Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Affective Feelings – Emotions and Passions
ALAN: Yes, I think I likened it, in a post some time ago, to a fisherman casting hooks. The ‘cleaner’ one becomes, not only are less and less ‘hooks’ thrown, but others barbs simply ‘slip off’ unnoticed, as you confirm in your next remark.
VINEETO: We had an interesting conversation with a friend last night. She asked me: ‘What about affections? Don’t you think, it would be of help to feel other’s feelings, while not having them yourself, and then you can really understand what they are going through?’
I found that a very interesting question and while I answered her I realised that this was exactly what I was trying to do in the last months when I was writing. Once in while I would slip into the emotional world of the sannyasins, trying hard and sincerely to understand where they were coming from, what emotions were behind their words, what fears behind their snide remarks. The outcome was always confusion, I ended up emotional and fearful myself and was unable to answer clearly. I first had to work myself out of the self-constructed mess before responding.
Understanding that this had been my investigation in the last few months, I could see that this option had failed each time. It is simply not possible to empathically understand someone without ending up in one’s own mess of feelings. And the other way round also proves the point: the moment I am ‘here’ and not in my feelings and emotions, I don’t ‘feel’ the other, I understand his or her words, but not the hidden agenda.
VINEETO: Hi Alan,
ALAN: It still astonishes me how people can so easily turn their backs on Actual Freedom, as epitomized in Peter’s mail to No 3 – most are simply not interested in discovering how magnificent life can be. I was discussing this with my wife last night and it got back to the familiar sticking point – giving up emotions and becoming a ‘zombie’, as she puts it. Is this an objection you have come across? So far, as what starts one on the exploration, I think you are correct that some disillusionment et. is necessary, but then all who live within the Human Condition suffer disappointment, longing and desperation. Speaking personally, it was my memory of a PCE which started me on the search for ‘answers’ – I wanted to again experience that purity and perfection. It was a decision which took years to make. How did you get started on the spiritual path?
VINEETO: ‘Giving up emotions and becoming a zombie’ – this is almost a standard expression, as if a zombie has no emotions. When I compare my life now with two years ago, then I had been living a zombie-life all my life, with a few exceptions. I had been dull and predictable, a biological mechanism programmed with different roles, beliefs emotions and instinctual passions, just like everyone else around me. Being programmed with emotions is like being out at sea – any moment the weather can change into a raging storm, rain or sunshine, for no apparent reason. ‘Zombie’ means being full of emotions, but keeping them so utterly repressed and distorted that one is 90% shut down.
The comparison of ‘no emotion’ and ‘zombie’ also reminds me of the latest science fiction films, where the robots and computers are very human-like in that they have been programmed with rudimentary emotions. Kryton in ‘Red Dwarf’ is a cute example, Hal in ‘2010’ another. The scientist working with the supercomputer Hal in ‘2010’ (a follow-up film of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001) said to his team: ‘Whether carbon- or silicon-based life forms, both species need to be treated with the same respect.’ What a hoot. In the same anthropo-centric manner that we would like computers to have human-like qualities we are searching in animals for ‘human-like’ behaviour – while completely overlooking the fact that we are observing our own animal-heritage, our core instincts and rudimentary self.
While now, having eliminated the fog of emotions which were cluttering every perception, restricting and distorting intelligence and apperception, life is easy, comfortable, peaceful, happy and imminently delightful. I am more alive than ever, the senses sharper and enjoying whatever is happening, the brain functioning perfectly to sort the sensible from the silly – and sometimes I am silly just for the fun of it.
So, the expression ‘zombie’ for ‘no emotion’ is a misnomer. For the ‘self’, our lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity, it is a reality that ‘I’ am my emotions and without them ‘I’ will only be a robot. For me, maybe particularly with a conditioning and instinctual programming as a woman, emotions were all and everything I thought and felt myself to be. To question emotions is to question one’s very ‘self’. It needs lots of courage, sincere intent and, if possible, the remembrance of a peak experience, to dare to look for something beyond this safe and familiar world of up-and-down emotions.
Meeting Richard was another help for me, for he was not at all the man one could call a ‘zombie’ – yet he is without emotions. Here is a man as normal and ordinary as Mr. Smith but at the same time radiantly alive, friendly, peaceful, gay, humorous, carefree, considerate and perfect as only legendary heroes would have been described – and this day after day, whenever I met him, without any flaw. Here I could compare the facts with my fears, the day to day actuality with my dark and confused fantasies.
But the main reason for taking up the third alternative was because I dared to acknowledge that ‘being normal’ had no attraction for me nor had all the spiritual practice borne any solutions for a happy life. The highly prized emotions had only caused trouble, fight, jealousy, disappointment, hope and desperation in my life.
ALAN: I was discussing this with my wife last night and it got back to the familiar sticking point – giving up emotions and becoming a zombie, as she puts it. Is this an objection you have come across?
VINEETO: I have come across that objection many, many times. Women hold emotions, particularly their own, in high esteem; it is the familiar territory of the power she yields and the most important part of a female identity besides being a mother. Men may have developed other identities, many manage to avoid feeling their emotions like all get out, which, of course, does not help to become free of them.
To me, it was obvious from day one, that if I wanted to live in peace and harmony with Peter, then an exploration and a questioning of all my emotions was inevitable. In the end, this exploration proved to be the dissolution of the male and female camp and resulted in a delicious actual and ongoing intimacy between us, something which, apart from a few glimpses, I had never experienced before.
The other aspect of emotions lies in a broader context, and I am encountering this lately as it is becoming more obvious. Feelings, emotions and instinctual passions are the only connection between ‘me’ and ‘Humanity’. Empathy, sorrow and compassion make us feel connected to the greater ‘community’ of humankind, thus perpetuating sorrow without any solution. Severing the ties to this suffering ‘Humanity’ and standing on my own two feet without even the option of ‘feeling’ the other if I wanted to, is a bold step, and has been a process that took me a few months.
The turning point was the experience that, one evening before sex, I had a flash of wanting to kill Peter. I perceived him as being a deadly threat to ‘my’ identity, and my instinctual reaction resulted in the wish to kill him. The surfacing of this raw instinct in me, directed against my best and most intimate playmate, was a severe shock – it became blindingly obvious and self-evident that ‘I’ am rotten to the very core. To guarantee peace-on-earth, ‘I’ will have to become extinct.
VINEETO to Alan: I would like to add something concerning my occasional trouble with writing that I wrote to you about last time:
Doing some more ‘reflective contemplation’ on the issue I began to understand that comparison is almost a constant undercurrent whenever the ‘self’ is in action. Sometimes as a slight tension in the background, sometimes an obvious sadness invoked by feeling inadequate, comparison to others and my own standards seems to be almost synonymous with being a self. Getting this far in my contemplation there was the conclusion, bright and clear – I not only feel inadequate, I am inadequate, because according to my own standards I haven’t finished my job and my destiny. If I ever want to be adequate, then self-immolation is the only way to achieve my aim. Until then I can strive or resign, toss and turn – there is no solution within the Human Condition. It’s cute how every follow-up of and digging into issues always ends up at the same point, giving me more fuel to live on the edge of the imminent inevitable.
In Actual Freedom, of course there is no comparison – everybody is doing what is happening and one is doing it the best one can because that’s where the fun is. It is really that easy.
I liked what Peter said to someone on mailing list B today –
That’s the fun about actualism, the wide and wondrous path – the adventure is my life and my life is an ongoing adventure and exploration – and everyone does it differently according to what is happening and what issue they are tackling at the moment.
