions, investigate all my objections and pursue my own trail of thoughts without restriction. By now, the ‘madness of 180 degrees in the opposite direction to normal and spiritual beliefs’ has reached such a degree that there is no way back – so I might as well ignore upcoming doubts and pursue what I have experienced so often as an actual experience of delight.
ALAN: I always wondered a bit why Richard, in particular, railed so much against the gurus and spiritual masters. I even accused Richard of having a ‘bee in his bonnet’, which he readily admitted.
Sure, I knew these people were to blame for leading people up the garden path and I have examined for myself the delusion of enlightenment. But, responsible for all the wars, tortures, rapes, domestic violence and suicides – I was not so sure. Then today, reading Richard’s reply to No 12, I suddenly ‘got it’ – a fact is so obvious when you see it. Of course the gurus and maters are responsible for all the wars, tortures, rapes, domestic violence and suicides, because they have not eliminated the Human Condition in themselves and they continue to perpetuate the misery, sorrow and malice, while telling all and sundry they are the embodiment of peace on earth. I may well have a ‘bee in my bonnet’ myself in future!
Because of the above realisation (and my current discussion with Richard about the PCE & ASC), I was able to look at my remaining tenuous belief in some form of life after death, ‘Oneness’, ‘Universal Consciousness’ or, whatever you like to call it. Close examination has caused this belief to vanish, leaving me even more free to enjoy this moment. As a fact, there is no ‘life after death’ – what a relief!!!!! Thank you Richard and No 12.
VINEETO: Wheeeeeeee, Alan, that is truly an occasion to get the bottle of Champagne out of your fridge and have a big toast on yourself! What a day of remarkable significance when you stop being immortal – or potentially immortal – and become alive in this moment.
I can take the analogy that I wrote to you the other day a bit further – everybody walks on their hands and suffer blisters and headache, and then we wonder why we feel so mad and weird walking upright. To come to one’s senses and walk upright, one first has to fall on to one’s nose, or bum, and most people object to that position... Leaving immortality behind is a big step towards walking upright, at least in my experience. Welcome to the ‘bee in the bonnet’-club.
ALAN: No doubt at all. When ‘here’, I am absolutely sure I am following a delusion – only joking. When I am ‘here’ I could not care less whether I am following a delusion, an illusion, or raving lunatics. I know where I am – here – and whatever anyone else does is wholly a matter for them.
VINEETO: Well, that is our advantage compared with all the hundreds of religions and philosophies, isn’t it. When ‘here’, we experience, this is it, this is the obvious, actual, undoubted factuality, the bottom-line. That’s why I could finally give up the highly valued and cherished belief in Osho and Zen-mystics – I had a day of belief-less actuality and the experience was far superior to any belief.
ALAN: At one point, I tried to make a ‘guru’ out of Richard, but he would not play.
VINEETO: In the first few months with Peter I sometimes tried to land a sarcastic or snide remark on him. He simply didn’t ‘get it’. He just said, ‘I lost you here, what do you mean’ – and it was a sincere question. I then would only feel embarrassed and investigate my outbreak of malice.
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: As I said, the rungs of the ladder disappear and one is left ‘hanging in the middle’ with hardly any choice other than going forward. I say ‘hardly any’ because I am well aware of the fact that – probably with great effort – one is able to revert to some kind of normality.
ALAN: It must be a huge effort to return to ‘normal’. I cannot imagine (not that I can imagine much anymore) taking on all these beliefs and emotions again, though it is undoubtedly possible to be seduced by the lure of love, or Love.
VINEETO: I have no idea how big the effort would be and I have no intention to check it out. But I know that it takes a stubborn intent to keep going in the face of all the instinctual fear that has now surfaced. Other people climb Mount Everest or journey to the North Pole to get their excitement and sense of achievement – I just do it on the couch.
Love and Enlightenment are lures that are certainly not to be taken lightly. That’s why Peter and me are putting so much emphasis on Virtual Freedom. In the face of ultimate extinction the survival instinct tempts one to grab for the only option for the ‘self’ to survive – Enlightenment, the delusion of immortality. But I know now by extensive experience how enlightenment looks and feels like and I am 100% sure that it is a second rate alternative to Actual Freedom.
VINEETO: For me nothing justifies ‘a cessation of investigation’, until the fat lady has sung. That is my aim in life and it does not matter how long it takes because for me there is no other game to play that is worth playing. I left the real world behind when I found that it sucks and I left the spiritual world behind when I found it to be a shallow fantasy and a hypocritical delusion.
ALAN: And, for ‘me’, ceasing the investigation is what ‘I’ most want.
VINEETO: The other day I heard a woman say in a TV drama discussing her emotional state: ‘I like being messy because that’s who I am’. I find her statement a good description of normal existence because to be a social-instinctual identity is to be emotionally messy. In that context, my sincere intent is that I don’t ‘like being messy’, both for my own sake and for that of others, no matter what consequences it has to ‘who I am’. Speaking personally, rather than wanting to ‘cease the investigation’, I have found the process of self-investigation both thrilling and fascinating – it gives ‘my’ life both meaning and purpose.
The way you formulated your reply it appears that there is a ‘me’ who wants to be actually free and a ‘me’ who doesn’t. Yet in fact there are not two ‘me’s’, there is only one entity, who may sometimes want to be free and other times not want to be free.
With the memory of the PCE ‘I’ could clearly see that ‘I’ am standing in the way of perfection and therefore ‘I’ agreed to take ‘myself’ apart. The impetus to examine, investigate and change comes from ‘me’ – ‘I’ am willing to die because ‘I’ have unmistakably understood it to be the best and only solution to the human condition. Once ‘I’ made the full-hearted decision to actively stage my own disappearance, the journey became easier and I could make use of my instinctual passions to help ‘my’ mission. Now desire helps me to achieve the best possible, aggression to stubbornly stick to my goal, nurture to altruistically sacrifice my ‘self’ for the benefit of this body and every body, and fear, well, fear gives me the impetus to end fear forever.
But it is ‘me’, and only ‘me’, who is willingly doing all the work of becoming free. For comparison –
ALAN: Perhaps this is where there is an advantage in living with like-minded people – it is more difficult to ignore?
VINEETO: Other like-minded people, i.e. practicing actualists, are of no benefit whatsoever as long as ‘what ‘I’ most want’ is ‘ceasing the investigation’. Unless an actualist is eager to roll up his or her sleeves and do something in order to become free from the human condition, other people who talk about their experiences with the method and demonstrate its success by being increasingly happy and harmless can even be perceived as nosy intruders.
