Please note that Vineeto’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Vineeto’ while ‘she’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom.

Selected Correspondence Vineeto


ALAN: Weird stuff has been going on this evening and I know none of it is real. Or rather it is real, very real, but only something ‘I’ am creating. From heart palpitations, pressure in the head (like it is about to explode), shivering, melancholy, floating sensations, light headedness – and underlying it all a nothingness, sense of meaningless, a vast doubt (knowledge?) that it is all just me making it up. Is this just ‘me’ trying to pretend there is a process going on or is there a process going on? Or is there a process going on and ‘I’ pretend to know there is a process going on, in an attempt to cover up the process going on.

VINEETO: It is interesting you should just now describe this experience! It reminds me of a weird and fascinating experience I had just two nights ago. I had had a light smoke, when I suddenly started to feel nauseous and very dizzy in the head. The physical symptoms came along with an acute fear to throw up, to black out, in short, to lose control over my body and my life.

While Peter kept inquiring if there maybe was also some fear involved, not just a physical reaction, I was desperately trying to obtain control over my body. At the same time I was, of course, suspicious that it was all a play up of the ‘self’ trying to survive, but didn’t know how to deal with it.

When I finally laid down on the floor and ‘surrendered’ to the option of being unconscious and was actually getting interested and thrilled by the possibility of observing the experience, it very quickly disappeared like a ghost. It left me astounded about the power of ‘reality’, the vividness of the experience that fear created with all the ingredients of a ‘serious’ disease, becoming unconscious.

Only by accepting it as an adventure and at the same time doubting its actuality it lost its power over me, leaving me battered but proud like after a victorious, well-fought battle. The next night it happened again but was all much less dramatic, the temptation was there to delve into the fear, the physical symptoms were ready to emerge again, but this time I didn’t believe in the actual danger and it quickly went.


VINEETO to Alan: A word about stuckness: the emotion that usually kept me from looking at the issue was mainly fear, sometimes disguised as confusion, mental laziness or simply avoidance. But after a few days, or a few hours, I would simply see the silliness of avoiding the issue and thus wasting my time by not being ‘here’ and then start off the examination. It often would go like this: OK, damn, what is it this time? What has happened just before I turned numb, or grumpy or zombie? Ah, that person said something. No, can’t be it, I’m over with this. Oh, well, maybe still a little trace? Wow, big fear now. What belief made me react? Where is the hook? And then, like a dog, I would pick up the scent and follow the trail until I had the bugger by the throat. The first resistance was the most difficult to overcome – once I had started to investigate, thrill would keep me going, and curiosity, of course.

Sometimes I would find a childhood issue, like in my early mail with Konrad, some attachment to a cozy feeling or simply the instinctual fear of stepping outside of all of humanity’s concepts and beliefs. The wish to get out of the emotion (fear or whatever) into ‘here’ before I had checked it out thoroughly and understood it in its complexity was often a hindrance and would only prolong the process. One can’t go in two directions at the same time. Once I reached the bottom of the ‘pit’ and saw what the particular issue consisted of, being here was the natural by-product.

Yes, being here is the simplest thing to do – once I am here; but cleaning oneself up entirely so as to not to be pulled back by anything is also the most courageous thing to do. When an emotion gets you into its grip it is quite a bit of work to find out all its implications, and rarely someone dares to do it. Like, when you thoroughly investigated sorrow...


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?

ALAN: Vineeto, I am interested to hear more of what you call ‘no feeling’ in your mail to No 4. Is this the same as ‘stuckness’ or something different?

VINEETO: With ‘no feeling’ I mean a kind of neutral-dull, non-responsive outlook on life. It may start with having ‘no feeling’ but then I quickly get bored with it not being quite alive and annoyed about wasting my time. It is usually fear in its first stage when I try to push it away. Digging deeper I usually find feeling, emotion, fear and holding on to dear ‘self’.

It is very different to ‘no feelings and emotions’ where there is simply the delight to be alive.

Does that make sense to you?


VINEETO: I think it would be a great idea to write down a longer description of those outstanding events on the path to freedom. <...>

ALAN: OK, here is last night’s instalment. I went back to work in the office I was in 5 years ago. My office no longer existed and although many of the people were the same none of them recognised me and I wandered around feeling very lost and scared and lonely. This dream followed on from my further enquiries yesterday into the ‘waiting’ I previously mentioned. Behind the ‘waiting’ I discovered the fear of leaving the herd, which we have also been discussing. So, the broom is out for another rooting about in the dark corners.

VINEETO: I sometimes suspect that my fear of leaving the herd is actually the fear of having left the herd!

Whatever tool or means, it’s good to find the reason underneath ‘not feeling good’.

Leaving the herd has been an ongoing theme for me. It started with leaving the woman’s camp, leaving the Sannyas fold, the work place and closest friends there, leaving the group of seekers, friends and well-known ways of relating. Now, when writing to the Sannyas list, whiffs of fear sweep through, sometimes for minutes, sometimes longer – it becomes so very clear that I am not only leaving one particular religious group, I am leaving the whole of the psychic world behind. By ‘psychic world,’ I mean the ability to ‘feel’ where the other is at, to intuit his or her position, to understand them psychically and psychologically. It is like speaking a different language – the language of emotions vs. the language of common sense and facts. Very often there is no communication possible. But, as I told you before, whenever I go back into the psychic world of feelings and emotions, I only get confused, and then I can’t communicate clearly at all. It is an old rut, a habit that I am determined to eradicate along with its accompanying fear.


VINEETO to Alan: Yesterday we again saw Monty Python’s ‘The Search for the Holy Grail’, and one scene particularly struck me for its aptness –

King Arthur and his knights encounter the monster with the thousand teeth in the cave and are pursued by it, back and forth, on the screen. The chase is played out in a simple cartoon. There seems to be no way out for the knights, they surely will be devoured any minute, when suddenly the animator, who was busy painting the monster, dies from a heart attack. The monster duly disappears and the knights find themselves, alive and well, in 20th century English countryside – here.

I had a good laugh, because that’s what I find myself doing – sometimes there is this ‘monster’ of fear chasing me until I find the cartoonist (‘me’) and the show is over!


VINEETO: For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...

ALAN: Can you expand on ‘instinctually driven’. Do you mean that having experienced what is possible, there ain’t no other high – where do the ‘instincts’ come in?

VINEETO: With pleasure. I have spent wonderful hours on the balcony the other night, watching the sky and listening to the different sounds of the night while contemplating about all the different instincts that I have encountered and learnt to understand on the path to freedom. So this is what I have come up with:

Fear – We all know it at nauseam; it includes trickery, cunningness, numbness, confusion, escape, denial, excuses, guilt and beliefs in all kinds of good (helpful) and bad (harming) spirits. And, of course, there are panic, terror and good old dread and the escape into enlightenment. But fear is also the doorway to courage, thrill and excitement to reach closer and closer to one’s destiny.

Aggression – Besides physical attack, aggression has many more subtle nuances: blaming, resentment, verbal abuse, nagging, boredom, being the victim, arrogance, clever-clever, competition, self-destruction and depression. I made use of this instinct for becoming free as a bloody-mindedness, persistence, not to ‘let the buggers get me down’, smugness and refusal to run with the crowd.

Nurture – It took me a while to wade through the ‘good’ feelings and emotions down to the basic instinct of nurture instilled to preserve the species. All the romantic movies thrive on nurture to tug at one’s heart strings, both with the heroic man and the loving but helpless woman. The willingness to kill and die for love for country, justice and religion is continuously adding to the 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone. Further you find this instincts thriving on all kinds of NDA beliefs and action by attempting to ‘save endangered species’, ‘care for Mother Nature’. When leaving the fold of humanity, I found that I am moving away from this instinct of nurture – the collective belief in the ‘good’.

It is useful for freedom as the sincere intent to have peace-on-earth not only for me but for humanity as well and to sacrifice my ‘self’ for that goal.

Desire – With desire we collect things and strive for power and improvement for ‘survival’ – ceaselessly and endlessly on the go. In the spiritual world this desire is turned into the search for enlightenment, the ticket to immortality and power in the ‘other-world’.

Now I come to the point that I was making: ‘For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...’ I experienced it as the instinct of desire that has driven me to search for freedom, to clean myself up, to be the best ‘I’ can be.