Looking back there were always issues that I explored, feelings and beliefs that I was deeply involved in, experiencing and exploring. Initially, the exploration was highly twisted and obstructed by morals, ethics, spiritual beliefs and social conditioning; torturous straightjackets that made every move seem wrong or bad. But only because I had experienced the failures of those beliefs, morals and ethics, could I then apply the understanding that the solutions offered are in fact not leading to a happy and harmless life, let alone peace on earth. On the contrary, they all lead 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
One of the later explorations was experiencing time. By exploring the emotions and instinctual passions that prevent me from being here, I am more and more able to simply be here, in this moment. First I realised that the future is slipping away. The past had been gone with all the emotional issues resolved that had tied me to past memories. It is fascinating to notice how by being here the notion of ‘real’ time – this imagined web of ideas and feelings about past and future and their supposed implications for this moment – is falling by the wayside and disappearing with alarming speed, leaving me at times disoriented as if a fairytale has turned into a pumpkin. But as I recovered from the confusion and its ensuing insecurity the ‘pumpkin’ turns out to be utterly delicious – each moment is a delight because it is actually happening, it is neither felt nor imagined but happening right this very moment – whatever is happening is actual. There is such an innate pleasure and satisfaction in the experience of the very actuality of this moment that whatever I do is a bonus on top of it – what abundance.
The other thing that I discovered is the seemingly inexhaustible persistence of ‘me’ inventing myself all over again after hours of happily doing what is happening. Spoiling the fun ‘I’ start furphies such as self-doubt, worry, comparison, impatience, fear or begin looking for some other self-centred emotional issue. Sometimes I wonder if my female-tinged emotional conditioning is particularly sticky or if male conditioning provides a similar fertile affinity to being an emotional being.
VINEETO: Hi Alan,
I followed up a few thoughts the other day, which might be useful to you or others.
I started my investigation about the feeling of impatience. Impatience has always been one of the driving forces in my life and kept me going, counteracting the innate inertia to get me back on the track of what I wanted to achieve. But the more I am actually here and enjoying life, the more the feeling of impatience becomes a nuisance and is, in fact, preventing me from enjoying what is happening here in this moment.
Of course, for most of the process on the path to an actual freedom I need a lot of impatience, a burning discontent and dissatisfaction with life as it is and with the second rate compromise of living that both real-world and spiritual-world solutions have on offer. But with the incremental dismantling of all the emotions that constitute my self I come to understand the role that impatience is playing now – preventing ‘me’ from disappearing.
The main fuel for this feeling of impatience comes from the notion that there is something better ‘out there’, in the future – that magic ingredient that will then make life as perfect as the ending of children’s fairytale – and then they lived happily ever after. And yet it is this very feeling of impatience, that particular bit of my ‘self’, that prevents me from the sensate-only experiencing the perfection of this moment.
Impatience is the ‘self’ telling the ‘self’ to go away in order for life to be perfect thereafter. What a furphy! Who am I trying to fool? This is what cunningness in action looks like. It is fascinating to see the self splitting itself into two yet again in order to pretend that there is change happening without really having to change anything. Seeing through the charade, I experience the thrill that accompanies the shift from a furphy to an actual experience, from ‘feeling impatient’ to actively dismantling the ‘self’, from stepping out of the ‘real’ world to arriving here. I understand that the only way to approach self-immolation is by welcoming the death of ‘me’ with free will, open arms and a full YES. It is a magic formula, that turning around 180 degrees again, a yes to immolation rather than a no to life as it is.
When death is welcome with the same thrilling anticipation as a sexual playmate then I know I am on the right track.
So impatience gets replaced by an understanding of redundancy – the more I experientially understand about the human condition the more ‘I’ become redundant because life in the actual world is utterly safe and already perfect. ‘I’ am not needed to stay alive. The more I understand the chemical, psychological and psychic programming of the brain, the more I can see that this programming is outdated, faulty and redundant in every single aspect – ‘I’ am not needed at all. Virtual Freedom is the ongoing increasing experience of ‘my’ redundancy, kind of getting used to not interfering with perfection. The way I see it now is that death is simply an extension of this continuing discovery of ‘me’, the spoiler, being redundant, turning 98% redundancy to 99% and 99% to 100% ... ... pop.
The only way I can reach this 100% redundancy is by being here all the time, doing what is happening without emotionally interfering – and if there is an emotion, then investigating it, nutting it out, sitting it out, thinking it through, understanding its follies and furphies. In the end, every emotion is understood as nothing but an objection to and fear of being here – and an objection to being redundant as an entity.
ALAN: By the way, what is a ‘furphy’?
VINEETO: A furphy according to Mr. Oxford is
Strange connection – ‘sanitary carts’ and ‘an absurd story’! I like the sound of the word, it reminds me of a silly little furry animal running round in circles. I used ‘furphy’ as in a useless emotion that prevents me from getting closer to my pursued goal – freedom. To find out that I have been going round in circles of doubt, impatience or self-deception means I can stop wasting my time. The more I investigated reoccurring silly emotions that did not seem to be triggered by anything in particular, the more I considered them to be furphies – the ‘self’ buying time or ‘me’ being busy postponing my demise.
VINEETO: My receiver for psychic currents is almost always automatically switched on, connecting ‘me’ to humanity, and it is these subtle psychic currents that I am going to be watching now more closely in order to ween myself away from these insidious bonds to the passions that exemplify human-ness.
ALAN: Continuing on from what I posted yesterday, I can no longer ‘feel part of’ anything I watch on TV. I have only, now, realised this from what you posted, above. Nor can I ‘empathise’ with another – understand their feelings, sure. I still have a ‘tear reflex’, discussed with Richard some time ago. Tears appear when watching certain scenes on television, yet there is no ‘feeling’ associated with them. So, perhaps I do still have something to investigate – but what to investigate when there is no feeling?
VINEETO: As long as ‘I’ am a ‘being’ there is feeling. And, as we discussed years ago, a feeling can disguise even as a ‘no-feeling’ if I have an investment in not feeling. But it might also be something different. Vis –
IRENE: What I would like to suggest is that we both write down what the nature of our relationship is with each other and give a name to our own game and the other’s, plus what we see as the common purpose, if there is one. I’ll be the first!
The game I am playing is living an authentic life, i.e. making use of all my faculties which I have learnt to understand over the years and which I enjoy calling my own, like thinking, feeling, sensing, harmonizing all of them in a well-developed understanding and expressing this in the most authentic way to others. You see that I certainly include feelings and intuition (sensing) in the whole package, as I do not see them as perverse or contrary at all, unlike Richard, as you well know. < ... >
Now, although you may be convinced that Richard is not an authority for you (‘because he says so himself’) why don’t your words and attitude bear that out? Why do you put into practice his methods, aim for the state he is in, defend him and criticize others using his words and phraseology and prove him to be right by your own experiences?
Is it possible that you may not be aware that this is actually the classic indication of following an authority? The ‘born-again’ Christians show the same behaviour, so did most of the German subjects of Hitler, or Sannyasins or ‘students’ of Barry Long, A.Cohen, Adida (or whatever his name is this week!) etc. < ... >
So, to come back to my proposal in the beginning of this email, I would like to call my game ‘being natural and authentic’ (with the understanding and wise use of feelings, intuition and instincts). I suggest that we call your game ‘extirpate the natural and the authentic’ (with the emphasis on feelings, intuition and instincts).
As I said before this is something that I suggest in order to come to an agreement between you and me, so your agreement or disagreement or your choice of names to our games is equally valid as mine, as long as we can agree both!
What we have in common in this is not yet clear to me, but I hope that you can detect something in this email to which you can say: ‘Yes, I do see that myself too’ or ‘Yes, in this respect Irene and I see eye to eye’. I sincerely hope that we find something more in common than living in the same town and the few people we both know, but if that proves not to be the case then that is how it is, isn’t it?