Personally, I cannot ‘ignore’ the lure of actual freedom, not because I live with Peter or occasionally chat with Richard, but because I am haunted by the memory of the perfection that already always exists and that only becomes apparent when ‘I’ am absent. My backpressure to become free doesn’t come from ‘like-minded people’ asking probing questions but from having tried the normal-world and spiritual-world solutions and found that they failed.
VINEETO to Alan: The other story I wanted to report to you started with that familiar feeling of fear and thrill, surging through the back of my neck, pounding in the heart area and then down into the belly. The ‘self’ in action was distinctively felt and easily identifiable, yet had me fully in its grip. I was contemplating Richard’s latest correspondence with No 3, the self-acclaimed enlightened teacher on mailing list C and thinking particularly about Richard’s description and classification of enlightenment as the mental disorder of dissociation. It is a fascinating reading to have enlightenment perfectly explained in psychiatric terms and not as a religious achievement. Richard’s scientific explanation makes perfect sense, as I have seen (and admired) this mental disorder, aka enlightenment in action for years on the spiritual path, and several times I have experienced it myself ( detailed description). I now understand that my 17 years of spiritual practice have been a training course in how to dissociate, how to develop a mental disorder, how to become insane. ‘Close your eyes and repeat after me: I am not my body, I am not my mind and the world is an illusion.’ What a hoot!
The question running in my head now was how to self-immolate without dissociating – the well-known spiritual practice of ‘this is not me’. When I told Peter he laughed and thumped me on the shoulder. The hit immediately changed my perception – from thinking and feeling as all there is to experiencing the physical sensation of the thump. Right, I am this flesh-and-blood body, I forgot! The difference between these two experiences was so stunning, so obvious – and the thinking and feeling entity inside of my body, ‘me’, was once again revealed as just that, an alien entity.
The fascinating question is how to facilitate this shift of attention? It doesn’t happen through thinking but it can be stimulated by contemplation. But most of all it is a memory job, experientially, sensately remembering to not believe the emotion and to step out. I had found another piece in the puzzle of how to move from ‘to be or not to be’.
It just occurred to me that immolation, the final ‘stepping out’, will happen out of a situation of a distinctly felt emotion when the ‘self’ in action is clearly experienced. It won’t be a soft glide from happy to more happy but a deliberate tearing away from the grip of the instinctual entity. I will have to be experiencing at the time exactly what it is that I am stepping out of.
RESPONDENT: I was able to discard the concept of God long back in my early twenties, because of Osho’s teachings but then I was able not to replace it with Osho (as Vineeto did), again because of Osho’s teachings. So I am really surprised how Vineeto – being so close to Osho – missed the whole point. I think that is where Osho seemed to have failed.
VINEETO: As long as I was a sannyasin, and specially as long as Osho was alive I did not think I had God in my bonnet. Osho was simple the wise man I followed, he was the guide for my life, his words were Truth and his directions were Right. Whatever he said about life, meditation, relationship and the Universe was law for me, and I tried to live my life accordingly. I don’t see anything strange in this, taken that I had burnt my bridges to ‘being normal’ when I took sannyas, and taken that this was called ‘commitment’ – a necessary requirement for enlightenment or spiritual success. Instead of god, priests, teachers or philosophers he was now the authority in my life, followed without caution or restraint.
RESPONDENT: Many of his close associates seem to got him so wrong. Osho and many other eastern philosophies have stressed so many times on being happy ‘here and now’. There may be many methods how to achieve it.
VINEETO: I don’t think us disciples got him wrong there. Commitment and surrender were not only a big issue during ranch-time, but ‘totality’, as it was called later, was the main ingredient on the path to enlightenment. The story of digging only one hole and not 50 different ones to produce a well the stressing the point to not listen to other masters as to not get confused.
‘Being happy here and now’ only sounds like the same as living this moment here, now. The spiritual ‘here and now’ does not jell with the teaching of reincarnation, enlightenment being the ending of the wheel of birth and death and the teaching of meditation – closing your eyes and go somewhere else inside – to one day maybe become enlightened. Yes, when after all this effort you become enlightened, then you can laugh and say you were always ‘here and now’. But that is a different ‘here’ and ‘now’ than the here and now of normal mortals who were considered asleep and had to do dynamic meditation and other exercises to ‘wake up’.
The other obvious difference between the spiritual ‘here and now’ and the actual ‘here and now’ is how Osho and eastern philosophers regard the body and everything physical. The spiritual concept is that the world is ‘maya’, an illusion. Once you ‘get it’, you can be happy in the spiritual realm of ‘here and now’. But you have to identify as the ‘watcher’, not as the body, you have to be detached from the body and from your senses in order to rise to your ‘true nature’. That ‘true nature’ is your consciousness, so they say, best to be achieved through meditation, which is in its purest form sitting motionless with closed eyes for hours on end. Then the identity shifts to ‘being the watcher’, to being Consciousness – and one day, one realizes that one is ‘One with All’, ‘That’, ‘Universal Love’, etc. The delusion is complete. One loses one’s ego on the way, but the soul, the feeling part of the instinctual being stays not only fully intact, but is aggrandized to the extent that one considers oneself to be God or the Universe itself.
Compared to this illusory scenario, the actual ‘here and now’ is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway. To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe. Coming from no-where and having no-where to go we find ourselves here in this moment in time in this place in space. To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Being here now is to ‘be doing what is happening’ with no sense of ‘I’ or feelings of ‘me’. To be fully here, now without a fearful ‘self ‘or a ‘Grand Self’ is to be innocent, perfect and pure, fully engaged in this only moment of being alive.
VINEETO: However, if you are inspired by ‘people describing their PCEs’ and you would like to live a ‘self’-less PCE 24 hours a day, everyday, then you will need to change. You will need to make being harmless and happy priority number one in your life – the very top of your laundry list.
Being ‘reasonably happy’ can generally be achieved either by repressing one’s unwanted feelings, obeying the social-religious morals and ethics, or by detaching from one’s unwanted feelings, following the spiritual practice of dissociation. If you are interested in experiencing the dazzling splendour and peerless pristine excellence of the actual world then you would have to investigate why you would settle for feeling ‘reasonably happy’ – reasonably as in ‘moderately, modestly, cheaply, within one’s means, tolerably, passably, acceptable, average’. Oxford Thesaurus
RESPONDENT: You are absolutely right. I did some introspection and found that I have achieved this ‘reasonable happiness’ by detaching myself from my unwanted feelings. I have done this by philosophizing actualism mixed with my earlier spiritual understandings. I realize now that when I say I am reasonably happy I am talking of a general state of not getting effected by feelings. I achieved this because of my philosophy that nothing really matters in this real world because in any case it is all illusion and also there is no afterlife.