ALAN to Peter: I understand completely the ‘deciding to do something was the end of the deciding phase and all its thinking and feeling and the start of the doing of it’ . This is what, I think, I have done over the last couple of days. One cannot be absolutely certain, as this is unknown territory we are exploring, but there is a different ‘flavour’ to the experience. It is as though all the preparatory work has been done – the elimination of the beliefs and feelings – and now one is getting down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ – the actual doing of it.

Peter: It was as though I was in great physical danger – which I was not at all. It was the kind of fear that overwhelms one in a life-threatening situation. It was not induced by ‘me’ thinking or feeling about death – quite the contrary. I remember thinking – ‘This is the fear when it comes and its here now.’ Peter to Alan, 3.6.1999

This is what I went through today. I have been contemplating on ‘‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’’ with quite incredible results. I experienced fear not as an emotion but, as stark fear simply as an experience – without being frightening, somehow. The only physical sensation, other than what was going on in the head, was incredible heart palpitations (and this is where I suspect the experience takes on a ‘personal’ flavour). At one stage I was convinced I was about to physically die – but when the palpitations ceased (on doing something physical) and started again when contemplating what was occurring, the ‘game was up’ and the symptoms have not re-appeared.

... My experience today was not, similar to yours, brought about by any thoughts or emotions about dying – no heroism, no imagination, as you say – completely ‘uninvited’ and a, matter-of-fact, sense of ‘ahh!, the moment has come – ‘I’ am about to expire’.

VINEETO: I can easily relate when you and Peter say that ‘the doing of it’ has started. There is a clear determination that has an altogether different quality to the previous phase of imagining death and then finding out what thoughts and emotions happen out of it. Now, there is more a sense of standing in the frontline, so to speak, and the command ‘jump’ can happen any moment. When it became obvious to me that death had stopped being an imagination which I could turn on and off at will, I was flooded with all kinds of physical symptoms of the instinctual fear of death. And it has been and still is fascinating to explore them with as much common sense as I am capable of.

Two weeks ago, when this bare instinct of survival arose for the first time in its full gamut, I was feeling sick and throwing up, with the stomach like a stone, numbing cramps in the heart area and dizzy in the head. When those physical symptoms reappeared the next day, I wondered where I was going wrong. It seemed an odd and arduous way to end ‘me’ – and I started to look for a way to be happy and healthy while continuing the ending of ‘me’. The question for me was, where did ‘I’ add to the drama, where did ‘I’ interfere or exaggerate? It became obvious that the primitive self, this silly, ancient survival mechanism, is pumping chemicals into every organ, and is actually jeopardizing and endangering my physical well-being – quite the opposite of what it was designed to do in the first place.

A week later I had another strong fear-attack, which I observed fascinated and rather unemotionally. My whole upper torso became numb, blood drained out of my head, heart, chest and arms. There wasn’t enough blood in the brain, so my vision had blind stripes, very curious. It took me a minute to figure out what was happening. I went along with it at first, thrilled and fascinated by the prospect of watching myself, my body, die, but a short while later common sense started to set in. If this was the beginning of a physical heart-attack then this was the wrong way, a ‘dead-end’, as Peter just said. Upon this understanding, the symptoms slowly subsided.

Trying to understand those experiences in hindsight, I would say that on both occasions I had a certain pushy-ness, an almost violent attitude to progress at all costs, no matter what will happen, ‘I’ want freedom now and ‘I’ want to make it happen. I can see that this urging only increased the fear, making the obstacle bigger than before. I understood that the ending of ‘me’ has to be 100% voluntary, ‘I’ have to agree boots and all, and doubt or hesitancy cannot just be brushed over. So I took another look around for my possible objections.

  1. Fear number one had been: what, if I get accidentally enlightened? For that exploration I went into this grand fuzzy feeling, observed how it expands in the chest, how it swamps the brain with waves of love and bliss until one loses all common sense and is convinced that one is one with it all. When I didn’t fall for the seductive power of this feeling the rush of glory subsided and plunged me into instinctual fear. But that experience to remain ‘unseduced’ was enough to give me the confidence that I won’t be struck by, or stuck in, enlightenment, whatever happens.
  2. Fear number two was: will I be able to physically survive? Well, I knew that Richard did, and he had described some quite dramatic experiences in his time before enlightenment. But I also had my own peak-experiences which convinced me that I am very capable of surviving without the ‘support’ of the primitive survival mechanism – on the contrary! As I had described before, when the physical symptoms of the adrenaline rush were developing towards what felt like a heart-attack, my commonsense decided that this was silly, and I could easily decide not to follow that drama any further.


VINEETO: The exploration of fear had seemed the direction to go on the way to an actual freedom – up to a certain point. Fear was usually the indicator that there was something essential to discover, to explore or to eliminate. And often I have come out the other side of fear with a realization, a wider view and seen through a certain belief. Fear has been a guide and an ally – as Mark calls it – and hanging in there by neither repressing nor expressing it, the fear has usually lead to more understanding and a freedom from a particular aspect of ‘me’.

At a later stage, by the sheer appliance of common sense, the feelings of fear were exhausted, and the reasons for being fearful became more and more ridiculous. That was when ‘fear, the bare instinct’ came to the surface, giving me the opportunity to explore this raw instinctual passion that I am born with, exactly like every other human being on this planet. Tackling this bare instinct in me meant at the same time tackling the issue of leaving ‘humanity’ – ‘being a traitor’ , as you put it. During this time I was checking out again whether there really is no solution to the Human Condition within the Human Condition. Sometimes I did consider myself going seriously mad and sometimes I was aghast by the amount of destructive madness that I observed in the way human beings treat each other. Eventually I gathered enough evidence to be completely convinced that there was no other solution but to step outside of Humanity altogether, to abandon my ‘humanity’, my instincts, my ‘self’.

Tackling the survival instinct, mainly surfacing as fear, it became blindingly and nauseatingly obvious – both literately and figuratively – that I was generating this instinct by believing in its ‘reality’ and ‘seriousness’. Also, I became aware that in this way I was jeopardizing my physical well-being and happiness. There was ‘me’ experiencing fear and playing out a drama, all the while there was no actual danger to my body, unless ‘I’ produced it. Seeing this, the belief in fear itself is weakened and was left behind – fear is no longer the guide for the ‘right’ direction. Mental anguish sometimes grinds away in the background like my computer during the virus-check, doing what it has to do, but the end of ‘me’ is clearly in sight.

ALAN: I agree on the ‘a seemingly non-feeling dull state’. I am not sure that ‘where feelings are kept under the carpet because they are too scary to acknowledge and explore’ applies to my current ‘stuckness’ – but I may discover differently. It has occurred to me that I may be in what Richard referred to in Article 26 of his journal.

Richard: However, a word of experiential advice: just prior to apperception occurring, ‘I’, the beholder – the one who wants to be in control – can view life as being bereft of depth.

Everything can become flat, two-dimensional, barren and stark. This is not actuality, although one may be inclined to feel it to be so. This is reality, stark reality, and is not to be confused with actuality. Actuality is never, ever, stark. This starkness can influence one to pull back, to retreat into ‘normal’ life. Courage of one’s conviction and confidence in the purity of the actual is essential if one is to proceed. All of one’s ‘being’ wants to back off and regain the once-despised reality that looks so attractive now, from this extreme position. This stark reality is a barrier; it is a desert of monumental proportions that one can only traverse if supplied with the fortitude garnered from the peak experience. Then one is willing to endure the ghastly reality masquerading as the actual. The very ground beneath one’s feet can appear to shift, to disappear, and all seems to hang upon nothing. Unsupported and alone, one is in the outer-most reaches of ‘being’.

The feeling is that one cannot survive this appalling emptiness without going mad. To be in durance vile is not for the faint-hearted, the weak of knee. Nerves of steel are essential if one is to meet one’s destiny. It is the adventure of a life-time. Richard’s Journal, Article 26, There Are Three I’s Together But Only One Is Actual

I am certainly seeing life as flat and two-dimensional. Apart from the ‘fear’ mentioned above and a flash of irritation a few weeks ago, I have felt no emotions for some time. As you said, above, a ‘non-feeling dull state’. I do not even have any longing, or nostalgia, for the feelings to come back. It is a ‘nothingness’. Not even frustration at being ‘stuck’. Nor is there any sense of ‘the feeling is that one cannot survive this appalling emptiness without going mad’, as Richard described it. And it does not mean I am not enjoying life – I am, immensely.

