Selected Correspondence Vineeto
‘I’ and ‘Being’
ALAN: Several nights ago, just as I was dropping of to sleep, it dawned on me that what was giving rise to my current ‘dilemma’ was a belief – the belief that ‘I’ believe ‘I’ actually exist. It brought me wide awake with a jerk and was very clear at the time, though less so now and has been ‘churning over’ constantly since. I know I am not my feelings, as they are virtually eliminated. I know I am not my beliefs, as they also have been virtually eliminated. Which leaves the ‘soul’ and as I have experienced that death is the end, what is left? – Who knows? (joke).
VINEETO: Something made me prick my ears when you said: ‘I know I am not my feelings, as they are virtually eliminated. I know I am not my beliefs, as they also have been virtually eliminated.’ I had written something similar to you in an earlier post. Vis:
And yet, today I found it to be incomplete and ultimately incorrect. All ‘I’ am is my feelings, all ‘I’ am is my beliefs and all ‘I’ am is my instincts. ‘I’ consist of nothing else. And facing and acknowledging that obvious fact, ‘I’ knew that ‘I’ would never succeed to reach ‘my’ goal, ‘I’ would never make the 100% mark, ‘I’ would never attain the prized freedom. By the very nature of actual freedom that is an impossibility. ‘I’ would always be stuck at the 99% mark. ‘I’ cannot improve any further. ‘I’ can never claim the success. A feeling of failure struck me as ‘I’ realised ‘my’ limitations. ‘That is the end of the trying and achieving, the end of ‘my’ job and the end of ‘my’ mission.’ Acknowledging the obvious fact of not being able to succeed as ‘me’, I gave up – and ceased being in the road. Never mind the physical symptoms of the fear, they are just part of the drama. But there was a sense of redundancy and of relief that were both delicious and ambrosial. Here ‘I’ am, with nothing left to achieve, without a mission and a purpose.
ALAN: And yet it is not a joke, for this is what I have been struggling with the last few days – ‘who is it who is knowing?’ – ‘who is it who is puzzling?’
VINEETO: I have always found the question ‘who’ would confuse me, distract me, re-create psychic dramas and keep imagination and feeling alive. While asking ‘what am I’ always brings me to my senses because ‘what’ I am can only be experienced by the senses. The actual world can only be experienced by the senses. Neither belief nor imagination nor feeling can answer ‘what I am’, but they can easily make up a lot of ‘who’s’.
I have found that by living in virtual freedom I have shifted my whole focus and emphasis from solving emotional problems and debunking beliefs to sensually and sensately enjoying ‘wee-things’ (as Billy Connolly said), the everyday things that life consists of – breakfast, rain, typing, coffee, walking, shopping, talking, sex, shower, watching TV and going to bed at night-time. And maybe half an hour of the day was spent pondering about ‘fear, death and deep matters’ of ‘me’. And thus the perspective changes, the focus changes from the imaginary to the actual, from the dramatic to the ordinary, from serious introspection to delightful hedonism – gay abandon, as Peter calls it. So it has been literally a turning away from giving importance to the ‘metaphysical’ to focussing on the actuality of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. And what a delight that is, each moment again, just to be alive, breathing and listening, tasting and seeing, smelling and touching. And then you get to do things on top of it – sheer delight.
ALAN: I particularly liked ‘when the programmed ‘you’ has a little glitch and crashes’. It is something that I have considered from time to time. Where do ‘I’ go in a PCE – and this is the best description I have yet seen and, I think, accurately describes what happens – ‘I’ run into an overload, or something ‘I’ cannot handle, and the ‘fuses blow’. Until they are replaced ‘I’ cannot function. So all that is necessary is to smash the fuse board!
VINEETO: Again, here my experience is different. ‘I did not smash the fuse board.’ ‘I’ cannot kill ‘myself’. But ‘I’ wither away with each belief dismantled, each emotion investigated, each psychic phenomenon uncovered. Therefore, I simply checked out every single belief and doubt, feeling and instinct, and by finding out the particular facts about them, those emotions and beliefs became redundant, one by one. In the light of facts emotions and beliefs simply wither. It takes courage to face facts, to seek them, to acknowledge the full impact of them – but then the rest happens of its own accord. In the face of facts ‘I’ shrink and shrink, until ‘I’ face the last of beliefs (or instincts) ... and that’s it. For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement, for someone else it might be a different issue. But the process has been the same for the whole journey – finding out the facts, acknowledging their consequences and then I could never believe that particular belief again nor feel that particular feeling again.
ALAN: This is it, absolutely. And is what I meant, when I wrote ‘I suddenly realised (‘got’) that ‘I’ had to go in ‘my’ entirety to achieve actual freedom. Not almost all of ‘me’, not 99%, not just the beliefs, but every single smidgen of the personality which considered itself to be Alan. There would not be a trace remaining, not even a shadow of a shadow’ ‘I’ will never, ever get ‘here’ – and this is what I have been occupied with for the last few weeks.
VINEETO: So the next question is, what is it then that hinders you from finally enjoying ‘retirement’ as long as it will last? I am finding this redundancy the best part so far, the thrill of the ‘imminent inevitability’ (Peter’s latest favourite phrase) of the final destiny. And the satisfaction of having completed the journey so far. And the ‘lost the plot-bit’ as well. They ran out of stock in town.
VINEETO: Again, here my experience is different. ‘I did not smash the fuse board.’ ‘I’ cannot kill ‘myself’.
ALAN: What I meant by ‘smash the fuse board’ was – let go of the controls – give up ‘trying’ to be ‘here’ – let go! And if ‘I’ cannot kill ‘myself’ who can? As Richard intimates, all one can do is press the ‘self’ destruction switch and ‘keep your hands in your pockets’, for it is a mighty thrilling ride!
VINEETO: I have been quite suss about expressions of ‘letting go’ and the likes. They sound too identical to the spiritual teaching of letting go into the ‘Greater Reality’. It is ‘self’ letting go into ‘Self’, somebody quite substantially stays alive. I have experienced the process towards an actual freedom not as a ‘let go’, but as a thorough understanding that left no room for imagination and belief, trust and surrender. After all the understanding is done, the facts are so obvious, they simply make the believer redundant.
The same goes for ‘killing’ and ‘self’ destruction. Maybe you find it nit-picking words but I have been trained through and through with all the spiritual rubbish and I want to make the difference as clear as possible. One doesn’t kill Santa Claus, but one day the evidence will be undeniable that he has never existed.
ALAN: Your mention of Rajneesh reminded me of Peter’s recent exchanges with No 14. Fortunately, surrendering to a master never appealed to me, though I never met one in the flesh. I read a few books and even wrote to a few (with only one reply!). I much enjoyed Peter’s mail, even though he is giving away the secrets of the inner circle – I mean, how can we stay the ‘inner circle’, if we no longer have any secrets? So long as he does not tell everyone how to enjoy every second of every day or how to discover an absolute fun and delight in every action – from writing e-mails to cleaning up dog shit. Anyway, back to the subject. While I discovered some things of interest in the writings of these ‘masters’, there was always something which did not quite gel, or did not seem ‘right’. Now it is so, so, obvious – all one has to do is look at the facts, without beliefs getting in the way.
VINEETO: Yes, the actual and the spiritual...