VINEETO: Isn’t it amazing how much one sincere introspection can reveal. You described the spiritual practice of detachment very precisely – ‘detaching myself from my unwanted feelings’. This practice is not actualism, because actualism is about feeling one’s feelings, becoming aware of one’s feelings and exploring the origin of one’s feelings with the aim of minimizing both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ feelings ‘so that one is free to feel good, feel happy and feel perfect for 99% of the time’ – as Richard says below in a correspondence he had with you –
RESPONDENT: However when I try to bring my attention to this moment – I find that I am trying to avoid being here and now. The reason looks to be that I do not really enjoy being here. Instead I enjoy more comforting myself in the thought that I am somewhat better off than most other people as I don’t get affected easily by feelings.
VINEETO: Yes, the avoidance of being here and now is the very purpose of practicing detachment and aloofness – spiritual people do not want to be here which is why they practice going ‘inside’. And it is an honest admission to say that you clearly recognize the cultivation of feelings of superiority over others that are an essential ingredient of all religious faith and spiritual practice. It is a great step towards regarding other people as what they are, fellow human beings. (...)
VINEETO: Actualism, being non-spiritual, non-philosophical and down-to-earth, is like any other pursuit in life. For example, if your aim is to win the Olympic gold medal in the 5000m marathon, then you will spend your days training and exercising until you are confident of reaching your goal – you will stream-line your whole life, putting all other desires aside, to make sure you reach your goal and you won’t let off until you have perfected your skills. But if you only want to do a little bit of jogging to see if you like it or not, then you won’t need to practice, you won’t need to change your life, you won’t need to perfect your running style.
RESPONDENT: As I have never made anything as my ‘aim in life’ even in my real world life, I don’t know how to motivate myself enough to make ‘enjoying this moment’ priority number 1 in my life.
VINEETO: Mr. Buddha’s Four Noble Truths come to mind –[quote]:
Is it that you do not have an ‘aim in life’ because you have learnt to believe that to have a passionate ‘aim in life’ is a desire – a desire that the mythical Mr. Buddha supposedly said will inevitably bring disappointment and frustration? Such teachings do indeed inflict a severe lack of motivation to improve anything here on earth.
The other aspect of this spiritual practice that you point to – ‘detaching myself from my unwanted feelings’ – not only means you are ‘not getting effected’ by unwanted feelings, it also locks you out from feeling motivated, feeling interested, feeling curious, feeling inquisitive, feeling enthusiastic, feeling excited and feeling determined. It therefore becomes apparent that you will have to abandon your current practice of ‘not getting effected by feelings’ in order ‘to motivate myself enough to make ‘enjoying this moment’ priority number 1 in my life’.
RESPONDENT: And what was in the beginning painful is now a good feeling. For example fear.
The beginning was being confronted with the manifestation of fear, running away and creating all the versions what we are conditioned to do. Then in some moments more awareness happens and seeing happens, Ahh – it’s fear. No need to run away. A little further, not running away, not trying to change – a form of well-being settles, in spite of the fear. Then fear loses its form and disappears like smoke. So the beginning seems painful, the end ecstatic.
VINEETO: I have been increasingly fascinated during my research into fear. In my letters to Alan particularly I have reported the various findings and insights – all nicely collected under the library topic of ‘Fear’, which you have probably already discovered. In the first year of my exploration fear had usually a reason, a content, an issue to look at and explore. It was like a hump one had to get over to reach the underlying base-topic – a particular belief, giving up friends, leaving the familiarity of both the spiritual world and the real world. In my experience the ecstatic experience in the wake of fear disappearing was the emotional relief of tension, but nevertheless an emotion to be scrutinized.
In order to get to the rock-bottom of fear, the instinctual survival fear itself, I had to investigate not only the ‘bad’, unpleasant emotions, but the ‘good’, nice feelings as well. Moreover, feeling ecstatic and blissed was never far from the delusion of an altered state of consciousness, and I did not want to get sucked into that delusion like all the other ill-famed gurus. But with growing awareness, I could increasingly recognize fear as just fear – as you described it – and then get on with life. Fear is, after all, not the main event in life – it is not even actual. But this instinctual state is definitely the engine and driving force within the Human Condition. Now, having examined it in all its facets and variation, it loses its fascinating (and paralyzing) attraction it used to have. The success of life in Virtual Freedom was simply too good to continuously be spoiled by just another wave of fear!
RESPONDENT: Yes... when ‘I’ write, or talk, ‘I’ use ideas, ‘truths’, if you like, they are not the experience.
The sensate-only experience is personal and as such is difficult to remember and share. Its truth, if you like, is only within a context ... ‘my’ context of 46 years of experiences.
VINEETO: The sensate-only experience is not ‘personal’ at all because there is no ‘self’ in operation to claim it as personal. It is, however, ‘difficult to remember’ because of the non-emotional context of the experience. The sensate-only ‘self’-less experience, a pure consciousness experience, has nothing to do with any ‘truth’. When I write, I write about my day-to-day experiences of the actual world and about investigations into beliefs, feelings and passionate convictions. I never write about a truth or a belief that I have because I don’t have any.
Truth consists, exactly as you say, of the personal ‘context of 46 years of experiences’ as well as ‘ideas, truths’ that have been passed down for centuries. ‘Truths’ are what everyone believes to be their personal truths – they are nothing but spiritually upgraded feelings and, as such, are neither factual nor direct experiences of the actual. Truth is nothing other than a fervently believed, and passionately defended, mixture of hope, faith and trust – fertile fodder for one’s ‘soul’ that everyone is so contumaciously proud of. Truth is the paint and polish for the car with a stuffed engine, a nice-looking, nice-feeling cover-up for the malice and sorrow inside.
So you must have misunderstood my use of the term ‘Truth-Production-machine’ when in your letter to Peter you say:
Well, you obviously have not read my correspondence with Alan or ‘Explorations of Death and Altered States of Consciousness’ that I mentioned in my last letter. Pure intent definitely does not lead to ‘Vineeto’s Truth Machine status’ but ensures that one goes beyond it, detecting and dismantling the ‘truth’, replacing it meticulously with verifiable facts and sensate experience.