VINEETO: This wide and wondrous path is indeed a fascinating journey with all sorts of landscapes. In our past correspondence, we have talked about ‘ghosts in the cupboard’ and now you say you seem to be in what Richard describes as a desert like place. I remember sometimes I likened the path to wild water rafting or a roller coaster and yet another time to a ‘limbo lake’. I wrote about it nine months ago – maybe it is similar to what you experience –

Limbo: 1 A region supposed in some beliefs to exist on the border of Hell as the abode of the just who died before Christ’s coming and of unbaptized infants. 2 An unfavourable place or condition, likened to limbo; esp. a condition of neglect or oblivion to which people or things are consigned when regarded as superseded, useless, or absurd; an intermediate or indeterminate condition; a state of inaction or inattention pending some future event. Comb.: limbo-lake the abode of spirits or tormented souls. Oxford Dictionary

[Vineeto]: Well, I definitely could relate to that description, I know the ‘place or condition of neglect or oblivion to which people or things are consigned when regarded as superseded, useless, or absurd’ , and I also know well this ‘intermediate or indeterminate condition; a state of inaction or inattention pending some future event’. And some feelings of doubt, lost-ness or insecurity about the right direction are very normal when one is in limbo. Suddenly all made sense again – o.k., if I am in limbo, that must be par for the course. How could I ever think that anything could go wrong? It was a great relief to realize that nowhere can I go wrong or miss the mark – limbo is a place of no direction and no movement. My only responsibility now is to keep my foot off the brakes; all else is proceeding perfectly well.

While contemplating upon where I could possibly stand on the brakes, I noticed a slight shift in my determination. How long am I going to play in this safe ‘sandbox’ called Virtual Freedom, and when will I finally grow up and actually do what I have been thinking and talking about for two years – to be free, irreversibly, without leaving a backdoor open to revert to ‘normal’ or slip back into having an identity should being free become too scary? It was like straightening from a hunched position of playing in the sandbox, leaving the well-known safe area behind and standing upright. Virtual Freedom has become a nursery and it is becoming too small a playground. And it seemed immensely sensible to move on, just like leaving home when I have grown up. When leaving my parent’s home there was no regret, not much fear but an immense excitement to explore the big wide world. Now the situation seems similar. Just the next sensible thing to do. Just doing it. Stop imagining it, stop desiring it, stop thinking about it, and, for heaven’s sake, stop feeling about it. Just doing it. I don’t mean repressing any upcoming thoughts or feelings, but to stop feeding the ‘engine’, whenever I have a choice. Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, Alan, 3.9.1999

It is always the doing of being alive that leads me to the next understanding, the next discovery of what prevents my freedom. (...)


ALAN: And all the while the pervading doubt, the questions – why am I doing this? what is the point? what am I doing wrong? And underlying the doubt was fear – fear of the unknown. Then the realization of the enormity of the task I am undertaking – the actual elimination of my ‘self’. Sure, I have written these words, or similar, many times but I suddenly ‘got’ that this was what I was engaged n – there would be no more Alan in any shape or form, other than a collection of memories of the life and experiences of this body known as Alan. But Alan, the person will no longer exist.

VINEETO: It is strange, I remember similar fears and thoughts, but now, looking back, I can hardly relate to the Vineeto that had those fears. Afterward a long process of elimination of the social identity, the ‘self’ appears as nothing but a big idea with knots and ties to everyone and everywhere. Unhooking those ties one by one made the ‘self’ so loose and insignificant that now even its disappearance may be gentle compared to the big fears and stories of death a few months ago. But, nothing can be said ‘until the fat lady sang’.

And when you think back, the Alan from a year ago does not exist anymore, the Alan who started the journey has long ago changed into someone else. And yet, it is enormous, it’s the adventure of a life-time that we are engaged in. Wonderful, delightful, thrilling, scary and occupying every minute of my life. I have never been so alive.

ALAN: Perhaps it was reading what you have written on this subject, Vineeto, which triggered this experience. You have written much on your experience of sensing imminent death, but up until now I had no sense of it. And along with this sense of ceasing to exist a constant question and uncertainty has been running of the ‘who am I?’, ‘what is real?’, variety mentioned above. Every thought and action raises the question of who is doing it. At times a wave of ‘meaninglessness’ (that is the best I can describe it) washes over me and the world seems to tremble.

VINEETO: I noticed a certain sequence with fear: first I object: ‘here it comes again, I thought I was over with this one, I don’t want it now, I want to sleep, enjoy, etc...’ Then, becoming more aware and seeing that I don’t get rid of fear in this way anyway, I take on the job and start investigating. And with ‘acceptance’ comes the understanding that fear is actually the door and the fuel to freedom, and by welcoming it I discover the thrill that rides me forth to the delight of coming ‘here’.

I had found the ‘who am I’ question quite confusing and even an obstacle to getting on with my ‘demise’ and freedom; it would entangle me in the different ‘who’s’ that were trying to run the show in my head. In confusion, I rather look for my intent, look for the reason why I am searching for freedom and for the goal that I want to reach.

ALAN: At the same time as experiencing the above, I have been contemplating what Richard wrote on getting out of the ‘zombie state’, which is well worth repeating and has been of immense benefit:

VINEETO: Yes, it is such a wonderful piece of writing, I stick it right back in again. I read it numerous times and it always has its effect.

Richard: ‘To get out of ‘stuckness’ one gets off one’s backside and does whatever one knows best to activate delight. Delight is what is humanly possible, given sufficient pure intent obtained from the felicity/ innocuity born of the pure consciousness experience, and from the position of delight, one can vitalise one’s joie de vivre by the amazement at the fun of it all ... and then one can – with sufficient abandon – become over-joyed and move into marvelling at being here and doing this business called being alive now. Then one is no longer intuitively making sense of life ... the delicious wonder of it all drives any such instinctive meaning away. Such luscious wonder fosters the innate condition of naiveté – the nourishing of which is essential if fascination in it all is to occur – and the charm of life itself easily engages dedication to peace-on-earth. Then, as one gazes intently at the world about by glancing lightly with sensuously caressing eyes, out of the corner of one’s eye comes – sweetly – the magical fairy-tale-like paradise that this verdant earth actually is ... and one is the experiencing of what is happening.

But refrain from possessing it and making it your own ... or else ‘twill vanish as softly as it appeared. Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, Alan

ALAN: As you will have seen from my post to the list it was a fruitful time in the Algarve and heart flutters and pains at the base of the skull have been common for the past couple of weeks. ‘I’ came up with some lovely excuses for not proceeding – ‘you don’t want to be carted off to some foreign hospital – wait till you get home’ and ‘suppose <name deleted> reacts like the last time and you are both stuck in this tiny cottage – wait till you get home’.

VINEETO: I pondered for a few days over my last post to you and think that I may have been a trifle too definitive in my response re your ‘heart flutters and pains’. In fact, there is so little data about physical occurrences from practicing actualists and in what way they may relate to the practice of the method, that so far one has to consider all reports as idiosyncratic to individual actualists. We might not be able to have enough data from enough actualists to be definitive for a long time to come.

The main point of my post was to not get seduced into believing that the physical events per se are ‘the real thing’, whereas I consider the tangible signs of an ever diminishing ‘self’ to be much more potent evidence of success on the path to freedom. And how much my ‘self’ has been diminished can easily be assessed by answering ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and ‘how am I in relation to other people?

I have had some physical symptoms of fear and even terror mounting in the last few days, which were so strong that I even considered visiting a doctor to check out if my brain was all right. Each night the bed seemed to vibrate as if someone was walking on the floorboards, setting off an intense fear. My heart seemed to go faster and yet my pulse rate stayed the same. It took me a while to sort out that there was no intruder ‘walking on the floor boards’ but that all of this was produced within my own head because whenever I got up and switched on the light or had a walk around the house, my feeling of fear ceased. The moment I went back to bed, however, all the physical symptoms and feelings were back again.

