Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Sincere Intent, Pure Intent
RESPONDENT No 37: Or even if I am upset with someone – to be clear with them that I am getting upset – not that I have to ‘take it out on them’, but it seems better to communicate or express feeling rather than suppressing it.
VINEETO: Speaking personally, I soon discovered that my wanting to express to someone that they were making me upset was simply a way of blaming the other for my feeling upset – a convenient way of avoiding investigating my own feelings and discovering why other people’s acts or words upset me. In other words, I came to realize that if I didn’t stop the cycle of blaming others then I would never experience peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: Yes! When I really peel back the layers of all my interactions, I find that there’s many subtle cases where I’ve projected my reactions on to others. All instances must be suspect and investigated. All. The ole’ grey matter is very comfortable with the patterns and is insidious in manifesting them.
VINEETO: Yes, that’s it. ‘All instances must be suspect and investigated. All.’ Richard describes ‘me’ as ‘a lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning entity’, which I can entirely corroborate by my experience of investigating ‘me’ in its multitudinous forms and expressions. ‘I’ am as tricky as all get out. The very survival mechanism humans are endowed with is wired for ‘self’-defence and for that very reason every any questioning of the status quo is automatically considered an attack. That’s why the only one who can free yourself is you, because only you can have the intent, awareness and insight as to how to get past your own ‘self’-defence in order to be able to undo your own social/spiritual conditioning and become aware of your own instinctual passions.
By the way, it is not the ‘grey matter’ itself that ‘is very comfortable with the patterns and is insidious in manifesting them’ but the way the ‘grey matter’ is wired or programmed. In actualism one is de-programming the brain, removing all of one’s social conditioning and instinctual passions to leave a free, clear thinking, sensible, benevolent and intelligent brain.
VINEETO: You recently wrote to No 33 about what you described as ‘a mini-PCE’, saying that it was ‘accompanied by a real sensation of unfettered happiness’. The expression, and my own experiences of ‘unfettered happiness’ triggered some trains of thought.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been mulling over the first part of your post, the reference to a PCE as seeing from ‘a bird’s eye view’. It was oddly coincidental as it arrived the same day as I had awoken to what I think was a mini-PCE. I had spent a good part of the day before actively recollecting PCE experiences of my earlier years so I must have greased the skids a bit (side note – this is why the vets hammer on remembering a previous PCE so strongly). It was similar to experiences I had had when younger, and there was a definite perception of being ‘outside’ or ‘not myself’, a ‘bird’s eye view’. It was also accompanied by a real sensation of unfettered happiness, something which I realize has been all too lacking of late. Alas, it was not long-lived but residuals did linger through the day. I think that my ‘outside’ interpretation is a natural first conclusion, when historically the ‘identity’ is considered the ‘real’, hence anything else is foreign, but if I have the nerve to suggest that the ‘identity’ is actually on the ‘outside’ (so to speak) of my actual self, then a PCE exposes the real nature of ‘identity’ as interloper. Same shoes, different feet.
I think it’s time to cut back on the intellectualization and spend some more time on the experiential half of the process...
VINEETO: I found that I am experiencing ‘unfettered happiness’ only when I am both free from fear and free from guilt, the two dominant emotions remaining after I had investigated, and greatly reduced, anger, sorrow, love and hope. I found that both fear and guilt are inextricably linked with the core of my identity, with being a ‘being’. At core ‘I’ am guilty being a ‘being’ and ‘I’ know it. ‘I’ am feeling guilty that ‘I’ am being here, and I am aware of it most of the time.
Richard’s latest conversation with No 37 threw some more light on the issue of the deep-seated feeling of guilt that remains even when the social-religious conscience consisting of the morals and ethics of society has been dismantled –
VINEETO: I always wondered what produces sincere intent to be happpy and harmless because it greatly puzzled me that some people seem to have more of it than others. I discovered that my own sincere intent to become free from the human condition consists of two main ingredients – one is the memory of a pure consciousness experience and the other is the awareness and acknowledgement of my inherent guilt for being a ‘being’ and the subsequent determination to do whatever is needed to become guilt-less – innocent.
Most people I met and talked to in my life were more interested in getting rid of fear which is, next to guilt, the other major side-effect of being a ‘being’. However, I found the pursuit of fearlessness an extremely ‘self’-ish and ‘self’-centred affair, given that feeling fearless only benefits and enhances one’s ‘self’ and is not concerned with bringing an end to human malice and sorrow.