Becoming aware of ‘truth’ being passionately produced over and over again and daring to stop the dreaming of this ‘truth’ gave my ‘self’ a considerable blow. After that experience and realization, satoris and enlightenment and their ensuing Grand Wisdom lost their lure and grip over me – and thus I had removed another rock from the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom – I will never run aground again on the insidious ‘Rock of Enlightenment’.
RESPONDENT No 82: When Richard advises people to ‘minimise’ the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings and activate the felicitous feelings what does he really mean by ‘minimise’? Feelings can be ‘minimised’ by brute force, e.g. repression, denial, avoidance and distraction but what is the sensible way to do it?
I have tried to eliminate fear. I have repeatedly felt the fear, investigated its causes, identified the associated aspects of my social identity and instincts, understood the silliness of spoiling this one and only moment of being alive in such a way, and so on. Unfortunately I cannot see any changes occurring. The whole process happens on a level that is too superficial. It does not penetrate deeply enough to pull up the roots of fear.
The result is that fear still comes, stays as long as it pleases, then departs until next time. Then it comes, stays as long as it pleases, then departs until next time. So on. So forth. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end, hallelujah. I cannot see how it will ever be different because ‘I’ cannot touch the source of it. How can ‘I’, a fantastical figment of these passions, reach down and dig them up by the roots? ‘I’ have no grip because I am nothing. I am a mere ghost grasping at reflections of something that happened before ‘I’ even appeared and started reacting to it. How can such a thing act upon itself? Can it? Does it? Who can vouch for this method with 100% sincerity?
RESPONDENT to No 82: I have actually done an experiment with some positive results you could try as well:
Next time you experience fear, ask the following question: What is fear if I don’t call it ‘fear’? Your mind should go blanc for a moment. You might come up with an answer like ‘a pain in the chest’. Then you go on asking: What is a pain in the chest, if I don’t call it a pain in the chest. You should turn blanc again.
Finally, when you have deprived yourself of any positive language with regard to what you experience and what you called ‘fear’ in the beginning the only thing that should remain is a blanc mind. The fear should disappear or at least you should be able to experience that what you called fear in the beginning without any superimposition by words/thoughts and feelings.
VINEETO: An excellent description of how dissociation looks like in practice.
RESPONDENT: I miss your point here. This method is not at all dissociative.
VINEETO: Dissociation is a psychiatric/ psychological term meaning ‘the separation (dissociation) of one’s thoughts, emotions and even body sensations’ (©George F. Rhoades, Jr., Ph.D. November 1, 1998), which is exactly the technique you described above. In order to eliminate the feeling (‘the fear should disappear’) you first suggested separating feeling and thought (‘don’t call it ‘fear’’) and then you suggested separating body sensation and thought (‘don’t call it a pain in the chest’).
In a normal human being, dissociative reactions are attempts to escape from traumatic tension and anxiety by separating off or dissociating one’s feelings from the rest of cognition as an attempt to isolate or distance oneself from that which arouses anxiety Nowadays, given the increasingly dominating influence of Eastern Mysticism, this somewhat normal reaction to trauma is held to be the ultimate panacea to the grim reality of human existence to the point where dissociative practice has become the common garden approach for the spiritually-minded to any and all kinds of uncomfortable feelings and unpleasant situations.
RESPONDENT: This method is based on the simple observation: We have been programmed to associate certain emotions/feeling with certain words/thoughts. There have been vast research on the relationship between our emotional well-being and language patterns we use to describe ourselves and others.
VINEETO: Yes, this is the theoretical basis for the practice of dissociation – the assumption being that you ‘have been programmed to associate’, the conclusion being that you de-program by dis-associating.
This theory, like the vast majority of psychological/psychiatric theories, ignores the fact that human beings are born with basic instinctual passions, which are only overlaid by the social conditioning designed to keep the underlying passions in check, in other words, it is a theory aimed at alleviating the symptoms rather than eliminating the cause. Further, this theory ignores the practical observation that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’ and as a consequence the ploy of deliberately not labelling my feelings is only ‘me’ playing games with my self.
The proposed de-programming via dis-association (as in deliberately not naming the feeling) can therefore only ever be a ruse and a skin-deep and fickle ruse at that – as the continuing need in every society to uphold the law at the point of the gun (or knife, or spear, or club) clearly demonstrates.
RESPONDENT: For example: Somebody calls you ‘loser’. This word might trigger in your mind some emotional reactions based on conscious or unconscious [childhood] trauma and you experience fear and sentences like ‘I will never make it’ or ‘I am not good enough’ might involuntarily cross your mind. This is called negative self-talk. I read that some 80% of the population is supposed to suffer from that. My method is deprogramming emotional reactions towards trigger-words. You just have to find your trigger word and put it out like that: What is <trigger word> if I don’t call it <trigger word>? That creates a paradox in the mind and the mind should go blanc for a moment. I will then be able to distinguish between the word ‘loser’ and my emotional reaction towards it [like fear].
VINEETO: What you are suggesting is to un-define the word ‘loser’ such that it no longer means ‘I am not good enough’. Have you thought of calling this the Four Wise Monkey approach – see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil and label no evil … and bingo, what a wonderful world it is inside here.
Basically there are two types of dissociation, head-in-sand or head-in-clouds (in German: ‘Vogel-Strauss’ und ‘Hans-guck-in-die-Luft’). Whether it be a head-in-the-sand or a head-in-clouds approach, your method is comparable to not labelling what is happening to the Titanic as ‘sinking’ when it goes under.
RESPONDENT: If I exercise this long enough I might achieve some results in deprogramming myself not to react emotionally towards the word ‘loser’. This is just an experiment, work-in-progress. I have no definite prove that it works. Therefore it would be interesting to see if somebody else like No 63 finds it useful. Obviously the AF method has helped him [No 63] only so far.
VINEETO: I find it somewhat strange that you would subscribe to a mailing list, denigrate what is on offer on this mailing list as well as those who offer it, diagnose that those who are interested in what is on offer are getting little or no benefit from what is on offer and then proceed to offer something that you yourself admit to only having just begun to try and claim that it might give results. Strange reasoning for selling a method with ‘no definite prove that it works’. Sure seems like snake-oil selling to me, but then again, I’ve developed an acute nose for such things in my investigations into the human condition.
In contrast, the actualism method has a proven track record in that it made one person actually free and several people virtually free from the human condition.