Today I read again your early correspondence with Richard and found some interesting comments. Vis:

Richard: If you look carefully at a panic attack you will see that they go nowhere. Nothing happens other than the panic – which can climb to a crescendo – but if one stays doing whatever is the normal thing to do at this time of the day, nothing untoward will occur. I became very adept at handling panic attacks – however unpleasant – by doing nothing about them whatsoever. They were simply a nuisance and did not mean anything intrinsic at all ... though one can hang them on to whatever one wishes to at the time and get into all of a sweat about nothing at all. They eventually pass if left to their own devices ... it pays not to feed them with any fuel whatsoever. Doubt is the biggest enemy to face. It is helpful to remember that doubt is a feeling and not a fact. Bear in mind the quality of your numerous PCEs and just know that if this is what one must go through to be free of the Human Condition ... then so be it. It is all stupid, I know, but so is war and murder and rape and torture and domestic violence and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicide. This is the situation we humans find ourselves in and it is not necessarily a breeze to get out of it. If it were, no doubt many people would have done it before, eh? Richard, General Correspondence, No 4

This piece of writing pleasantly confirmed what I had suspected – fear and panic, however significant it may seem at the time, leads nowhere and has no intrinsic value to my process of becoming free. Equipped with this reassurance I am confident that, whenever these now so familiar panic attacks reoccur, I can learn to not only observe them with interest but also eventually nip them in the bud by not fuelling them or believing they have any significance.

What I got out of these experiences is the encouragement that feelings of doubt did not enter the picture. There was terror and fascination but there was never a thought that I wanted to stop, or turn around, or that I didn’t have enough guts to proceed. Well, I think for that realization the experiences were worth it, but enough is enough. I am ready to have a good night’s sleep again, undisturbed by any fancy panic attacks.

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: As to any further breakthroughs in Actualism from my part, well, I am presently helping people to learn English, in classes of 8 to 37 students, something ‘I’ could and would have never done before. There is quite a big difference if you contrast what I just wrote with:

To use my experience with agoraphobia as an example, when I first started applying actualism I could not go to the supermarket without feeling anxious, nervously sweating… 2.6.2003

I found out that when my ego started to wilt away so did my pride/humility; and thus my fear of being humiliated in public is now virtually gone. That is what I meant some time ago when I claimed to have been subject to what No 54 called ‘Actualist Calenture’ … I inadvertently took up actualism as another shield to protect ‘me’ (the lonely identity) against ‘them’ (everyone/thing but me). Oh what a fool I have been! Silly me…

VINEETO: I enjoyed your post on ‘Actualist Calenture’ (even though the term calenture is misappropriated here) – it really drove the point home that the identity is not only lost and lonely but is also very cunning. But then, it is such good fun to discover my own tricks – far more fun than any detective novel can ever be.

When I think back I also realize how fearful I had been before I began to practice actualism – a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was not harmless in my relating to other people, which inevitably increased my fear that they would hurt me in some way. When I realized that there was no point in waiting for everyone else to become harmless I began to become astutely aware of how often I had wished to hurt others, be it by words, gestures, or actions. And the outcome of being unremittingly aware of my own antagonism is that I now can be considerate of others while not being fearful of what I imagine people think and feel about me.

RESPONDENT: That way, the fear that is the reliance on external authorities, becomes redundant.

VINEETO: I am curious about your expression ‘the fear that is the reliance on external authorities’. I discovered that it is vital to make a distinction between my adverse and/or loyal feelings towards authorities and a reliance on the expertise of my fellow human beings, be it my computer repair man, software experts, my accountant, the doctors I visit, my optometrist, the car mechanic … or Richard who is an expert in how become free from the human condition. Nowadays I have no fears associated with relying on the expertise of others because I have investigated, understood and dissolved my emotional issues around authority.

RESPONDENT: This site has taught me (whether that was the intention or not) that underneath all the confusion and problems, we are essentially safe and that there is really nothing to be scared of apart from our own interpretations.

VINEETO: The main thing that makes life on this lush and magical planet unsafe is the genetically encoded instinctual programming that relentlessly drives human beings to feel aggrieved and to feel sad and the resultant ‘confusion and problems’ are certainly not the result of ‘interpretations’ – be they mine or anybody else’s.

What was in my own hands, however, was the possibility to become virtually free of my own grievances and my own grieving. For instance when I succeeded in abandoning my spiritual beliefs I subsequently lost most of my fears regarding moral and ethical rewards and punishment, and the more I diminished my social and instinctual identity (not my ‘interpretations’ but the beliefs and feelings that made up my identity), the more I am now able to act and behave sensibly and intelligibly and as such safely.

In other words – only ‘I’ feel fear, fear is not an actuality.

RESPONDENT: I wish you all the best

VINEETO: Thank you. The best that ever happened to me was that I came across Richard and decided to learn how to become free from the human condition. Now life is almost always a breeze and a delight.

VINEETO: Most people I met and talked to in my life were more interested in getting rid of fear which is, next to guilt, the other major side-effect of being a ‘being’. However, I found the pursuit of fearlessness an extremely ‘self’-ish and ‘self’-centred affair, given that feeling fearless only benefits and enhances one’s ‘self’ and is not concerned with bringing an end to human malice and sorrow.

In contrast, the pursuit of innocence – the determination to eliminate the root cause of guilt – is intrinsically altruistic in that I recognize that being a ‘being’ inevitably contributes to the misery and mayhem of human beings. And it is this altruistic, ‘self’-less, component of one’s intent that will ensure the success of becoming free from ‘self’.

RESPONDENT: Your discourse on eliminating fear is interesting. It’s a subtle trap to define the absence of one particular emotion in terms of the existence of its polar opposite.

VINEETO: If you are saying that the spiritual path is a subtle trap in that the absence of the emotion of fear is defined or replaced by the emotion of fearlessness, I entirely agree with you. The great attraction of the revered spiritual altered state of consciousness is to become fearless. In this deluded state of aggrandizement, one not only rises above the normal human values and rules but also ‘conquers’ the fear of death by imagining oneself to be immortal and at one with the divine force.

Peter Weir once made a movie called ‘Fearless’ which I thought illustrated the delusion of fearlessness very well. The hero has a near-death experience when the plane he is travelling in crashes. As a result, he becomes fearless and is driven to help other people, in particular survivors of the crash. Yet he is also driven to continuously challenge and prove his own fearlessness by taking higher and higher risks.

Fearlessness is not the absence of fear but is a feeling of victory over fear – one conquers fear by becoming a more powerful ‘self’ – according to one’s religion one either becomes God or have the Almighty on their side against fear and mortality. In contrast, in a PCE there is simply no fear because ‘I’, the sole source of the feeling of fear, is absent.

RESPONDENT: A couple of quick comments on fear – which I have intimate contact with these days. Since taking up AF several months ago I have experienced a steady ratcheting up of the level of fear. I noticed it as a basic background behind my self created defence mechanisms. The defence mechanisms had helped me to ignore, for the most part, the pain of the fear for all these years. I guess I could identify the defence mechanisms as the many stories I told myself to make it seem that ‘I’ was getting what ‘I’ wanted or needed from others, from the world.

VINEETO: When I read your post I was reminded of the occasional bouts of fear I had in my early days as an when my old world started to fall apart. I had investigated Actual Freedom for several months to the point that I was getting some tangible results. At the time I was working in a company owned and run by Rajneesh disciples and was relatively happy in my job as secretary and bookkeeper. However, as I started to investigate my former spiritual beliefs and began to understand that it was absolutely impossible to marry my previous search for enlightenment with the discovery of Actual Freedom, I also became fearful that my colleagues at work and my spiritual friends would expose me as being a traitor and a heretic.

One morning while driving the 25 km or so to work my fear became so overpowering that I began to not only understand what the source of this fear was, but I also understood what practical steps I had to take in order to get back to being happy and harmless again. What became apparent when I thought my situation through was that I was indeed a traitor to a cause, in this case the belief in the teachings of Mohan Rajneesh and the sooner I admitted to the fact the quicker I could stop being afraid of being exposed. By the time I reached the office I knew what to do – I decided that I had to do something about this particular fear once and for all. The most practical solution that came to mind was to precipitate what I feared most – losing my comfortable job within ‘the fold’. Therefore I decided to give notice that I would quit at their earliest convenience.

Although I was fearful about what others could do to me, I was also acutely aware that I had brought on this situation of my own volition – it was my choice to leave the spiritual fold solely because I was not content with what was on offer in the search for enlightenment. None of the sweet dreams of spiritual freedom would ever do for me any more because I knew, after 17 years of hands-on search, that spiritualism never delivers what it perpetually promises. In other words, I made a deliberate and distinctive choice to abandon the past and devote my life to becoming happy and harmless. In this case, the thrill of daring to take appropriate action rendered my previous feeling of fear redundant.