It is only in the last few months that I have started to experientially understand the basic difference between ‘actual’ and ‘spiritual’. I now understand that EVERYTHING one usually experiences as real is filtered, edited, produced and coloured by the ‘spirit’, ie. by ideas, beliefs, emotions or passionate thoughts and is therefore spiritual. Usually there is not even a chance to experience the actual world directly because one is completely immersed in a spiritual world, created by instincts, emotions, feelings, beliefs and imagination. Thus a Christian is as ‘spirit’-ual as a New Age seeker, a Voodoo follower is as ‘spirit’-ual as a convinced believer in Atheism. In that context it makes no difference if one surrenders to a master or ‘only’ believes in a God, an afterlife, the Grace of Existence, Universal Love or a god of one’s own making – everyone is removed from the actual world.
In recognizing and acknowledging this essential difference between the spiritual and the actual it becomes more and more irrelevant ‘what’ one believes or ‘what’ one feels, rather it is the very act of believing and feeling itself – no matter ‘what’ it is. The layers of belief seem more and more subtle until one finally reaches the core-belief, the belief that ‘I’ have to exist. So, I figured, I will be only 100% non-spiritual when this ‘self’ is completely demolished. This self is the ‘spirit’ and its world is the spiritual world, a world of spirits, imaginations, beliefs, ideals – anything but factual, anything but actual, anything but sensate, tangible, palpable, sensual and tactile.
VINEETO to Alan: I can easily relate when you and Peter say that ‘the doing of it’ has started. There is a clear determination that has an altogether different quality to the previous phase of imagining death and then finding out what thoughts and emotions happen out of it. Now, there is more a sense of standing in the frontline, so to speak, and the command ‘jump’ can happen any moment. When it became obvious to me that death had stopped being an imagination which I could turn on and off at will, I was flooded with all kinds of physical symptoms of the instinctual fear of death. And it has been and still is fascinating to explore them with as much common sense as I am capable of.
Two weeks ago, when this bare instinct of survival arose for the first time in its full gamut, I was feeling sick and throwing up, with the stomach like a stone, numbing cramps in the heart area and dizzy in the head. When those physical symptoms reappeared the next day, I wondered where I was going wrong. It seemed an odd and arduous way to end ‘me’ – and I started to look for a way to be happy and healthy while continuing the ending of ‘me’. The question for me was, where did ‘I’ add to the drama, where did ‘I’ interfere or exaggerate? It became obvious that the primitive self, this silly, ancient survival mechanism, is pumping chemicals into every organ, and is actually jeopardizing and endangering my physical well-being – quite the opposite of what it was designed to do in the first place.
A week later I had another strong fear-attack, which I observed fascinated and rather unemotionally. My whole upper torso became numb, blood drained out of my head, heart, chest and arms. There wasn’t enough blood in the brain, so my vision had blind stripes, very curious. It took me a minute to figure out what was happening. I went along with it at first, thrilled and fascinated by the prospect of watching myself, my body, die, but a short while later common sense started to set in. If this was the beginning of a physical heart-attack then this was the wrong way, a ‘dead-end’, as Peter just said. Upon this understanding, the symptoms slowly subsided.
Trying to understand those experiences in hindsight, I would say that on both occasions I had a certain pushy-ness, an almost violent attitude to progress at all costs, no matter what will happen, ‘I’ want freedom now and ‘I’ want to make it happen. I can see that this urging only increased the fear, making the obstacle bigger than before. I understood that the ending of ‘me’ has to be 100% voluntary, ‘I’ have to agree boots and all, and doubt or hesitancy cannot just be brushed over. So I took another look around for my possible objections.
In the last days we have been busy with comprehending the role of the primitive brain in the process of virtual freedom and actual freedom. The schematic model helped me very much to not only visualise what is going on but to understand the physical ramifications of altering the selfish programming of the neo-cortex and the instinctual wiring of the primitive brain. It seems clear that only after dismantling the social identity can the functioning of the instincts become apparent and more and more obvious. This awareness seems to stop the chemicals of the amygdala (primitive brain) flooding the rest of the brain – I can keep common sense, check out for actual danger and then get on with the business of being alive
VINEETO: The second thing is that I wasn’t quite accurate when I said: ‘I put it down to the fear of the ‘real’ thing that might just ‘accidentally happen’ while ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance’. I know that ‘it’ won’t happen ‘accidentally’ but that it might soon happen by deliberate choice – and I have been toying with, observing closely and trying to understand the feelings and instincts about this death of ‘me’. No big realisation has come out of it but a gradual deepening of understanding the term ‘in concurrence’ that Richard used in the correspondence below. I am finding subtle objections, smug and cunning excuses, impatient pushing or worry that sometime surface and need to be examined, and I have now developed a thorough knowledge about, and a familiarity with, my fears and survival mechanisms like one does with pet-dogs. I reckon that I won’t be likely to be surprised or overtaken by any of them any longer.
‘Being obsessed with the final event’ provides me with the force to disengage from the magnetic-like gravity of the survival instincts, and to venture in the opposite direction of Human Nature. This obsession consists of sincere intent, stubbornness, bloody-mindedness and a – sometimes grim – determination not to settle for second best. Of course, it can also border on worry, impatience or anxiety but, then again, investigating these feelings is part of ‘doing what is happening’ as well – finding the reasons for the emotional ripples and eliminating them. Mulling it over thoroughly, I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter if my obsession prevents a ‘real PCE’ or not, what matters is that I am charging with full speed ahead into my demise and that I enjoy each moment of it. If nothing else, the description of my obsession is good material for anybody who can make use of it in one way or the other.
On second thought I may be simply obsessed with catching up with you guys...
Here is a particular bit from Richard about ‘how do ‘I’ do it’, that I found significant and inspiring –
And in another post he described such the outcome –
ALAN: No, Vineeto, you are not writing on a ghost list – I have been reading all the postings and much enjoying Peter’s ‘raves’. It is simply that I have had nothing to write about.
To expand on that statement, I am completely ‘stuck’ in ‘there is no point in writing because it is ‘me’ who is writing’. Until both ego and soul are eliminated, everything I do is ‘me’ doing it. So, I am unable to write from the on-going experience of life as it actually is, as Richard puts it. At best, I could write with a memory of life as it actually is (the PCE), but not out of my direct experience (unless having a PCE at the time of writing).
This does not mean I am not enjoying life. Peter recently wrote about his interactions with others ‘with an impunity and salubriousness that I would have deemed an impossibility a few years ago’ and I can 100% endorse this – I am virtually without malice and virtually without sorrow. But that is not enough.
VINEETO: I remember a while ago indulging in a feeling of listlessness bordering on boredom mixed with growing dissatisfaction about not knowing what to do to become actually, irrevocably and permanently free. Of course, there were things to do and pleasures to enjoy but I missed the gist and the passion of the earlier discoveries and startling realizations. The ‘landscape’ of the wide and wondrous path has surely changed and the gross, unwanted behaviour of the ‘self’ has almost completely disappeared. But the challenge remains to identify the ‘self’ in action – cunning as ever – and return to being unconditionally happy and harmless as soon as possible. Now it seems important to identify the more subtle feelings, moods and affections that indicate ‘me’ coming to the foreground. And they are more the ‘good’ feelings and the ‘no-feelings’ – as I called them once – that I need to be aware of.