As for No 82’s question about what to do with fear – in my experience fear is part and parcel of the enterprise of becoming free and can at times be the very indication that the method works. After all, ‘I’ am being exposed to the bright light of awareness and this is a daring adventure, to say the least.
As Richard points out –
VINEETO: I don’t know what ‘never-never land’ represents for you, but I am reminded of Peter Pan’s dreamland for children, where one is transported from the misery and dullness of the ‘real’ world into the unreal land of imagination, where one never has to become a grown-up.
RESPONDENT: Never-never land was not a good description to use because you have no way of knowing exactly what I meant. It did seem like an unreal land but it is more of a void or not-knowing. Kind of a disconnected feeling which is what I meant by a feeling of abandoning humanity.
VINEETO: ‘Abandoning humanity’ in Actual Freedom terms stands for gaily taking the pen-ultimate step before self-immolation. After one has removed one’s social identity of being a son or daughter, a man or woman, an American or Englishman, a seeker, a writer, a doctor, etc. and has become an utter non-identity, one is then able to investigate the collective psyche, the result of the instinctual passions that all human beings have in common. Applying attentiveness and awareness to the instinctual passions as they arise enables one to stop acting as per the instinctual software in the brain and thus one can slowly, slowly reduce the automated reactive and emotional impact that instincts have on our feelings, thoughts and behaviour. In doing so one not only becomes happy and harmless but also stops being part of the biggest fold of all, humanity itself. One is no longer a member of the species that ‘nourishes malice and sorrow in their bosom’ to quote Richard’s expression.
Whereas ‘a disconnected feeling’ is clearly an affective feeling, arising out of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To have a ‘a disconnected feeling’ has nothing at all to do with ‘abandoning humanity’; it is, on the contrary, common to all human beings and arises out of the Human Condition in each of us.
You see, in order to communicate about the possible advantage that Actual Freedom could have for your life, it is essential to not mix up the terms that we use with emotional or spiritual terms. For instance, ‘not-knowing’ is used by Buddhists and other Eastern religions as an expression for the highest achievable wisdom when one enters the ‘Unknowable’, synonymous for the ‘Truth’. Aspiring to or succeeding in achieving the ‘Truth’ and reaching a state of ‘not-knowing’ is well accepted in the ‘book of rules for humanity’. When achieving a state of ‘not-knowing’ one simply exchanges the illusion of the ‘self’ for the grand delusion of a higher ‘Self’.
VINEETO: As for ‘how did you investigate those feelings’, i.e. those feelings that don’t necessarily have beliefs attached to them – I found that there was no need to make a distinction between feelings with beliefs and feelings without beliefs. Given that my aim is to eliminate ‘me’ the identity in toto, any feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless is acknowledged, felt and labelled as it arises, neither expressed nor suppressed but attentively observed, in order that I can then either nip it in the bud or, if need be, explore and understand it fully so as to then be able to abandon them.
Feelings connected with beliefs inevitably surfaced whenever the particular belief was challenged. The only way to completely disempower the feelings is to abandon the belief – no belief, no need to feel defensive, feel aggrieved, feel the need to attack and so on. Even when I thought I had eliminated my major beliefs, such as my religious and spiritual beliefs, I would nevertheless discover yet more beliefs that I had inadvertently taken on board and these beliefs made themselves apparent by the fact that I got upset or sad or irritated about what someone said or did.
Undertaking an exploration of one’s own feelings when and as they are occurring – becoming fascinated with the business of being alive – is the means to developing apperceptive awareness, a prerequisite to becoming free of the human condition itself.
RESPONDENT: What’s left for me is the feeler. My life is good almost all the time these days but there is still a feeler lurking and waiting to gum up the works. Right now, it seems that good is as good as it gets for me while living with this feeler.
VINEETO: If that is what you choose to be content with, then so be it.
I know of quite a few people who manage to feel good most of the time as a consequence of practicing dis-identification, and detachment and emotionally retreating from the world-as-it-is but in the end they are all unable to raise the bar to thoroughly enjoying life and delighting in being here by practicing this technique. This stands to reason because it’s impossible to unequivocally and unconditionally delight in being here whilst simultaneously practicing aloofness to one’s fellow human beings and indifference to the human condition that afflicts all human beings while cutting oneself off from the purity and perfection of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: I didn’t say anything about practicing dis-identification, detachment and emotionally retreating from the world as it is. I also didn’t say anything about practicing aloofness and indifference to the human condition. I am enjoying life.
VINEETO: If you re-read what I wrote you will notice that I did not say that you personally are ‘practicing dis-identification, detachment and emotionally retreating from the world as it is’. I reported that ‘I know of quite a few people’ who do that. Neither did I say that you practice ‘aloofness and indifference to the human condition’. I reported that ‘I know of quite a few people’ who do that.
However, given that you once told me that, although you didn’t consider your ‘previous ‘teachings’ as a spiritual belief-system’, you have trodden ‘this path of self-discovery for 30 years now’, I found it entirely relevant to pass on some information that may well be of benefit about the patterns and practices people can and do adopt when they have been conditioned by spiritual teachings for years.
All I was doing was sharing my observations of how the human condition operates and the type of feelings that inevitably arise and the behaviour patterns one establishes when following any one of the variations of spiritual teachings – it is up to you to determine if this information is useful to whatever it is you want to achieve in life. After all, you did say that you are ‘living with this feeler’ who is ‘lurking and waiting to gum up the works’.
RESPONDENT: Actually, you seem aloof to me in that I find it near impossible to have a conversation with you.
VINEETO: I wonder what kind of conversation you are looking for that you ‘find it near impossible to have a conversation’ with me? In case you are seeking an ‘I-don’t-know, you-don’t-know, what-do-you-think’ type of conversation as is so common on spiritual mailing lists then surely you are talking to the wrong person. If you are looking for sympathy, empathy, commiseration, love or compassion, then again you won’t find it here.
What I am doing is having a conversation with you about the workings of the human condition – the very nature of the topic makes such a conversation the most candid and frank kind of discussion one can have with another person. To liken this to being ‘aloof’ is to misunderstand both the nature of aloofness/ detachment/ disidentification and the degree of intimacy and sincerity required in order to undertake an honest inquiry into the human condition.