VINEETO: The reason I write is to ultimately to find out about myself. If I get upset about something, annoyed, repulsed or angry, it means there is something in me that is not squeaky clean. And my game is called ‘actual freedom’ and that means being free of anything that prevents me from experiencing the actual world as-it-is. And as long as there is any feeling or emotion triggered in me, I will never experience how this actual world really is! Therapists have found a part of this understanding – they call it ‘projection’. Projection means, I see something in someone else that I have in myself. The say, ‘forget about the other.’ Why does it annoy me? Oh, because I reject it in me. Aha, I am dishonest, that’s why I am annoyed that the other is maybe dishonest (or a Hitler, or authority-fixed, or proselytizing, etc.)? So then, what I do is search in me for the reason for feeling dishonest. In what terms am I dishonest with myself? Am I believing something that I have already experienced to be otherwise? So then, why do I want to hold on to this belief, which I have already experienced as false? Fear? Yes, of course, fear! All my fear is fear of death. Fear that denies the fact of death. One day ‘I’ will have to die. Full stop.
See, Irene, this is how I deal with what you call might ‘intuition’. I turn it on myself. ‘I’ am the only person I am interested in because it is this ‘I’ that stands in the way of my happiness. It is ‘I’ who has to be eliminated. Full stop.
And that fear of death creates all the tricks, throwing up issues, ‘truths’ and beliefs, emotions and disharmony. It can be traced down to that basic fear. Always!
So I have decided to be free of that fear. I have decided for the unnatural solution, 180 degrees away from the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. All of them are based on the fear of death. And those instincts are the fundamental corner stone, the very reason for all of humanity’s values, be they ethical, moralistic, religious or spiritual values. In their very nature those instincts are destructive. The instincts only ‘care’ for the survival of the species, the strongest, the most aggressive, the crudest.
I have experienced a lot of time without this destructive ‘I’, the self. I know that there is something vastly better than this petty life of fears and deceit that I have lived during most of my life. There is no destiny in this picture of petty morals. There is no freedom.
The only freedom there is lies outside of instincts. And for that freedom ‘I’ have to die. Full stop!
Then I can taste the sweet as-is-ness of the actual world, the as-is-ness of people, events and things. That ambrosial, magical, magnificent sweetness pulls me further and further into what looks like death on the side of ‘self’. But in the face of that delicious sweetness all objections slowly, slowly melt into insignificance...
Irene, if you don’t see it this way, then you will do something else with your life. If you don’t remember and rely upon your own peak-experiences because of what they implicate, then this is what you choose to do. Most other people I know would agree with you. But the actuality of my own sensuous experience is too obvious, too tempting, too delicious.
If you say you do not want to acknowledge or follow that taste of your peak experiences because Richard has experienced actual freedom first – a man in general and Richard in particular – then that is your personal objection. I have smelled, tasted, seen, heard, touched it so often myself, and so closely, that I am now obsessed with it ... the delicious is-ness of it all, because there is nobody inside is separate, who objects...
No other person than you has been able to make me so livid and repulsed, for a long, long time, Vineeto. Congratulations, and I don’t mean this facetiously at all; you unblocked me in my own personal ‘keeping up appearances’, where I was, strangely, still holding on to Richard’s ‘proof of being free’, namely his inability to recognise and express any feelings at all. As you know this is a well-known neurological or psychiatric disorder, called alexithymia. Richard himself has been quite open about this to whomever wants to listen to him and who is nevertheless drawn to emulate this for their own ‘peace’ of mind, calling him even ‘the most sane man ever lived...’
To expect an authentic and honest interaction with such a person – and you may very well be afflicted by the same deficiency yourself – is more stupid on behalf of me than anything else. It’s called bashing my head against the brick wall of my own misunderstanding, my stubborn persistence in seeing the beautiful potential in others and with that my reluctance in acknowledging their anti-natural tendencies because of their own fear and hubris, which show themselves anyway no matter how well covered over with flowery words and proud performance ...
I have found it incredibly helpful to have been so ‘woken up’ by you, so thank you for having been who you are, Vineeto. It leaves us now free to pursue our own respective ways. I wish you all the self-awareness you can muster ... Irene
VINEETO: I am glad to hear that what I was – whatever that was – has been the trigger for your ‘waking up to more vividness’ if I understand you rightly. I can relate to your description when I remember the great liberating experiences when a held-back or not noticed emotion in me finally broke through and was acknowledged.
And then there is this issue of alexithymia that I would like to talk about and explore with you. You said,
IRENE: ... Richard’s ‘proof of being free’ [is] namely his inability to recognise and express any feelings at all. As you know this is a well-known neurological or psychiatric disorder, called alexithymia.
VINEETO: Nevertheless, it seems to me that what psychiatrists call alexithymia is an incapability of someone to cope with certain or all his/her emotions and therefore he/she has a neurological reaction in the nervous system that shuts up the feeling faculty altogether. I would put that into the category of extreme repression, beyond the reach of consciousness. While Richard says about his condition:
Actual freedom for me means that I investigate and in this way eliminate the cause and the source of emotions – be they personal, self-centred or universal – and after removing the cause they simply don’t occur any more. For instance insult: it was one of the first things I learned when meeting you and Richard, that one can choose to become un-insult-able. This possibility appealed very much to me from the very beginning. What an awful hindrance for communications it has always been for me when I would get insulted by what someone said, and then I could not continue talking to that person. Then I was the one who was suffering because of feeling insulted, resentful and lonely on top of it.
Irene, there is no hidden agenda in my story. I simply want to explain why I began to consider it a good idea to get rid of emotional reactions. Feeling insulted is only one example of all the disturbing emotions that not only made a peaceful life with men and women difficult and in the long run impossible. First, of course, I only considered to get rid of the bad emotions, later I saw that they all hang together in one piece. ‘Getting rid of’ for me means that whenever I came across a hiccup – in the beginning it was mostly triggered by Peter – I would try and find out the hidden agenda of this particular emotion. Maybe this is all old chocolate for you, but this ‘getting rid of’ has so often been misunderstood as repression. I am definitely not a proposer of repressing any emotions, I have done that long enough and achieved no peace whatsoever by it. All the feelings pop up one day anyway.
In sannyas I have experimented with expressing emotions. Lots of therapy-groups, seven times I was a helper in the ‘Anti-Fischer-Hoffman-Process’, an intense de-conditioning for childhood issues. I went into the group again and again, fascinated by the tantamount and variety of emotion that each participant was capable of producing. Therapy works for a while, it produces great highs, you certainly know similar highs from groups you have done. But observing over a longer period of time I could see that one trigger for emotions was thrown out but soon, on that seemingly empty ground, there grew some other emotions, maybe they got dressed up with a different story because the root cause had not been removed.
Especially after the first AFH-group this was very obvious for me. After a process of ten days expressing first hate and fear, then love and forgivingness, I was left rather confusingly empty of applicable behaviour how to relate. But that changed quickly within a week or two. I had not questioned or removed the beliefs of who I thought and felt I was. I had only changed some fears related to my parents. But, for instance, all other authority-issues had remained. It never occurred to me then that I could question the very act of believing itself!
I know what you mean when you talk about the vividness of a strong emotion, high voltage and an intense feeling of being more alive than ever. But I also remember experiencing the painful clamp of being possessed when in raging anger, the gnawing tortured need in jealousy, and desperation and hopelessness in deep grief. I prefer to be fully alive without this kind of intensity. How is it for you?