I have re-vamped parts of our website, re-dressed some pages, so to speak, and came across a story I told on list C, that seems relevant for our topic:
Waiting is one of the insidious qualities inherited from the overall spiritual approach to life – the ingrained belief that ‘Something Bigger’ influences our lives, that ultimate salvation is in the ‘hands of Existence’, ‘none of you doing’, ‘God’s control’ and ‘anyway not available in this life-time’ ...
When I wait, I am frustrated ‘that it is not happening’ but I am also bypassing the responsibility to take action – not as an automatic instinctual re-action but as a deliberate contemplated action of sticking my neck out. This avoids playing ‘safe’ as I experiment in order to see what possible emotions would pop up if I did something new, unusual and daring (but not silly). Postponement, a side effect of the fear to stick my neck out, is one of my tricks that let ‘me’ stay in existence. When I postpone, ‘I’ don’t do what is happening, ‘I’ maintain emotional control, ‘I’ pull the levers.
I found that becoming autonomous and independent, free from ‘Humanity’, is a process of many little steps, disentangling myself from fears and apprehensions, beliefs and hesitations, restrictions and self-limitations and giving up the hope that something outside of me is going to change my life.
VINEETO to 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.
VINEETO: I am not responsible for being instilled with instinctual passions because this is the way every human brain is programmed by blind nature. The best ‘responsibility’ one can take, i.e. the way one can best respond to the situation one finds oneself in, is to incrementally become aware of one’s instinctual passions – firstly in order to be able to keep one’s hands in one’s pocket by not expressing one’s feelings and secondly to instigate the immolation of the instinctual ‘self’ by bringing ‘me’ out of hiding, as it were.
RESPONDENT: This responsibility thing is a big item with me, being the first-born male child of an Irish catholic family. Apparently, traditionally that child is expected to become a priest. And, my given name means Christ-bearer. I’ve been carrying that little bastard around on my shoulders all my life. So these statements by you and Gary are quite revolutionary. Imagine abdicating my responsibilities!
VINEETO: I was a first-born child and raised Catholic, so I can relate to your story – except that I wasn’t expected to become a nun. But when you look at your imbibed ‘responsibility’ to bear Christ, who according to legend becomes as heavy as the whole world in the course of Christ-bearer’s journey, then there is not a grain of sense to being thus responsible. Imagine abdicating those responsibilities – your life would become easy, a joy and a play!
The trouble is that ‘I’ won’t abdicate ‘my’ important role without creating a fuss – or to put it more succinctly, fighting tooth and nail – because it gives ‘me’ purpose, meaning and significance. If I abdicate ‘my’ role as a responsible member of society ‘I’ am useless, redundant and superfluous. That’s why sincere intent is so vital because with sincere intent ‘I’ cannot but acknowledge that all ‘I’ have accomplished so far has failed to make me happy and failed to make me harmless and that only ‘my’ abdication will deliver the goods.
VINEETO to No 7: Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
RESPONDENT: Another side note: in the ego-less state there might be no planning and ‘control’ executed by the ‘I’ but it might nevertheless happen because of the brain’s instinct (??) of the body-preservation? Or is the instinct of the prolongation of the life also gone in the ego-less state and one is not concerned when death approaches?
VINEETO: I don’t know and I don’t really care. ‘Body-preservation’ without the instincts is none of ‘my’ business because ‘I’ won’t be here anymore...
Once the ‘self’ is as weakened as it is now, I am simply doing what is happening. ‘I’ am not needed to keep this body alive, on the contrary, ‘I’ had been continuously interfering with my physical well-being by worrying and fighting, dieting and indulging, being stressed or depressed, fearful or driven. My health and well being are now better than ever, I have stopped worrying about vitamins or minerals, starch or protein, vegetarianism or health-dieting, natural or homeopathic medicine long ago. Also I take it that the medical technology in this country is so advanced as to give me a good chance of staying healthy as long as possible ... and when my time is over I can surely say that I had had a perfect life, every day, 24 hrs a day, for years and years and years.
With the ‘self’ the fear of death also dies. Once ‘I’ am gone there won’t be anybody left to be afraid of death. Of course I can still jump out of the way of an approaching car or an attacking dog. Intelligence and apperceptive awareness together with the physical startle-response are enough to keep this body alive as long as is possible. It is the psychological and psychic fear of death that casts shadows of fear and doubt into our lives and prevents us from experiencing the safety, magnificence and abundant perfection of the actual physical universe.
So, don’t let your doubts and fears take over and stop you from investigating your psyche – there is much magic to be discovered.
PS: I found a little quote from Richard that might give you further encouragement ...
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.
The following two paragraphs are from the bit that I have written for our diagram of ‘Who am ‘I’ vs. What am I’, which you can find on our website. I consider the diagram an excellent schematic to understand the process of what happens on the path to Actual Freedom and Peter’s and my writing explain it a bit more.
On the path to Actual Freedom the ‘bad news’ is that I have to get off my bum, investigate every idea and imagination, every dream, hope and faith as much as every bout of anger, impatience, complaint, fear, love and compassion. It is the opposite of meditation because I actively pursue every obstacle to being happy now, here, and for that I use my capacity to think, contemplate, reflect, judge and investigate in order to find and eliminate the Human Condition in me , bit by bit.
The ‘good news’ is that there is nobody who can speed up or prevent my progress on the path to Actual Freedom except myself – it is all in my own hands. I am my own judge whether I am happy or not, honest or not, free of particular beliefs and morals or not. Nobody is interfering with this process and nobody can. And it is a journey of a lifetime – with imminent and incrementally increasing rewards of more and more freedom from bondage, malice and sorrow.
Life is so good, that I keep wondering what all the fuss that I made and others are still making about this ‘oh so terrible life’. According to my old real-world standards and values I have definitely gone mad. And it is utterly worth it.
VINEETO: While in the land of freedom everything is already always well, nothing can go wrong because everything is actual. Without emotions and instinctual passions I simply respond to what is happening, choose what is sensible and enjoy every moment as it lives me. It is all so easy once the ‘self’ is not in command and the instincts are but a faint rumble sometimes before they will finally wither away completely.
RESPONDENT: This says it all and my ‘belief’ about it is I don’t have it. I am choosing more sensible solutions but it seems as if the ‘self’ is still in command. I know the actual is always here now but the ‘self’ is keeping me from it. The ‘self’ is a barrier between me and the actual. I can see that this is just a belief and all I have to do is give up this belief and the actual will be revealed. The question that arises is ‘why can’t I give up this belief?’ What am ‘I’ hanging on to?
VINEETO: If the ‘self’ was ‘just a belief’ , as you say – and as all the Eastern religions say – one could simply believe that one is not the ‘self’ and every problem would be solved... But the Human Condition in each of us is not just a belief. At the core, ‘I’ am the instinctual passions.
Peter said it very well in his rave to Alan the other day ...
It is not a matter of giving ‘up this belief’ but a matter of ‘self’-immolation. The ‘self’ is not ‘a barrier between me and the actual’, the ‘self’ is all that ‘I’ am and ‘I’ am ‘hanging on to’ dear life. ‘I’ know that in order to live the perfection that I have experienced in numerous Pure Consciousness Experiences, ‘I’ have to disappear in toto. This ‘clear eyed view of the obvious’, this understanding of the inevitable then gives enough drive to actively pursue the investigation and elimination of the social, emotional-instinctual entity. What a thrill!
