Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO: As for eliminating instincts, I found that the method works as effectively for discovering, experiencing, investigating and eliminating instincts as it does for investigating the beliefs, morals, ethics and values that shape our social identity. Personally, I had to get rid of my moral, ethical and spiritual restrictions first, in order to be able to admit to, acknowledge and recognize the ‘gross’ instinctual passions that lie at the core of my ‘self’. First I had to question my ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, before I was able to recognize and investigate my own raw survival instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
RESPONDENT: My understanding of what you have said is to keep using the method and deal with issues as they come up. Although I have been working on beliefs and emotions for a long time this area of instincts is new to me so I don’t know exactly where I’m at with it. For instance, if I don’t name a feeling and stay with it there is an energy that seems to be in the area of the old brain. Is this an instinct that is producing this energy? How do I become intimate with the instincts?
VINEETO: Having been programmed first with the Christian and later with Eastern religious belief, the fact that humans are born with a set of instincts – and not born ‘innocent’ – has been quite a new discovery for me. Christians say that one is born with original sin because of Adam’s disobedience, and in a way they come close to the fact that without moral and ethical restraint, we humans behave no differently than wild animals, instinctually driven.
Slowly, slowly, after I removed the layers of moralistic and ethical values I could dare to acknowledge and experientially discover that ‘me’, at the very core, consists of nothing else but crude and cruel survival instincts – fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Discovering and seeing in action each of these instincts was an adventure by itself, thrilling, fascinating and very revealing into the human nature.
First one removes the ‘truths’, convictions, intuitions and feelings that were instilled in us to make us a fit member of society – a man, a woman, a wife, a husband, a scientist, a clerk, an American, a follower or a ‘true’ believer. And it is great fun to dismantle those identities and eventually become an anonymous nobody. Then, on honest investigation, you will be able to recognize these instinctual passions as ‘you’, all of ‘you’. It is not a matter of having an ‘ intimate ’ relationship with one’s instincts, but to acknowledge, feel and experience that ‘I’ am my instinctual passions, nothing else. ‘I’ am rotten to the very core.
That experiential acknowledgment that underlying one’s precious feelings are the animal instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, gives one the motivation and sincere intent to actively devote one’s life to irrevocably changing oneself.
VINEETO: I am joining in the discussion, as I had a thought about something you have written to Peter in your last letter –
RESPONDENT: I did get caught up in the urge of wanting it this week which I think could have been the desire instinct being activated. This very desire of wanting it was keeping me from enjoying the now moment.
VINEETO: One of the first things on the path to Actual Freedom which I had to investigate and eliminate was that hoary old spiritual belief that if only one stops wanting something, it will be granted by the Grace of Existence. After 17 years of spiritual search without results I was finally suspicious enough to question the very belief itself.
When I, for the sake of clarity, replaced the word ‘freedom’ with something material, like a car or money, it became blindingly obvious that by stopping to want it I would also prevent myself from getting it. When I ask myself the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and I get the answer that I am not happy because I am not 100% free, then the next question is how to proceed from here. I had to be careful not to deceive myself by thinking that I only have to stop the urge for freedom in order to be happy again as it only served to stop me right in my tracks, leaving me with nothing I could do to reach my goal except wait and hope.
What I do is to find out why I am not 100% happy with my present situation, what little feeling, or emotional churning there is that spoils this moment. Then it is not just ‘not-being-free’ that is bothering me but some particular feeling, some particular emotion about something that maybe happened an hour ago. This more specific component of ‘not-being-free’ can then be examined, investigated and removed without stifling the desire and intent for freedom, which is my fuel and guideline to keep asking the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, to keep investigating into how I experience the Human Condition in me.
There is definitely no short-cut to actual freedom by stopping to want freedom, and then bingo, you are ‘That’ – it is the other way round. I want actual freedom like I never wanted anything in my life, it is my one and only desire, it is that very desire that motivates me to dive into the ‘cupboard’ of my psyche, my identity, my feelings and passions over and over and over, to sweep out all the cobwebs that I can find. This desire fuels my intent and makes sure that I never dishonestly settle for second best, for an imaginary freedom instead of the genuine, actual, tangible article.
RESPONDENT: I am not accepting that I cannot change but I don’t know if I can change. This leaves the possibility open. I have awareness but pure intent and courage seem clouded by doubt.
VINEETO: Doubt is an interesting phenomenon. The other day I talked to a woman who confided in me that she was continuously tortured by doubt if she was doing the right thing. When I asked who it was she ultimately needed to please, she said, ‘my mother’. I was rather surprised – the woman has grown-up children herself and her mother has been dead for many, many years. When she asked what was my solution to doubt, I simply said that I follow my own – very high – standards and that doubts have disappeared out of my life.
I then realized that in order to follow my own standards of silly and sensible I first had to get rid of the emotional issue of authority, I had to investigate and abolish every belief in authority that had ruled my life until then, including the Almighty, All-knowing and punishing God. At the time, that was quite an amputation by itself! The other implication of following my own standards is that I am always ruthlessly honest, so when I find some feeling lurking beneath the seemingly smooth surface, I have to ‘get off my bum’, on to the couch to contemplate and root around until I have investigated the emotion in question.
My guiding light is the purity and perfection of the actual world experienced in a PCE and the way to live in the actual world permanently is to whittle away at the ‘self’ until it self-immolates. In the clarity of a pure consciousness experience I could see doubt for what it is – my ‘self’ scurrying for cover.
So again, intent and courage grow and multiply by taking action and gathering confidence from the ensuing success. One simply has to start somewhere – to merely think about possible victories and failures only feeds doubt. Courage only happens in the doing of the action, not before, and intent grows out of the determination not to settle for second best.
Of course, one can use the method also to do some minor adjustments to one’s social identity, clean out some bad habits, get rid of some particularly troubling problems and then stop further investigation. I know quite a few people who have done exactly that and who are now a little bit happier with their lives than before. The outcome is not Actual Freedom, but a little bit more sensibility, less gullibility and a little bit more freedom from one’s burdening social role-play.
It is purely a matter of what you want to do with your life.