VINEETO to No 5: I am enjoying our discussion about investigating emotions.
I can say that I am quite an expert on experiential therapy, since I have done many New Age therapies, beginning in 1978. I started with Arthur Janov’s primal scream groups and later continued therapy in Poona doing all there was on offer – encounter, Tantra, Reichian bio-energetics, Hypnosis and the Fischer-Hoffmann-process. I not only participated in the last mentioned group, called the ‘AFH’ in Poona, but repeated it as an assistant six times. It is an intense kind of primal group, focussing on negative feelings from childhood, however far back one can extract or concoct a memory, acting out any ‘anger’ and ‘past hurts’ to the point of exhaustion and then forgiving one’s ‘poor ignorant’ parents.
Nobody seemed to be bothered that this group, like all therapy, is purely staged in the imaginary world of past emotional memories, where facts don’t really matter, as long as ‘valuable’ emotions are expressed – ‘vented’ – and then transformed into love and forgiveness. There is neither concern if these events really happened nor is there evidence that those supposedly transformed emotions are improving one’s everyday life. Consequently, after the group-high wanes, one is back to the troubles of daily life and is left yearning for another emoting experience. One is, in fact, often enticed into even more expressing or emoting in order to feel alive and to feel the calm and ‘peacefulness’ afterwards.
The aim of those primal therapies is to make the individual feel better, temporarily relieved from the excess of accumulated emotions. The aim is not to permanently get rid of anger, sadness, fear and malice or how to live in peace with one’s fellow human beings.
I certainly learned how to notice and/or create emotions, sometimes shifting them from feeling sad to feeling angry, to feeling loving, to feeling lonely – whatever I unconsciously believed appropriate in the moment. But this apparent ‘control’ did not enable me to live my life peacefully, it did not eliminate hate, jealousy, loneliness, anger, resentment, neediness, despair and depression. On the contrary, because I had spent so much of my time in a therapy-environment, a big part of my identity thrived on having emotions, thinking about them, feeling them, expressing them and justifying them with all kinds of NDA-beliefs like astrology, chakras, the ‘mood of the day’, numerology and such nonsense. Looking back on what practical improvement therapy has contributed to my life, I see that it has been nothing but moving furniture on the Titanic, i.e. fiddling with bits while the main problem, the ‘self’, stayed alive and kicking. In fact, the ‘self’ gets even more strengthened by boosting one’s emotional identity.
RESPONDENT: However, since that time I’ve had several experiences of overwhelming negativity. Twice I woke up out of a dead sleep, and with none of my usual distracting devices activated, I was just swallowed up by it. The experiences seem to combine fear, anger, dread, depression, just about every negativity one could experience – all at once. I find I’m just in it and feeling it and can’t even find my way to the bottom of it, or a resolution to it. The process that you and Peter describe seems a lot more cheery than this. Of course, everyone does things differently. I’m not freaked out by this, but I don’t know that I am making any ‘progress’ with it. By this I mean getting to the bottom of the whirlwind of feeling and saying, Ah, that’s what that is.
Would appreciate comments.
VINEETO: The beginning period of my exploring and applying actualism was not so cheery – on the contrary, there were bewildering, anxious, fearful, very confusing and sometimes dreadful episodes, particularly in the time when I was struggling to get disentangled from the spiritual world. You can find a description of our experiences of the first year in ‘Peter’s Journal’ and in ‘Vineeto’s Bit’ on the Actualism web site. On the path to Actual Freedom I needed to backtrack, unlearn the ‘watcher’ and abolish my spiritual identity in order to be able to start dismantling what had been left behind, unexamined and untouched, when the spiritual process of distancing and dissociation began.
The approach to feelings, emotions and instinctual passions in Actual Freedom is distinctively different to therapy or spiritual practice insofar that I not only experience the feeling and label it, but I also explore the very cause that makes me feel this way. What triggered it?, did someone say something to me?, what particular fear is triggered?, what is the connection to what I believe to be right or true or good?, what is the underlying moral or ethical connotation?, what guilt, shame or taboo have I transgressed?, what would actually happen, if I explore further?, which part of my identity is threatened?, how do ‘I’ function?, what are ‘my’ tricks? ... there were a hundred-and-one questions to be explored before I would get to the bottom of ‘me’ and see my identity in operation.
It is always a great opportunity when ‘fear, anger, dread, depression’ are coming to the surface by themselves. This is not just ‘negativity’ to be suffered through, this is the very stuff that underlies the ‘good’ feelings and that forms the basis of the Human Condition. This is the identity in action – and only an identity in action can be investigated. Progress for me happened when I had found the core belief or instinct of a particular feeling – ‘ah, that’s the underlying belief, oh dear, but that’s who ‘I’ am, oh dear...’ Some ‘eradications’ of feelings and beliefs felt like major heart operations until I grew used to remembering that they are nothing but feelings, experienced like a life-threatening procedure, felt as very real but never actual. The ‘operations’ did not leave any scars, neither emotional nor physical.
Doubts about the path, the actualism method and if I was going in the right direction were often insidiously persistent. I had to tackle my doubts by meticulously investigating the facts, weighing the actual situation against my, often overwhelming, feelings and inquire into the root of my occurring emotions and feelings. Eventually I recognized doubt as a cover for fear itself, the fear to move closer and closer to extinction. The trick to encounter fear is to look for the thrilling part in the experience, which might be tiny at the start, the little YES in the cloud of angst, and then one can surf the wave of thrill beyond one’s boundaries of what is considered familiar and safe.
What helped me a lot through all the weird and sometimes daunting experiences on the path was the pioneering spirit and the ambition to write down and report what I found out on this utterly new, first-time-in-history, adventure. Being a reporter as well as experiencing what happened increased my attentiveness and prevented me from both indulging in emotions for indulgence sake and from ‘keeping my distance’. I wanted to be able to describe the process as precisely and detailed as possible, and that very ambition has carried me through many strange adventures until the identity of the reporter itself became redundant. Writing down and reporting any of your experiences at this stage can be helpful for yourself and for others on this pioneering adventure.
RESPONDENT: I understand the part about neither expressing or repressing the emotions. As I stated above I’m trying to actually understand what it is to be intimate with the instincts. This may be what I have been calling the thing itself which is what’s left when I stay with the feeling without naming it.
VINEETO: ‘Neither expression or repression emotions’ is not a question of ‘not naming’ a feeling. I personally found it very important to name, distinguish, judge, discriminate, evaluate and investigate each feeling and what has triggered it, in order to get to the source of that feeling. The aim of the game is to replace feeling with actuality, belief with fact and discover ‘who’ one thinks and feels one is. In this way, more and more beliefs have evaporated into thin air as being simply silly and the accompanying feelings of fear, guilt, loyalty, worry, sorrow, etc. disappeared with them. It takes courage, persistence and bloody-mindedness to not only watch one’s affective feeling rise and fall, but to actually investigate and eliminate them. They constitute the major part of our identity, ‘who’ we feel we are.
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: This is great fun ... your turn, No 2 ...
RESPONDENT: This is not fun to me.
VINEETO: Since I finished this letter I have read your recent posts on the list and I appreciate your sincerity. I also understand now why this conversation is ‘not fun’ to you.
The spiritual solution to emotions and emotion-backed thoughts is to not label the feelings and thoughts, not judge them, stay with them and not attempt to make sense of their cause and source in order to practice ‘not-knowing’. In this way the spiritual seeker attempts to regain composure as quickly as possible and to resume the ‘not-knowing’ state of so-called innocence. In my experience this practice only worked for short periods of time until my cycle of emotional reactions kicked in again at the next similar occasion.