RESPONDENT: I have a strong sense of abandoning humanity.
VINEETO: In order to abandon humanity as an actuality and not as a feeling or fantasy one needs to know one’s humanity, one’s beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions through and through because ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the way to come to know all the ingredients of this ‘humanity’ in oneself. Whenever I am not happy there is something to investigate and this ‘something’, these emotion-backed thoughts and vague feelings are the stuff that constitute ‘I’ and ‘me’. ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are nothing other than all the beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions that, in due course, one will encounter and discover in oneself on the path to becoming happy and harmless. Investigating one’s beliefs and emotions, one by one, will enable one to leave them behind, one by one. Then, without a social identity, life is a pleasure and a delight and the ongoing experience of Virtual Freedom gives one the necessary backbone to encounter the underlying instinctual passions.
Abandoning humanity is only possible after one has rid oneself of one’s social identity first and thus has the confirmation and confidence that the method works. Moreover, without experiencing the purity, magnificence and perfection of the actual world in a pure consciousness experience one’s abandoning humanity can only lead to feelings of dread and despair or the grand delusion of Oneness.
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’.
And merely ‘watching’ one’s behaviour does nothing to eliminate feelings, emotions and instincts – the very substance of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: I feel that struggle is not about freedom at all, it is just the nature of ‘me’ to struggle. Of course, action of some sort is required to change the status quo. This is where the ongoing question comes in. Now what is beyond questioning? Or to put it another way, what is being withheld from the light of awareness?
VINEETO: That ‘struggle is not about freedom at all’ is a feeling, or, to be more precise, an idea. The nature of ‘me’ is lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning – and, as such, resists the effort to be eliminated.
But it is not just your idea. It is the core of Eastern teaching. ‘Just become aware that you are already ‘It’, and that’s all you need to do’. It is part of identifying with the ‘watcher’, the so-called aware identity, and ‘all will be well’. That method might make you enlightened but it will never get you an inch closer to Actual Freedom.
To become free, one has to want freedom with all one’s might and passion. One has to put all one’s eggs in one basket. And in order to eliminate emotions one will first have to experience them, feel them. One has to play the drama on stage (experience one’s emotions with neither expressing nor repressing them) in order to know all the actors involved. One has to ‘get down and get dirty’. Peter described really well in one of his letters:
RESPONDENT: Yes, I experience this as the sense of everything fitting in its place, like a wonderful sense of order and balance. At times when there is a sense of stuckness or forcing I realize there is ‘I’ attempting to ‘do’ and the question running in my mind has taken a break.
VINEETO: In my investigation into the Human Condition, I didn’t bother much about the differences between the various ‘I’s’ that were trying to take charge, I preferred to focus my attention on my feelings and emotions. I had understood that feelings and emotions are definitely part of the Human Condition, and being conditioned as a woman to express emotions made that even more obvious to me. From there I could proceed to examine the different feelings and emotions and un-cover the underlying beliefs.
Whenever I attempted to cerebrally sort out which ‘I’ was telling me what to do, or which is the real aware ‘I’ and which the watcher, or perhaps the actual I, there was only hopeless confusion. The spiritual training of creating a distant ‘I’ had made me a confusing ‘I’ behind the ‘I’ behind the ‘I’.
So identifying which feeling I am experiencing, be they sadness, distance, listlessness or boredom, is a much better landmark from where to unravel the Human Condition than finding which ‘I’ is attempting’ to do what.
VINEETO: When an emotion is happening, for instance anger, it is harmful in two ways. Firstly I am not happy because I am angry and second I am angry at someone else and may cause harm to that person, be it by snide remarks, withdrawal or any other action. Of course I don’t want to be angry. If the aim is to be happy and harmless then I no longer tolerate anger in my life. One does everything possible to eliminate it and not merely watches its rising and falling in the mind or heart.
But the only way to successfully get rid of anger is to examine the root cause of me getting angry in that particular situation, find the expectation, the frustration, the ‘self’ in operation. Once I found the root cause and ‘got it’ – as Alan says – it is immensely rewarding, a great relief and a joy to have dismantled yet another obstacle to being free.
RESPONDENT: Yes, the ‘I got it’ though does not always mean the emotion is finished within its entirety, but that in that particular circumstance it is finished with. The fact that one has released that it must go is what assures its eventual end.
The realization for me is not that ‘it must go’. Actual freedom has been an understanding, evidenced by various peak experiences, that ‘I’, the psychological and psychic entity within this body, inhibit the experience of the already existent perfection and purity of the physical universe. So ‘I’ decide to self-immolate, ‘self’-sacrifice for the perfection to become apparent in this life, on this planet. The growing comprehensive realization of what this ‘I’ consists of, all my emotions, feelings, beliefs and instincts has been an ongoing discovery and understanding. Elimination happens when I fully comprehend the passionate imaginative nature of an emotion as opposed to the delight of direct intimacy. The same applies when I understand the collective imagination of a belief as opposed to the actuality of facts. Then there is only the obvious to do, then there is no choice at all.
VINEETO: Your ‘permanent solution’ of ‘no objection at all’ sounds a pretty dry experience to me. Freedom from the churning emotions, feelings, beliefs and instincts, which is freedom from ‘me’, results in a delicious, sensuous continuous enjoyment moment after moment, fresh each time, rich and magnificent, crisp and perfect. An ongoing delight to be alive.
RESPONDENT: My ‘permanent solution’ is not a final statement as such it is just that I realised that any revealing investigation will not proceed when there is an objecting ‘I’. So that is a prerequisite.
VINEETO: It has been one of the spiritual and new-age therapy devices to split up the ‘I’ into various parts – the male and female side, the child, the angry ‘me’, the vulnerable ‘me’, the indifferent ‘me’, observer, the judge, the loving ‘me’ etc. ad nauseam. The outcome is utter confusion and merely rearranging the furniture on the Titanic in endless variations. Whereas the path to actual freedom is characterized by determination and pure intent born out of one’s peak-experience which drives one to simply get on with the business of eliminating malice and sorrow because one wants to get rid of malice and sorrow. No psychologising needed. Once it became clear that ‘I’ am in the road of experiencing the already existent perfection and purity of the physical universe it became also obvious that it is the whole of ‘me’ that would have to disappear, the objecting, the feeling, the believing and the instinctually driven ‘me’, the whole bucket. It is all so devastatingly simply, obvious and apparent.
VINEETO: What is it then that you want to give it a try? Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to everything spiritual. Whatever you would try, it would not be Actual Freedom. So first, let’s discuss where you imagine Actual Freedom to be similar to Rajneesh’s and other Eastern Teaching.
RESPONDENT: I answered this question partly in my mail to Richard. What I have understood from both Richard and Eastern wisdom is that ‘I’ is the main problem and it should be completely annihilated so that the ‘new’ takes over. You say that in the actual world there will be no ‘I’ in any form and the actual physical universe is the only thing which is left. I understand a similar thing from my earlier readings. May not be in exactly in these terms but when Upanishads say ‘neti neti’ (not this, not this) or when Tao talks of emptiness or void, I never get a feeling that they are talking of something of bigger ‘I’ of a God/Truth/Love Agapé etc. May be my study is not complete. What is important for me is that I can understand that ‘I’ has to die. What comes next...I don’t know. I am not searching for any God/Love Agapé etc. as a bigger or universal ‘I’. To me God or Love is just a poetic way of saying ‘the actual physical world’. If you are averse to this word because it has become too dirty and carries too many meanings, I have no attachment to the word either.