In contrast, the pursuit of innocence – the determination to eliminate the root cause of guilt – is intrinsically altruistic in that I recognize that being a ‘being’ inevitably contributes to the misery and mayhem of human beings. And it is this altruistic, ‘self’-less, component of one’s intent that will ensure the success of becoming free from ‘self’.
So you see, your description of ‘unfettered happiness’ triggered an understanding as to why my spiritual pursuit of happiness through fearlessness was bound to lead only to dissociation and self-aggrandizement. However, when I stopped sticking my head in the sand, when I started to take a clear-eyed look at what’s going on in the world and finally dared to acknowledge and become aware of my guilt inherent to being a ‘being’ did I begin to fuel the sincere intent that is so essential for the process of becoming free from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: Sheer intent is essential.
VINEETO: Just out of curiosity – I wonder if you would mind describing what is fuelling your intent to become free from the human condition? Was there a particular motivation that twigged your curiosity about actualism and/or a passion that keeps you going?
RESPONDENT: Over the past decade or so, I’ve slowly become aware of my own programs, how I react in situations, etc. This was through a combination of basic self-observation and contemplation of some reading materials, aided occasionally by professional counselling. I had arrived at a point where I saw that so much of what I did, how I related to others was playing the same sad programs over and over again. This was a wonderful piece of knowledge, and I knew I didn’t want to continue doing the same old same old. I was stuck at that point however, feeling somewhat lost in the existential swamps, and also a bit lazy about actually doing real work... or maybe uninspired – all the spiritual paths I looked into smelled kind of funny, and the disciples didn’t appear to be any happier than myself.
I was sort of intrigued by U.G. who appeared to be somewhat a-spiritual, and came across the AF link somewhere in the U.G.-net (my recollection may be inaccurate here though). The AF site presented a statement of the human condition that mapped nicely onto what I had learned myself, and provided a method to do something about it. The utter simplicity of the premise appealed to me also, as it has always seemed to me that most religions take some very simple concepts (be happy, harm no one), and add dogma and ceremony onto it so deeply that it is suffocated. Also, there was a refreshing absence of guru-ship on display. So here is an appealing model and method, all I have to is get on with it. That point was made clear to me in many of the writings – there was absolutely no alternative to getting off my butt and applying myself 24/7. None, period, full stop. This, coupled with a growing awareness that my time on the planet is not infinite, has motivated me to get serious. So, that alone kept me going initially, and now I am starting to reap some more ‘tangible’ benefits, which really aids the old inspiration. Nothing like results to motivate.
VINEETO: An excellent report. It reminds me of what Gary wrote in his introduction to the actual freedom list:
Today someone told me that he believes in astrology – the power of super-natural influences – because by doing so he doesn’t have to feel guilty for not being happy. He said that whenever he is particularly knocked about by strong emotions he would call his astrologer and ask for a ‘star’-appraisal. Of course, the astrologer always finds the right explanation in the stars and confirms that his feelings are just as they should be because ‘his Jupiter is being overshadowed by his Uranus’ and that things will soon change. So in order to assuage his social-spiritual conditioning of feeling guilty for being sad and grumpy he takes refuge in the ancient superstition of astrology and as such he passes the buck to Someone/ Something else. Who would dare to be so arrogant to overrule the Heavenly forces and be happy despite the mighty influence of planetary constellations? … As you said – ‘Sheer intent is essential’.
RESPONDENT: <snip a minor history>
VINEETO: An excellent report. It reminds me of what Gary wrote in his introduction to the actual freedom list:
RESPONDENT: I read this piece and recognized a lot of similarity. One item I had omitted in my own report was captured by Gary in this statement:
About three months ago, I had to face this about myself. Despite all the good work I had done in self-observation, it all boiled down to the simple inescapable truth: I was unhappy and angry, and no amount of psychological analysis was going to make it go away. This is where the sheer intent to change that comes into play.
VINEETO: It is always a pleasure to swap stories with a fellow human being and a joy to have a good conversation. And it is a particular delight to meet a fellow traveller who is similarly fed up with being ‘unhappy and angry’ and is determined to change that. In that respect your history is more than a ‘minor history’ as you said in snipping your report, because your life experience has culminated in the realisation that you were neither happy nor harmless and this resulted in the ‘sheer intent to change’ . It was similar for me in that I had to admit that all my spiritual efforts had not enabled me to live together peacefully with women, let alone with a man, and thus all my supposedly attained ‘inner peace’ was nothing but hot air and imagination.