RESPONDENT: When you have something that you can’t seem to conclude because you know your gene programming will make you feel bad if you don’t do it, and it makes you feel ok/good if you do do it, what do you ask yourself to progress beyond this? Let’s take something we can all relate to – wearing clothes in public.

VINEETO: In most societies, there is an etiquette and quite often laws regarding wearing clothes in public that are considered decent in this particular society and if you don’t follow the laws, social rules and etiquette of the country you are living in you will cause trouble for yourself – you will be punished, ostracized or inconvenienced in some way or other. Therefore, wearing clothes in public is simply a matter of common sense.

RESPONDENT: Yes, it is common sense. However, if I did find myself without clothes, would I feel OK about it? How would I go about getting back to feeling good while wearing nothing in public?

VINEETO: I am missing a bit of information here – why would you find yourself without clothes in public in the first place? I vaguely remember having had some nightmares in my teenage years of suddenly being naked in the middle of town but it never happened in real life. Are you talking about a dream you had, a fantasy, a desire or an actual situation you found yourself in at some time?

RESPONDENT: When I do come across something this difficult, after investigating it, is it a matter of ploughing through the bad feelings as you would with a fear that has no basis for its existence, such as a phobia of not being able to touch the bottom of a pool?

VINEETO: Well, I can tell you what I do about dreams for a start. If fear is happening during sleep I make every effort to wake up. I found that it was important to recognize and remember that I couldn’t solve a scary situation while asleep, I had to slip out of it by waking up. This was at first not an easy task and before going to sleep I needed to gather determination and intent that I would make every effort of waking up as soon as possible when the nightmare began. In this way I set an inner alarm clock, so to speak, that created a stir when those particular dreams happened.

At times when I woke up from a bad dream I found it useful to then walk around in the house and have a glass of water in order to break the spell of the dream such that it wouldn’t continue from where I left off, and if the dream returned I woke myself up again.

After I began practicing actualism I was no longer interested in analysing my dreams because most of the time they do not make sense at all. Even if they present themselves in a somewhat coherent story, the situations are so removed from real life that there is nothing to discover as far as my identity is concerned. I simply examined those feelings that prevented me from feeling happy and being benign that I had while fully awake and the issues that I resolved in daytime then stopped bothering me at night.

Your apparently hypothetical fear of ‘wearing nothing in public’ reminds me of the fears I had at the beginning of the process of questioning my social identity because with every bit of ‘me’ that I examined and abandoned ‘I’ felt more and more naked and exposed. In other words, in the process of dismantling ‘who’ I thought and felt I was I had less and less social masks, ready-made appearances and stereotype facades to present to others and to hide behind, I was more and more directly and impromptu experiencing whatever situation I found myself in. While I welcomed this increasing liberation from the straightjacket of my various ‘personas’ I had previously been I was nevertheless sometimes gripped with the fear that people would recognize and expose me for the traitor I had become.

However, whenever I weigh the gains of becoming incrementally free from the burden of societal beliefs, morals and ethics and the grip of my instinctual passions against the occasional bouts of fear my choice is always clear – it is so good to become more and more ‘naked’ such that I am able to sensuously and sensately experience the delight and wonder of being alive.

VINEETO: When you say you must be doing something wrong because you are ‘stuck’, it might also be that you did something ‘right’ and then hit a major issue which might generate fear.

RESPONDENT: You have got this one right, Vineeto. There is an undercurrent of fear/sadness still there. I am going against it head on two ways: first, going to the daily life situations in which I would have dreaded to go into, 3-5 years ago, and apprehensive of going for them about 1-2 years ago. Second, keeping my eyes open to look for causes which brought this fear in the first place.

This one is a difficult one as, to best of knowledge, I cleaned myself of fears arising from the incidents from the age of 3 years-now. But I remember I had this undercurrent of fear/sadness at the age of ~4 years too. So, the causes for this fear/sadness must have their origins before the age of 3 years. The best I can think of is that my mother might have beaten the crap out of me before the age of 3, but I cannot have any memory of that. I am not sure how to go about it but I am working on it.

VINEETO: In my spiritual years I believed that I was ‘cleaning myself of fears’ by doing lots of Dynamic Meditation and lots of therapy but I gradually noticed that fear had only shifted to other issues, but it never disappeared or even diminished. I would not be afraid of one particular situation, but nevertheless apprehensive of another, fearful of change, of being alone, of being raped, of not getting what I desired or of not being appreciated by others. Yet, knowing no other alternative at the time, I kept going.

So, from my experience, I can say that digging into the past will never wipe out the causes of fear. Only when I met Richard was I able to understand the reason for it. It is a common belief that human beings are born innocent, ‘tabula rasa’, a clean slate, without any malice and sorrow, and that all evil – fear, anger, sadness – is only created by bad treatment in our childhood years – or maybe by ‘repressed memories’ of bad past lives. The very premise of that belief is wrong.

Human beings are born with certain distinguishing instincts, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. These instincts are blind Nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to give one a start in life and to ensure the survival of the species. So despite our good intentions and moral codes, we are relentlessly driven to act instinctually in each and every situation in our lives and this is the base cause of all our angst, suffering and confusion. We, as human beings, also have a highly developed sense of self, overlaid with a social identity, consisting of the beliefs that had been instilled in us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’, or punished for ‘bad’, behaviour. This identity includes the morals, values and ethics that ensure that we are a fit member of the particular society into which we are born. We then take on these beliefs and develop them as our ‘own’ identity. This innate sense of self, reinforced by our social identity, is the very ‘guardian at the gate’, sabotaging any well-meaning, but inevitably futile, attempts at fundamentally and radically changing the Human Condition of malice and sorrow within us.

When I put away my pride and dared to question this emotional, therapy-enhanced, yet utterly useless and harmful identity, I had to acknowledge the reason why the concept of therapy had never worked. One never gets to permanently experience the ‘innocence’ of a baby after digging into one’s memories of birth- or childhood-traumas – because the baby has never been innocent and without fear in the first place! Geneticists are now finding neurological evidence of those innate instincts, yet nobody except Richard has devised a method to get rid of those insidious buggers.

RESPONDENT: There is an undercurrent of fear/sadness still there. I am going against it head on two ways: first, going to the daily life situations in which I would have dreaded to go into, 3-5 years ago, and apprehensive of going for them about 1-2 years ago. Second, keeping my eyes open to look for causes which brought this fear in the first place.

VINEETO: This is how I started to tackle fear after I had understood that fear is the very substance of ‘me’, the ‘self’:

Each time I encountered fear, I would do the reality-check, that is, check out the actual dangers of the situation. ‘What is the worst that can happen’? was always a good question. And in discovering that most fears are only in my head – or guts – and had nothing to do with actual danger, I could go ahead and face them. The other part of the approach was to find out the cause of that fear. Since my favourite pet-excuse, childhood traumas, had proven to be a myth, I started to look for other reasons, closer to here and now. What I mainly found were beliefs that formed my identity – beliefs, when threatened in certain situations, caused the same reaction in me as if I was physically threatened. The ‘self’ doesn’t distinguish between an imaginary danger to the identity and an actual danger to the body. As such, a threat to one’s beliefs is as passionately felt as a threat to one’s life.

Then the real discovery started. By investigating and dismantling one belief after another, this identity became thinner and thinner, fewer situations would threaten the existence of the ‘self’. I had dismantled so many beliefs myself that my fear of people, who could question my beliefs, diminished considerably. And whenever such a fear arose, there was something for me to discover, there was another cause for fear to be removed. After the first successes started to show, I more and more enjoyed the game – finally I had a method that worked, and I could do it all by myself. Neither Guru nor therapist needed.


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:

[Respondent]: I *think* you do not just cause ripples, you are capable of causing shock waves. [endquote].

And in the next post:

[Respondent]: 1. I do not like something but there is invariably something hidden in me which is the cause for this dislike. [endquote].

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.

RESPONDENT: Yes, I had heard about the recent downpour of rain in your region. It has been raining here, giving a decent rain. I have decided to stay where I am for now. Recently I have been feeling great despair. I was feeling sick the other night and ‘I’ realised that no-one was there to help me. My parents were 2 hours away at their home, and my girlfriend was at least 30 minutes away. There was so much hurt at being so alone. I keep trying to console myself by reminding myself that as a body I have always been alone ever since birth. But through dismantling the self has left me with the knowledge that ‘I’ will feel alone, like I do.