Personally, I function differently. I can’t stop halfway down the road when I know what is possible. Whenever I have encountered fear, I also experience a stubborn bloody-mindedness that has initially surprised me. When I looked back on my life from where I drew the strength and courage to pursue I recognized that all my major turning points had to do with one desire – to be free. Freedom had different notions and definitions in the course of the years, but the desire to discover the best freedom possible always kept me going. Now that I know what I want and how to get there, any obstacle is turned into a challenge, a research and an adventure – the adventure of a lifetime.
VINEETO: Talking to Peter later on I realized that there is only one solution to any problem that occurs – only when I have enough of it am I ready to get out of it, I simply stop feeding the feeling and, bingo, the problem disappears with the bit of identity that had kept it in place. It might take a long time until one has had enough – and some people are obviously tough and stubborn sufferers – but once the limit is reached, a curious decision can be made and then it is only a matter of minutes to be free of the burdening feeling. If the understanding and decision is total, that feeling won’t come back. And then, one is able to make sensible responses to the situation, free of affective feelings.
RESPONDENT: If this is true then obviously I haven’t had enough. I am suffering right now.
VINEETO: Actual Freedom is not a miraculous event that will one day appear all by itself and then all suffering will be over. Actualism, the process to becoming actually free, is a verified method which provides one with the means and tools to investigate the nitty-gritty of the Human Condition in oneself and – when applied with persistence, sincerity, diligence and pure intent – one can successively and permanently free oneself from one’s social identity and then from one’s instinctual passions.
The first thing to investigate is one’s social identity. Unless one has freed oneself from the social mores and ethical rules, from the various role-models that we have learned and adopted throughout our life time it will be impossible to tackle the deeper layers of the instinctual passions. Richard has outlined the social identity in his last letter to No 13 –
RESPONDENT: I have been spiritual in my life but I am not spiritual now. Truth to me is what I am actually doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. I’m sorry if I have wasted your time. I will continue to look and see if I have any spirituality.
VINEETO: Personally, I was never attracted to J. Krishnamurti or his teachings as I considered them too dry and theoretical at the time of my spiritual involvement. Instead, I got sucked into the emotional indulgence and the escalating esoteric extravagance of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh. Yet the relationship that I had to him as my master differs not from the relationship that other followers have to their particular master – is it invariably epitomized by unquestioning adoration, deep felt loyalty, a love that excuses and defends the master’s every word or deed and the pride of being a disciple of such rare outstanding and powerful personality. Krishnamurti’s claim that he did not want to be a master nor want his followers to be devotees only created an apparent intellectual coolness but it never altered the fervent emotional ties that each of his followers had, and still has, with him. If you take the time and read through some of Richard’s correspondence with mailing list B you will quickly understand what I mean.
Before I could learn, explore or even consider that there was any new approach to life I had to question this highly emotional relationship to the one teacher that I had considered to be the only authority and fountain of wisdom. My worldview was coloured and measured against the authority of his words and teachings. If others stated similar views and ‘wisdoms’, I considered them right, if not, they were wrong. My judgements had nothing to do with my personal investigation of facts at all; it was solely a ‘feeling right’ decision according to my preconceived convictions solely derived from the master’s viewpoint – and the fact that he had been dead for 10 years did not change my emotional dependency on his authority at all.
An honest and in-depth investigation of the facts of the situation was only possible after I ‘tore Rajneesh out of my heart’, became a traitor to his message and his ‘sangha’ and thus became independent of his imagined approval or condemnation. Only then was I able to listen to his discourses and judge with my newly freed intelligence instead of ‘my heart’ and to discover his mindless twaddle and ‘compassionate lies’, his manipulation and deceit, his outright distortions and underlying ancient rotten Indian belief-system. Now I could start the long and fascinating journey of unravelling the intricate web of the psychic world – the Eastern spiritual fears of endless karma, the hope for transcendence, the reverence for intuition, love, compassion, bliss and enlightenment. Once one starts to see the psychic world and how it functions, the word ‘spiritual’ is revealed in its fuller and more comprehensive meaning.
You felt moved to defend your teacher the moment I quoted him in order to prove that he is concerned only with the spiritual and the divine and not with the actual. This reaction indicates where to look when you want to ‘see if [you] have any spirituality’. So in order to ‘continue to look and see if [you] have any spirituality’, you will first and foremost have to consider and investigate your affective relationship to your ‘previous’ teacher and teachings. Otherwise any factual discussion about what Krishnamurti said or meant will be distorted by the emotions that are instigating automatic instinctual (or, as LeDoux calls them, ‘quick and dirty’) reactions rather than considered intelligent responses.
RESPONDENT: For example, I have a pretty good experiential understanding of the role that instinctual passions play in perpetuating the human condition and here above you have declared that I don’t understand it at all. I think your lack of integrity and your attitude towards me has a lot to do with it. Anyway, I don’t wish to try and talk to you anymore.
VINEETO: The reason why you seem to fail to understand how I deal with fear is because actualism has a unique approach to dealing with the instinctual passions, in this case the instinctual passion of fear. Your interest and approach seems to be to come to an intellectual understanding of the instinctual passions, in particular fear, in order that ‘you’ can do what ‘you’ want to do without being bothered by the instinctual passions, whereas the aim in actualism is to eliminate one’s social and instinctual identity – and because one’s identity is the source and fuel for sustaining the instinctual passions they will then collapse of their own accord.
The experiential knowledge that I have gained both from numerous pure consciousness experiences and from applying the actualism method over several years is that the instinctual passions only become less powerful if the identity is weakened, i.e. attempting to remove the instinctual passions while not paying attention to the very identity that sustains them will only result in frustration, denial or dissociation.
In other words, actualism works by slowly whittling away at the root cause of the instinctual passions, not by tinkering with the effect.
For that reason I don’t need to know the exact details of the mechanics of the survival instincts, details which even biologist don’t agree upon. I only need to pay attention to my passionate identity in action and by bringing it out into the open my identity inevitably weakens and as a consequence the instinctual passions are progressively dis-empowered.
What you see as my ‘lack of integrity’ may simply be the result of this basic refusal to acknowledge that one’s social- instinctual identity is the root cause of the instinctual passions, and not merely an unwanted by-product of one’s identity. The only way to test whether what I am saying is correct is to find out for yourself by a process of self-observation, but given you have made plain that ‘I don’t want to be a died in the wool Actualist who practices Actualism’, you are apparently left with no other course than to question my integrity.