VINEETO: It is not the ‘words’ of ‘love’ and ‘god’ that I am ‘averse’ to, it is the fact that any belief in something other than the actual and physical prevents one from experiencing the purity of the actual world.
You say ‘that I can understand that ‘I’ has to die. What comes next ... I don’t know ’ – if you don’t know what this ‘I’ all consists of, you will be safely staying on the spiritual path, maybe become enlightened – and then have an even longer way to come back from the psychic labyrinth of delusion into this physical world of the senses.
When you have a closer examination of the Upanishads, Tao or Zen, you will find that they all see life on earth as fleeting, their relationship to their physical senses is that of dis-identification and dis-association, and they perceive nature through the filters of feeling beauty and awe, feeling being the essence of the ‘soul’. Those belief-systems are 180 degrees in the opposite direction of an actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: Of course it is nothing in comparison to the situation where ‘I’ or ‘me’ doesn’t exist and there is no place for anger to arise. But till you reach there it is quite helpful to be happy and peaceful most of the time. And now I understand that being happy and peaceful most of the time helps to enter into actual freedom (refer Richard’s mail to me on this).
VINEETO: Wonderfully described.
In order for ‘I’ to ‘not exist’ I have to take apart, one by one, the different ways that ‘I’ express and define myself – be it anger, love, sorrow, belonging to a group, country or gender. And with each discovery and elimination of one particular cause one becomes more happy and more peaceful. It is a wide and wondrous path and while actual freedom does not happen overnight, it is, as Richard says, a win-win situation all the way. Even if one does not become actually free, virtual freedom is far, far better than normal expectations of living. In virtual freedom there is only a very faint sense of ‘being’ hanging around, the remainder of the once so dominant identity, and as such I am having a perfect day, every day.
RESPONDENT: I think there is some confusion in my usage of the term spiritualism.
In my mother tongue, the corresponding word is called ‘adhyatma’ which literally means coming to yourself. ‘Atma’ in adhyatma doesn’t mean soul or spirit, it means ‘I’. So for me when I am searching for who/what am I, it is adhyatma. And it is this search which brought me to actual freedom. Don’t you think actualism is also focussed on realising the true I and eliminating ‘I’. I understand that in actualism, the true I is realised as this physical body and nothing else.
VINEETO: Here is another example of using the trick of a superficial substitution. You say ‘who/what am I, it is adhyatma’. ‘Who’ points to ‘I’, the being, the passionately imagined identity, while ‘what’ is simply this flesh-and-blood-body without any identity whatsoever. Adhyatma is ‘coming to yourself’ or your ‘self’, who your believe yourself to be, feel yourself to be, want to be, hope to become and, lo and behold, you discover your Higher or True Self – God by any other name.
Actualism goes in the opposite direction. An actualist chisels away at the being, dismantles the being, takes it apart, exposes it for the mirage it is, investigates the emotions and instinctual passions that force one to desperately want to be somebody, a higher self, ‘me at the core of my being’, an advanced being, anything. Actual freedom is freedom from being any identity whatsoever. What remains is ‘what’ one is, this flesh-and-blood body only, not ‘who’.
It is all very simple. Whenever I have been hurt by something or someone, this was my ‘self’ being hurt. This ‘self’ is what we actualists investigate, dismantle, lay bare and eliminate. It includes investigating ALL emotions, including love, compassion and bliss. When you uncover and eliminate the underlying instincts, there won’t be anybody left feeling hurt or even peeved.
RESPONDENT: Anyway I am still on this topic ‘Spiritualism vs actualism’. You mentioned that I don’t differentiate between Ego and Soul. This is very true. With my experience, I really can’t differentiate the two. When I look at myself I see only one identity. What I understand from both spiritualism and actualism is that this identity has to die.
VINEETO: You say, you understand that both, ego and soul, have to die. Great. Now, what is this soul?
The easiest way to understand ‘soul’ for me was to see it as the sum of my emotions, feelings, beliefs and passions. Love is ‘me’, affection is ‘me’, sadness is ‘me’, anger is ‘me’, being annoyed is ‘me’, being grateful is ‘me’, being hopeful is ‘me’, being frustrated is ‘me’, being impatient is ‘me’, being fearful is ‘me’ – you can add anything you like to this list. All ‘I’ am is my feelings, all ‘I’ am is my beliefs and all ‘I’ am is my instincts. ‘I’ consist of nothing else.
Although ‘I’ am not actual, as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical, material, ‘I’ am real, ‘I’ am my feelings and the actions that result from having these feelings are real. To imagine otherwise is but a cunning trick and an act of blatant denial. ‘I’ am not merely an illusion that can be ‘realised’ away as in the spiritual teachings. As such, the death of ‘me’ will also be a real event. ‘I’ in ‘my’ totality, who is but a passionate illusion, must die a dramatic illusory death commensurate to ‘my’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it.
This fact of what ‘I’ consist of has to be discovered, acknowledged, investigated and experienced, over and over again. Only then is one willing to ‘get down and get dirty’, willing to experience and examine one’s feelings – not merely ‘observe’ them – and investigate into the hidden beliefs and instinctual passions that cause those feelings. By neither repressing nor expressing but by meticulously exploring each feeling I was then able to determine the underlying cause – be it a hurt pride, a bit of my social identity, a fear linked to my survival mechanism, a cherished belief disguised as ‘truth’ – there was always an issue beneath the initial emotion. And each of these feelings and emotions is ‘me’, my identity, my ‘self’, my ‘soul’. ‘I’ consist of nothing else but a great collection of passionate imaginations.
RESPONDENT: Peter just sent a diagram showing ‘who I am’ diminishes gradually and ‘what I am’ becomes apparent in actualism. I read the same thing in spiritualism. Just that they call ‘who I am’ as ego (and I understand soul also if any such thing exists) and ‘what I am’ as God (by whatever name). I don’t see God as an identity at all. It is just a situation when ‘I’ does not exist. With my understanding of both spiritualism and actualism so far, I think there are two big lies, which I have to understand:
I think I have understood the first lie, more or less.
VINEETO: When you say:
You have just defined ‘God’ as ‘a situation when ‘I’ do not exist’ and thus put it all nicely back into the spiritual belief system. If the spiritual ‘God’ is a non-identity, how come Rajneesh, Krishnamurti and all the other enlightened gurus had such glamour, glory and glitz about them, how come they needed heaps of devoted disciples and couldn’t live as a fellow human being among other fellow human beings? Is this not the most obvious proof of having an identity, now even bigger, brighter, shinier and ‘wiser’ than everybody else? No more ego, but the soul in full swing.