VINEETO: ‘I’ don’t merely ‘acquiesce and cede control’ – I actively use ‘my’ passion for peace-on-earth to find out where I need to change in order to become harmless, I use ‘my’ desire for happiness to discover where I need to abandon being grumpy, melancholic, sad and depressed, I use ‘my’ yearning for stillness in order to find out where I am driven by frenzy and consumed by fear and I use ‘my’ longing for genuine harmony in order to determine where ‘my’ feelings of love and nurture stand in the way of an actual intimacy with my fellow human beings. And I use ‘my’ altruistic passion to bring about a final end to the bloody war-torn history of humanity in another flesh and blood body in order to keep ‘me’ on track in this unnatural process of taking myself apart and making my ‘self’ redundant.
RESPONDENT: Ok, thanks for the feedback here. I was wary about using some types of affective energy to disempower other types of affective energy, …
VINEETO: Given that ‘I’ am an affective being, ‘affective energy’ as such can only cease when ‘being’ in its entirety ceases to exist. Any attempt to separate one’s being from one’s emotions will only result in disidentification and dissociation and when ‘I’ pretend to be aloof or when I am disconnected from what I feel it is much harder to recognize emotions as and when they are happening, let alone be able to investigate them. You can recognize when you are disconnected from your emotions whenever you experience life as dull, when you are disinterested in being alive, when you are bored or comfortably numb, when you feel a grey calmness that appears to be emotionless. I had a few conversations about such apparently emotionless states I used to call ‘zombie-states’, if you are interested.
RESPONDENT: … but at the same time I was concerned that avoiding this might result in dissociation (by which I mean a kind of disidentification with the ordinary ‘me’ and a re-identification with a split-off portion of ‘me’ that masquerading as ... something independent). Thankyou for clarifying this.
VINEETO: Disidentification is our normal state because from very early on children are trained to repress their unwanted emotions, a condition which quite a few people later increase by adopting the teachings of Eastern mysticism. Actualism – at least at the beginning – is often a process of recognizing and then undoing this conditioning of pushing certain feelings under the carpet. It is a process of simply acknowledging that it is me who is feeling sad, lonely, angry, frightened, desirous, mad, annoyed, etc. As a simple guideline and a way of avoiding any confusion about the matter – unless I am having a PCE, it is always ‘me’ in action.
VINEETO: I am always astounded how deeply spiritual people are, and in particular how much humans have been trained to dissociate themselves from the uncomfortable situations they find themselves in, or from the undesirable feelings they experience. This afternoon I talked to a woman who said feelings and emotions come and go but they don’t disturb her wellbeing. Because I was curious, I asked her how she felt when she was feeling sad. She said she could feel wellbeing while being sad because sadness is transient, it comes and goes and does not affect the core of her wellbeing. She said feelings were only at the periphery whereas inside she felt ‘wellbeing’ and real ‘presence’.
By following this practice of considering her emotions as peripheral, she is in fact distancing herself from what she is feeling in the moment in order to maintain the idea that her inner wellbeing remains untouched. When I observed and examined my spiritual beliefs and practices, I found that distancing or dis-associating myself from what went on in my head or heart only produced a new, imagined and thus spirit-ual identity – a true ‘self’, a higher ‘self; a more desirable ‘me’. I discovered that the very act of distancing oneself from anything one is thinking, feeling or doing is a spiritual act, as in ‘I believe that I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my body’.
As an actualist, I acknowledge that everything I feel, think or do is ‘me’, the passionate identity, in action, and the only thing ‘I’ can do to weaken this identity is not only to take full responsibility for all of my thoughts, feelings and actions but also to bring them into the full light of awareness. Actualism is all about ceasing the habit of dis-association, luring the identity out of hiding and convincing ‘me’ to exit the stage for the benefit of this body, that body and every body.
RESPONDENT to No 22: I am subscribing and reading some of the posts here. Most of the ideas expressed here are in my opinion worth reading and remembering. Other posts and also some of the basic ideas with actualism are for me impossible to grasp, or at least agree about.
Now, reading your response to No 16 makes me feel that some ‘low water’ level is reached. My first objection with actualism is on a scientific ground. Humans and human condition is not an easy thing to understand. With your post you are back, not to the middle ages but back to worms and insects, primitive living things.
Only humans have an ancestor such as Newton. He couldn’t grasp everything but he set the frontier for human thinking a little bit further. With your thinking you are totally refusing all knowledge and also the idea that humans even have a brain. Perhaps you may admit that humans have a brain, but then you are still not able to admit that this brain is useful in any aspect.
VINEETO: To head off confusion before it sprouts further misunderstandings – No 22 is not an actualist. On the contrary, he made it clear in many earlier posts that he considers himself to be GOD, omnipotent and infinitely responsible. Vis:
No 22 is our resident Godman on the actual freedom list. No 22 could well be on the actualist payroll, so well does he demonstrate the fact that spiritualism is diametrically opposite to actualism and portray the blatant nonsense that results from practicing dissociation. Just in case someone is tempted to return to practicing old time religion and spiritual ‘self’-inquiry with the aim of becoming ‘the Truth’, No 22 has devised a method of how to deceive yourself and achieve a pure solipsistic state –
In other words, No 22 has not reached ‘some ‘low water’ level’ in actualism – he lives with his head in the clouds and his views and beliefs are the very antithesis to what is actual.
I am reminded of an episode in the space-comedy ‘Red Dwarf’. The crew, Lister, Kryton and the Cat, encounter some difficult times travelling through ‘illusion bubbles’ and are experiencing one strange Unreality after another, when they suddenly find themselves in front of a huge video-game machine and their time of playing ‘Red Dwarf’ is up. Because they had played the space-game for several years, they all have great difficulty in remembering their former identities. They finally work out who they were before starting the game and each is shocked to find himself living in a grim, violent, corrupt and desperate Reality, which was the very reason why they had started playing the space-game in the first place. They all decide that it is better to shoot themselves and while attempting to make efficient use of the last bullet Lister has left in his pistol, they hear a faint female voice, the spaceship’s computer, trying to ‘make contact’ – ‘Hello, hello, can anyone hear me? You are in an illusion. Come back to the ship.’
So far there have been two options on offer to deal with life – stay in a societal illusion of a grim Reality or escape into the fantasy of a Greater Unreality. With the discovery of an actual freedom there is now a third alternative available – dismantling the internal software program that constitutes grim Reality without replacing it with the fantasy of a Greater Unreality. By diligently dismantling this software program that makes up your social identity and your instinctual identity you can evince a deletion of this redundant programming and ‘what’ you are will emerge – a flesh and blood human being, free of malice and sorrow and free of any metaphysical delusions whatsoever.
It made so much sense to me that I couldn’t resist trying it out and a pure consciousness experience soon confirmed that it is indeed possible to live without any social-instinctual identity whatsoever.