I’ve often contemplated on the topic of intent in the last years because intent is the sole key for having an interest in becoming actually free from the human condition in the first place and for maintaining the determination to keep going until I reach my goal. My intent was based on the acknowledgment and realisation that ‘all the good work in self-observation’ , as you call it, had not made me happy and harmless and this realisation motivated me to try something different to spiritualism and materialism. The intent to keep going has a simple equation – when the old bridges are burnt, and second-best is not an option, then the only direction is forward. No 3 said it well some time ago on the list –
VINEETO: The other day you wrote to No 37 making an assumption about me that I want to clarify –
RESPONDENT to No 37: Richard appears to have rewired his brain internally (and on the evidence I think that is true), so how do we know that it wasn’t simply rewired to experience the universe as timeless and infinite? Peter, Vineeto and others are attempting the same physical rewiring (not achieved yet... virtual freedom vs. actual freedom) by emulation of that programming... whether they or anyone else can ever accomplish the hard-wiring remains to be seen.
VINEETO: I am certainly not attempting an ‘emulation of that programming’. Actual Freedom is not about emulating a programming – it is about becoming free from one’s social programming and from the invidious effects of blind nature’s instinctual programming. With the actualism method I remove my default setting, the normal and spiritual programming of the human condition – I do not replace it with another programming. When the identity is removed – as experienced in a pure consciousness experience – the actual becomes apparent only because there is no programming interfering with experiencing what is already here.
RESPONDENT: Understood. My example was yet another on a long list of attempts to rationalize AF in terms that make sense to ‘I’. Clearly that can never happen as ‘I’ have a vested interest in making sure that the fundamental experience of the actual never happens.
VINEETO: Yes, you said it very well. As long as ‘you’ ‘have a vested interest’ in preventing ‘the fundamental experience of the actual’, all you can do is ‘rationalize’ actualism – to mean what it doesn’t mean ... because what actualism really means is the end of ‘me’.
When I discovered actualism and satisfied myself that it was genuine article, there came a point when I had to make a clear-cut decision. Either I would live the rest of my life settling for second best … or I would make a commitment, knowing well that this commitment would be the end of ‘me’. I don’t know why, but second best was never an option.
Once I had made this commitment something quite delicious happened – I discovered ‘I’ had something worthwhile to do – ‘I’ had a purpose, a goal worth dying for – and this commitment alone made ‘me’ immensely happy. Committing myself to actual freedom ended my search and began my process of discovery, I had found the effective method to achieve the freedom I had always longed for – the only thing left to do was to do it.
RESPONDENT: Practicing actualism has two key elements: unravelling the accrued conditioning, and experiencing the actual universe directly. I’ve been diligently doing the former for some time, with great results, but have certainly been tripping over my own feet with the latter. No 37’s recent missives have been very helpful in addressing my scepticism and understanding the crucial necessity of that facet.
VINEETO: It is amazing how much can be achieved by a good dose of naiveté combined with the determination to change radically and irrevocably.
RESPONDENT: I’ve mulled a bit recently on the notion of naiveté. I’ve read and understood the definition, but I must admit there is a lingering association in my mind with ‘foolishness’. I do see how elemental it is to this whole process. I think it would be interesting to explore this in the context of the universe thread.
VINEETO: Yes, that’s it. In actualism, the first thing that takes a bashing is one’s pride because the pursuit of becoming happy and harmless means to set off in the opposite direction to what society regards as being intelligent and wise. From the real-world point of view scepticism, cynicism, criticism and denigration are considered intelligent behaviour, while from the spiritual point of view dissociation, detachment and not-knowing are deemed the peak of wisdom.
Consequently the pursuit of becoming unconditionally happy and unconditionally harmless, i.e. giving up battling it out in either the real world or the spiritual world, is seen as a sign of foolishness … and the fear to appear foolish is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to beginning the journey to an actual innocence.
As you say, naiveté is ‘elemental’ to the actualism practice – without naiveté you cannot even consider that human beings can possibly live in peace and harmony, let alone that one can free oneself from one’s genetically encoded instinctual programming. To allow naiveté to replace scepticism and cynicism is a big step towards leaving the safe haven of resignation and never-ending uncertainty and dropping out of the day-to-day combat in the grim battle of survival.
Naiveté has two purposes in actualism – firstly, moving on from the initial analytical process of making a prima facie case as to the sensibility of actualism to beginning the experiential hands-on exploration of one’s psyche – the process that leads to irrevocable change. And equally importantly – awakening one’s dormant naiveté is vital to be able to remember, or induce, a pure consciousness experience.
As Richard’s sum it up –
VINEETO: What I am saying is that I decided that I did not have to learn or understand all the theories in order to assess their validity, I did not have to trot my way through the seemingly endless possible theories, philosophies and concepts that human beings can invent – and Eastern philosophy and mysticism is particularly designed to be mind-bending and thought-twisting.
