Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Facts / Factual
RESPONDENT: Funny thing, I just got Richard’s journal today, thanks for sending it. I am certain it will be great reading. After practicing and reading about actualism for some time I really don’t have a desire to read too many other things. I like literature on the natural world, like national geographic and the like, but most of the stuff that kept me entertained in the past doesn’t really catch my fancy anymore. If I remember correctly you reported a similar change of focus and it is quite clear how most literature has an unwanted influence behind it.
VINEETO: When I understood that actualism not only lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual endeavour but, more importantly, that the attentiveness intrinsic to being an actualist actually works to make me noticeably more happy and more harmonious in my relating with other people, I stopped searching for solutions elsewhere and stopped valuing the opinions of those who seek solutions within the human condition. In other words, I lost interest in other people’s solutions to their self-created problems, particularly the spiritual solutions, because a bit of clear-eyed research revealed that no matter how they packaged their solutions, their proposals were all within the human condition and as such yet another rearrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic.
My focus changed in that I started to find out the facts rather than blindly continuing to believe what was written in the books and newspapers and presented in the television reports. I slowly discovered that what is presented as truth is often rife with assumptions, conjectures, distortions and beliefs while facts are far and in between – for the simple reason that those writing the books and newspapers and those making the TV reports are, just like everyone else, afflicted with the human condition and dictated by the instinctual passions.
I also found that while it was easy to question the information I considered ethically or morally wrong, it was far more challenging – and far more fruitful – to investigate what I believed to be good and right, to dare to question my favourite assumptions and beliefs about the world. Naturally I had been much more receptive to and accepting of, in other words gullible about, information that accorded with my own moral and ethical values but I knew that making the effort to ascertain the facts of the matter about the nature of the universe and exactly what it is to be a human being was part and parcel of the job of eliminating exactly those moral and ethical values along with my beliefs.
So my experience is that when you read the reports and articles from the National Geographic Society with both eyes open you might well discover their particular way of distorting information and presenting theory and belief as being fact in order to promote their own particular agenda.
RESPONDENT: I should like to add a few words to my prior email. In Greek language we have two words. Symban for universe and cosmos for the planets, earth etc.
So I can think that right now the most distant star from earth must have a finite distance. Even if the universe expands the distance of this star will tend to infinity but will remain always finite. I can see that the space is infinite in the sense that this star living and moving in this space might reach a distance bigger than any given number in light’s years and will continue forever to his distance to be bigger and bigger indefinitely (until the star collapse). If you mean that by infinity (space) o.k., I agree with you.
VINEETO: The sensate experience of the infinitude of the universe only happens when ‘I’ step out of the way and thus remove the boundaries and limitations of ‘self’-induced narrow-mindedness. When this happens, all ideas, beliefs and theories that propose a creation event, an expansion or contraction and a doomsday ending of the physical universe are seen as what they are – beliefs and theories. Being here now as this flesh and blood body only – without any identity whatsoever – enables the infinitude of the universe to be apparent and this infinitude is wondrous, unparalleled, without an edge, without a centre, having no outside to it, having had no beginning nor will it have an ending.
As long as your contemplations are based on the currently-fashionable scientific theories of an expanding universe – with a Big Bang beginning, replete with all sorts of unseen, unseeable and unmeasurable phenomena and a Diabolical End – then you will remain locked into a ‘self’-centred view and you cut yourself off from experiencing directly and sensately the splendour and magnificence of the peerless and perfect physical universe.
Let me sum up what you have presented as ‘scientific facts’ so far –
These ‘scientific facts’ are all examples of spiritual belief, the belief that proposes that the physical world is merely a by-product of ‘my’ consciousness, the belief that ‘I’ am the creator of all that ‘I’ see.
If you aspire to become free from the emotional and instinctual bondage created by the psychological and psychic entity it is necessary to rigorously and sincerely question the way ‘you’ perceive the world. That means questioning your spiritual awareness and your spiritual beliefs and in that process of questioning it is vital to include the spiritual belief that ‘we must always be in the state of not-knowing’, as you said to No 21 the other day.
The way to discover a belief is to check out whether the theory or belief you hold needs you to actively believe in it in order for it to exist. A fact can stand by itself, whereas a belief always needs faith. To quote from The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
It does take courage to question the view that the universe is solely a product of one’s own consciousness, particularly as so many others hold to the same view that the universe is a product of their own consciousness.
But hey, the actual universe exists even after ‘I’ as the creator cease to create ‘my’ universe. Not having to be the creator of all that you see and feel is an enormous burden to be freed from and it is an exquisite and delicious freedom to be gained.
VINEETO: I was asking what you meant by the phrase ‘rejection of emotional behaviour’ and suggested three possibilities. Are you saying that your method is ‘sitting it out without much ado about it’? Of course you can choose any method, the question is which one works. Does method ‘C’ work for you in that the emotion does not come back or are you sometimes faced with the same emotion (over the same cause) again and again?
RESPONDENT: In some cases bad habits etc, yes. My rejection of emotional behaviour means that I do not get drawn into the drama of it all. I recognize the spell that emotions have, so I do not treat them as essential to my operating. There is though still the occasional reluctance to explore so I am sometimes unwittingly caught in their spell.
VINEETO: I found that to effectively explore emotions to the point of (virtually) eliminating them I had to experience them fully. Only by neither repressing, nor expressing, nor in any way rationally twisting the emotional experience could I meticulously observe, become fully aware of and sensibly contemplate on what is happening in my head, heart and guts and thus investigate the root cause of that particular emotion. Knowing that every emotion is part of the Human Condition relieved me from blaming myself or being resentful for having an emotion in the first place. In order to eliminate the particular emotion such that it would not return again and again, it was essential to explore it deeply at its core and to understand experientially how each emotion originated in my social identity and/or in my very sense of ‘being’. Once having seen the emotion in operation and understood its ramifications to their full extent there was no way I could feel the same way about a particular issue or situation – by having understood this specific piece of my identity it had been extinguished.
Needless to say, this method has not the slightest thing to do with plain rationalization or spiritual dis-identification – proven by the very fact that it works, that it gets rid of the emotion permanently while increasingly allowing the sensual sensuousness and the pure delight of being alive.
I know well the ‘occasional reluctance to explore’, yet the frustration of obviously going round in silly circles has always given me courage to stop wasting my time, to face the fear and ‘reluctance’ and do whatever was necessary to return to being happy and harmless.
GARY: Now I can really see the seduction of the belief in an afterlife, the belief in a Heavenly Father or Mother or Whatever. It is all an enormous illusion. How blind I have been! I remember thinking something similar when I adopted the belief in a Metaphysical Realm. Now, it is completely in the opposite direction.
VINEETO: The more of my metaphysical beliefs I questioned, the more I was amazed and embarrassed how gullible I had been. There was hardly any New Dark Age (NDA) superstition that I did not credit as being somehow true. So that ‘house of cards’ has definitely ‘collapsed’. Now I want to know the facts and when I hear some reporter or scientist voice an opinion or theory, I am suss about his or her philosophical bent and underlying affective investment – just because something is being printed or reported doesn’t make it a fact. But slowly I am learning the art of extracting facts from opinions, distinguishing feelings from factual information, making sense of the world in a completely opposite way to before.
VINEETO: The second point I wanted to comment on is about being right and being wrong. You wrote –
In four different mails you are stressing the topics of feeling belittled, blaming others, belittling Actual Freedom, and the issue of Richard and ‘[his] disciples’ being right and you being wrong.