Integrity to me as an actualist means that I set myself the goal of becoming free from malice and sorrow and then I do whatever is needed to reach this goal. Since I began to apply the method of actualism I have come a fair way towards freedom from malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT to No. 27: I’m most probably here for the same reason everyone is, insatiable curiosity about the myriad ways the human condition reveals itself and to reinforce certain realisations dawning on human thought. <snip>
External thinking is their bag, they use it to intellectualise ad nauseam about there being no being, in or out, all the while waffling on about killing something dead as a dodo (with what? Your guess is as good as mine) a something I can’t for the life of me find ;-)
VINEETO: Have you tried naiveté yet? – the closest one can get to innocence from within the Human Condition.
You wrote your own answer as to what counts –
All your loquacious protestations cannot conceal the fact that you are merely playing with ‘springboards’ thereby carefully avoiding the necessary ‘experiential impact’.
Life is not a sick joke.
RESPONDENT: Typical that you don’t see your own garrulous ramblings Vineeto. Even for an actualist there’s no escaping, you are what you see in another. I’m a hypocrite, so can I spot my own ilk a mile away.
I found it particularly telling when you told Peter –
You say you notified your allies privately about yet another of your aliases? But you have told this list a long time ago that there is more to No 8 than meets the eye –
And to the readers of Mailing List B you played the same stunt, this time the other way round –
As a poker player you should know that it is better not to grin when you bluff, and better not forget what you have said yesterday or yesteryear – otherwise the bluff doesn’t work.
So now No 22 has called you M. No 8 (Monsieur) because of your private confiding and No 27 addressed you as ‘an insightful man’ and No 12 has indicated you are a female. I don’t think it makes any difference if you play your game as a male or a female identity by whatever name – it is still a flesh and blood body that types those words and reads these posts.
VINEETO: When you say ‘I’m a hypocrite, so can I spot my own ilk a mile away’ then your theoretical logic leads completely up the wrong alley.
Every human being is born with the propensity for deceit, in fact deceit is one of the four characteristics of the ‘theory of mind’ that develops in children by age four to four and a half. Typically, by this age children can basically (a) distinguish between physical and mental objects, (b) reason about ideas, (c) ascribe false knowing (beliefs) in others, (d) engage in pretence (deceive and cheat). Interestingly enough, it is this last point (deceit) which most of all signals the ‘theory of mind’ as having become established.
However, as long as one believes that deceit is the only way of life and that it is necessary and desirable to cultivate this trait then one is, by one’s own choice, blinded to the felicity/ innocuity of naiveté, sincerity and integrity.
Only someone who is longing for integrity, sincerity and innocence, someone who is sick and tired of being part of the deceit of the Human Condition, can recognize the quality of authenticity and integrity in someone else. One has to at least question the validity and necessity of continuing the falseness and yearn to become genuine in order to recognize the way out when it is presented.
RESPONDENT: But my hypocrisy doesn’t make silly childish cockeyed conclusions through cyberspace like:
... unless, unless, it’s trying to cover its own hypocritical ass and avoiding its own experiential impact by: making a living from a spiritual meditation workshop whilst looking down your nose because you believe their agenda is NOT! Peace on Earth and is instead contributing to all the wars, rapes, suicides, murders and child abuse etc., etc. on the earth. So much for actualising actualism huh?
I don’t quite understand where you see the hypocrisy. Being non-hypocritical in your terms could only result in one of the following options –
Honestly, I can’t see any sense in any of the four options, can you?
However, the situation is different on this mailing list, which is specifically set up as a forum in which to talk about and investigate every aspect of the Human Condition, all social-spiritual-religious conditioning as well as the animal instinctual passions everyone is born with.
When I told the story I was not ‘looking down [my] nose’ at the spiritual world, I was simply making a factual statement that people who are on the other-worldly spiritual path have great difficulty being happy in the market place – it is not their main focus in life.
You are once again aiming to shoot the messenger instead of looking at the content of the message. Do you know any spiritual belief that works? Do you know of any guru that has a peaceful, harmonious and equitable relationship with his or her partner? Do you see peace in a world of people who have followed ancient wisdom for thousands of years? Can you name any religion or spiritual belief that has peace on earth in this lifetime as this flesh-and-blood body on their agenda?
As a subscriber to this non-spiritual mailing list you will be confronted with inquiries into every kind of spiritual belief, with diligent investigation of facts, with personal anecdotal stories about what works and what does not work.
IRENE: It would be so helpful for both of you to listen to your own advice that you give to others, that is being honest with yourself. To notice and attack in others what you are too proud, unaware or dishonest of acknowledging in yourself is called projection ... a common feat of the human conditioning!
VINEETO: Again, I don’t know what you are referring to. I have never claimed, neither to Konrad nor to you, that I am completely free of the Human Condition, that I am completely free of emotion. I remember telling you that there are a few fear-attacks and I told Konrad, where he had triggered annoyance in me. Where do you see me being dishonest in acknowledging something in myself? I am acknowledging that the Human Condition exists within me and because of that I notice it in every human being. That’s why it is called the Human Condition – it applies to everybody. I, for my part, have chosen to do something about it, to eliminate it. Is there any other honesty? But, of course, it is completely up to you as how you choose to see me.
VINEETO: As for ‘the tiny trotting circuit that your mind currently runs in’ ...
When I look back on the circuits that I have run in my life, there have been quite a few tiny and large circles, that I have tried out on my search for freedom, peace and happiness. I have tried marriage and failed. I have tried communism and socialism to change the world politically and found it wanting badly. I have tried feminism and found it as malicious as macho-ism. I have tried humanistic therapy and found it going round in circles. Finally I ended up in Poona at the feet of a self-declared God to learn about the solution for a happy and harmless life – and that was quite a large circuit, round and round and round, endlessly listening to hypnotic religious philosophy, doing meditation, worship, spiritual therapy ... and after 17 years I was neither more happy nor more harmless than before, only more dissociated from the problems of the real world.