When ‘I’, the complete identity, both the one ‘I think I am’ and the one ‘I feel I am’ have disappeared, there is no sense of identity whatsoever, nobody that can identify oneself as God or Existence or ‘All That Is’. Then there is only a body with limbs and senses, blood-circulation and a brain that is aware of being alive. There is no identity holding it all together, no identity experiencing each moment, nothing that has a past and a future, no sense of ‘being’ and nothing that has any emotional memory whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: Now I have to realise the second one, which I understand intellectually, but not experientially. I am not interested in branding my understanding as either actualism or spiritualism. If this is what actualism says and maintains that this is different from spiritualism – fair enough. As an expert on actualism, if you confirm that my understanding conforms to what actualism says, then the next question is whether spiritualism also says the same thing! I am not an expert on spiritualism. In fact I know very little of it compared to you. But what I am quite sure of is my understanding.
VINEETO: An intellectual ‘understanding’ that ‘I’ am a ‘big lie’ won’t do anything. It will just be putting another intellectual belief on top of an existing belief, a new dress over the old corpse.
The diagram is trying to make clear, that all we know, all we are, is this grey mass of ‘who I am’. This ‘who’ has to be dismantled, piece by piece, gradually and meticulously – and there are no short-cuts such as meditative mantras of ‘I am but an illusion’, ‘I am only a belief’. Because this ‘who I am’ is not only a mental construct that can be dismissed with an intellectual understanding, this ‘who I am’ is an emotional and instinctual package, supported by the chemical surges of our survival instincts, by ancient beliefs of our ancestors, a firm social structure of beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms, and on top of it a dearly held, carefully constructed, individual personality. There is a lot at stake when one decides for the path to freedom.
Logic is not going to make you free. Logic is a plain mental activity that avoids any real change. Actualism is about digging into one’s beliefs, tearing them apart, facing the upcoming fears and leaving one’s social identity behind. One has to fully experience each of the upcoming feelings in order to get to the bottom of it all. Then, out of this in-depth investigation, I am compelled to change my behaviour, and I am leaving my ‘self’ behind, piece by piece.
VINEETO to Richard: The subject of the instinctual software package is indeed a fascinating one and the sufficient understanding is crucial and instrumental in cutting the cord both from ‘humanity’ and ‘me’. In the last days I started to understand about the nature of the instinctual programming that is ‘me’ which I would classify as ‘having glimpsed the end of the tunnel called the Human Condition’.
Peter had described to No 5 very accurately the process of examining one’s feeling, sliding deeper and deeper into emotion, then into instinctual passion until, with persistence, one is able to ‘dispassionately observe’ the very functioning of the particular core instinct in action. This method had always served me when I explored feelings and their underlying beliefs, emotions and their underlying ‘truth’, including the above mentioned ‘loyalty back when you and I first met’. Yet up until now I had only felt and experienced a particular emotion, sometimes it in all its devastation like the universal sorrow I described in my last letter, suffered it through, so to speak. I had not yet dared to stay with a surging instinctual passion all the way without objection, looking it straight in the eye to recognize and experience the naked ‘me’ in action in a dispassionate way.
While reading through your latest correspondence I found two paragraphs that enticed me to try out where you described to the respondent what to do with fear:
Of course, the last sentence got my full attention.
I took the emotion at the time – fierce frustration about not ‘getting the point’ – and lay on the couch for experimenting and contemplating. The outcome was fascinating, to say the least. Digging myself to the very core of the feeling I discovered frustration as just being a cunning distraction from the underlying fear and, even deeper, found the mother of all instincts: ‘I don’t want to die’, which includes ‘I as species have to perpetuate. So here I found again what you said, Richard, that ‘I’ am ‘the many’ and ‘the many’ is ‘me’.
Ignoring all the flashing stop-signs I reached to the stunningly clear perception of what ‘I’ consist of – a software survival program, causing emotion-producing chemicals and kept alive through the notion that this is me, all of me. The process of seeing the program of ‘me’, the ‘self’, in action was like lifting it from its nourishing soil, airing it, so to speak, and thus depriving it from its very life-source – even if only for a short time. That alien entity ‘me’ that I had been taking examining since so long was finally seen and experienced as something other than this physical body. These moments of apperception, of the bare awareness of ‘who I am’ now rock the boat and create all kinds of mental and physical nuisance like headache and angst, only to confirm that this experience was not just a dream.
Since then I had another fascinating experiential insight into the nature of ‘desire’. In the early morning hours of a sleepless night I watched a procession of thoughts turn into a mental nightmare of need, growing into greed, amounting to wanting to devour anything or anybody that would come into my reach. For a short time this instinct took over all of my thinking like a mental rape, and I felt no different to a hungry lion or a python ready to strike. Curiously I was reminded of the compulsive eating disorder of bulimia and I could understand what might happen to people who suffer from it. I experienced the instinct of desire gone completely out of control – and if one would take action there would later be shame, guilt and despair for having ‘lost control’ with ensuing remorse and self-punishment in an endless cycle of self-destruction.
What an exciting and fascinating set-up, being my own lab, my own guinea-pig and my own scientist all in one – and getting describable, repeatable and comparable results. Factual. Actual. And great fun.
VINEETO: So you found us on the web? and joined the mailing list – welcome.
RESPONDENT A2: Fascinating writings I discovered while browsing the web one boring night at school. I’ve been a student of Course in Miracles, but had a lot of suspicions about this ‘ego-bashing’ that comprises the bulk of the text. Also wasn’t too keen on the idea that Jesus was the channelled author ... and didn’t care. But of all my investigations, you are the first to suggest that even the soul itself is not so benign as we’ve come to believe.
VINEETO: Yes, the first, and according to Richard’s extensive investigations the only bunch of people to say so. Hence our description of ‘A New, Non-spiritual, Down-to-earth Freedom’. Richard has been the first who was not contented with his enlightenment but who, in 11 years of thorough investigation, came to see through the delusion that enlightenment actually is.
Once I was able to look past my objections and see the radicalness of this new approach, it made eminent sense to me that not only the ego, but also the soul, our feelings, instincts and imagination are part of the ‘self’ that is responsible for all the malice and sorrow both in me and in the world. But you will discover that when you have time to read a bit into Richard’s web-site.
RESPONDENT A2: But it is still a bit tricky to hear you referring to ‘I’ even after all this ‘self’ annihilation you’ve been through. Maybe our language simply cannot convey the essence of what you are really saying...but I sure ‘sense’ the legitimacy of it.
VINEETO: Richard put it like this:
And in another conversation:
Peter has explained it quite well in our library. There are three I’s’, the normal I, the spiritual I and the actual I. So even when you eliminate the normal and the spiritual I or ‘self’, there is still this flesh and blood body that one needs to refer to. I is the shortest and most common way to name it.
RESPONDENT: I actually missed you from the sannyas list. I must admit that yours and Peter’s posts were interesting and educational. I still have a problem with negating the idea that there is a God ... to me all is God or Existence or All That Is ... whatever you want to call it. Negating that is really negating yourself.
VINEETO: (...) But one thing I had already understood in sannyas, that everything that I create in my head – or heart – is part of me and not to be relied upon. So I gathered all my courage and stopped to believe the stories my head produced without interruption. The effect was enormous. I literally came ‘here’ for the first time that I can remember. ‘Here’ meaning, the filter of the ‘self’ was temporarily not functioning and I saw the world as it is, without the story we usually create out of what we see, hear, taste or smell. Everything just existed in its own right. Clear, perfect, magically alive, thriving, wondrous, pure, obvious and self-evidently here without needing any God or force or love to be able to exist. Just here. Just this. And I am conscious of it without being separated and without having any kind of connection with it either.