The trouble for people with facts is that facts are always ‘right’. One can choose to ignore facts, deny facts, blame others for facts being what they are, get angry about facts and feel sorry for oneself that facts are what they are – to no avail. A fact stays a fact no matter what affective response one chooses to have about it.
The other trouble that most people have with Richard and with Actual Freedom is that life without the ‘self’ (ego and soul) is utterly superior to life fettered by the social and instinctual identity that we humans are inevitably, programmed with, through no fault of ours. For me, once I perceived in a direct experience of the actual world what life in Actual Freedom will be like, once I had smelled the honey-pot, so to speak, I was trapped, hooked, caught and seduced. I wanted more of this exquisite quality of experience and I wanted it all the time – and I still do. However, years of trying to find the solution in spiritual therapy have taught me that mere emoting, throwing a tantrum, sulking or blaming others is not going to give me the life experience that I want – I know now that it is simple silly to run with my head against a wall or pretend that I have already got it. These methods had sometimes worked in my past relationships when, by blustering or emoting, I could fool my partner into feeling inferior, guilty or angry, but I simply failed to permanently fool myself.
So I got off my bum and started the investigation into the facts of the Human Condition.
So here I am today, living a life that, by measure of my past 40 years, is already utterly superior to anything I have experienced before – and I am not even actually free yet. But I know that the method of cleaning myself up, bit by bit, works, incrementally, irreversibly and infallibly.
Facts are superior to beliefs and the extinction of the ‘self’ is superior to remaining a puny ‘self’ or flesh-and-blood-body ‘self’ or Actually Fucking Free ‘self’, who can only perceive the world by feelings, beliefs and imagination – that’s simply the way it is. No right or wrong about it at all. The only sure and permanent way to actual superiority is to become ‘self’-less, extinct.
RESPONDENT: I agree that the task for ‘me’ is to push the button to start the process of self-immolation. The truth for me right now is I am dedicated but I am not 100% committed. I have intent but it is not pure intent. What would it take for me to make the leap to be 100% committed with pure intent?
Can I make this leap? Can I become 100% committed with pure intent? What is stopping me? Obviously it is the ‘me’ that is stopping me and like you said it is up to the ‘me’ to keep the question ‘how am I’ going. As you said it is up to ‘me’ and ‘I’ to bring about the process of ending themselves. The best that ‘I’ can do right now is to keep the question ‘how am I’ going. I am dedicated to that.
VINEETO: To understand my intent for freedom I firstly had to take an honest and extensive stock of my life so far. I reviewed all the paths that I had tried, all the adventures I had taken as well as my intentions behind them. I found that as a youth I had marched for peace, freedom, equity and various ideas of a better world. I had been involved in Women’s liberation, only to find women as incapable of living in peace and harmony with each other as men. I then turned to changing society by education, studied social work and was full of ideals to ‘heal’ society. Yet, working as a social worker for heroin addicts I quickly discovered that I had no solution to offer for any of these ‘drop-out’, on the contrary – I could understand their reasons for turning their backs on a society that I saw as corrupt and hypocritical, restrictive and compromising.
For several years I got involved in primal therapy, which claimed that the solution lay in experiencing and expressing emotions under ‘nursery conditions’ and then all will be well. I learned to identify my emotions more in detail, but merely expressing them did nothing to resolve them, they kept appearing again and again without fail. Life did not become easier through therapy, only more expensive.
The next solution on offer was Eastern spirituality. Combined with a plethora of new-age therapies, the cozy security of a newfound family it seemed the best on offer. The intention now was to change myself rather than changing the world. For the next 17 years I got gullibly sucked into the rich imaginary fairy stories of Eastern beliefs, new-age superstitions and serious meditation.
To make a long story short – none of my enterprises brought me freedom, peace and happiness. It didn’t teach me how to live with a man in peace and harmony. I knew only too well that I was still enjoying fight, spite and bittersweet sadness and I still felt lonely and fearful. To acknowledge failure was enough to fuel my intent to explore something new, something practical.
Also, I wanted to live with a man in peace and harmony, 24 hrs a day, every day. For that goal I was willing to question my dearly held beliefs of gender identity, social morals and values, spiritual beliefs and convictions. To live not only in peace but to share a life of fun and adventure, intimacy and harmony, I considered more valuable than anything else I had done up to now.
All these considerations gave me enough drive to investigate, question, discover and turn beliefs upside down to find out about them and compare them with verifiable facts. It was all very confusing in the beginning to say the least, but the thrill of investigating why all those beliefs had never worked kept me digging deeper and deeper into the very substance of my identity. And every success, every result, every belief replaced by facts drove me further into more inquiries, encouraged me to identify, trace back and investigate my ‘precious’ feelings and emotions.
You see, intent does not grow in a day or is instantly 100% at the start, it gets bigger and more and more purified with increasing discoveries about the Human Condition in oneself. To acknowledge malice and sorrow in action in oneself, day by day, gives one the firm intention to factually do something about it, to actually and irrevocably change oneself.
And then, with persistent and honest investigation into one’s beliefs and feelings, with rocking ‘the boat’ of one’s identity to the limits, there is bound to be a pure consciousness experience. Asking myself the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of beings alive?’ never had a calming effect on me – on the contrary. To investigate a surfacing emotion, to label and define it and trace its root and underlying belief usually intensified the thrill until I triumphantly got the bugger by the throat and bingo – there lay dead another dearly held ‘truth’ or conviction, value or loyalty. To break through to the very core of one particular emotion leaves me with the actual and that often brings about a PCE.
Daring to question ‘God’ by whatever name had eliminated one of the major columns my identity-structure was based on and caused the whole construct to tumble – for a few hours. Then I could experience the actual world as it is, without the restricting and fearful guardian of the ‘self’ in operation – which in turn fuelled my intent for more such discoveries. The serendipitous spiral of actual freedom is set in motion. On the path to actual – as opposed to imaginary – freedom I found that the only way to end fear was to face it and investigate it, and the only way to end pain was to find and eliminate its cause, for ever.
And it works.
‘Knowing full well the cost’, as No 3 said, which is ‘me’ in my entirety, it is gloriously delicious to be amongst the forerunners of human evolution. To be able to successively and irrevocably free oneself from the ancient animal heritage of the instinctual passions that are but a redundant remnant of thousands of years of malice and suffering is the best I can ever do with my life. Living at the cutting edge of the discovery to a new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth and actual freedom from the Human Condition takes on an exquisite momentum by itself that makes life exquisitely thrilling and wondrously delicious, day after day. And it all is available by sincerely asking the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: I would say that I am doing ok which is a relative term. I wouldn’t call it good but I would call it ok. When I look at my total situation it seems that I ‘have it made’ except for the problem with my mother. I realize that the real issue is the instincts because if this problem didn’t exist then I am sure that other issues would most likely arise.
VINEETO: People’s automatic response is always to see their own fear, aggression, sadness or misery as being caused by the other person or the particular circumstances. I considered it a great step in my exploration when I could see that, whatever the ‘problem’, it had to do with me. And you are absolutely spot on – ‘that other issues would most likely arise’ – so best to examine the one that is so readily presenting itself...
Whenever I had an issue that bothered me and that I wanted to get rid of, I would dig into the cause of the disturbance layer by layer with the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ The first response was usually a superficial one like: ‘I don’t want to do what the other wants me to do’ or ‘I don’t like what the other just said’ or a similar resentment. Prodding further I’d come across stronger emotions such as anger, guilt, duty, shame, authority, pride or fear – or a mix of several ones. Each such emotion was worth a deeper inquiry as to the underlying rules, beliefs, morals and ethics that triggered and constituted those emotions and distorted my relationship to the particular person. It was often scary but always a great adventure to question my fixed perception and behaviour and explore a solution 180 degrees in the other direction to my familiar reactions. By being suspicious about my automatic belief of what is ‘true’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, I was then able to start assessing the facts of the situation rather than indulging in, or fighting against, my emotional reactions to what was happening.