Then I met Richard and the third alternative and left the vast circuit of feelings and imagination, the endless web of the psychic world, the emotional security of the Sannyas tribe of friends and acquaintances – to explore the actual world in pure consciousness experiences and involve myself in honest investigation of all my beliefs to bring about actual peace. Now I have no affective friendships, there is only a very small circle of people I hang out with and I am completely disappearing from both the real world and the spiritual world – no ‘love, friendship and meaning’ – if you get my meaning.
Yet, what you call ‘the tiny trotting circuit that my mind currently runs in’ is the determination to leave humanity behind, to facilitate the extinction of my alien self in order to permanently experience what I had only glimpses of in numerous PCEs – the incomprehensible actual infinitude, the unthinkable magical perfection, the delicious sensuousness of the physical universe, infinite and eternal, happening here and now, each moment again, ever fresh and new, happening under our very noses. This vast infinitude of actuality is always available for those who dare to step beyond their ‘tiny trotting circuit’ of everyday normal life or of the imaginary other-world of spiritual life. (...)
VINEETO: As for ‘the Actual Intimacy that you are clearly beginning to find in your life’ –
There are no capital letters in the actual intimacy that I am talking about, for there is no god, no love and no affective imagination in my intimacy with others as it is actual, tangible, palpable and not subject to the whims of emotions. I have found the actuality of such direct intimacy and I am enjoying it hour for hour, day after day, so much so that I take it for granted now. I even have trouble comprehending why everybody obviously has this need to quarrel and fight, when they are together.
How about you? Has any of the workshops you are offering helped you to ‘move further into Actual Intimacy’? How is your relationship improving in practice by the ‘Art of Emotional Freedom’, taught by your friend Veeresh? After all, an offered solution to someone else can only be sincere and honest if one has tried it out for oneself and confirmed by one’s own experience that it works.
RESPONDENT: I see there are not a lot of people in this new actualism cult, so I do not wish for you to run away. Actualism needs you, and me; and I would like us each to remain a member of actualism; the reason being that I like religions because they give the members a chance to hang-out together and discuss things so that they get to understand each other. As someone once said ‘Isn’t it interesting to live in a world where we actually have to interact with each other in order to understand where the other is coming from’.
VINEETO: From this spiritual perspective of yours you are bound to interpret actualism as a ‘cult’, a ‘religion’, a ‘hang-out’ of ‘members’ ‘to get to understand each other’. Actualism is none of these things. It will take more than brief scanning and first impressions to understand this fact. It takes sincere interest and authentic effort, a discontentment with one’s present situation, guts and intent to find out that actualism is atheistic through and through, that everyone can only do it for themselves and that the only authority is one’s own pure consciousness experience. This mailing list is a ‘forum for discussion about an end to malice and sorrow forever and an actual freedom for all peoples’ who are genuinely and sincerely interested in peace-on-earth. Vis:
RESPONDENT: Is it easy for you to differentiate between the feeling of love and dependency and the sensation of fulfillment, freedom and happiness that comes when two people share intimacy?
VINEETO: (...) All in all, love produces almost visible psychic tentacles that engulf the other and make him or her a commodity of one’s own desire. After all, love is the expression of the instinctual passions of nurture and desire, packaged nicely into a possessive and exclusive concern for, and focus on, the other. What is usually considered ‘intimacy’ is most often the first honeymoon stage of love. ‘I’ love the other because he/she makes me happy, because ‘I’ feel less lost, lonely and frightened in his/her presence. ‘I’ care for him/her because he/she is the centre and hero / heroine of my dream and the moment ‘my’ hopes, needs, dreams and expectation are not fulfilled, love turns into disappointment, resentment, retreat or even hate.
You see, when one honestly investigates the so-called altruistic feelings of love, there is nothing altruistic about it. Love is utterly selfish and self-centred. Love prevents me from appreciating and meeting the other as a fellow human being because every feeling towards the other, positive or negative, makes me unable to perceive the other as an autonomous human being. Being in love, I create an all-pervasive affective image of the other, consisting of my hopes, needs, fears, dreams and expectations. Only by being an autonomous human being myself can I experience an actual intimacy with my fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT to Peter: Peter, just so you know you are not talking to thyself alone... here goes...
Have been taking your advice and reading heaps. I find that using the right words is important if one is to provide a glimpse of that which is authentically experienced in a PCE.
In my experience I can only attempt to convey a flavour, style or ambience of the ‘thing’ rather than the emotional or intellectually factual remembrance.
There being no thinker there is however an awareness remembered. As a teacher and youth worker for 15 years an on-going and vital part of the job description, for success, has meant relating and being understood. This has always been in the context of the goal-orientated workplace or conceptualised future context of some hypothetical future possibility.
Writing about the freshness and pristine, timeless sense of PCEs however is something else again.
Would love to hear of your PCE experiences and how they compare, now, to when you started experiencing the actual, (for the first times). Were they drug induced? I seem to remember you saying something like ‘they’ become more ‘like normal’, compared to spiritual, only without the problems?
This is my experience. The main difference, (in my dealings with others), is that few ‘want’ to understand because they have a vested interest in ‘being’... this life actually easier puts others more at ease or threatens their being, depending on my intentions at any given time. This is not being a teacher or youth worker. I am retired from helping others that want no help. One must want change to change. It is to some extent usually pointless to convey ‘my’ PCE experiences in general terms. I prefer rather to communicate and translate the real problems into actual solutions. This applied interaction makes for a fascinating ‘challenge’. A challenge where the talking is the talking and the talking is the challenge. This is what I am attempting to convey in my writings and talkings. I watch the whole interaction without being a watcher... I have no emotional or vested interest in that which is spoken.
VINEETO: I couldn’t help noticing that you appear to be using Actual Freedom as a clip-on to whatever else you believe and then aspire to convey this potpourri to others in ‘writings and talkings’. I got this impression from your writing:
VINEETO: You give the impression that you have had lots of PCEs and yet you say:
RESPONDENT to Peter: There being no thinker there is however an awareness remembered. [...]
I watch the whole interaction without being a watcher...
... timeless sense of PCEs ...