And I had come ‘here’ by stopping to believe anything, stopping to create anything. That’s what made the experience so pure. There was no ‘me’ polluting the perfection of it. Because anything that I create is only created by ‘me’, the ‘self’, produced by instincts and conditioning, emotions and beliefs. It is unreliable to give the actual picture of what is, it is filtered, distorted, interpreted, formed, mutated.
This experience gave me the courage to question everything I believed, including God. Because in that experience I knew, there is only this very physical universe, perceived through our physical senses and the consciousness of this physical experience. Everything else I could see as the outcome of a psychic construct, imagined and built by all of humanity since time memorial.
Having experienced the world, the actual world without me in the road, I knew what I had to do. I had to remove my ‘self’ with all its implications, with all its beliefs, with all of ‘me’. Because only ‘I’ am in the road of the perfection of the physical universe, ‘I’ and my beliefs in God, Love, All There Is, or whatever else idea we heap unto the vastness and purity of what is. And then there is no grandness, no bliss, no life after death and it is utterly unnecessary too. Because without the filter of instincts and conditioning, without the Human Condition, each moment is experienced as magical, utterly fulfilling, delightful and fulfilling. Without separation there is no need for God or Love to unite.
I had tried to get rid of the ‘bad’ emotions. But the trick is to free oneself of all that we continuously create in our heads and hearts – of the good and bad emotions, of the whole ‘soul’. Then, and only then – without the ‘self’ or ‘Self’ – can we experience this vast physical universe including ourselves in its magnificence and benevolence which is its very nature.
RESPONDENT: Ahhh, now you lose me. Clearly you are saying that there is more for me to experience. Clearly you believe I do not experience the actuality of what you are talking about. Perhaps this is the case. Truthfully, when you talk about the ‘self’ being temporarily absent, I do not know what you are talking about. Can you explain more how one knows when one’s self is absent???
VINEETO: From my own experience of the first major peak-experience I know that without the comparison of such an experience it is difficult to locate and isolate the ‘self’. Only after I experienced that the ‘self’ consists of my emotions as well as my beliefs could I get a grip on this amorphous psychic entity that is ‘me’. I come here into this moment and leave my ‘self’ behind.
When you have a peak-experience and the ‘self’ is absent this fact is very obvious to you. There is no sense of separation to anything and anybody whatsoever. There is no feeling or emotion and you know that this is not your imagination, it is simply so. I have written to No 13 about Pure Consciousness Experiences (PCE) – and you may want to read a few descriptions in Peter’s Journal. It takes a bit of reading to get the gist of it, a PCE is so very different from our everyday experience of life as a ‘self’. These are the links:
If you can’t remember a peak-experience, another way to approach the subject is to determine how the ‘self’ is present – what feeling do ‘I’ have now?, what’s my objection to being here?, what longing to connect with someone?, what slight feeling of numbness or boredom?, what irritation about someone’s words or behaviour? Driving a car was always a good test for me, so many ways to get irritated, and so unnecessarily. The ‘self’, when investigated, can be very cunning in disguising itself as the imagination of having arrived – because then one stops dismantling it. ‘I’ have every investment not to be found out, not to die. And yet, ‘I’ am the only thing in the way of experiencing this blithe and perfect moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: I hear you saying that you no longer need to identify yourself with anything ‘transcendent’. You are no longer identifying yourself with all-that-is, or supreme-being, or God, or the universe. You are no longer identifying yourself with something above or independent of the universe. You are no longer identifying yourself with ‘a being beyond matter, and having a continuing existence therefore outside the created world.’ Macquarie, 2nd ed., defn of transcendent
VINEETO: It is not that I ‘no longer need to identify myself with anything transcendent’, on the contrary, the ‘I’ that feels, imagines or identifies does no longer exist in my body. I am this body and nothing else.
‘I’ have not gone somewhere else, dis-identifying ‘myself’ from ‘me’ – ‘I’ am disappearing rapidly and therefore there is not much ‘I’ or ‘self’ to identify or dis-identify with anything. That way you get to the root of the problem. No escape. The ‘I’ itself gets diminished to the point of being almost non-existent and only then can self-immolation occur. When the ‘I’ disappears, there is only this body, sensate, reflective, alive, here in this moment in time, fresh each moment.
RESPONDENT: You know now that you in your body sensing and reflecting is all of you. You are simply a human being. The rest is the universe. And that is amazing.
VINEETO: [When in a pure consciousness experience] there is no ‘I’ in this body, I am this body. Yes, I am simply a human being and as such I am the universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being. It is not ‘I’ and the ‘rest’ – there is no separation, because there is no ‘self’ to ‘feel’ or ‘be’ separated (or to need to feel ‘connected’ through love or through ‘sharing’ sorrow).
VINEETO: What is usually completely overlooked is that there is not only an ‘ego’ controlling our thoughts, but also a ‘soul’ producing our emotions and that both are running on the fuel of our innate animal survival instincts. Both, ego and soul, have to be eliminated in order to experience an actual freedom from the Human Condition. Only without the intricate system of instincts, emotions and beliefs can the magnificent perfection of actuality be experienced, which is then it self-evident and obvious. Actual Freedom is neither a devastating truth nor a mystery to be lost in – but the continuous experience of this abundant life in this pure and infinite universe, experienced through the physical senses.
RESPONDENT: Nice try, but when you use words like eliminated, instead of awareness, you are revealing your repressing control trip. I have been speaking of awareness, in referring to 3 levels of consciousness, I refer to 3 levels of awareness.
VINEETO: I think you don’t know what ‘eliminated’ means, maybe you have never experienced the elimination of an emotion or an instinct. It means, this particular emotion and issue have disappeared, they doesn’t exist anymore. Take for instance jealousy. I have neither repressed it nor transcended it, it now simply does not occur, whatever the situation, because the one who would be insulted by jealousy or feel insecure by anyone’s behaviour has been eliminated. I have dug deep inside and found the ground my jealousy was feeding from and I have removed the very cause for jealousy to occur, the sense of ‘me’ that wants attention, security, identity and the notion of belonging. If jealousy was just repressed there would still be situations when, once in a while, the lid would invariably ‘fly off’ and reveal the underlying emotion of possessiveness, because one cannot repress for 24 h a day, 365 days a year.
The spiritual practice of ‘awareness’ only shifts one’s identity to the ‘watcher’, a newly created spiritual identity. When those ‘transcended’ emotions and instincts return because the watcher wasn’t watchful enough, they are raging in full force. Instincts are not being eliminated by transcendence, not even reduced, they are only put aside through dis-identification.
Elimination gets rid of the cause, it severs the root of the particular belief, feeling or emotion. To eliminate an emotion, such as jealousy, I had to find the underlying cause, examine all the supporting beliefs and emotions, like love, possessiveness, fear, greed, insecurity etc. and understand them in their entirety. I have to see the instincts, the core of the ‘self’ in its operation. Only then is it possible to eliminate that particular emotion – a bit of the ‘self’ actually dies, never to return.
Richard says it very aptly:
VINEETO: When I met Peter and he said he wanted to live with a woman in peace and harmony, I took the opportunity. I had to question and eliminate a lot of my dearly held beliefs in the course of the search for such daily and permanent peace, but I considered those beliefs as part of the ego that I had set out to leave behind when I started on the spiritual path.