Facts are what is actual, tangible, discernable, provable, practical, and by knowing the facts one can consider what will be the best for everybody involved. Emotions, by their very nature, are always ‘self’-centred and always non-factual – however, the physical symptoms that often accompany the appearance of the emotions make them very real, and it needs great attentiveness and persistent observation to disentangle oneself from their convincing instinctual grip.
In your investigations you might come across ancient scary tales, collective superstitions, nonsense disguised as ancient wisdom, hoary psittacisms, moralistic no-no’s, ethical taboos, fear of ostracism, weird inner psychic horror movies ... With all those possible ‘ghosts’ emerging from the depth of one’s psyche it is important to clearly distinguish between fact and feeling. Facts are tangible, constant, reliable, whereas feelings will invariable fade if one stops feeding them.
By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system. It was, however, essential that I gained this insight experientially in order to replace the emotion with contemplation and sensibility rather than merely suppressing it. Suppressing emotion is sheer postponement and a sure way to accumulate problems until they become unbearable. Once I had extracted every bit of necessary information by experiencing the emotions I could then make sensible judgements and appropriate changes in my behaviour such that I could resume being happy and harmless again.
In the glossary of The Actual Freedom Trust Library you can find annotations and related correspondence on affection, aggression, desire, doubt, fear, feeling, emotion, instinct, nurture, pride, sorrow as well as their antidotes – actual, apperception, contemplation, fact, happy, harmless, sensuousness, judgement and common sense. Reading and re-reading I found to be an excellent tool to make myself familiar with, and accustomed to, the radical and iconoclastic way of actualism and to rewire my brain into the new way of thinking and acting.
VINEETO: Have you found some practical actual answers to your above question of ‘can I completely free ‘myself’ from suffering without ignoring her and still make sensible choices as to caring for her?’
RESPONDENT: Asking ‘Who is it that is suffering?’ offers relief and then I just do what is necessary at the time to care for her.
VINEETO: ‘Asking ‘Who is it that is suffering?’’ might easily lead to the ‘other’, higher identity of ‘the watcher of it all’, the spirit, who dis-identifies from the suffering and transcends its ‘mere’ bodily existence. This other identity can indeed offer temporary relief but keeps one trapped in the dichotomy of good and evil, a life torn between developing a higher ‘self’ and resentment towards having to perform the duties of everyday life ‘in the marketplace’.
In order to make the distinction between the old familiar spirit-ual practice (spirit being the imaginary entity inside the body) and actualism, it is essential to replace ‘who am I’ with ‘what am I?’ Asking ‘who’ always indicates an identity while ‘what’ clearly points to the factual flesh-and-blood body without any social or instinctual identity whatsoever. Asking ‘what am I’ will also bring to surface the particular aspects of one’s identity that pollute and obstruct the experience of the purity of what I am – a flesh-and-blood body experiencing the always present perfection of this magnificent universe.
Thus the question is not ‘who is it that is suffering’ but what is the cause of this suffering, where does it come from, what triggered it, when did it start, what are its roots? By investigating what hinders me to be happy and harmless in this moment, the ‘who’ I am will incrementally and noticeably diminish while ‘what’ I am will become more and more apparent until one day you know that you have always been here.
VINEETO to No 16: On the same topic you recently wrote to No 60 saying that ‘I hate it when she does this and the hate is making me sick’–
If it is of assistance to you, here is what I have observed in myself in regards to facts and feelings –
I am not saying that anything of the above should apply to you – only you can know yourself. I just thought I’d share my own experience with facts and associated feelings as you were contemplating about your own feelings in this situation.
RESPONDENT: (...) I am already here ... always. Sounds mad but it is very sane and wholesome and real and actual all at once ... because it is all at this moment in time. NOW. If this is or is not actual intimacy ... who cares? Love or love can no longer trap me, bind me, or contort me ... My life is filled with happy and harmless fun and effortless games. The opposites no longer apply because there is no-one to apply them. No-one inside controlling or being controlled ... Yes! I used to be a good communicator and writer but why bother ... now that I see the actual nothing seems to really matter except my immediate needs and wants ... and what a delight to satisfy these ... in ‘good’ time, (is there any other type), effortlessly and completely.
To endlessly condemn humanity for violence towards its self and ‘my’ fellows seems the only game worth playing ... but only as an ongoing extra ... an effortless incidental ... icing on the cake. The myth of teaching or helping others is definitely flawed, (because I can help no-one really) ... perhaps by example? The actual revolutions start here as a matter of course each time a new wonder manifests itself into consciousness or a physical sensation. I can only help myself each moment again. I can only partake of all that is on offer. What a life! This is Actual Freedom! Wooopppeee!
Keep enjoying the words you two ... but not reacting rebelling against the good or the bad, (unless you want to of course) ... freedom from the instincts, or Gods, or beliefs, or anything is not the only thing to do ... all is pure and petty, mind games and wars. The opposites no longer apply. There is a big picture and no big picture, many systems and no system, many methods and no method, many gurus or no guru, many religions or no religions ... I live well automatically, spontaneously, intelligently, sensibly but most of all I live now because it is all I have. ‘NOW’ all the time ... even memories and wonderment are now ... if time permits. Rejection and embrace of intellectual knots and ideas and investigations only leads to more rejection and more embrace of the same ... more knots and ideas and investigations, etc., etc. If we only have one life this moment of experiencing life let ‘me’ not make it a dress rehearsal ... by always becoming or always intelligently mindfully or habitually investigating what may be ... unless it is NOW. Yes! Every time ... NOW!
VINEETO: I remember my time of intense discovery when I had insights into the actual world but got off the track when, instead of staying with the actuality of the sensate-only experience, ‘I’ would grab the experience to go off at a spiritual-philosophical tangent – I called it being a ‘Truth production machine’. I have written about it in my correspondence with Alan, where I described in detail my various adventures into my psyche and the discoveries of ‘my’ cunningness. Descriptions of my ‘Explorations of Death and Altered States of Consciousness’ might also be relevant or interesting to you.
For me, the guiding light has always been the Pure Consciousness Experience where there is clearly no ‘self’ in action, which means that there are neither feelings nor imagination happening. The moment I started to notice an affective feeling or emotion about what I was sensately experiencing or thinking, I knew that I was not having a PCE. My inner alarm-bell would ring and I started to investigate the emotion.
At first imagination was a bit more difficult to detect. To distinguish imagination from observation I needed to diligently explore the facts of the situation, read and re-read Richard’s numerous descriptions of the actual world and discuss my perceptions with Peter. In short, anything that cannot be sensately experienced is not actual.
When one starts to investigate the psychic world, one’s ‘self’-centred reality and facts are so cunningly intermingled that it is absolutely essential to stick with verifiable facts in order to uncover and eliminate passionate imagination. Having been spiritually trained for years to dis-identify from thoughts and enhance the ‘good feelings’ I had to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction – from ‘go easy and follow your feelings’ to ‘what are the facts of the situation?’ (...)