I was twigged by No. 1’s letter to write to her to report the success I had with a different kind of inquiry into emotions and instinctual passions whereby I clearly label the affective feeling by name and kind, trace it back to its trigger and then root around to work out why I felt the way I felt in the particular situation. Usually I would hit on some kind of belief, moral or ethic that was some aspect of my social identity – be it gender, racial, national, ideological, political, spiritual, professional, or belonging to a particular group – that I then investigated further. When brought to the light of awareness with the sincere intent to eliminate these facets of my identity they eventually disappeared out of my life. The next time the same situation arose that had made me angry or fearful or sad or frustrated, it was no longer aggravating or threatening, for that part of ‘me’, that part of my identity that automatically reacted, had been eliminated.
Now my interaction with people is fun, fair, considerate and delightful. What at first seemed to be an impossibility and too much of a challenge to sort out has now, after a considerable period of investigation, resulted in a change such that I am permanently relieved of the grip of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: I am perfectly clear that ‘me’ is at the core of it. When one is clear that this instinctual ‘me’ is at the core of it then are you saying that the only way to diminish it is through experiential understanding?
VINEETO: From my personal experience and from what others are reporting, only experiential understanding and deliberate action can diminish and eradicate ‘me’, because each single aspect of ‘me’ has to be brought to light, investigated and made redundant. The first thing for me was to decide to stop being malicious, whatever happens. For that I had to investigate the causes of my malicious feelings, whenever they occurred – otherwise stopping malice would have only resulted in repressing the feeling. The urge to feel and act malicious most often occurs when ‘I’, the identity, feel threatened, attacked, ignored, denigrated, misunderstood, etc. The social identity is nothing but an emotion-based image of ‘me’, learnt and developed since childhood which overlays the animal instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: I understand this and realize that it may have nothing to do with you at all. The ‘old brain’ may be reacting to you who it perceives as a threat because of a childhood memory of an authority figure such as a parent.
VINEETO: Our memory is a curious thing. Scientists seem to have found out that the ‘old brain’ has its own separate memory of events, which are mainly emotional-only reactions of our psyche to factual events. Further, memory works in a way that we only recall the last time we remembered the event rather than remembering the original event and, as such, our memory is very unreliable. What I found when I cautiously asked my mother about certain events that I had remembered in a therapy session, my memory didn’t match with her report of the events. But because my memory was an emotionally valued memory, I held it to be true and refused to take on board her report of events.
I could probably say that for a few years I was a therapy-junkie, going through many groups in which I was emoting and expressing anger and sorrow, hitting imaginary parents in the form of pillows, only to start to feel love, forgiveness and compassion for them a few hours or days later. I could never work out why all this hard ‘transformational’ work never showed the desired result – to free me from my ongoing problems in relationships with people. I had maybe dented the authority of my parents but I had never questioned the reason for my need to divide other people into categories of higher and lower powers and then feeling and acting according to my categorization.
Only when I discovered Actual Freedom, and experienced that animal instinctual passions were at the core of my emotions, did I begin to understand why therapy didn’t work. Psychoanalysis is built on the false premise that our ‘unconscious’ emotional memories consist of repressed childhood memories. Analysts presume that by uncovering childhood memories all problems should be solved. Freud and his colleagues were completely unaware of the programming of the instinctual passions in every newborn baby which exist before parents and peers even begin to apply their influence and to add yet another layer – our moral and ethical values – to the program of the human psyche.
VINEETO: When I become aware of that identity by questioning the cause of my anger, resentment, bad mood, annoyance, etc., I can then become aware of the contents and program of this social identity – ‘me’ who I think and feel I am.
RESPONDENT: I am aware of this identity yet sometimes I still have no control over its automatic reactions.
VINEETO: Yes, control over automatic instinctual reactions through morals and ethics doesn’t work. Only eradication will do the trick.
VINEETO: Becoming aware of my multi-facetted identity bit by bit, combined with the clear intent to eradicate my malice and sorrow, allows me to diminish my feeling-fed social identity as each particular aspect is being explored and understood.
RESPONDENT: I understand the bit by bit part such as this incident with you. However, I am not sure about this approach, as it seems to be a never-ending process to explore each particular aspect of it.
VINEETO: My experience is that when I investigate a particular aspect of ‘me’ to the core the issue eventually disappears after a few months of thorough investigation – as happened in tracing my belief in authority back to the belief in some spurious ultimate protective and punitive universal ‘Energy’. I now stand on my own two feet and decide according to what is silly and what is sensible.
Linking an unwanted automatic behaviour or emotional reaction to a childhood memory is the traditional approach to looking at emotions but it doesn’t reveal the functioning of one’s instinctual program. But as you explore a particular emotional reaction and come to experientially understand how ‘you’ at your core is functioning in this particular aspect, then you will eventually see the switch to turn this function off.
For instance, once I know by experience that I am, like all human beings, instinctually programmed to automatically and instantly react in ‘self’-defence, then I can focus my awareness to this instant automatic reaction until ‘I get a foot in the door’, de-automatize my instinctual reaction, understand that it is silly to act that way, until it stops occurring by itself. But the exploration needs to be experiential – cognitive knowledge doesn’t scratch the surface. (...)
VINEETO: What makes this enterprise more challenging is the fact that the automatic survival program of the ‘self’ doesn’t easily reveal its secrets. It needs great determination and courage to persist and search beyond all kinds of ‘smoke-screens’ that ‘I’ produce in order to stay hidden and in existence. ‘I don’t feel it anymore’, ‘it’s not so bad after all’, ‘it wasn’t my fault’, ‘I have something important to do now’ – there are literally hundreds of schemes to evade oneself – this is all part of the same discovery game.
RESPONDENT: This could be happening now as I can’t really see a complete resolution of it through the process you have described. It seems that since I see that the instinctual ‘me’ is at the bottom of it that it could be ended by seeing the fact of this. What has helped in this case with you is that I am not blaming you and I fully realize that ‘I’ am responsible for my own malice and sorrow and that it has nothing to do with you personally.
VINEETO: This realization that no-one else is to blame for one’s feelings is the 180 degree turn away from one’s first instinctual defensive reaction, and it will give you the necessary momentum for further exploring the upcoming issues. What I noticed was when I stopped blaming other people or the weather or the situation for my moods and actions, the ‘heat’ of my emotions had nowhere to go. Literally sitting on a bombshell of emotional energy I could then put this energy into exploring first the trigger and then the underlying cause of my feelings or emotions and thoroughly investigate my moral and ethical beliefs that act to cover up the raw instinctual passions. I uncovered a lot of taboos and moral and ethical considerations that I first had to explore and remove before I experienced the underlying bare instincts soaring to the surface.
There is no instant ‘seeing’ as a main switch for the program of animal instinctual passions as far as I know. But whatever ‘switch’ you have turned through experiential investigation is a reliable step closer to being happy and harmless.
Does anyone understand what he is saying here? Theories and opinions are also ok. Maybe we can come up with something. If anyone out there does understand this I would appreciate it if you would tell me about it. I am listening.
VINEETO: In my experience, what UG Krishnamurti is talking about is that there is a psychic web, consisting of the thoughts, feelings and passions of all human beings. Some people are more sensitive to picking up these types of feelings than others, be they euphoria, excitement, empathy, sadness, anger, revenge or fear, but everyone does this automatically to some extent.
RESPONDENT: He may be talking about psychic thoughts although he didn’t make that distinction. I guess that would explain his statement.
VINEETO: Yes, he used the term ‘common thought-sphere’ because he, like all other Eastern spiritual teachers, derives his wisdom from the philosophical tradition of Eastern teachings which fails to make the distinction between thinking and feeling.