VINEETO: I always considered that I am not actually free when I can be annoyed, irritated, saddened or scared by someone else without there being a physical threat. To become free of these emotional reactions I took up meditation and when meditation proved ineffective and dissociative, I became attracted to investigate into the cause of my social and instinctual programming in order to become free of being affected by other people’s words and actions. Not being affected by other’s sadness makes me unconditionally happy and not being affected by other’s aggression makes me unreservedly harmless.
It’s a great life.
RESPONDENT: How is not being affected by other’s sadness or aggression different from what you call meditative dissociation?
VINEETO: The three ways a person can experience the world are 1: cerebral (thoughts); 2: sensate (senses); 3: affective (feelings).
In meditative dissociation one moves away from sensate and cerebral experiencing and aims to experience only the good part of the affective feelings. In Eastern religions and philosophy, this practice of suppression and non-attachment has been raised to a high art whereby one can, through assiduous practice, create a whole new, utterly dissociated, identity based solely on feeling Good-ness and God-ness. This process of becoming non-attached to feelings that are not desirable and identifying with the feelings that are considered desirable and are highly valued by our peers can lead to an Altered State of Consciousness whereby a mortal human being imagines and feels himself or herself to be above it all, as in Divine and Immortal.
In this sleight of hand, or more correctly spiritual sleight of mind, ‘me’ and my feelings get off scot-free and nothing actually happens except the whole sorry saga of eastern religion gets another pundit, another propagator, another sage revered for his puerile wisdom and parroted platitudes such as ‘it my is attachment to human suffering that is the problem’.
Not being affected by other’s sadness or aggression in the pursuit of ‘self’-immolation is 180 degrees opposite to such meditative dissociation –
The aim of running the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is to become aware of exactly how I am experiencing the world of people, things and events and to investigate what is preventing me from being happy and harmless in this moment. It is therefore important to discriminate between the pure sensate sensual experiences, as in sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and the ‘self’-centred cerebral thought and affective feeling experiences that are sourced in the instinctual animal survival passions. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts – thoughts arising in response to the flooding of chemicals that originate from the animal instinctual brain, the amygdala. As the amygdala quick-scans the incoming sensorial input, it is programmed to automatically respond with an instinctual reaction – essentially those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. It is important to recognize that these reactions, while felt in the body as sensations, and interpreted by the brain as feelings, are actually instinctual animal passions in action – they are the very substance of ‘who’ we feel ourselves to be, deep down at a bodily level, in both heart and gut.
The further I experientially investigated why I was affected by another’s sadness or psychic aggression, the more I discovered ‘me’, the feeler in action and how I was entangled in the psychic web of humanity’s collectively experienced feelings and instinctual passions. In order to not be ‘affected by other’s sadness or aggression’ I am exploring, becoming aware and then stepping out of experiencing the world affectively, as a feeling ‘me’, and more and more I am able to experience the world sensately.
I remove the obstacles that prevent me from being here in this place and now in this moment whereas the meditator aims to go there ‘where I belong’ and be ‘what I have always been’, my immortal spirit, and then one desperately tries to feel present in the material world.
RESPONDENT: Maybe what you call meditation is some kind of avoidance.
VINEETO: Yes, meditation is definitely ‘some kind of avoidance’ – it is going somewhere else and avoiding to deal with the prime cause of our malice, sorrow and feeling of separation, the psychological and instinctual ‘self’. Meditation is like taking drugs, covering malice and sorrow with a golden layer of inner peace, love, beauty, compassion and the feeling of immortality and thus avoiding the extraction of the rotten tooth. If you watch the news you will notice that the Eastern countries that have practiced meditation for centuries have as many territorial civil and religious wars as Western or African countries. Meditation does nothing for an actual peace on earth in this lifetime, it only transports people into an imaginary Peter Pan Never-never-land of dissociative self-centredness.
RESPONDENT: Also, the word or feeling of fear cannot be used in conjunction with love because fear is actually the antithesis of love ... Therefore if I feel fear, I cannot be in a state of love – One negates the other!
VINEETO: Yes, I agree. Love is used as the antidote to fear. With sufficient love one feels no fear. I experienced fear being transformed from the tension in the stomach into a feeling of relief and warmth and then a heat rising into the heart area until it filled my whole chest, providing me with this new identity – the ‘one who feels love continuously’. Although it was a very seductive experience, I could not forget the intimacy I had during my peak-experiences. Intimacy was impossible in this state of Love. My relating then was tinted by this ‘filled to the top’-being that needed to pour her ‘wisdom’ and love into someone, embracing all of humanity in a mad state of pitying compassion. Fortunately my common sense and my intent for a pure and actual freedom helped me to overcome this delusive calenture.
As humans, we are born with the instinct to survive, consisting of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. It takes deep investigation and courage to dismantle fear and its remedy ‘love’ for what it is – the instinct of the ‘self’ to survive. So, you see, out of my peak-experience my approach has been to eliminate this instinctual fear whenever it surfaced, thus digging deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of ‘self’ and ‘being’, eventually eradicating the very reasons for fear. Every time fear is recognized it loses its grip over me, becoming weaker and weaker, dissolving like a fog, leaving me unrestricted and free to experience life again as the crisp, clear, delicious and intimate adventure that it actually is. And with fear gone, who needs the ‘self’-enhancing feeling of love or Divine Love, which is yet another feeling preventing actual intimacy from happening.
Now I can give everyone I meet, and spend time with, my 100% undivided attention, being here with them for as long as the meeting lasts. There is neither an expectation nor an investment, neither a need to ‘give’ nor to ‘receive’, but simply the joy in meeting another human being. No love or Love can offer such freedom and delight.
RESPONDENT: Have you been able to localize this self through your indoctrination into Peter/Richard’s way of looking at life? If so, where does it end and the ‘other’ begin?
VINEETO: I don’t know what you mean by ‘the other’. Once I am outside of the self, there is no ‘other’, just this body and brain functioning perfectly well and experiencing the world around me intimately, sensuously, fully alive and in appreciation of my surroundings. While I am writing to you, Peter is clicking away on his keyboard, the computer is humming quietly, the night still and magical with the full-moon high in the sky. My fingers find their way from typing letters to making words, my body still tingling from sex.