VINEETO: Tears, sympathy, empathy, love and compassion have been good indications for me that there was something to look at. Once I started to clean up my personal emotions and broadened my perspective from ‘self’-centred to factual, I became more aware of what is happening with other people. Television and new-papers, reports and films – they all gave me a very detailed picture of the malice and sorrow evident in everybody, and the way human beings treat other human beings often caused distress and brought tears to my eyes. Yet I knew that every feeling, be it for myself or for others, had its roots in my own instinctual passions – and they are the only thing I am able to change. My sorrow or being affected by others won’t change their situation, but by eliminating malice and sorrow in me I will stop causing ripples – at least I will then not be contributing to suffering in the world.
So, whenever I am moved by even the slightest feeling it is a sure indication for me that there is still the ‘self’ in action. And for me, 99% is still not good enough.
To actually care for one’s fellow human beings means to actually change oneself irrevocably.
RESPONDENT: When my mother who is currently experiencing difficulty caring for my father, (who has Alzheimer’s disease), asked me; ‘do you think I will be reunited with my mother in death?’ I hesitated as to whether I should tell her my true opinion.
After we honestly explored together the possibilities of returning to a state similar to that experienced prior to conception ... everything seemed OK for we are all in this business of living and dying together ... ‘together’ seems to be the operative word ... investigating together ... both living and dying. Not for the faint of heart and weak of knee, but truly amazing. Not unlike marvelling at the universe, (Peter and Vineeto), of stars and people and everything. There can be no time or room left for useless worry, or sympathy, or illusive love and common pathos, (compassion).
VINEETO: It is a fact that when one dies one dies, irreversibly, irretrievably and irrevocably. Any other opinion of death is only a belief.
To find out about death as a fact I needed to investigate my belief in anything meta-physical and explore the emotional reasons for wanting to believe in something other than what can be sensately experienced. This investigation is verily ‘not for the faint of heart and weak of knee’ , for one may encounter fear and dread the likes of which are ‘truly amazing’ . Those fears are the very reason that all the ancient humbug beliefs in numerous silly fantasy-heavens have survived for thousands of years despite the scientific advancements and technological developments. But to proceed beyond the limits of one’s survival fears is an adventure I wouldn’t want to miss for anything. It gives me the freedom to live here on this earth, each moment fully alive, delighting in being this flesh and blood body, and no hold barred.
RESPONDENT: Communication for what? Perhaps to reaffirm ‘I’ am on the right track?? Perhaps there is no track at all ... simply living well so all may simply live well too?? Sounds moralistic but is actually common sense ... in operation.
VINEETO: I don’t know what your reasons are to communicate.
I write to tell my experiences of this new and effective method to permanently change from the miserable, fearful, angry and sorrowful person who was deeply immersed within the spiritual world of hope and postponement, into the happy and harmless human being that I am today. I find that worth communicating to anybody who is interested in becoming free from the Human Condition.
I know for a fact that I am ‘on the right track’ – my daily life proves that actualism works. I don’t need reaffirming that I am ‘on the right track’ because by applying the method I have become happy and harmless. The only way I got rid of belief and doubt was to find out for myself that it worked. If something works, it is a fact.
But there is a track all right – we call it the wide and wondrous path. It is very easy to find, yet ‘not for the faint of heart or weak of knee’ , to quote Richard’s expression. One simply asks oneself each moment again ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – and then one takes whatever action is necessary to return to delight, leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, bit by bit.
RESPONDENT: ...‘few ‘want’ to understand because they have a vested interest in ‘being’’.
VINEETO: This brings me to the next point that is absolutely essential if one ever wants to make a step on the path to Actual Freedom – pure intent. Without pure intent, and without the understanding that the only solution to the Human Condition in oneself is ‘self’-immolation, every attempt to catch a bit of happiness will remain polluted by one’s lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity.
For me, before I even considered to convey anything to anyone about actualism I dug deep inside myself, investigating every mood, feeling, emotion and passion that became apparent in my interaction with people, things and events. I examined every truth, belief, moral conviction and ethical certainty until I discovered the self-evident facts for myself and eventually got rid of the very act of believing itself. I questioned love, intuition, female conditioning and instinctual behaviour, my relationship to my peer group, my spiritual beliefs, my attitudes and feelings about authority, my old and new religious principles, my ideas about environmentalism, about politics, about right and wrong. My whole inner world was taken apart and eventually thrown out and often times it was not only an exciting and rewarding but also a scary and terrifying enterprise. But I had the honest intention to stop at nothing less than the undeniable actuality – I simply had had enough of all the beliefs, lies and self-deceptions that failed to make me both happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I shall have to write in more detail, (when I have time), but when you wrote; ‘I would like to take the offer and investigate the presented points for what ‘they are worth’ for an actualist and in what way they can be used as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’
Your response was excellent but don’t under-estimate what others have come to understand and what others may or may not believe.
VINEETO: I read through my last letter to you very carefully and I could not find anything that indicates that I ‘under-estimate what others’ – in this case you – had to say in your seven points to No 16. Neither did I say anything about what you ‘may or may not believe’. Since the points were very short, I found it appropriate and useful to explore your statements on a deeper level in order to have a clearer understanding of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is not about what ‘others may or may not believe’ but about ascertaining the facts of the situation. This is, after all, the very purpose of this Mailing List.
Knowing my own process, and therefore having studied the Human Condition in detail, I indeed know a lot about ‘what others may or may not believe’ and what may therefore be useful hints or clarifications in order to free oneself from one’s social identity and one’s instinctual passions. After all, the Human Condition is common to all and does not vary very much in each person. Aggression is aggression in man or woman, young or old, East or West, as are the other instinctual passions. The social identity has a few more possible variations according to the particular culture that one was raised in, but the basic moral and spiritual beliefs are very much alike. Everyone believes that an immortal spirit or soul inhabits this flesh-and-blood body and that for the sake of one’s ‘eternal future’ one should aspire to follow the ‘good’ and ‘right’. Underpinning the ‘good’ and the ‘right’ there is also instilled the common fear of retribution, punishment, ostracism and ridicule should one dare to stray from the well-worn path. (...)
RESPONDENT: Labels are not needed except as you say, ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’... and it is good fun.
VINEETO: I have never talked about ‘labels’ ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition’. I said – as you have quoted at the very top of the letter:
Label according to the dictionary means: ‘...to put in a certain class, to describe by a certain label’. Macquarie
When you say ‘labels are not needed ...’, I take it that you don’t mean words or descriptions, but use ‘label’ as in making a moral judgement. Personally, I find that both precise descriptive words and accurate judgments based on facts are essential for the inquiry process. How else is it possible to distinguish silly from sensible, malicious from harmless and sorrowful from happy? The important thing is what one’s judgement is based upon – and most people use their feelings and intuition to judge a situation, a person, a statement or an event. But to base one’s judgement on facts, common sense, pure intent and the memory of a pure consciousness experience is the only way to find one’s direction in the maze of old wisdom and NDA beliefs, ancient psittacisms and self-centred emotion.
So, labels are very much needed, for fruitful communication, for clarity and for in-depth investigation into the substance and content of the Human Condition. Once one gets rid of the moral and ethical judgements (usually the self-recriminations are the hardest) of good and bad, right and wrong, then the clarity that comes with sound judgement is all good fun.
VINEETO: I found that all that was required for me to be sensible was to simply acknowledge the facts of the matter – regardless of whatever feelings and beliefs I may have originally had about the matter.
RESPONDENT: That’s so banal. ‘Oh of course slap forehead. I should have been looking at the facts of the matter!’ Wow that’s revolutionary. What till the world hears about that one! Hey, everyone, try this! Check the ‘facts of the matter’ and get over it! Gee, no one else but an actualist looks at the ‘facts of the matter’, right?