I offered a different experience, a fresh viewpoint to the Eastern belief, which proposes it is thought only that is supposedly responsible for human misery and anguish, aggression and fear. In fact, the psychic world is a web of psychic feelings, not thoughts. What UG Krishnamurti is talking about is picking up psychic fear, psychic anger and collective euphoria, and this is most evident when a large group of people gather together. Mass hysteria, mass grief, mob riots, national fervour or patriotism, sporting crowds, religious/spiritual gatherings, etc., all attest to the overwhelming power of these common psychic feelings.
VINEETO: Although it is common belief, particularly on this list, that it is thoughts and conditioning which are the cause of the problems in the world, there is overwhelming anecdotal, empirical and personal observational evidence that it is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions that produce feelings, i.e. emotions-backed thoughts, of fear and aggression in each and every human being. Therefore, this ‘common thought-sphere’ that UG Krishnamurti speaks of is, in fact, a collective feeling-sphere.
RESPONDENT: If this is true that might explain our subconscious reactions in that the instincts are reacting to this collective feeling-sphere.
VINEETO: What is your personal observation and experience of your ‘subconscious reactions’ ‘reacting to this collective feeling-sphere’? Maybe you recall incidents where you had the distinct impression that the feelings you experienced were also feelings picked up from the people around you, either in a mass-event, an election campaign or in a gathering of friends where a sudden shift of atmosphere calls for you to shift your feelings about something so as to fall in line with the collective? There are many more examples where one can observe ‘ this collective feeling-sphere ’ in action, if only one shifts the focus of attention and awareness from a thoughts-only perspective to one’s feelings and emotions.
RESPONDENT: However, my most recent personal observational evidence is that thought does control the instincts.
VINEETO: Indeed. The only way up to now has been thinking and acting in accordance with a strict moral and ethical code in order to control one’s instinctual passions. These morals and ethics are socially and spiritually conditioned thoughts, underpinned by peer instilled feelings of guilt, fear and shame – ‘this is good’, ‘this is bad’, ‘this is right’, ‘this is wrong’, ‘you are bad’, ‘you are wrong’, ‘you will go to hell’. This straight-jacketed restraint and training is so strong that one can control one’s instincts to a certain degree, until push comes to shove and control is temporarily lost – a flare of anger, a sexual flash at the ‘wrong’ moment, an overwhelming fear, a feeling of desperation ... everybody knows those moments when control is lost or overcome or even in some cases readily abandoned.
RESPONDENT: This could be related to the ‘switch’ that you previously mentioned.
VINEETO: I had said –
In order to find the ‘switch’ to permanently rid oneself of a particular emotional reaction one needs to first become aware of it in order to explore the origin of this reaction. That origin is very often related to one’s social identity like national pride, gender identity, religious, spiritual or philosophical viewpoints, belonging to a family, a professional self-image, etc, etc. Finding the source of one’s emotional behaviour, i.e. finding the part of identity that is related to this particular emotional behaviour, is not merely a thought activity, one will have to conduct an experiential dig into the psyche, a ‘feeling it out’ while being aware of one’s feelings at the same time. A control via thought will repress (stop) the instinctual reaction for the time being and thus avoid its investigation and prevent one from eliminating the cause of the reaction.
VINEETO: All sentient beings, to a greater or lesser extent, are connected via this feeling-sphere or psychic web ... a network of energies or currents that range from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ and from the Divine to the Diabolical. When ‘you’, the ‘self’, actively practice expanding from a personal consciousness into the collective consciousness, those vibes, energies or currents are more clearly and distinctly noticed and the instinctual battle for survival is then fought on another, ‘higher’ and grander scale. With apperception, the brain’s ability of being aware of being conscious, one becomes aware of the folly of this collective consciousness and one becomes aware of the psychic powers and grand feelings that are wielded by the gurus as part and parcel of this collective consciousness. In that clear awareness of the nature of collective consciousness itself one is then able to step outside of this psychic web, outside of humanity. Only by stepping outside of the psychic web or the common feeling-sphere is there complete freedom from emotion-backed thoughts.
RESPONDENT: Are you saying that the only way to step outside of this psychic web is to eliminate the instincts?
VINEETO: Yes. ‘Who I think and feel I am’ is a psychological and psychic entity. Unless this entity is totally eliminated one is forever trapped in this psychic web.
RESPONDENT: Are you saying that the instincts are what connect us to this psychic web?
VINEETO: Yes. All human beings have the same set of animal instinctual passions, the survival instincts. The core of these passions is the instinctive psychic self – who we feel we really are, deep down inside.
RESPONDENT: This could be true but also could be illusion.
VINEETO: I am reporting ‘personal observational evidence’ and the evidence of other pioneers who have explored and investigated their emotions and instinctual passions. The only way for you to find out how the psychic web functions, is to experiment and gather ‘personal observational evidence’.
The psychic web is an illusion in the sense that it is not actual as in tangible, audible, visible, etc. But it is very, very real for every human being, evidenced by the unmistakable grip that emotions and instinctual passions have on people and on humanity as a whole. Unless one becomes aware of the psychic web’s functioning in oneself this illusion is one’s everyday reality.
Yesterday I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and found it an excellent example of the psychic web in action. A band of 2000 musicians from all over the world was playing, all nationalities wearing an identical blue-red-beige uniform, everyone marching in exact formations while playing the various national hymns from all over the world. The audience’s spirit was soaring high, cheers and tears, overwhelmed by the feeling of ‘we are all one’, ‘we are the world’, feeling unity, glory, bliss and love. It is amazing how simple methods – heart-stirring music, uniforms and people marching in formations – can cast an effective spell on the collective human psyche.
However, the feeling of ‘unity’ immediately dispersed as soon as the athletes of all the countries started marching into the stadium wearing their national costumes, under individual flags . Then the psychic scene changed, the feeling was now of individual national pride. Each nation was now separate from the other and soon each athlete will be competing against the others for the glory of their particular country and for their own personal fame. The feeling of Unity is but a short-lived feeling ... the psychic vibe changes readily when the music changes.
VINEETO: At root, fear may be the most basic of all passions, but one has nevertheless to work at peeling away all the outer layers in order to reveal the root and then be able to eliminate it.
RESPONDENT: I have been peeling away the outer layers for a long time. How are you saying the root is to be eliminated once it has been revealed? That is what I am trying to get at.
VINEETO: I fully go along with Richard’s experience, as it accords with my own pure consciousness experiences – ‘only elimination will do the trick’, elimination of ‘me’.
The ‘outer layers’ consist of feelings like greed, sorrow, grief, loneliness, jealousy, loyalty, love, compassion, belonging, worry, discontentment, resentment, annoyance, anger, retribution, cynicism and pride. As you investigate each of those feelings when it arises, those feelings will incrementally disappear along with the bit of ‘you’ who feels and feeds those feelings. In my case, when my love and loyalty for my spiritual teacher disappeared, Vineeto the spiritualist also disappeared, when my pining for another’s love disappeared, Vineeto the romantic dreamer disappeared as well. With every aspect of the human condition that I fully and experientially understood, a bit more of ‘me’ disappeared. This is how you can tell that your method of ‘peeling away the outer layers’ works.
Once you have ‘revealed’ the root of a particular feeling in its totality, i.e. once you brought into the bright light of awareness, then that complete exposure and experiential understanding is at the same time the elimination of that feeling. If a feeling has not disappeared, then it has not been totally understood in all its aspects, and you then have another opportunity to look at it and examine it. Given that ‘I’ am all I think and feel myself to be, then the day I understand all of my emotions and instinctual passions in their totality, ‘I’ will disappear forever, never to return.