VINEETO: In a pure consciousness experience there is no ‘self’, neither beliefs, morals or ethics, nor any feeling identity, instinctual passion, or ‘self’-centred perception. One experiences the actual world as it is, perfect, blatantly obvious and magnificent. It has nothing to do with ‘there being no thinker’ or ‘watch ... without being a watcher’ or ‘timeless sense’ . These are spiritual terms, describing a spiritual experience.
If one has a pure consciousness experience one is not uncertain about the terms to describe this experience because when one steps out of one’s ‘self’ there is a startling and blindingly obvious difference to everyday fearful, ambitious, blinded and ‘self’-obsessed reality. For a short time one stands outside of the ‘real world’ and can see it without beliefs and passions. Richard, Peter, Alan and I have described various occasions which you can find under the Actual Freedom Trust Library page – PCE.
I am particular about this vital difference because if you call a spiritual experience a pure consciousness experience, then you will have no intention to ever search for a genuine PCE and you will pursue something in the name of Actual Freedom that is merely spiritual belief by another name. You indicated the reason for such ‘easy way out’ yourself:
This brings me to the next point that is absolutely essential if one ever wants to make a step on the path to Actual Freedom – pure intent. Without pure intent, and without the understanding that the only solution to the Human Condition in oneself is ‘self’-immolation, every attempt to catch a bit of happiness will remain polluted by one’s lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity.
For me, before I even considered to convey anything to anyone about actualism I dug deep inside myself, investigating every mood, feeling, emotion and passion that became apparent in my interaction with people, things and events. I examined every truth, belief, moral conviction and ethical certainty until I discovered the self-evident facts for myself and eventually got rid of the very act of believing itself. I questioned love, intuition, female conditioning and instinctual behaviour, my relationship to my peer group, my spiritual beliefs, my attitudes and feelings about authority, my old and new religious principles, my ideas about environmentalism, about politics, about right and wrong. My whole inner world was taken apart and eventually thrown out and often times it was not only an exciting and rewarding but also a scary and terrifying enterprise. But I had the honest intention to stop at nothing less than the undeniable actuality – I simply had had enough of all the beliefs, lies and self-deceptions that failed to make me both happy and harmless.
Actual Freedom is about changing oneself, not others, it is about honestly investigating oneself, not teaching others and it is about admitting to and finding the workings of the Human Condition in the only person one can do something about – oneself. Although one can mix any Eastern or Western belief or religion, for they are of the same ilk, a clip-on of Actual Freedom will never work. Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees opposite to any spiritual/ religious belief whatsoever.
VINEETO: Going ‘mad’ all by yourself is a giant task and I am full of admiration for your courage. I had, and have Peter, to go mad with together, so it did not seem so weird all the time. A bit like walking on your feet while everyone else is walking on their hands, getting blisters and headaches and finding it perfectly normal. It is weird. I think, from what I read, you are doing very well in your post office in good old England without even a dog to talk common sense with. Quite thrilling too, isn’t it?
ALAN: It certainly is thrilling and it would be good to share the experience with another. However, I have you, Richard and Peter to discuss these matters with and the knowledge that others have and are experiencing similar things gives me sufficient courage to continue. And after all, at the end of the day, everyone has to do this by themselves, for themselves – that’s what so great about it, no guru or ‘master’ for me, thank you very much! One advantage – I suspect I have had less difficulty severing the ‘relationship’ with my wife than you had with Peter?
VINEETO: Yes, everyone has to do it for themselves. I have met several people who read Peter’s book and say they are intrigued or fascinated – but they don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend to do it with, so what to do? I can understand the hesitation to take up such a task, but then it is everybody’s life. How can they make it dependant on a boyfriend or girlfriend! Would be more to the point to say: ‘It scares the shit out of me.’
I can’t say much about advantage or not, because the situation is different. My experience severing the relationship to my last boyfriend, which had not worked for years, was very different to being with Peter and taking my ‘self’ out of the living together. It took me a lot of determination and utter honesty, examining myself where I had hooks and ties still connected to him. My back-pressure was the thought: ‘What if he dies, what if he walks out on me tomorrow, will I be still happy and free?’ I did not want to wait until that happened to find out. So I ran that question again and again and found one bit of attachment after the other...
One time I remember clearly, the experience was like cutting a thick cord that appeared to run from the bottom of my spine to his, like a telephone cord of sharing delight. Afterwards it felt like my very bone marrow was being drained out of me, most of my strength, determination and will to ‘fight for freedom’. A very strange experience, I was almost physically curling back into my self and became autonomous, not relying on him. Any need for emotional support vanished with that event.
Also I was eager to challenge the spiritual belief that you can only become free ‘in your cave’, meditating on your own. One should transcend sex, transcend relationship and be completely alone, physically. That’s what they say... Well, I have proved them wrong. It is possible to become free living with a partner – it needs a lot of awareness and honesty. But that is what is needed anyway.
ALAN: Do you still experience PCEs?
VINEETO: I noticed that PCEs are different to the stunning delightful surprises in the beginning, which were full of tumbling realization, psychedelic-like experiences of my surroundings. They lately seem to be more rare and short minute-long flashes, just long enough to recognize the sparkle and the absence of ‘me’, before ‘I’ appear back on the scene. I put it down to the fear of the ‘real’ thing that might just ‘accidentally happen’ while ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, and also to the fact that my continuous persistent obsession with the final event is keeping fear close at hand and thus prevents the ‘extra sparkle’. Since you brought up the question I thought about it and figured that this fear is actually part of me keeping death at bay, as much as I may be convinced that I don’t do it – ‘I’ am verily lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning through and through.
But we have lots of very ordinary moments of living together, Peter doing his thing – being an architect or watching cricket or whatever else he takes pleasure in – and I do my thing – playing with pictures or on the website – and then we share lots of delightful pleasures of cooking, eating, a walk into town, a talk on the couch or a rompacious romp. These times seem so normal and ordinary that only in hindsight I recognize their innocence and particular taste of well-being. And then there are these moments, often hours of being excellent, but not quite experiencing a PCE, obsessed with the conundrum in my head of what is in the road of me disappearing. And while I am searching for and finding more and more blinding evidence that there is really, really no solution whatsoever within the boundaries of the ‘self’, there is this deliciously sweet and thrilling ‘taste or smell’ of the approaching inevitability, what Richard calls one’s destiny and I call ‘the proof of the pudding’. And, admittedly, that’s what I am more fascinated with than inducing a PCE.