Vineeto, let me break this to you gently ... there are people in the world who are every bit as sincere as you are about checking ‘the facts of the matter’ regardless of how they feel and who are sincerely willing to relinquish beliefs and preconception in order to do so. Many of those people are scientific in outlook and realise that all beliefs are contingent – those of us who don’t realise this are blinkered by unconscious choice.
VINEETO: So far your statements ‘I don’t give a toss whether Byron Katie is spiritual. The Work itself isn’t’ prove the opposite – you were not only disinterested to ‘check the facts of the matter’ for yourself but when ‘the facts of the matter’ were presented to you, you then responded with denial, duckshoving, cynicism and sarcasm. It would be a pity to let the facts of the matter stand in the way of a good belief, hey?
As for being ‘blinkered by unconscious choice’ – once I realized that my ‘unconscious choice’ prevented me from living happily and in peace with others I decided to un-earth and disempower the unconscious parts of my psyche in order to be able to start making conscious and sensible choices. There is no other secret to making the unconscious conscious but the determination and sincere intent to do so in order that one can become both harmless and happy, the rest is application and diligence.
VINEETO: (...) But, apart from me being stunned by such a passionate attack – as I perceive it – you are doing me a great favour. Coming to the next stage in my journey to freedom, I did want to muster all my remaining doubts and ‘ghosts’ in the cupboard. You saved me the work to list them. I will answer you accusations one by one: (...)
IRENE: And then of course the inevitable proselytizing that goes hand in hand with being a ‘born again’ human being;...
VINEETO: When I tell my story and state that the discovery of freedom works for me, it may look to you as merely proselytizing another belief, because today you deny the possibility of it being a fact. Fair enough, that’s what I initially did. I had been very suspicious of taking on another belief. Calling me a missionary you are actually proposing I should tell no-one about this new discovery. Would that not be very mean and miserly to the possible courageous pioneers, who might be fed up with the conventional tried and failed solutions, ready to try out something new and radical? To say that it is possible to eliminate instincts is not a belief to me, it is my very experience. I am in the process of eliminating them all. If you think just because I am happy and tell my story that I am insisting you should do as I did, then you’re mistaken. You are free to do what you want to – if you don’t like my story then don’t invite me for coffee. Being a missionary would mean that my happiness depends on how many people conform with me, that my happiness is dependant on others believing the same thing. That would make a very poor happiness and definitely not freedom!
But that is the difference for me between belief and fact: A fact only has to be acknowledged once, not confirmed by a crowd. That everybody believes something doesn’t make it a fact, and a fact is a fact even if no one believes it. And to accept as fact that you can become free of the Human Condition goes against all common conviction.
RESPONDENT: Months after the shock wore off and I began to explore the amputation, I discovered there were two very different components to what I had previously thought of as ‘love.’ I now think of them as ‘ego attachment’ and ‘real love.’ We have discussed the ego attachment part in previous exchanges and I think we are in basic agreement about the nature of it, give or take a few terms and minor differences in word usages and definitions. The ‘real love’ that I saw left after all the elements of ego attachment were identified, is something completely unconditional, something that does not care whether she does or does not do as I wish, an awareness and regard that does not measure, assess, judge, possess, or expect. I believe it to be connected in a direct way to the kind of observing you describe as ‘my full attention and bare awareness each time we communicate.’ It is what I believe to be ‘real love.’ (Or ‘actual love’ if you wish!) What you and Peter are experiencing when you are free to interact this way.
What do you think?
VINEETO: See, you make a difference between ‘ego’ (something to get rid of) and ‘real love’ (something you want to keep). And then you say, ‘clarity does not arise’. How can it arise? Throwing away the ‘bad’ and keeping the ‘good’ has not worked for thousands of years. Humanity is still waging as many wars as 2000 years ago. Every Enlightened Master created yet another religion, and the religious wars are the most horrific ones.
Last night I saw a re-run of ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’, a black-humour musical about the First World War. Seeing the soldiers in the trenches, used as canon-fodder for the game of numbers that the generals were playing was devastating, and all the soldiers were dying and killing for love. Men die for love of country, love for the family, to protect the ones they love, unconditionally. And after the war is over, the surviving men don’t talk about the horrors they lived through so as not to upset the ones they love. A continuum of malice and suffering – and it is called ‘real love’. No one ever puts these facts in one line and acknowledges that they are interrelated.
I could still feel the impact of the horrors those men went through. They stand for all of the suffering and devastation humans go through in the course of the centuries. Seeing the facts of what causes the suffering made it clear once again that I want to do something about this horrendous situation, which is continuing today as horrendously as in the First World War. And the only thing I can do about it is to eradicate every trace of ‘self’ in me, and that includes the instinct of love, eliminate every reason why I would kill, hurt or even insult any other human being. And I know, as long as there is a trace of ‘me’ inside, I am still capable of violence when ‘push comes to shove’.
RESPONDENT: I don’t have 21 or 17 years of experience with a spiritual journey or 11 years of ‘enlightenment’ (whatever that is, and I truly don’t know, but I suspect it isn’t real).
VINEETO: To judge ‘Tried and True’ as ‘Tried and Failed’ you don’t need 17 years of spiritual journey but common sense. When I heard Richard or Peter say for the first time, ‘why don’t you judge the religion – Eastern or Western – by the outcome’, it hit me like a brick. Never even once had I looked at the factual outcome of what I was aiming for – how people are living in India, how Indians, especially enlightened ones treat women, how religious wars are raging in many parts of the world – to judge the workings and sensibility of what I was trying to achieve. At that time I felt quite stupid, clumsy, thick and thought I had wasted my time. But then, there had been nobody pointing it out to me and it seemed the best solution on offer at the time for the misery and desperation I felt about life.
It does not take 20 years of spiritual experience to look, for a change, at the facts of the particular belief-system instead of the promised solutions that it never delivers. So you are not missing any ‘time done’ here. Everyone who dares to look further than the herd can find out the facts for him/herself. Maybe the frustration of having had so little success after so many years of effort helped me to get over my pride and fear so that I started looking in another direction.
RESPONDENT: By the ‘stuff’ I mean, ‘There is no God, There is no life after death. This very moment is the only moment you have to live and it is possible to live being happy here and now in this very world ... blah blah blah’
VINEETO: Rajneesh was actually a very tricky guy. One day he would talk about God and the other day deny that there was such a thing as God. He had whole discourse series on Jesus, where God appeared in every other sentence. Then he talked about Zen, and suddenly all was prevailing emptiness and utter serenity. So in the process of checking out my beliefs and replacing them with facts I had to take a closer look, not just rely on what I ‘felt’ Rajneesh had said or meant. By really digging into the contents of his teachings and words I was able to dismiss him as the ultimate authority he had been for me.
What I found was that his essential teaching was about the Divine, Existence, Buddha Nature, Oneness with the Whole. So, where is the difference? God or the Divine, God or Buddha Nature – it still ensures immortality. The spiritual ‘Universe’ is ‘Timeless’ and ‘Spaceless’, and after death one will be united with the Whole, forever in bliss. Just the words on his tombstone ‘Never Born, Never Died, Only Visited this Planet...’ are enough to reveal his belief in an afterlife as the ‘real life’ and the actual world as an illusion.
VINEETO: (...) Upon close investigation I had to admit that promises and results did not reconcile. Neither did I become enlightened nor did enlightenment result in a solution to the word’s problems. I had the choice to forever blame myself and keep hoping – or to try something new and radical.
The new and radical was to questions the soul, the feelings, the emotions (including love) and to learn that instincts are deleteable. The new and radical is to look at facts instead of trusting any master, to only rely on what can be evidenced by the physical senses. In short, to throw everything meta-physical out the window. Actual Freedom definitely is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of all spiritual beliefs.