RESPONDENT: In the current situation, I don’t think it started out because of greed. It involved another person who pulled a switch on me and so the situation changed and I lost control of the situation and no longer could keep it small as I had done. I think greed is involved now because I don’t simply want to pull up stakes because of what someone else has done.
VINEETO: As long as you lay the blame for your feelings on someone else, your happiness will always be conditional upon what others say and do. If you want to become free from feelings such as fear, resentment, anger, sadness and uncertainty you have to recognize and acknowledge that the source of all of your feelings is in you and as such it is in your hands to change.
RESPONDENT: When others are involved we can’t always know it will inevitably lead to disappointment and sorrow because our decisions could be based on a lie that they are telling us for example.
VINEETO: Unless you live on an uninhabited island, ‘others’ will always be involved in your life. As an actualist I never ever blame anybody else for being the cause of my feelings. This enables me to focus my exploration on the real cause of my malice and sorrow – the social-instinctual programming that is inherent to every human being on the planet.
If you decide to set your sights on becoming happy and harmless, as opposed to hoping to become fearless, you will then have the intent to do something about freeing yourself of debilitating recurring feelings such as ‘disappointment and sorrow’. By doing so you will experientially realize when, how and why such feelings impede your enjoyment of this, the only moment you can experience being alive. Unless you make this life-changing decision, feelings of disappointment and sorrow will inevitably continue. (...)
RESPONDENT: If I run from every sticky situation or jam that I get myself in then I don’t see how I am going to make progress toward eliminating the ‘me’ that is causing the fear. As you said above I was in a similar situation some 18 months ago and it has come up again although the current situation is much more dangerous and could have much more dire consequences.
VINEETO: If you examine the situation you find yourself in then you might notice that it was greed that brought you into this situation in the first place and it is greed that keeps you in a situation that ‘is much more dangerous and could have much more dire consequences’.
RESPONDENT: As I explained above it wasn’t greed that brought me into it but another person who basically conned me and now the situation is out of my control. However, I think it is greed that keeps me from pulling out altogether.
VINEETO: The ‘person who basically conned’ you only activated your social-instinctual programming, which is continuously operating in you. Anybody and anything can trigger this programming to flare up at anytime, but it is up to you to become aware of it and do something about it.
To expect others to change to suit ‘you’, or to require that events be always advantageous to ‘you’ in order that ‘you’ should not feel the feelings you don’t want to feel is to waste your life waiting for a miracle.
VINEETO: If you examine the situation you find yourself in then you might notice that it was greed that brought you into this situation in the first place and it is greed that keeps you in a situation that ‘is much more dangerous and could have much more dire consequences’. Vis –
If you want to ‘make progress toward eliminating the ‘me’ that is causing the fear’ you will have to take into account that greed is as much an instinctual passion that constitutes ‘me’ as fear is.
RESPONDENT: I’m not sure about greed being ‘as much an instinctual passion that constitutes ‘me’ as fear is.’ I haven’t heard about greed being an instinctual passion before. It seems to me that greed arises out of fear and also that greed causes fear.
VINEETO: The instinctual passions are one single operating program whose basic function is to ensure the survival of the species and this single program has various salient aspects to it – the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire (aka greed). This instinctual programming can only be understood – and eliminated – as a whole, it cannot be eliminated in part. Any attempt to single out one passion while ignoring the rest can only lead to selective denial and dissociation – you will find many descriptions of, and teachings for, such practice in esoteric bookshops all over the world.
VINEETO: If you want to ‘make progress’ then you need to make the same progress ‘toward eliminating the ‘me’ that is causing’ the greed.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I see that greed needs to be eliminated also.
VINEETO: If I have got it right, thus far you see the need to eliminate the instinctual passions of fear and desire from your life in order to more enjoy being here. Should you also come to see, by observation, that it would be good to get rid of the instinctual passions of nurture and aggression as well, you may well find that you will become interested in becoming happy and harmless.
VINEETO: The way I made ‘progress toward eliminating the ‘me’ that is causing the fear’ was that I stopped trying to suppress, sublimate or eliminate my unwanted feelings, and hoping for a world as-I-wanted-it-to-be as I had in my spiritual years, and set my goal in life at being happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are. I made the effort to become aware of my beliefs and my good and bad feelings when and as they were happening and I emphasized my felicitous feelings to the point that I could actually begin to enjoy be here for the first time in my life. With resentment gone from my life I found that I stopped blaming others for my moods and stopped using them as an excuse for my malice, which meant that I also found myself becoming more benign.
Becoming aware of what I feel and believe each moment again gives me the option of making a choice each moment again – away from automatically opting for actions determined by my instinctual programming (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) towards a sensible and intelligent decision as to how to avoid dangerous or stressful situations, and how to be at ease and enjoy life so as to be more happy and to be more harmonious with other people.
RESPONDENT: Yes, this makes sense but as I pointed out above sometimes when we are involved with other people we get into situations that are out of our control and sometimes unforeseen things happen.
VINEETO: The challenge for an actualist is to be unconditionally happy and harmless and that includes all involvements with other people and all ‘unforeseen things’ that happen.
RESPONDENT: You said above ‘And once I stopped doing what caused me to feel sorrowful, then the fear of this sorrow re-occurring also disappeared.’ I am not sure about this because stopping what causes fear in a given situation is not going to eliminate the fear from reoccurring. It will stop the current fear in the current situation but it won’t end fear (‘me’). This sounds more like an avoidance of fear (‘me’).
VINEETO: We’ve been at this point before. If I may remind you of the discussion in question –
RESPONDENT: Ok, this makes some sense and I have started doing this since I talked to you last. I have used the fear to start reducing the risk of actual danger or loss. I still don’t see how this is going to permanently eliminate fear from re-occuring but I will keep looking at it.
VINEETO: You cannot eliminate fearful feelings just because it seems like a good idea. In order to free yourself from the genetically encoded survival program you will need an altruistic goal – an aim in life that gives you the non-‘self’-oriented perspective you need in order to dare to radically change. Without an altruistic goal you will go round in circles, trying this method and that teaching, this technique and that medicine without ever evincing any change at the core of your ‘being’.
As an actualist I want to become unconditionally happy and harmless, knowing full well that achieving this goal will be the end of ‘me’. Because I have a clear direction I can apply the actualism method with success – whenever I am not happy, as in feeling fearful, worried, anxious or sad, I immediately explore what prevents me from being happy and do whatever it takes to return to feeling happy as soon as possible. Similarly, whenever I am not harmless, as in feeling annoyed, angry, resentful or unkind, I immediately explore what prevents me from being harmless and do whatever it takes to return to being harmless as soon as possible.
RESPONDENT: This seems in contradiction to what you said above and this is more in line with what I was talking about by confronting my fears. This is what I meant by not running from it.
VINEETO: It all depends what is your goal. If you want to be happy and harmless then stopping doing whatever it is that you are doing that is triggering your fearful feelings is an eminently sensible thing to do. However, if your aim is to be fearless, then you will choose to face dangers, battle it out and take all the risks you see fit in order to achieve your goal. Then, of course, you would see reducing risks by avoiding fearful situations as merely ‘running from it’.
RESPONDENT: Yes, this is understandable. The other passions must be investigated also but I still say that fear is the most dominant.
VINEETO: Fear may seem ‘the most dominant’ because it is the passion you avidly want to loose. The other passions that give rise to the overarching human feelings of malice and sorrow might be just as dominant in you life but they seem to be of less concern to you, for whatever reason. (...)
RESPONDENT: PS: As I said above, what’s keeping me from stopping is ‘I’ don’t want to stop. ‘I’ want to keep doing what I am doing without the fear and worry. Iow, I want to have my cake and eat it too.