In my exploration of what I can identify as ‘me’ I was wondering what made me feel guilty, impatient, frustrated and annoyed at not yet being able to prove that actual freedom is possible as the non-spiritual, down-to-earth route that Richard mapped out after his extraordinary journey. What I found, surprise, surprise, was that I was hanging on to a feeling of integrity of ‘me’, which was causing these feelings to erupt. When I examined what that word ‘integrity’ really means, I discovered that this highly valued humanitarian value had been a great support for my investigation of feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts. It appears in the same basket as sincerity, honesty towards myself and the stubborn resistance to settle for second best. But nevertheless, integrity is nothing but a nice man-made value, developed presumable in the Middle Ages, with the legends of heroic knights and fair maiden, to keep the raw instincts at bay. And what’s integrity worth as it is only covering the underneath lurking instincts, old and rotten like ancient dinosaur bones. And I noticed that it is particularly the ‘good’ bits of the self that I am still defending.
ALAN: My investigations, so far, lead me to ‘guess’ that I am touching on the basic instinct of nurture (though I am only seeing it as compassion or empathy, at the moment) and I am finding it very difficult to ‘get the bugger by the throat’ – hence my writing of this mail, to further my deliberations. I also have a sense that it is very much tied up with ‘belonging to humanity’ – and the mere act of writing these words has produced the ‘slight tug on the heartstring’ Vineeto mentioned, above. So, I guess I am on the right track. Yep, what I have been experiencing is a ‘pathos’ for humanity, a desire to see the ‘good’ and ‘loving’ in the actions of others – a desperate attempt to cling to the belief that humanity is not all bad and is worth holding on to. ‘I’ believe that there is something worth saving, that there is something ‘noble’ in sacrifice for others, that humanity is ultimately ‘good’.
VINEETO: Sometimes I was looking for indications that I could share others’ ideas of ‘good’, of ethical values, and of similar goals so as to stay part of the great family of Humanity. I noticed tucks on my heartstrings when watching ‘good’ events experienced by a large group of people like the ending of WW II or the fall of the Berlin Wall, times of immense relief after long periods of suffering. Also I noticed sometimes an emotional reverence for outstanding human achievements like a breakthrough in medical science or engineering triumphs such as the building of the London Underground in the 19th century. Human beings are indeed capable of amazing achievements despite the lead-weights of the Human Condition but beneath my honest respect for such accomplishments there lurked a desire to belong – just for a few seconds, but long enough to be noticed.
What I have discovered is that if ‘I’ can find any reason to feel that Humanity is ‘good’, then there is no reason for me to leave it behind. The more I meticulously questioned those ‘good’ feelings whenever they get triggered and I investigated the facts of the so-called ‘good’ intentions, ‘good’ deeds and ‘good’ morals, the more I noticed that I cannot hold on to the feeling of belonging. This stepping out of humanity sometimes makes me feel estranged – as if I belong to a different species altogether.
Films, particularly the American goody-goody type are a great source of investigation. The other day I had an opportunity to look into the feeling of love in a movie depicting the tumultuous friendship between a pregnant young woman and her gay ‘best friend’ who is living with her. ‘The Object of My Affection’ describes the romantic disaster of mixed up relationships with possessiveness and jealousy, loneliness and insecurity, social mores and old hurts, both from the heterosexual and gay point of view – very transparent. One can easily see that love is nothing other than a combination of loneliness, insecurity, sexual attraction and nurture instincts – the woman was looking for a man to protect her baby, the man was doing his moral duty. Recognizing yet again what love consists of is a good anchor point when bitter-sweet feelings of ‘caring’ responsibility, love for all, compassion or empathy are triggered. These feelings ain’t nothing but a failed remedy for loneliness.
RESPONDENT: I am alone, have no companion with intentions similar to mine.
VINEETO: Whenever I needed to sort something out and got stuck with it, it was and is indeed very helpful to talk to a like-minded person. But as well as talking to Peter I used writing as a tool for clarification, either writing down my story or posting a letter to the mailing list. Just to have to put it into words for someone else to understand and to be ruthlessly honest with myself in my investigations were already the first acts of clarifying my inner mess. Slowly my scientific scrutiny has improved as I became more daring, ie the brain started functioning more and more with clarity and purity and less distorted and clouded by ‘self’-produced emotions and beliefs, as it had been trained to.
After I had decided that I actually wanted to clean myself up from being malicious and sorrowful, my intent made me use every situation as indicator to ‘get the bugger by the throat’. Sorting myself out at work – I work in a sannyas-company, my former spiritual peer-group – was as much part as of it as checking out the gender differences in the relationship.
Cleaning oneself up results in seeing the world and other people with different eyes, less driven by the miserable interpretation of one’s sorrow and fear and more receptive to seeing it as the delightful place it is. And who knows, someone might be attracted by the results you are achieving in your daily life...
VINEETO: From your comments it looks to me that you are using watching and the identity of the ‘watcher’ to get through the day without much struggle.
RESPONDENT: Certainly this does occur at times but that does ultimately lead to struggle as it is a controlled freedom. You seem to believe that the road to freedom is one of struggle, struggling to be free.
VINEETO: I don’t believe anything. I knew that I was not living my peak-experience all the time. ‘I’ came back and took over my life, the malicious and sorrowful entity returned to rule my life. ‘I’, by ‘my’ very nature, does not want to retire, to disappear, to die. The ‘self’ wants to stay in existence.
That is where, in my experience, but also in Peter’s and Richard’s experience, effort comes in. You can also call it intent, sheer or grim determination, bloody-mindedness, relentless pursuing and ruthlessly honest investigation. It takes effort to overcome the fear and look into one’s own ‘self’. It requires sincere intent to ruthlessly find out the tricks of this very very cunning entity that we call ‘I’.
RESPONDENT: Now coming to the method. I tried asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’. Most of the time I get the answer ‘happy’, or when I stress upon ‘this moment’, I get blank with no answer, because in this moment there is no feeling. The feeling is only in the moment just passed by. But still ‘I’ do not have that experience all the time. Because ‘I’ is the heap of all the passed moments!