RESPONDENT: The reason that you felt so much relief and freedom after you could break away from your earlier beliefs both at the time of meeting Osho and Richard, was perhaps you had very strong beliefs both the times. So the contrast made it so surprising (180 degrees opposite). But I don’t find such a contrast, because I don’t have such strong beliefs. I am always in doubt whether my beliefs are true. And I owe this attitude to Osho and my eastern background and that is why I feel gratitude towards them.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh? And is doubt enough for you to be happy?
I was a strong believer, already as a Christian girl. I believed in authority and replaced one authority with another. The change for me was radical – and obvious. But as long as you have beliefs, you will have doubts. The very presence of doubt points to a belief. Peter wrote a definition of ‘doubt’ and of ‘intent’ in his glossary.
Only facts can make you confident and certain, they are evidenced by the physical senses, they are actual. Actual Freedom is to replace beliefs by the actual experience of the physical senses and common sense.
Most part of my investigation has been to find where I believed – once I could see a belief as a belief, it was already dissolving. But most beliefs are disguised as truths, so-called facts, gut-feelings, intuition and trust. One has to remove that blanket first to discover underneath that it is just a belief.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh?
RESPONDENT: I feel gratitude towards Osho, not just because he instigated doubt in me, but also for the way I think now about life, universe, God, myself. Not that I just follow what he says about these things, but his words helped me a lot to make my own mind about these issues. I don’t agree with many of the things he said. I could not understand his life style. But still what I learnt (learning is not following) from him is enough for me to feel gratitude towards him. However now after having some e-mail discussions with Richard, I am reviewing the feeling of gratitude per se.
VINEETO: Gratitude and loyalty were the two strongest ties I had to Sannyas. I had to literally take apart my beliefs in love, loyalty and gratitude before I could even begin to question what other authority issues I had had with Rajneesh. Only after dismantling all those feelings and eliminating them in me, was I able to investigate the content of what he was saying – which then became increasingly obvious as being 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. Whenever morals or feelings are operating within us, we cannot examine the issue with common sense. The only way common sense works is as bare awareness – bare from feelings such as gratitude, loyalty, love, aversion, etc.
VINEETO: What you are describing sounds like more than just intellectual understanding and more than the method of ‘positive thinking’ that [ Respondent No 1, List C] was proposing. You say you are using ‘common sense’ and ‘not repression’. And you say, anger about that issue does not come back? Not even in the long run? It does not hang around, maybe as being peeved or annoyed? Or an expectation for a reward, a righteousness, a better-than-you-feeling?
RESPONDENT: Yes, I also think that it is more than intellectual understanding. Till I find a more appropriate word for it, I would prefer to use ‘common sense’. It is not positive thinking and it is not in expectation of reward. But I guess this common sense is the result of good old Vipassana. The difference after getting introduced to actual freedom is that now I know that ‘I’ am not different from anger, whereas in Vipassana I am the witness watching the anger passing away.
VINEETO: I don’t see how it can be ‘the result of good old Vipassana’, where you were ‘the witness watching the anger passing away’, if you say that at the same time you ‘know that [’you’ are] not different from anger’. Either you know that ‘you’ are the anger, that ‘you’ are the emotion, which is not what is taught in Vipassana – or you practice Vipassana and merely witness the anger passing away until it arises next time. But that does not eliminate the emotion, as ‘you’ remain intact, and at the most ‘you’ only transcends it.
To really grasp the fact that ‘you’ are emotions and emotions are ‘you’ results in you being willing and eager to investigate into the deeper layers of ‘you’ to eliminate the very cause of anger arising in the first place. To really face the fact that ‘you’, and only ‘you’, are the cause and reason of anger arising – as well as all the other emotions – is the first and essential step to do something about this emotion rather than merely witness it. The acknowledgment of the fact that the Human Condition in you is preventing you from being happy and harmless creates the burning intent and necessary guts to investigate further into the very substance of who you think you are and who you feel you are. That’s when common sense starts to come to fruition.
RESPONDENT: This topic of actualism versus spiritualism is becoming more and more important for me. I remember, in the very beginning you warned me that unless I understand this difference, it will be useless to proceed. At that time I brushed aside your advice, thinking that it was not important as long as I experiment with the method. Now, I realise that it is important to settle this issue before any other thing.
To be honest, I consider, actualism as another spiritual path which
Of course, there are certain differences that it doesn’t believe in re-incarnation and maintain that the death of the body is the final end.
But then there are always differences of approaches among different paths. Being brought up in a liberal Hindu culture, I deeply believe that all paths are right and all lead to the same goal.
I think it is important to be honest, so that I can start from where I am.
VINEETO: Yes, I think ‘it is important to be honest’ and to ‘start from where you are’ and then move on. It looks like all you have done up to now is substituting a few words from actualism into your spiritual language, and you have listed them very honestly and clearly:
And a ‘liberal Hindu culture’ is the perfect fertile climate to simply integrate another ‘Guru’s teaching’ into the ‘vegetable soup’ of Hindu Pantheism. If you are happy with the ‘liberal Hindu culture’, and you want to spend your life ‘deeply believing that all paths are right and lead to the same goal’, then there is no reason why you should question your concept of spiritualizing everything and everybody.
There is a Christian saying that ‘all paths lead to Rome’ and if you want to go to Rome, then that is great advice. All spiritual beliefs may lead to ‘Truth’, but there is only one way to experience the actual world – through the physical senses without an obstructing self, Self or Being. If you want to experience the actuality of life, the delight of the unfiltered senses and the perfection of the actual world, then simply substituting a few terms is nothing other than cheating yourself.
I suggest you read what No 8 wrote on ‘beliefs and facts’; the difference between belief and fact is worth an extensive study for a ‘deep believer’.
As for your 5 points –
But these are only a few point of the 180 degree difference between the actual world of the senses and the spiritual world of beliefs and passionate imaginations. Why not, for a change, look for the differences rather than the believed similarities, otherwise you will never get out of the sticky Pantheistic viewpoint ‘that all paths are right and all lead to the same goal.’
RESPONDENT: Anyway I am still on this topic ‘Spiritualism vs actualism’. You mentioned that I don’t differentiate between Ego and Soul. This is very true. With my experience, I really can’t differentiate the two. When I look at myself I see only one identity. What I understand from both spiritualism and actualism is that this identity has to die.
VINEETO: You say, you understand that both, ego and soul, have to die. Great. Now, what is this soul?
The easiest way to understand ‘soul’ for me was to see it as the sum of my emotions, feelings, beliefs and passions. Love is ‘me’, affection is ‘me’, sadness is ‘me’, anger is ‘me’, being annoyed is ‘me’, being grateful is ‘me’, being hopeful is ‘me’, being frustrated is ‘me’, being impatient is ‘me’, being fearful is ‘me’ – you can add anything you like to this list. All ‘I’ am is my feelings, all ‘I’ am is my beliefs and all ‘I’ am is my instincts. ‘I’ consist of nothing else.
Although ‘I’ am not actual, as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical, material, ‘I’ am real, ‘I’ am my feelings and the actions that result from having these feelings are real. To imagine otherwise is but a cunning trick and an act of blatant denial. ‘I’ am not merely an illusion that can be ‘realised’ away as in the spiritual teachings. As such, the death of ‘me’ will also be a real event. ‘I’ in ‘my’ totality, who is but a passionate illusion, must die a dramatic illusory death commensurate to ‘my’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it.