Life is wonderfully easy without the burden of the ‘self’. It was never the body or the senses or the brain that were the culprit, it has always been the ‘self’ that corrupts both thoughts and senses. This ‘self ’is responsible for all the misery on the planet, for all the wars, tortures, murders, rapes, poverty, greed, corruption and hypocrisy. By dismantling and extinguishing it bit by bit I am able to live here, now, in this actual physical and sensually experience-able world. I don’t need to escape into a fantasy-place where I imagine that the ‘self’ does not exist. I came to see the fantasy-world of enlightenment as a big, big fairy-land and quite some people have been deluded into it, although rarely anybody succeeds in staying permanently deluded. A Buddhist pundit calculated that 0.0001% of seekers ever reach their ultimate goal. But in the end enlightenment is only an Altered State of Consciousness, a construct of passionate imagination and a delusion of grandeur.
I did experience this enlightened ‘Self’ myself – it is called having a Satori, I guess – and can observe it in detail from an outsider’s standpoint – seeing the grand belief and the overwhelming emotions of ‘wisdom’ and Divine Compassion – and I know the qualitative difference when there is no self at all in operation. All Enlightened Ones still have an identity; it is called ‘I am God’ or ‘I am one with God’. It is nevertheless an identity, very grand and ‘holy’, universal in its feeling but still with one at its core who claims to be ‘one with the Divine’. The Enlightened Ones loose their ego but safely keep their soul, their identity merely shifts from the head to the heart, leaving all the animal-instincts unquestioned.
RESPONDENT to No 14: Awakening is devastating.
VINEETO: Do you mean to say that it is an ongoing devastation for the ‘self’, for who we think and feel we are?
RESPONDENT: It is always shocking to see what assholes we really are.
VINEETO: I don’t agree with you here. Once I got rid of my ideas, beliefs, emotions – in short all of my identity – there is no-one there to be an asshole or call anyone an asshole. This is not pretended humility. When there is no asshole in me, I also see no asshole outside of me.
As long as I swanned around like one of the Enlightened Ones I felt superior, and everyone else needed my compassion or wisdom. It took me a week to fully get out of that seductive delusion. It is part and parcel of becoming enlightened; it comes with that ‘energy’ filling one’s heart, one is being swamped with ‘wisdom’, the greatest imagination the Self can produce. One is hooked into the collective ‘wisdom’ of humanity and thus perpetuates the suffering and morals that have been our heritage from the very beginning. ‘Good’ is only the backside of ‘bad’.
The name of the game is to throw the whole coin of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ out the window. The name of the game is freedom from good and evil, right and wrong.
Once I got rid of ‘who I am’ and simply live ‘what I am’, this flesh and blood body, there is only silly and sensible, a practical, down-to-earth, delightful enjoyment of the perfection of this benevolent universe. This is when peace on earth is possible.
RESPONDENT: I don’t feel inclined to read your book. I read parts of yours, Vineeto’s and Richard’s sites. When I replied to you, it is from having read your mails. I don’t feel very eager to discuss with you, we have our different viewpoints and experiences and that is ok. The reason I answered was because you seem to have taken a position from where you look down on others, and that I find it strange that you can do that from your illuminated state of delight. Expansion beyond enlightenment should be able to offer a broader view to life than what you can. Also I find some of your words to be agreeable upon, but I don’t sense your heart through the words. Read Papaji or Gangaji here on the net, the flavour of their words is something totally different.
VINEETO: Yes, you observed it right – the flavours of Papaji (W.L. Poonja) and Gangaji Antoinette Varner) are very different, they have got ‘the heart’ in it.
The whole issue of actual freedom is the freedom from emotions, feelings and the instinctual passions. ‘Heart’-felt passions have been the source of both religious and tribal wars, of domestic violence, and of the misery and gulf between men and women. Any questioning of the love and devotion that the followers have for the enlightened ones and the religious leaders has led to emotional responses which you can now see happening on the sannyas mailing list.
Richard was indeed the first one to question the state of enlightenment because it did not match the way he experienced the world in the peak experience. In arduous years of investigation he discovered the massive delusion that enlightenment is and, by eliminating not only the ego but also the soul, all the heart-felt emotions, he managed to get himself out of this delusion. What was left after the complete elimination of ego, soul, identity and being was simply the physical human flesh-and-blood body, perfectly functioning in this magical fairy-tale like world. Without the Human Condition, without the overlaying fear, aggression, nurture and desire this world is experienced as-it-is, benevolent, friendly, easy and magically delightful.
As for your notion of us looking down on others – that is a curious matter. Of course, the actual world is superior to any state of enlightened delusion in that it is not merely a creation of human imagination but factual, obvious and perfect, as evidenced by the physical senses. If you have experienced it once in a peak experience – or remembered one you had, you would easily agree with me. Many people seem to have peak-experiences, if only for a short period of time. In my writing I am simply sharing the joy of having been able to clean myself up with Richard’s method and becoming virtually free. It is possible for everybody because I am nobody special. Everybody with enough intent and courage can indeed become happy and harmless.
I find it strange that most people seem to get stuck with their opinion, objecting to this freedom because of their personal feelings instead of investigating the contents and facts of what we are talking about. When Galileo first discovered the fact that the earth went around the sun, many people have objected, because this was contrary to the ancient beliefs. It took centuries until it became accepted as a fact. The same will be the case with actual freedom. For most people it is too radical a thought that emotions and even instincts might not be necessary for survival, but that they are, to the contrary, the very cause for all the misery happening on the planet.
I am simply telling my story in case someone becomes intrigued by the possibility of a third alternative to ‘normal’ and ‘spiritual’. I understand that many will want to stay in their particular belief system – I myself had rocky days to work myself out of the social and religious conditioning, before I could tackle the animal instincts every human is born with.
VINEETO: I just leave you with a definition of perfection (people might call it superiority...)
RESPONDENT: Whose definition is this?
VINEETO: The Oxford dictionary.
RESPONDENT: Mine is that even a fault can be perfect, a perfect fault. There is nothing unperfect, only our mind judging. And as such, the judging mind is also perfect.
VINEETO: Your interpretation of perfect is derived from the spiritual interpretation that the world is illusory and has to be transcended. Of course, Eastern religion preaches that you have to transcend body and mind and disappear completely into the grand state of imagination and delusion. In its affective experience this is seen as very real, seductive and engulfing, but nevertheless a product of the ‘universal’ imaginative psyche, not based on facts. As I said before, intelligence is a very good tool to judge silly and sensible. You, however, seem to use the word ‘judging’ as in ‘rejecting’, not as in ‘discriminating’. Rejecting is ineffective, useless and silly, discriminating a necessary quality to make down-to-earth decisions about one’s life.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.