VINEETO: I found that the interesting thing started when I got the answer ‘not happy’ or ‘no feeling’. I knew then I had something to look at. Upon closer look I always found a lurking feeling or fear disguised as ‘no feeling’ – the cunning entity inventing whatever trick to keep me from exposing it. It takes a lot of persistence, bloody-mindedness and ruthless honesty with oneself to dismantle one trick after the other. Sometimes I would sit days with that ‘no-feeling’ of numbness until I gathered courage and determination to examine it deeper. This process may take months until you are free of one particular emotion. But with the pure consciousness experience in mind you always have a comparison that keeps you going.
Richard describes it at length in his correspondence:
RESPONDENT: I was thinking about ‘spiritualism versus actualism’. I think the reason why I still can’t differentiate between these two is perhaps a lack of a PCE. To me both Satori and PCE look same. I have no experience of either. I practiced Vipassana irregularly and found that it made difference in my ordinary life. It did help to make me reasonably happy. I don’t care about what is the exact philosophy behind it. I don’t think that the spiritual practices are useless. Were I not spiritually inclined I might not be interested in the Actual Freedom web pages.
VINEETO: The sole reason for drawing up the diagram of ‘Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction of spiritual beliefs’ was exactly because, as you write, the beginning of the spiritual path and the path to actual freedom look alike and seem to go in similar directions. The diagram is well worth thorough contemplation as it makes things clear in visual sense. You’ll find it on the The Actual Freedom Trust website in the ‘Library’.
When I met Peter, and a little later Richard, and heard them say that Actual Freedom was something completely different and new, I first took it to be just another spiritual approach. I could only perceive the world with spiritual or ‘normal religious’ eyes. But the more I understood where the path to an actual freedom was heading to I became utterly bewildered for quite some time. In the first few months I was desperately trying to match and marry actual freedom with my spiritual practice, ie. I wanted to stay in the sannyas belief and the community of friends as well as experiment with this thrilling new adventure.
Upon an honest and extensive stock take it was impossible to say that the spiritual path had lead me any closer to realizing my initial goals of freedom, peace and happiness. I had experienced moments of bliss and peace in meditations but I had also experienced their fickleness and the necessity to have a perfectly quiet and safe surrounding. Consequently, as soon as the ‘right’ conditions changed my period of bliss changed into frustration, abandoned until the next opportunity, and this conflict resulted in an ever-increasing resignation – that’s how life’s gonna be, unless I become enlightened. The goal of enlightenment was very clearly born out of the hope of escaping from this terrible seesaw – brief and conditional experiences of peace on one side and the long and tedious struggle of ‘living in the marketplace’ on the other side. I was trying to be as ‘removed’ from my bad emotions as possible, yet ever fearful that someone would upset my safe little set-up. I knew that my life was nowhere near perfect, and the more I meditated and retreated from the world the more difficult it became to live in that very same world of people, things and events. And as for harmless ... I had ample opportunity to watch my thoughts and deeds, words and schemes to know that I was far from being without malice.
This sincere acknowledgement of the sad compromise of the ambitious plans of my youth made me interested in Peter’s proposal – to commit to living together in utter peace and harmony and to look at every issue that would come up. It also gave me enough interest and intent to inquire into Richard’s personal story and the possibilities of an actual freedom from feelings, beliefs and compromises and the burdening obligations and restrictions of believing in a spurious afterlife.
And, best of all, in actual freedom I found the only ‘teaching’ and method that I had ever come across which fully included sex as a perfect and innocent sensuous pleasure between man and woman, without any ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ or hints of a later necessary transcendence. Here I finally glimpsed the opportunity to combine my desire for happiness with my search for purity and perfection that had set me on the spiritual path 17 years before.
VINEETO: … if you are sufficiently discontent with life as you experience it right now, to want to change fundamentally and irrevocably then this quote from Richard explains in detail how to conjure sensual delighting –
RESPONDENT: I have read this piece from Richard earlier and tried following this but could not get out of ‘stuckness’. I have not even intellectually understood what does ‘delight’ mean or what is ‘naiveté’. May be I need to try more.
VINEETO: I appreciate the honesty and sincerity of your introspection. A good bout of sincere introspection can be very revealing, a bit like taking stock as to what you have done in your life and what you want to do with the rest of your life. The mere fact that you are taking stock indicates that you have some doubts about your stock and that you would like your stock to be better.
The way I discovered naiveté was to actively rid myself of cynicism, and the first step was to become aware of the fact that I had cynical thoughts and feelings – i.e. to experience how cynical I was and to recognize the maliciousness of cynicism. The next step was to stop feeling cynical because a cynic is someone who despises being here, is not someone who can delight in being here and is not someone who likes his or her fellow human beings – a cynic being ‘one who sarcastically doubts or despises human sincerity and merit’. Oxford Dictionary
Delight is the joy of being here for no reason at all and naiveté is the innate quality of encountering life in wide-eyed wonder and amazement. If you want to re-awaken your dormant naiveté and rekindle your capacity for delight it is vital to recognize and abandon the cynicism and the resignation that is inherent in all Eastern religions – there is no other way.
RESPONDENT: It is an individual’s responsibility to do the work and individual’s fault if one does not remain alert to look into oneself. It can happen anywhere. I could do the same on this list and be greedy for ‘Actual Freedom’ without working for it.
In addition, my interest at present is: to see what love does to me.
VINEETO: Sure, it is the individual’s responsibility to look into themselves. But you can only effectively look into yourself without the guidelines of those gurus, teachers, Enlightened Beings, ‘Mr. Wise Guys’ and Masters who tell you to look into yourself according to their particular ‘Truth’ or belief-system. As long as you are lead astray on a path of fairy-tale and fantasy, glory and immortality, good feelings and bliss, how can you clearly and honestly look into your ‘self’? You will only be moving deck-chairs on the Titanic again, rearranging feelings – good ones to the right and bad ones to the left – and then end up with a polished, but same old identity of No 5.