VINEETO: Yes, you are making it very clear that you’re not aiming for eliminating ‘me’ but you want remain an identity without the inconvenient painful side effects, namely worry and fear – in other words, you do not want to change.
RESPONDENT: It’s not that I do not want to change. On the contrary, I am simply stating the fact so that I can deal with it.
VINEETO: That’s where you and I are chalk and cheese – you want to find a way of fearlessly dealing with your feelings of malice and sorrow whereas I passionately want to become free of them.
VINEETO: Given that even enlightened people do not manage to eliminate anger and anguish – they merely disguise and designate it as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ – I do wonder what plans you have and what method you want to use in order to accomplish your aim of having ‘the cake and eat it too’?
RESPONDENT: Having my cake and eat it too is only a saying describing what I have been doing. Obviously I can’t have my cake and eat it too and that is not my aim. I have been using an old method that I used in the 70’s which has been working.
VINEETO: You say
and you also say that
Putting the two statements together, it reads that your ‘old method’ from the 70’s is ‘having my cake and eat it too’.
Yet despite the fact that you say your ‘old method’ ‘has been working’ you started this thread with –
It seems that ‘your old method’ is not working after all if something is still missing for you. .
VINEETO: In other words, I made a deliberate decision to uncover my beliefs in order to abandon them, beliefs that were disguised as truths, held by me as well as my peer group to be valid and right, good and fair. What made them appear to be right and true were not only my own passionate feelings but the fact that others around me also felt them to be true.
Given that beliefs are nothing other than emotion-backed thoughts the task to uncover my beliefs was fairly easy in principle – whenever I got upset about what someone said I could then reasonably assume that one of my dearly held beliefs or values was challenged. In practice, however, it was often not so easy because each belief I uncovered in fact challenged the very person I felt myself to be.
So, the answer to your question ‘what’s left when all beliefs and ideas including the spiritual is abandoned?’ in my experience was that what is left is the feeler. Consequently I then began to investigate the feelings that do not necessarily have beliefs attached to them but that nevertheless stand in the way of me being unconditionally happy and harmless – the necessary prerequisite to becoming free from one’s ‘self’ altogether.
RESPONDENT: How did you investigate those feelings and link the identity to them?
VINEETO: How to link the identity to my feelings? That’s easy – the pure consciousness experience makes it undeniably clear that ‘I’, the social and instinctual identity, am a feeling identity … therefore any affective feeling is always an articulation of one’s identity in action. Even if one does not have a clear memory of having had a PCE, the simple act of being attentive experientially reveals that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.
When I began to pay exclusive attention to this moment of being alive I soon became aware that my social and instinctual identity thrives on gloomy and antagonistic feelings as well as loving and compassionate feelings whereas feeling happy and delighted deprives the identity of its nourishment. Hence Richard’s method to minimize both the good and the bad feelings while activating and enhancing the felicitous/ innocuous feelings made imminent sense.
This method is not to be confused with the spiritual method of not identifying or not associating with one’s feelings and thoughts – as in the Buddhist practice of detachment – as this practice only serves to create a new pseudo identity, an identity who actively dis-identifies from unwanted aspects of one’s old identity. In actualism I readily acknowledge that ‘I’ in toto am the problem and then proceed to facilitate ‘my’ demise.
As for ‘how did you investigate those feelings’, i.e. those feelings that don’t necessarily have beliefs attached to them – I found that there was no need to make a distinction between feelings with beliefs and feelings without beliefs. Given that my aim is to eliminate ‘me’, the identity, in toto, any feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless is acknowledged, felt and labelled as it arises, neither expressed nor suppressed but attentively observed, in order that I can then either nip it in the bud or, if need be, explore and understand it fully so as to then be able to abandon it.
Feelings connected with beliefs inevitably surfaced whenever the particular belief was challenged. The only way to completely disempower the feelings is to abandon the belief – no belief, no need to feel defensive, feel aggrieved, feel the need to attack and so on. Even when I thought I had eliminated my major beliefs, such as my religious and spiritual beliefs, I would nevertheless discover yet more beliefs that I had inadvertently taken on board and these beliefs made themselves apparent by the fact that I got upset or sad or irritated about what someone said or did.
Undertaking an exploration of one’s own feelings when and as they are occurring – becoming fascinated with the business of being alive – is the means to developing apperceptive awareness, a prerequisite to becoming free of the human condition itself.
VINEETO: 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: What I’m looking at now is should I even talk to you at all? That doesn’t seem like a good alternative to me because the world is full of people who are not honest including me sometimes. I know that I can just not read what you write and not talk to you and I can go on feeling good and everything will be alright. However, this seems like avoidance to me. Every time I have tried discussing anything with you it has turned into a nightmare with me being made wrong just as you have done this time. Should I just talk to you and treat it as a joke or should I even talk to you at all? Neither one of those alternatives seem right either. Just thinking about sending this is stirring up my feeler so why should I? I guess because I want to eliminate this feeler and looking at it seems better than avoiding it. I’ve tried to pinpoint what it is and hate seems as close as I can get although I’m thinking that there is fear underneath it. What am I afraid of? Authority comes to mind. You obviously wield authority here and you obviously have Richard and Peter on your side so what kind of fair shake can I get going up against the Actual Freedom Trust?
Also, you assume a teacher role and you aren’t even honest and don’t know what you are talking about so we can’t just talk as equals because you pretend that you are above me and know more than me when deep down I really think that you are no more than a lying idiot.
VINEETO: I must admit I was puzzled as to why you would inform me of the above as these are your feelings and only you can deal with them. The only tentative sense I could make of it is that, given that this is the actual freedom mailing list, set up to talk about how to become free from the human condition, you may want some help as to what to do with these feelings that seem to occur in regular intervals.
If you could put aside your notion that I am ‘no more than a lying idiot’ for a few minutes then I can tell you what I did – and what worked for me.
At the start of actualism I had to get off my spiritually-fed moral high horse and stop pointing the finger(s) at everyone else and blaming everyone else for my feelings and for what I thought was wrong in the world in order to single-pointedly focus my attention on the human condition *in me*. I had to rethink my notions of ‘right’ and ‘good’ and ‘fair’ because life if neither right nor good nor fair and ‘right’ and ‘good’ and ‘fair’ are simply human-made morals and ethics varying according to culture, religion, and oscillating according to fashion and circumstances. I also had to rigorously question what I considered to be ‘true’ and ‘correct’ because my ‘truths’ were almost all based on borrowed knowledge and the rest was based on instinctive intuition and affective memories.
I had to acknowledge that my anger was my anger, no matter who or what had caused it, that my sadness was my sadness no matter which sympathy or compassion for whom might have caused it or who/what had disappointed my expectations, that my desire was my desire no matter what situation or person had caused it to arise, that my fear was my fear regardless of who or what had triggered it. Needless to say that this focussing on ‘me’ also helped me to be rid of any feelings regarding authority as the insights gained from my PCEs allowed me to stand on my own two feet for the first time in my life so much so that I could easily learn from those I wanted to learn from and reject revered knowledge from others without being bothered by feelings of inferiority or pride – after all, feelings regarding authority are all but an ego-soul struggle for power and struggling for power is irrelevant when freedom from my own ‘self’ is at stake.
PS: What you call ‘you obviously wield authority here’ is simply me reporting what I found to be the case from my experience and what you call ‘you obviously have Richard and Peter on your side’ is simply that their experiences of actuality and their recognition of facts matches mine (mostly). Life is very, very simple when it is not stuffed up by one’s feelings.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.