RESPONDENT: The I setting out to leave the I behind, hahaha. Great Idea! But it’s a good warning – thanks!
VINEETO: This is one of the insidious beliefs of spirituality and of Sannyas, that you can’t change yourself. People believe that simply loving the Master of obeying God will do the trick. That’s why everybody who believes it keeps going round in circles. We are not only born with instincts and then filled up with the usual social conditioning but we also have a brain equipped with intelligence and awareness. Both intelligence and awareness are very good tools to change one’s behaviour, to get rid of emotions and beliefs that don’t work in life. Just to call it ‘I’ and then pretend that you are helpless to do something about it is an easy cop-out and a cheap excuse. It smacks of fatalism. Maybe it is threatening when I state that it is possible to change myself because it reveals this great belief for what it is – an excuse to stay malicious and miserable.
RESPONDENT: (...) I am very happy to see that you have a sense of humour and unlike some sannyasins you don’t seem to get offended or angry at jokes.
VINEETO: Yes, I also think that it is a sign of intelligence when one can see the ridiculousness of what one is doing. But most jokes point at others and are at the expense of the shortcomings of others. It is called fun but is almost always badly disguised plain malice. The impression of ‘lighter and free’ comes from a temporary distraction from the misery all around, but jokes do nothing to actually free you from misery. After a short time it hits back with full force.
For me, being a seeker has always been about finding out about myself, first about the ego in Sannyas and now about the whole of the Human Condition, the ego and the soul. Searching, for me, is about establishing peace-on-earth in me, and for that, the ‘I who I think I am and the I who I feel I am’ has to die. Only when ‘I’ am completely demolished will I be reliably happy and harmless, all the time.
Just making fun of one’s own and other’s shortcomings is nothing but a nice coating over the ‘self’ that wants to stay as it is – and be liked by others on top of it. It has never really appealed to me. I preferred to find a way to be free of being the nice girl, free of needing love, free of any dependency on other people’s opinion about me. Then I am also free to say what is the case instead of being anxious about what others would have liked me to say.
It is a wondrous and delightful freedom to be an autonomous, happy and harmless human being. It beats every single joke in the world. Jokes – if they are really good jokes – can only be the cherry on the cream on the cake.
RESPONDENT: (...) Does, what you call ‘elimination’, happen without effort, or is it something that has to be ‘done’?
VINEETO: While I am taking a particular emotion or belief apart, digging deeper and deeper into its root cause, something is ‘done’, effort is applied. I am using my brain, contemplating, investigating, searching, daring, asking, questioning, doubting, until I get to the bottom of that particular issue. It is part of ‘me’, an alien, but fiercely defended, entity inside my body, for ‘I’ am nothing but my feelings, emotions, beliefs and instinctual passions. Hence ‘I’ will do everything to obstruct this questioning, this investigating and this eliminating, for ‘I’ am terribly afraid to die.
To investigate in spite of that fear requires courage, effort and a burning intent. Only after I have dug deeply into that issue, exposed it to the light of awareness and understanding, it will disappear ‘without effort’, never to rear its ugly head again.
At the same time, removing the filtering veils of beliefs and fears, my senses become heightened, I am more here and less in fear, love, hope, churning emotions or in remote fairy-worlds. I am on this planet, on the chair, the rain pouring on the leaves sounds deliciously in my ears, the fridge is humming, my toes curling in delight. Life is eminently easy and wonder-ful, magically abundant and carefree. Once all discoveries are made, all beliefs dismantled, all instincts laid bare, they go up in smoke and ‘I’ will die the illusory death that ends the existence of the ‘self’. To investigate into the survival instincts of the ‘self’ is effort, living in this actual world is utterly effortless, an ongoing delight.
VINEETO: You have now sent me a copy of your letter from 2 days ago, this time you left out the following sentence:
RESPONDENT: But why don’t you ‘FUCK OFF’ and die somewhere else!
VINEETO: This was a sincere statement. Why did you leave it out?
You say ‘die somewhere else’. Is it that you don’t want to hear about the subject? An honest statement. Who would want to? No ‘self’ wants to die. Every single ‘self’ of the 5.8 billion people on this planet wants to survive, as somebody, as ‘nobody’, as a heart-felt ‘being’.
‘I’ will do everything to hinder the investigation, to obstruct ‘my’ death. It is a very natural and instinctual fear. So much to loose...
But then, on a closer look I found that what I thought I wanted to keep was not really worth much. A miserable, lonely life, meditating my head off and becoming more and more remote from a world that I had set out to enjoy. When I left Germany for the East to take Sannyas, I had set out to become more happy, more at ease with myself and with the world. But it was only after I questioned the normal world as well as the spiritual world, am I now able to be really at ease. And for that not only my ego but also ‘me’, my soul and my very being have to die.
That’s just how it is. One can say ‘fuck off’ and avoid the facts or face them, finish the search and finally arrive.
As Richard says it to the point:
VINEETO: I am virtually free from both personal sorrow and Universal Sorrow and am able to be considerate without the emotional and passionate involvement that comes automatically with being an identity. And it is simply common sense. Why should I not want everybody to share the same paradise? Why not have peace on earth, for everybody? We are fellow human beings. Anybody, who wants to, can do the same thing that I did and live in the same benevolent paradise that I live in. Doesn’t that make sense to you?
RESPONDENT: No it doesn’t. As an actualist, you are a body, nothing more, and are therefore limited in space. Benevolence is the quality of the physical universe which is infinite. Hence you couldn’t possibly be benevolent or considerate yourself.
VINEETO: The feeling of being limited and separate comes from the alien psychological and psychic entity inside each human being. To overcome this feeling of separation and limitedness Eastern spirituality teaches to ‘stop thought’ and to identify solely as the ‘feeler’ in the heart. The resultant oceanic feeling of ‘Oneness’, ‘Unity’ and ‘Wholeness’ gives rise to the misconception that the separate self has been eliminated. As a matter of fact, the separation has only been bridged by a ‘connection’ to the other through the feeling of Love and Compassion. But the very problem, the separate (limited) psychic entity of the ‘feeler’ is still very much alive. It is the psychological ‘I’ and the psychic ‘me’, the alien entity ‘possessing’ this body that make me feel separate and limited in the first place. Without the ‘self’ there is nobody to be separate, and I experience the actuality, benignity and benevolence that is already present in the physical universe.
You know, when I first realised that this universe is actually unlimited, vast, endless, without borders, I also knew that there is no place where gods could be – there is nothing outside this physical universe, there cannot be, by the very meaning of infinite. Have you ever gone to the NASA-site and looked at the horse-nebula, the neutron-stars, the cluster-galaxies, the earthrise seen from Apollo circling the moon? http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/
We are all made from the same stuff, physically, the stuff of the universe! Or have you ever looked at the actuality of a simple china coffee-cup? The texture, the colour, the design, and then considered the raw materials for it – they have developed on this planet for millions of years until they were discovered and manufactured into this simple coffee cup. The machines involved, the tools, the transport, ... This cup was manufactured somewhere on this planet, shipped to this country, driven to the shop where I bought it from, handled by many people... The universe is all one big happening, everything linked to something else, all happening at this very moment – nothing is merely passive. Whichever direction you look, there are physical wonders upon wonders, once the ego-centric and ‘soul-centric’ shackles are taken off one’s senses and brain.