VINEETO: It seems hard sometimes when you are fully confronted with some part of the Human Condition – in your case the fear of being helpless and the sorrow of being alone. It is essential to understand that this is the condition we are all inflicted with, whatever each person might do to ease the full impact of it. And now, that the hope for consolation and being part of a close-knit community has lost some of its conviction for you, the fear of being alone becomes even more obvious.

Richard wrote to No 7 the other day:

Richard: All sentient beings are endowed by blind nature with instincts ... mainly fear and aggression and nurture and desire. The dominant one is fear ... at base fear is both the barrier and the gateway to the actual world. There is nothing so thrilling as a trip through fear ... and then one comes out the other side. There is no fear here, in this actual world where I live. Not even disquietude, uneasiness, nervousness or apprehension ... let alone anxiety, angst, fear, terror, horror or dread.

It is not a case of ‘facing fear’ ... one can use it to swing through to this actual world ... leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, where it belongs, in the ‘real-world’. Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 7, 24.1.1999

The trouble is that mostly we believe those feelings to be factual. We believe in their reality, in their substance – fear can create any horror story in the head and you start to tremble. I remember many times in my investigation into the Human Condition when I was lying on the couch shivering in fear; but I was determined not to let it overtake me, i.e. make me do silly things, make me dependant on another’s useless consolation. Not running away and not acting it out, the storm would eventually subside allowing me to examine exactly the cause of the particular fear. Then the thrilling and exciting part of the investigation started, the door to a new discovery, the tackling of the fear and leaving it behind as the mirage it is.

So yes, the journey to actual freedom is sometimes sprinkled with fear – after all, you are taking apart the very self you think and feel you are. Peter’s Chapter on Fear might have some insights for you.

RESPONDENT: The despair, the desolation, and the thoughts that life is not worth living occur and leave me flattened. Your advice would be appreciated. The thought of giving up on actual freedom has occurred many times – ‘is this worth it?’ I keep asking myself. I know to much now to ever rely on religion like I have in the past (eg. the most recent example of this was two years ago after I finished school, a few months later I had my first PCE), so what to do I don’t know.

VINEETO: What would change if you give up pursuing actual freedom? You would still be living in fear. Maybe soothed by a fairy dream-world of religious or spiritual beliefs and consolations – if you manage to believe in them again. Actual freedom gives you the option to tackle the fears as they come along and actually eliminate them, so as never to return again. You are not only the one who is having fear, you are also the investigator, the scientist. You investigate when fear rocks you to the core like a meteorologist would investigate a cyclone.

The outcome of tackling the Human Condition, one’s emotions and instincts, is astounding, a day to day life beyond your wildest dreams – happy and harmless, day by day, month by month. Have a look at Peter’s writing on virtual freedom, just to get a picture of how our life has improved over the last 2 years on the Library page of ‘Virtual Freedom’. You might need some time to read when you explore all the links.

Actual freedom is not a small thing to do, not like meditating a few hours per week without much impact on the rest of one’s life. It is a full time investigation and everything that comes up and happens in life is part of that investigation. It’s actual. And, with diligence and persistence, it works.



Richard: It is not a case of ‘facing fear’ ... one can use it to swing through to this actual world ... leaving one’s ‘self’ behind, where it belongs, in the ‘real-world’. Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 7, 24.1.1999

RESPONDENT: How do I do this?? How do I swing through the fear?

VINEETO: How are you doing? In the last few days I have been thinking about the workings of fear and the ways I have dealt with it and here is what I have come up with so far –

Everyone is inflicted with the Human Condition – this is how we come into the world and this is how we are trained to live in the world.


You could see it like this: everyone is walking around in a big space-suit, walking around on this planet thinking and feeling it to be a foreign and hostile place, dangerous, uncomfortable for human beings. Then Richard comes along and says, look, you only need to take your space-suit off and then you will experience the earth as the actual paradise it already is. You don’t need to wait for the ‘big spaceship’ to take you somewhere else (after death) and you don’t need those clumsy space-suit (the ‘self’) for survival. It is perfectly safe to live on this earth without the imagined protection of this clumsy suit called the Human Condition. Without this suit you can fully, for the first time, sensately experience the world without separation, not as an alien, but as a human being on ‘home-planet’ earth. You might theoretically agree with Richard’s findings, but taking off this ‘dear-held’ security of your space-suit will nevertheless produce fears and insecurities because deep down you are still convinced that it is an essential life-preserving suit. So, when setting out on this journey to actually arrive here on the planet one of the first things to tackle is fear.

Here is a report on how I have understood and tackled fear:

  1. I collected as much information about the actual world as I could get to strengthen my intent. This included reading the journals, talking to Peter and Richard, making use of my intelligence, gathering facts instead of believing people and having a peak-experience with first-hand experience of the actual world. Gathering facts gave me confidence and surety about the journey.
  2. I was deepening my understanding that it was ‘I’ that stood in the road of experiencing the freshness, purity, aliveness and perfection of the actual world and that ‘I’ have to disappear in order for the actual world to be permanently apparent. This included the understanding that ‘I’ am made of nothing but a bundle of instincts, beliefs, imaginations, feelings and social conditioning – the Human Condition. From that understanding it was obvious that fear was ‘par for the course’ – as I wrote to Irene: ‘Fear in the face of impending death is what potatoes are for a potato-soup, its very ingredients. There is no soup without potatoes, there is no death without fear.’
  3. The important thing about fear is not to object to it. Now, that is easier said than done – nobody wants to feel fear. Yet the very act of objecting to fear makes it bigger and therefore makes it impossible to look at the underlying issue. Seeing fear as part of the Human Condition, the disease that everyone is inflicted with, helped to reduce my objection.
  4. My allies were my understanding and my intent. So whenever fear arose I focused on my intent to determine the direction of my goal – freedom and peace-on-earth – and then I would go ahead with the investigation into the underlying causes of that particular fear.
  5. It was always good to first sort out the facts from the feelings, to look at the situation and make sure that there was no actual physical danger.
  6. That made it clear that the remainder of the fear was psychological, i.e. fear of losing my friends, my work, my respectability, losing the ground I was standing on, not wanting to change, not wanting to ‘die’.
  7. A quote from Richard really helped me through many fearful and terrifying situations:
    ‘... a fact is actual. One cannot argue about a fact as one can about a belief or a truth ... one can only deny a fact and pretend that it is not there. Then
    the question to ask is: ‘Why depression? Because when I see the fact of something ... the fact sets me free of choice. ... When I see clearly ... then I
    can proceed ... for then there is action. Seeing the fact – which is seeing without choice – then there is action ... and this action is not of ‘my’ doing.’
  8. The final fact was: if I wanted to be free, then ‘I’ have to disappear, self-immolate. What is the point of complaining about this fact? What is the point of postponing the journey because of fear? Fear is the ‘normal’, instinctual reaction of my ‘self’, it is ‘par for the course’. I don’t have to let fear stop me from reaching my goal.
  9. Of course, it takes a good deal of bloody-mindedness and stubborn persistence, after all, it is quite a pioneering job we are doing here.
  10. Now, to come to the point of your question: When I stop resisting fear, when I stop fighting fear, when I don’t give fear the weight and importance I used to, then fear turns into thrill – and thrill is the very vehicle that transports me further into freedom. Thrill is the race-car driving me towards freedom. This wonderful exciting butterfly-feeling in the stomach, knowing that I am on the right path to my destiny, getting closer to freedom every minute – I become immensely alive, I see the world in vibrant colours, I hear it in multi-layered sounds, I forget about my previous objection to being here, fully alive – and whoosh, I am here, in the actual world-as-it-is, safe, perfect, magnificent, abundant, magical and pure. I experience my senses sensing, I am aware of being alive, apperception is happening without an attached ‘self’ to it, and I have again swung through the fear to the actual world.
  11. And from being here in the actual world I can see the illusion of the self, the passionate imagination it all is, the unnecessary burden ‘I’ produce by having this fear. Anchoring that understanding in my memory I could use the information later when the ‘self’ and the fear would take over again.

Each belief you investigate produces fear, each ‘truth’ dismantled creates insecurity, each step away from ‘humanity’ is a daring enterprise. So it is good to make up one’s mind right at the beginning how to deal with fear and discover the knack of turning it into thrill. Thrill then becomes the doorway into the actual world.