This fact of what ‘I’ consist of has to be discovered, acknowledged, investigated and experienced, over and over again. Only then is one willing to ‘get down and get dirty’, willing to experience and examine one’s feelings – not merely ‘observe’ them – and investigate into the hidden beliefs and instinctual passions that cause those feelings. By neither repressing nor expressing but by meticulously exploring each feeling I was then able to determine the underlying cause – be it a hurt pride, a bit of my social identity, a fear linked to my survival mechanism, a cherished belief disguised as ‘truth’ – there was always an issue beneath the initial emotion. And each of these feelings and emotions is ‘me’, my identity, my ‘self’, my ‘soul’. ‘I’ consist of nothing else but a great collection of passionate imaginations.(...)
RESPONDENT: My logical thinking is that if I understood (intellectually) this thing before reading about actualism – it must be because of spiritualism, because that is what I was exposed to till that time. There could be one more reason, however. As Richard suggested, I looked into my Hindu belief of ‘all paths lead to the same goal’. It could be because of this belief, when I read about actualism, subconsciously, I kept on correcting my previous understandings and made myself to believe that, that is what I understood so far also. I am looking into it but some of the events/understandings I can clearly recollect happening much before.
VINEETO: There is a much more simple explanation. Since actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritual beliefs, you probably have not yet discovered what ‘actual’ is – facts existing independent from one’s ideas, feelings, interpretations and hopes. It is a great moment when one for the first time discovers a bit of the actual world. I can highly recommend concentrating on investigation of facts. One of the keywords is ‘independent’ from my own interpretation, feeling about it, imagining about it, philosophising about it. Just the simple fact of a coffee-cup being a coffee-cup, a tree being a tree – not some life-producing oxygen-machine or item of beauty – simply a tree, trunk and branches, birds and insects, smells and leaves rustling in the wind. It’s good to start with something so simple as an everyday object and investigate how many ideas and feelings we are weaving around those objects. It’s good fun and it will give you some experience about plain facts.
RESPONDENT: Here are some questions that I have:
VINEETO: The main question, that works for all of the Human Condition is ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ We composed a whole page, called ‘How to Become Free of the Human Condition’ on the topic with many links of writing and correspondence of how to apply this ongoing question in your daily life.
I started with the understanding that it is only me who I can change, and that very understanding applies to everybody I meet, live with, work with and to the world at large. So, if anything in the day evoked an emotional reaction, I would start digging around and look for the cause in me, what belief, feeling and instinctual passion caused me to feel annoyed, fearful, angry, righteous, insecure, disgusted, loving, elusive, tired, etc.
The first beliefs that I had to investigate were about male and female conditioning, my female identity, the belief in the ‘right to be emotional’, the ‘truth’ of intuition etc. Along with gender-issues came the problem of believing or fighting a supposed authority, which had been an emotionally charged topic since my early years.
Usually under every emotional reaction I would find a firmly held belief in some ‘truth’ which I then, in due course, questioned and replaced with actual facts, investigated through reading, contemplating or talking with Peter and Richard, instead of simply taking on what others had told me to believe. It can sometimes be a fascinating and sometimes be a frightening adventure, after all, it is your very identity that you are taking apart, who you believe and feel yourself to be.
When one belief was seen in its complexity with all its implications on various areas in my life, when I understood it to be merely a passionate thought and not factual, this belief disappeared. It’s like the fairy story of Sinterclaas (or Father Christmas) – once you know that he is only the neighbour with a false beard, the whole myth falls to pieces and you are never able to believe it again. But each belief has to be investigated on its own ... there is not a mathematical magic formula that deletes them all at once. Eventually you see through the whole lot – and what a relief and liberation that is! (...)
VINEETO: The so-called insights of the spiritual and psychic world are nothing but passionate fantasies, picked up intuitively from Ancient Wisdom (Akashic Records). Once someone has removed himself from the real world through meditation and other spiritual practice, imagination can run riot. So, you can consider yourself lucky not to have had those spiritual insights. You must be a reasonably practical and down-to-earth person despite your years of spiritual search.
The insights that happen when one starts investigating into the Human Condition are another matter, and they usually don’t come spontaneously. They are the result of sincere and persistent inquiry into the facts of a particular situation until those facts become blindingly obvious. Take the belief in God or Existence or whatever other name He goes by. Every single fact points to that God does not exist in actuality as verifiable by the senses, and that ‘He’ is but a mere collectively produced projection of a fearful humanity. Take away the fear and it becomes so obvious – you would not even call it an insight, it is simply an acknowledgment of the case. But in order to see it so clearly, it takes a persistent digging into one’s beliefs – and fears – to dare to undertake an investigation that people regard as blasphemous and iconoclastic. The main tricks are not to let anything stop you from finding out the facts, and never to settle for second best. (...)
VINEETO: For me, the only method is to move from speculation to facts, from beliefs to facts, from emotional reaction to considering the silly and the sensible options. What is keeping me from being happy and harmless now, here, in this very moment of being alive? If I am not happy, there is always an observation to be done.
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in.
VINEETO: In my experience it is one thing to understand intellectually the personal facts and global consequences of believing in god and religion, and it is another step to actualize this understanding in my life. It is already a daring step to question the sensible-ness of all the religions, of the (imaginary) existence of God and the oh so holy belief in a ‘higher entity’ running the show and rewarding or punishing us for good or bad deeds. It is vital to gather your own information – facts and figures, so to speak – in order to make it blindingly obvious how much harm this belief in an absolute authority and an eternal soul has caused throughout human history. Once you have enough information for a ‘prima facie case’ then you can proceed with investigating what it is that still makes you want to believe in a Messiah, a Guru, Ancient Wisdom or Ancient Ethics.
In my own experience, a mere intellectual understanding was only the beginning of my investigation and it proved insufficient to get rid of guilt, fear, insecurity, taboos or the psychological need to rely on an ultimate authority. To eliminate the belief itself, in my case the belief in the superiority of an enlightened master, I had to dig deep into my psyche, examine the admiration, love and need to belong, investigate the source of the emotions and find the underlying passionate conviction. A great part of this conviction was made up of cultural conditioning (Christianity and Western ethics) as well as later acquired beliefs, such as the bundle of Eastern mystical beliefs. In questioning the validity and sensibility of all these morals and rules, beliefs and superstitions, I discovered an even deeper layer – my need to belong to a group, a religion, a tribe. I discovered the need to have a personal idol who I admired, worshipped, sought advice from (in books, Osho’s discourses or imagined conversations), who gave me reassurance and a feeling of ‘doing the right thing’. I knew ‘somehow’ that all this didn’t work very well – it produced neither personal happiness nor peace at large – but I was too scared not to have the guidance from those ‘authority’ figures.
ALAN: No, I did not mean ‘I know the truth’ by ‘knowing’. I meant a ‘getting it’ – an experiential (as opposed to intellectual) understanding that this is correct, obviously so, factually evident, blindingly obvious. I think this is the same as Peter was talking about with ‘serendipitous discoveries’ – one does not seek the discovery. There is just a sudden ‘click’, an ‘of course, how interesting and obvious’.
VINEETO: There was a time when I would miss not having those blindingly obvious ‘getting its’ and stunning insights, which were so diametrically opposite to everything else I had believed at the time – and I would measure the ‘truth’ of the insight according to the degree of surprise, newness and stunning-ness of my first startling insights. Then I noticed that the more my life got easier, less emotional and more perfect each day, that and similarly the peak experiences themselves became something almost ordinary, utterly simple, adding a tinge more clarity and intensity to the experience of the tangible actual-ness of every day life. The extreme experiences were disappearing out of my life, and at first that left me with an uncertainty as to not knowing if I had gone back to being normal.