To investigate thoroughly and sincerely into your ‘self’ you will need to investigate into those who have programmed you – parents and peers, teachers and Masters, and you will have to question all of their passed-down values. For Actual Freedom you will have to investigate into your spiritual identity as much as into your moral or ethical identity – the whole lot. There is no other way to clean up the Human Condition in oneself other than to first question those whose authority one holds in high esteem. Otherwise you will simply remain a believer.
VINEETO: There is another topic-page on Pure Consciousness Experiences, that I have put together. It contains descriptions and definitions of PCEs, how to recognize a PCE and distinguish it from an Altered State of Consciousness, and suggestions of how to induce a PCE.
I myself didn’t have a PCE until four month of intense investigations into actual freedom, but I had enough understanding that the old solutions didn’t work and I had the intent to investigate something new.
However, to become actually free it is very helpful, and eventually vital, to remember a PCE in order for you to have clear experiences of the freedom that you are aiming for. But don’t let the worry of not remembering one right now spoil your enjoyment of the moment or diminish the intent of your investigation into your emotions and beliefs. Sooner or later, if you are sincerely, honestly and persistently inquiring, a PCE will sneak up on you, possibly after you have seen through a particularly ‘dense’ belief. When it happens, it is good to look out for the ‘good’ emotions of gratefulness, bliss, love and beauty so they do not to take over, thus inviting the ‘self’ back in and destroying the purity of the peak experience.
RESPONDENT: They say there is something I haven’t dealt with. Something that stops me from being honest.
VINEETO: A lot of New Age-spiritual-therapy behaviour is only thinly disguised malice, revenge or spite. ‘I have to be honest with you’ or ‘honestly, I have to tell you that …’ or ‘I’d just like to share with you … ’ are usually the opening lines of someone telling you something demeaning or nasty so as to cut you down to size.
In my endeavour to become as happy and as harmless as humanly possible I did not see any point at all in sharing my moody thoughts or resentful feelings with anyone else because that only serves to contaminate the possibility of a pleasant and peaceful interaction with my fellow human beings. Because I understood that I am the only one responsible for my thoughts and feelings, which means that I am the only person that I can change and need to change, I decided to do the only thing I can do to practically contribute to peace on earth – clean myself up. Now I can gaily be myself and there is scant danger of ever contaminating a get-together with resentful feelings or sad stories.
However, it is obvious in the process of investigating and examining myself that being sincere and honest with myself is of vital importance because fooling myself or being dishonest with myself would just be a waste of time.
RESPONDENT: Last night I was asking myself why and what could this possibly be?! I know I have sorted many things but to think more may be hidden under the surface had me querying. ‘I have no anger toward...’ ‘I am doing what I want....’ ‘I feel pleasure with life’...or is this not so??
VINEETO: The pivotal question for me to answer when I came across actualism was ‘what it is that I want to do with my life?’ After many years of pursuing various self-centred goals in both the real world and the spiritual world, which resulted in a hollow dis-satisfaction, I found out that what I want most in my life is to be genuinely happy. And it was very obvious that the only way to be genuinely happy is to also be harmless because any happiness gained at other people’s expense or dependant on other people’s compliance is an undignifying, foul tasting and sick affair.
In the course of practicing actualism I have found many, many things ‘hidden under the surface’ and I deliberately brought them to the surface – into the bright light of awareness – where my beliefs and values could be examined and my feelings and instinctual passions could be experienced, when and as they occurred, and their utterly ‘self’-centred nature could be experientially understood.
RESPONDENT: Sure enough, some thoughts or scenarios that I have always remembered came flashing back to mind. One of when I was perhaps 3 or 4 years old. My father had finished painting some shelves green. I cried and cried, clinging on to my mother as if something awful had happened. My father yelled at me, what I don’t recall, but clearly I wasn’t pleased the colour wasn’t correct. How would I at that age know what would be correct. The theme that begins to arise is disappointment. So I can associate many things to being disappointed. Not enough time to achieve my goal for the day. I set myself up for the disappointment. And of course until now not realised the internal struggle that I have dealt with and perhaps impose unconsciously on those around me.
VINEETO: You seem to be confusing the methods of spiritual-type therapy – seeking to lay blame on others for one’s own feelings of malice or sorrow in order to maintain one’s innate feelings of self-righteousness – and the actualism method of becoming aware of the instinctual ‘self’-propelled nature of your own feelings of malice and sorrow in order to become free of the human condition.
If your aim is to become a ‘good’, ‘honest’, socially adjusted, morally uptight and spiritually valuable person, then you follow therapy and spiritual advice.
If your aim is to become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they are, then the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’, when applied with persistence and sincere intent, is sufficient to uncover whatever feeling is currently preventing you from experiencing the already existing peace of the actual world.
Take the example of the feeling of disappointment that you mentioned. As an actualist I know that I am the only one responsible for my feeling disappointment. As such I stopped any of my former habitual efforts of finding the external culprit and began exploring the source in me that caused me to feel disappointed. Inevitably I discovered that the cause of my disappointment were the demands, expectations and hopes that I had either unwittingly taken on board from others or that had been instilled in me by blind nature. As I experientially explored these ‘self’-centred demands, expectations and hopes, I found deeper layers of feelings and instinctual passions that feed those debilitating demands and hopes – feelings such as inadequacy, loneliness, anxiety, the need to belong and, at the core, ‘my’ instinctual fear of survival.
These feelings are the direct result of the genetically inherited animal-instinctual survival passions and not, as believed by therapists and spiritualists, learnt reactive behaviour resulting from ‘bad’ childhood events. Because of this lack of understanding – or failure to face facts – any and all such therapies are but scraping the surface of one’s conditioning, analogous to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Emotions and feelings are part and parcel of the genetically encoded instinctual package that every human being is endowed with at birth and if you don’t just want to rearrange it superficially, but want to become actually happy and harmless, then the whole package needs to go, all of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: I would like to hear what you say on this matter. I couldn’t find much on the web site.
VINEETO: I am not surprised that you ‘couldn’t find much on the web site’, because actualism is non-spiritual and non-therapeutical. Actualism tackles the root of the problem – the psychological and psychic identity within this flesh-and-blood-body, ‘he’ or ‘she’ who continually spoils the peace, perfection and delight of being alive right here, right now.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.