The alternative is living a second-rate life of fear and aggression, love and hate, dependency and rebellion, resentment and struggle. The alternative is having to look in the mirror each morning knowing that one is not living one’s potential, that one isn’t the best one can be – free from the Human Condition, happy and harmless. It is now possible – there is a fool-proof wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom, here on earth, in this life-time. And the outcome is worth your every effort.

RESPONDENT: 1.You actively inquire as to how you are experiencing this moment, looking for an honest answer.

2.If you discover that are you are either not happy or not harmless at this moment you then actively inquire as to why this is so until you find what event triggered you to cease being happy and harmless this time around.

3.Then you do whatever is necessary in order to get back to being happy and harmless by allowing yourself to recognize the silliness of having such an incident (no matter what) take away your enjoyment of this only moment of being alive or to cause you to feel acrimonious towards a fellow human being.

4.If you find that the same trigger-events keep preventing you from being happy and harmless, you then actively inquire into the specific reason for your own current feeling of misery and/or acrimony, which is more often than not a particular moral or ethical conviction you hold to as being good or right, a firmly held borrowed wisdom or spiritual belief you hold to be a truth, an emotional reaction to something that went against ‘your’ idea as to how things should be, or some other aspect of your social conditioning. If the reaction is much more of a deep-down gut reaction, then you inquire what particular instinctual passions you were experiencing at that moment or you are experiencing in this moment?

5. When you find which particular aspect of your social conditioning has caused you to stop being happy and harmless you do whatever is necessary in order to erase, change, eliminate, eradicate this aspect of ‘you’ in order to not have it again interfere with your being happy and harmless.

* Step number 5 is the hard part. If I have a fear of spiders that appears each time a spider is present, how should I perform step number 5?

VINEETO: Given the advice you received from other correspondents on this list, do you really want to take yourself, i.e. your fear of spiders, so seriously that you allow an arachnid to stand in the way of you becoming happy and harmless?

It might help to revisit Richard’s responses to your very question and I can also recommend No 47’s post on Agoraphobia.

RESPONDENT: To live with fear is to know a bone chilling, grinding, pervasive dread that is present from moment to moment.

Fear is the actual fearing ‘of’ something, and the vast field of fear is the composite of every ‘thing’ of which one is afraid, and that vast field itself is the ‘me’ and all of humanity, and that is insanity. ‘I’ am afraid of that which I do not know, and I am scared of that which I remember, and I am scared of that which I imagine. But, when you are actually surrounded by threatening clouds, and a storm is brewing, and there is no shelter, no escape, no cover from the devastation; then you may know fear, and you can talk about it without your opinions and unfounded knowledge.

The fact that it was insanity, i.e., being totally lost to fear, pain, and sorrow. In seeing that flat grey vastness of insanity there arose a realization, a total understanding, that all pain is in memory. ‘I’ am nothing but memory; and as someone else pointed out, the physical organism itself remains intact by the process of memory at a cellular level.

VINEETO: I know well the fear that you are talking about, the dread and the insanity of it.

I remember watching a film on WW II last year, when I became completely overwhelmed by the feeling of the collective sorrow, guilt, depression and dread that made up the ‘dark part’ of the ‘human soul’. I seemed to be standing at the edge of an immense abyss of hell, which emanated all of the nauseating terror and dread of humanity, the horror that humans do to humans, the pain, the dread of millions of people, stretching endlessly into a grey dead infinity with no hope and no way out, ever. The gravity of it was unbearable.

My eyes were searching for something physical to anchor on. I stood at the window, repeating to myself, ‘this is a fence, this is grass, this is a flower.’ The bright redness of the bougainvillea outside in the garden penetrated a little into this powerful whirlpool of dread that seemed to be threatening to swallow me for eternity.

Then above the abyss of dread there appeared an escape route, seductively blinking a space of light, promising bliss, love and glory as the solution to this overwhelming hopelessness and experience of ‘evil’. I could have snapped into an altered state of consciousness then and there. But I resisted, fully aware that I did not want to replace one kind of insanity with overwhelming feelings by another insanity with the opposite set of overwhelming feelings.

So I fixed my eyes on the red flowers, until slowly, slowly the dread lost some of its density and power and turned into the familiar feeling of fear. But it was far from being over! I started to look for more physicality, for sensate and tangible actuality, longing for the taste of coffee in my mouth, listening to sounds in my ears and feeling the wind on my skin. Nothing but sensuousness would get me out of this vortex of instinctual madness. I activated all my willpower to manoeuvre myself back into the physical world of the senses, where there is neither dread nor enlightenment.

This experience fuelled my intent even more to permanently step out of both the real world of evil feelings and the spiritual world of divine feelings into the actual world of purity and peace. It is possible – and it is evidenced by the pure consciousness experience where I am this flesh and blood body only without ‘self’ and therefore without emotional turmoil or memory. Exploring Death and Altered States of Consciousness

RESPONDENT: Do you think there’s any value or potential value in experiencing negative emotions, like anxiety?


RESPONDENT: I just went through a bout of anxiety just now, and when it receded I wondered if I hadn’t missed something, like there was something about it I could have learnt or understood in order to put a more final end to it, and that it’s no longer there not because the trigger for it has been dismantled/eliminated but because I got distracted and now its just gone out of focus or changed into something else… and I find myself feeling like I want it to come back, instead of ‘getting on with it’ (which is what I was doing because I didn’t know what else to do).

VINEETO: In my experience I can only learn something from an intense feeling *after* it subsided. Then I am able to assess what triggered it, what caused it, what pattern may lie behind it, what hidden agenda might be there. When in the grip of a feeling such as fear I am not able to think and observe clearly but after the feeling subsides I am able to reflect on the situation and see what scared me (if it was something in particular) or if the fear was maybe one of those free-floating anxiety attacks that feeling beings notoriously have.

If I find that I was afraid of something in particular then I can explore what it is I am afraid of and why and what needs doing or understanding in order to prevent this particular fear from occurring again. Here is one example where I examined and resolved a particular fear – in this case I actually had to do something about it –

[Vineeto]: ‘I am reminded of a time when I had investigated Actual Freedom to the point that I was getting some tangible results. At the time I worked in a company owned and run by Sannyasins and was reasonably happy in my job as secretary and bookkeeper. However, the more I started questioning my former spiritual beliefs and understood that it was impossible to marry the search for enlightenment with the discoveries of Actual Freedom, the more I became fearful that soon I would be exposed as a traitor and a heretic. My fear became so overpowering that one morning while driving to work I decided to face this particular fear once and for all – and, to my own surprise, arriving at work I gave notice. At the time I did not know any other solution to get rid of my fear than to precipitate what I feared most – losing my job. Since then I have worked occasionally in this company for holiday replacement and whenever they were short of staff, but never again full time. My sudden notice had created a certain shock for the others, but after this had worn off I had no problem relating to them as I had made my non-spiritual position quite clear and they had agreed to employ me again anyway. For me it had been important to openly take a stand in order to be able to disentangle myself from the grip that the spiritual world had on me.’ Actual Freedom mailing list Correspondence, Gary, 18.8.2000

Sometimes fear is brought on by certain desires, hopes or expectations and then I need to proceed by investigating those desires, hopes and expectations. Sometimes fear arises because with actualism (the process of becoming free from the human condition) I am doing something that goes against the very grain of human nature and the familiarity of having done things before and this fear is part and parcel of the process of becoming free – recognized as what it is it eventually subsides and then I can get on with doing what I want to do – become free from the patterns, the habits and the beliefs that tie me down.

Sometimes, as I mentioned above, fear arises as a free-floating anxiety, apparently for no reason at all, and I found it the most unsatisfying of the fears because there is nothing to discover about it except that it is the nature of being a feeling being – and being a ‘being’ means to be fearful – fear is the very stuff that maintains and sustains one’s being. Over time I learnt not to feed the fear when it arises, not to get sucked into its grip, not to be hypnotized by it, but rather become aware that fear is happening and then disregard it as an uninteresting object or a boring, as in repetitive, piece of drama and get on with enjoying the far more enjoyable things in life such as the sensuous awareness of the air on my skin, the colours perceived by my eyes, the gentle sounds in my surrounding and the pleasure of being here as I am. Eventually such fear goes away similar to a silly dog when you don’t pay attention to its silly performances.