But then I only had to compare my life with how I had been before, with the problems I observe in other people around me or with what is presented on TV, to know that I have actually and clearly improved my quality of life to such a degree that I forget what ‘normal’ looks or feels like. In interaction with others I forget that they could get offended, insulted, or be self-condemning for little mistakes, and only by their behaviour I deduct that an emotion must be surfacing in them – then a faint memory comes back to how it has been for myself not so long ago.
Now, as I see it, putting a retrospective story together of what the brain was doing with all this wiring, programming and reprogramming, is not a matter of sudden insight like the spiritual insights, where one taps into the collective ‘Knowledge’ (read imagination). Further, making sense in hindsight is not a matter of replacing a belief one has cherished before and acknowledging an obvious fact for the first time – for instance, seeing that this universe is infinite and that there is physically no ‘outside’ for a god to sit, pulling the strings. Putting together a story in hindsight of how the human brain functions is collecting the data that are available about scientific research – which is not much as far as actual facts are concerned – and comparing them to one’s own experience of how the process has been. It leaves room for speculation and for more accurate adjustments when more data are collected, both by us actualists and by practical scientists. It is a continuous collection of and an investigation into facts rather than a blindingly obvious insight replacing a former belief. Those insights are more an insight into the falseness of a belief or ‘truth’, a disappearance of a dearly held conviction, be they religious, spiritual or pseudo-scientific. Like your report when you said that you ‘got it’ that there is no life after death, 100% sure.
Does that make sense to you?
In a PCE I can see the world as it is, people as they are, my emotions and beliefs and my ‘self’ for what it is – a passionate illusion – and thus I can easily discriminate facts from ‘truths’, beliefs, convictions, instincts and fears. I will only know what I have investigated so far, there is no magical all-knowing or all-understanding, no god-like wisdom. But because during a PCE the brain has no ‘sand’ ie emotions, beliefs and instincts in the system, it can function smoothly and I can see the facts for what they are. Old synapses have been severed, so the neurons can engage in free-flowing brainstorming. Mark described this kind of brainstorming really well in his last two letters.
VINEETO to No 5: First I would like to respond to something you wrote to Peter because I found it very informative and fascinating.
You said to Peter:
And in the next post:
I find it valuable information to get feedback as to what you make of our writing, and I am fascinated to read that you find it shocking. I can hardly remember how it has been for me in the beginning with Actual Freedom, but looking back I can confirm that what I encountered was indeed very shocking on many occasions. Every single statement of fact by Richard had at first been a shockwave to the very ground I believed I was standing on, they questioned my emotions and beliefs that formed my reality. Yet here was a man who confidently and happily stated and proved by living actual freedom all the time that all 6 billion people, including me at the time, has got it 180 degrees wrong!
Often people have such a thick skin that they turn away or duck before it even shocks them or could stop them in their tracks! So, I consider it intriguing to hear that you are shocked. Not that I would want to shock, but the challenging of beliefs by stating the facts of the situation is unavoidably shocking. It reminds me of someone living on a melting iceberg, where every piece breaking away is another shockwave.
That brings me to the second part of your comment – of course, one does not like such a situation. The trick for me was to move on from the emotional barrier of ‘disliking’ to being curious to find out the facts, then to fascination, exploration, discovery, thrill and obsession. I decided to replace ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ with ‘oh, isn’t that interesting’ and move from there into the deeper investigation of my psyche. I wanted to find out the root cause of my objection and work on removing that very cause. And that’s what I have been doing ever since.
And instead of ‘keep quiet about’ what you ‘have no proof ... is wrong’, why not investigate the facts for yourself, read and distinguish, judge by silly and sensible, judge by what works and produces results, instead of settling for an intuitive, emotional, moral or spiritual like or dislike. That will relieve you from having to believe what Peter, Richard and I say about life, the gurus, the universe and the world we live in but your own investigation may give you the confidence you need to instigate action.
Some two years ago I said to Peter: ‘If it is really the case that Rajneesh had got it all wrong and I have believed the wrong man, then I don’t want to throw him out just to take on another belief, another guru. I will only give up my favourite conviction if there is something that is more convincing than belief.’ At the time I decided to go slow on questioning my spiritual belief but went full steam in investigating issues like male-female conditioning, the cause of power battles, my need for and conflict with authority and my belief in love. These issues were plenty to rock the boat, to send me into a whirlwind of confusion, anxiety, fascination and exciting discoveries. I found that I gained confidence by discovering facts for myself instead of believing the pre-chewed wisdom of others. I enjoyed questioning my own gullibility, however embarrassing the discovery sometimes was.
To break the insidious and generally accepted fashionable habit of complaints, power battles and attempts to fix my problem by changing the other person I needed a burning discontent with my present situation, a dash of naiveté, a good handful of intent and a fierce determination to not continue in my old habitual way.
RESPONDENT: They have a peculiar way of expressing experiences which I can share and recognize. What I wonder about, is what they call fact. And I must ask you, Peter, what is a fact, when that which is a fact to you is not a fact to me?
VINEETO: From this different view of understanding the fact of death without an after-life, I can see facts as naked as they are, without the embellishing veil of love, compassion, hope, right and wrong, soul and inner world. I had taken all those feelings for facts before I met Richard, but after closer and honest investigation they could not stand the scrutiny of my discrimination. I had had strong experiences or ‘realisations’ about truth, love, hope etc. and that had made it all the easier to believe them as real – I don’t deny that those experiences are real. But they are not actual, which means, you cannot see, touch, hear, smell or taste them. They exist in the head and only in the head (or are felt in the heart) and they are a bit different for everybody. A Christian sees Jesus in a vision, a Sannyasins may hear Osho talk ‘truth’ in their minds.
Facts are material facts, physical facts, sensual facts, scientifically proven facts (in opposition to a scientific theory like a black hole), what has really happened or is the case, as the Oxford dictionary says.
The so-called facts of the ‘real world’ are mere beliefs. That millions of people believe them does not make them facts. And belief can have amazing results. I have had wonderful spiritual experiences and psychic understandings. But in comparison with the peak-experiences of the actual world it is evident and obvious that they are mere passionate imaginations.
RESPONDENT: My insight into his messages is rather blunt. But I like it. I say all that he said boils down to two messages. One is ... everything that you believe is bullshit ...
VINEETO: Could it be that, for your convenience, you call ‘belief’ what you have thrown out, and label as ‘truth’, what you want to keep? If the very act of believing is ‘bullshit’, why do you believe in trust, in God, in surrender? As you say on your web-site:
– and to No 14 and to No 4 you said:
It simply requires no trust to be here in the actual world as this flesh and blood body.
In my ruthless and relentless investigations of what are my beliefs and what are facts, I found an amazing guideline: Everything that needs ‘my’ doing in any form, thinking, believing, feeling, intuiting, channelling etc. is not actual. Whatever is actual can be questioned and examined till the cows come home, it will stay actual and factual. You can doubt the existence of a tree, it will still be there as a growing plant with a trunk and branches and leaves. But if you question the soul, you’ll end up with nothing substantial. Applying this guideline to all my dearly held beliefs has been at times quite devastating – but now I can be certain and confident for the first time about the facts that I had uncovered under the layer of passionate beliefs. Anything that requires belief or feeling such as ‘trust’, ‘surrender’ or ‘hope’ is not actual – it is obvious and devastatingly simple.
Trust is believing or hoping that something exists (i.e. that Existence cares for us, that the Master knows what he is doing or talking about, that God is looking after His children). Confidence, on the other hand, is knowing the facts as evidenced by the physical senses.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.