In any case, if there was any information in the feeling of fear you were distracted from then it will be revealed the next time round when you reflect on the situation after the fear subsides. Nothing can go wrong when you keep paying attention to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive.

RESPONDENT: Seriously, I do read a bit on the site, and continue to dip into my books, on a daily basis, it is amazing how much is missed at the first, or second, reading.

VINEETO: Personally, I had to read Richard’s journal paragraph by paragraph and often contemplate about each paragraph because the experience of not being an ‘I’ was simply not something I was at all familiar with … until I had several PCEs and based on that could remember some previous PCEs as well.

RESPONDENT: I am going to have to do that because as I go deeper old fears and insecurities surface. Scary sometimes. Did you ever have dark dreams when you first started investigating AF?

VINEETO: I don’t remember any dreams but I very likely had them. I didn’t bother to interpret any of my dreams but I took notice of the fact that something had not been sorted out in my waking hours and that therefore my brain was still busy with unresolved, maybe even unnoticed, feelings during my sleep. The more I allowed myself to become aware of the feelings while they were happening, enabling me to lessen their grip over me, the less dreams interfered with my sleep.

As for old fears and insecurities, there were plenty of them. Some of them were so old they dated back centuries and more – the archaic fear of being burnt as a witch, for instance, for daring to question the existence of god, heaven and afterlife and the archaic fear of expelled from society or of being executed for daring to lift the taboos of sexuality and begin to enjoy it for its own sake.

Such fears can appear really dark and dense but when all is said and done, they are only feelings, not actuality – as long as you keep your hands in your pocket. A good sense of humour is as useful as an enterprising spirit ready to look for the thrilling aspect of fear, which Richard jokingly says, is found ‘down at the bottom left-hand side’. Besides, if becoming free from one’s genetically encoded instinctual passions was all plain sailing then everybody would already be free … and not behaving, to quote your own apt description, like ‘an agitated crowd standing at the entrance to a ‘wide and wondrous path’ discussing with each other as to how to proceed’, if searching for and noticing the possibility at all.

RESPONDENT: Why don’t you just tell us how to experience this freedom that you talk about. How to live life in freedom 24 hours a day? You keep on talking about everything but you never share how we, poor ignorant sannyasins can also live in this ‘third alternative’ realm. Isn’t it not the time that you once and for all share the ‘how’ to this thing you are always talking about?

VINEETO: (...) The first thing I had to do after 17 years of spiritual conditioning was to switch my brain back on. I delighted in using my intelligence again, started doubting the old, used scrutiny and discrimination to slowly question everything that I had taken for granted wisdom. What a gullible person I had been, you could have told me any fairy-story of astrology and invisible energies, channelling and chakras, and I was ready to believe it all! Investigating and using my intelligence again, I felt like being back in High school or University, where intellect and intelligence are being trained, where it was o.k. to think, where I learned about facts – though even many of those so-called facts later turned out to be mere assumptions, disguised as scientific theories. I re-discovered the joy of discrimination, of relying on myself instead of authority, of using ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ instead of moralistic appraisals.

And then I encountered fear – fear to leave the familiar fold – my peers, my sannyasin friends and acquaintances, the women’s club with their particular beliefs and feelings, family-sentiments, love-dreams. Most of all, I was fearful to question the authority of Osho, of God, of the divine plan behind it all, and the belief in authority as such. Suddenly I had to realize and acknowledge that I am alone, standing on my own two feet, nobody is there who knows ‘the truth’ and no all-caring and all-powerful ‘Existence’ is ‘taking care of me’. Wow, what a bummer – and then, what a freedom. I can actually do what I want, think sensibly, take care of myself without the concept of any Almighty God and enjoy life, even if everybody else chooses to be miserable for a million and one reason.

RESPONDENT: (...) Your explanation brings a lot of truth about the condition that occurs in relationships though. Most of our actions and reactions are motivated by an intrinsic fear. We have deep fears of survival, of earning enough money and of being able to support ourselves. We have fears of being sexually dysfunctional, inadequate or impotent. We have deep fears of being unloved, fears of being rejected and unwanted. We have fears of being disrespected, abused, ignored, put down, fears of confronting someone, fears of knowing who we really are. We have fears of not being able to express ourselves, of being insignificant. At a deeper level, there is always a fear of emptiness and death, which probably underlies all other fears.

VINEETO: Yes, I agree with you on your explicit list of fears. Looking back in my life those fears have been the reason why I rejected life in normal society and went to the East to find the solution, a way out of those torturing fear and its ensuing depression – in my case.

RESPONDENT: We are all ‘wounded children’ who react to different situations based on our own early life trauma. The fears of pressure and expectation, of rejection and abandonment, of being ignored or misunderstood as children.

VINEETO: What you say does not really explain everything as to where these fears come from. Psychologist and psychoanalysts have not completely understood the fact that human beings are born with instincts, the same instincts that animals are equipped with to secure survival in the wild. Many psychs believe that children are born as ‘Tabula Rasa’, an empty sheet of paper to be written on by society. But if you watch babies and small children, they are not innocent at all. They have greed and malice already in them, erupting at different occasions – displaying our animal heritage. (...)


RESPONDENT: I think that in order to confront our fears, we have to validate them. We have to recognize that they are there and look for where they come from. As children, we were not taught to be in touch with our fear, so how can we, as adults, be aware of our fears if we are not even in touch with them? We cover them with protection, denial and unconsciousness, hiding our vulnerability with a ‘mask’ as it is one way that we need to protect ourselves.

One way or another we manage, pretending that everything is okay. We have learned how to cope. We remain hypnotized by our ‘coping trance’, not realizing how much fear we are covering inside. That is the point of the poem ‘Masks’. That which comes from a person who exposes this fear by admitting that he wears many masks. It is something that strikes a cord with me and I assume with a lot of people.

VINEETO: Yes, I understand what you want to point out. The problem is that none of the ‘tried and true’ methods to deal with fear has had any valuable solution applicable for everyone. Love, which is sought to be the solution has failed to bring peace to the world, since at least 2500 years of teachings of love and compassion.

That’s why I was moved to consider Richard’s outrageous statement that love itself is part of the problem. Investigating into myself and together with Peter I have found it factual. Love creates a cover on top of fear or aggression, it does not eliminate fear or aggression. I am not merely repeating what I have heard, this is my very experience. I have had experiences of ‘Divine Love’, of days being filled with overwhelming and sweet love and I could have started a guru-ship then and there. I do have genuine experience of the delusion it is.

On the other hand, uncovering and eliminating fear and aggression leaves me in an exquisite delicious purity, where I can be intimate with everyone I meet, actually and physically here, fully in my senses and delighting to use my intelligence as much as experiencing the pleasures of the senses. This actual world does not need to be proved, it exists in its own right. It only has to be discovered by removing veil after veil of emotions, instincts, fears and beliefs.

I know, it is a radical discovery, as radical as Galileo’s discovery of the earth not being the centre of the solar system. There are more people objecting to it than I have hair on my head. What gives me the courage to stand alone against myriad objections is the experience of this actual world during long and repeatedly happening peak-experiences. Beliefs can be shattered, facts stay facts, no matter how many people disagree to those facts.

And furthermore, it is so utterly fulfilling, delicious, self-evident and immensely pleasurable to be here and alive, to meet people as they are, human beings, not as projections of my desires and fears, that it is worth to die for it – psychically, not physically.


RESPONDENT: I still cannot accept the fact that all there is is this world ... the physical. That there isn’t a force out there that directs all that is existing. I do not care what you call this force but it is an intelligent it a computer if you will, but it IS there since I feel it. It may be a part of me but it is still larger than me.

VINEETO: Well, it is up to you.

I have decided to investigate facts rather than believe what I have been taught, and it made me happy and harmless. I had to leave a lot of dreams, hopes, fears and the feeling of belonging behind but the result is beyond my wildest dreams. It was not easy to face my fears, to give up the imaginary protection of some imaginary greater force, but after investigating into the facts I could not keep on believing this dream of a greater protective and demanding force any longer. I saw that the belief was produced by my fears and the fears of all of humanity, the fear to be alone, the fear of death. I decided to face and eliminate my fears rather than being dependant on this imaginary protective force.

Peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, on this planet is possible now. But it is up to you, it is you who chooses what you want to do in your life.


Vineeto’s Selected Correspondence

Library – Fear

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