Now, it does not make any sense to me why people are often quite practical in terms of their livelihood, safety, comfort and pleasure, yet when it comes to religious values and spiritual belief, all those practical and sensible assessments are blatantly abandoned. Why? Why don’t we demand from our beliefs what we want from our cars – that they should work?
Which leads to the question – what is it that should work in life? What is it that one wants to achieve? To what goal should the theory lead?
You said in your letter to Richard –
RESPONDENT to Richard: Actualism is a shock to the core and I keep wondering how I got here.
VINEETO: From my own experience, being clear about the nature of one’s intent, one’s direction in life, is an essential ingredient before one can even begin to explore and investigate beyond what one feels and believes to be safe and familiar. The tangible benefits of questioning my beliefs and convictions, conditioning and emotions only became apparent when I saw that actualism was indeed improving my life in the direction of what I had always wanted to achieve – actively and practically doing something for peace on earth. Living with Peter in utter peace and harmony was the first substantial success and that ease and intimacy is now possible with everyone I spend time with. Yet I know, from the understanding of many pure consciousness experiences, that ultimate peace is only possible when ‘I’ have become extinct.
VINEETO: After a few months of painful doubts, fierce defence of my former life-style including my spiritual beliefs, and intense questioning of what I wanted to do with my life, my ‘necktop computer’ crashed, resulting in a significant pure consciousness experience.
RESPONDENT: Crashed eh :) Then I may miss out on that fun experience, because though I have doubts they are not painful (at least not yet) and though I may be defending beliefs it is not fiercely. I was born of extremely down to earth parents, a mother with a menza IQ and a father who was a professional sportsman, neither belonged to a religious denomination. I grew to value the mental freedom they showered on me, hence my inability to become a devotee of a spiritual group.
VINEETO: Maybe then your life is already perfect as it is?
In my experience, questioning my dearly held beliefs and the familiar arrangement of feelings and emotions was extremely scary at times, particularly in the beginning of applying actualism. I needed not only guts, determination and discontentment with my life as it was, but also the growing certainty based on ample experience that none of the normal-world and spiritual-world solutions had worked. Nothing had delivered the results that I was looking for – living in utter peace, harmony and intimacy with a man and achieving peace of mind while living in the world as it is with people as they are. Facilitating and moving towards one’s own extinction is not for the faint of heart or week of knee – you need a good solid reason, sincere intent and an altruistic motivation for doing so.
RESPONDENT: Your Great Operation seems to be forging ahead valiantly Vineeto, bravo. What an amazing mental lightness it must be, to have cleared away the weighty old baggage we usually carry around. Most inspiring indeed.
VINEETO: Yes, my ‘great operation’ of instigating the ending of ‘me’ works, and it can be achieved by anybody who is interested and willing to step on to the path to Actual Freedom. But my report of success is of no value to someone else unless they have a burning discontentment with life as it is and the desire and determination to actually do everything possible to eliminate malice and sorrow in themselves. An actualist is relentlessly driven by his or her refusal to settle for second best.
VINEETO: Once one fully commits to being hooked to the bait of common sense, the process of dismantling one’s ideas, beliefs, feelings and emotions becomes fun instead of a fight against one’s own intelligence.
RESPONDENT: Well, it’s too soon to say exactly just how common is this sense I am committed to, but I am certainly having fun not fighting against my own intelligence.
VINEETO: The common sense we talk of is indeed uncommon, for human intelligence is always fettered by feelings and emotions arising from our blind instinctual survival programming. As such it is something which needs to be discovered, cultivated, activated, liberated. No human being that is instinctually driven by blind animal passion is capable of common sense. Every soap opera movie and every evening news is witness to this very obvious fact.
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.
RESPONDENT: (...) ‘I’ have always required self discipline, (force), and inspiration, (imagination), to perform and achieve ... this is often an intellectual exercise backed up with hard work ... wherein ‘I’ become a slave to my own dreams and schemes rather than to others. A slave none the less. I know I can perform and achieve just as well, (and more happily), when I am not driven by any desire. My needs are met without excessive effort. When ‘my’ aim is to be actually free I don’t want to be dependent on a mailing list, person or anything else ... then ‘I’ become anxious and alone for in truth I am already a free personification of this perfect part of this universe.
VINEETO: I found the term intent very useful to describe that I, in fact, have a very specific goal in life – ‘self’-immolation – and that I want to achieve this goal like all get out, i.e. I am driven by the desire never to settle for second best. That intent puts all my efforts and reflections into perspective, I apply ‘self discipline’ when needed, I draw inspiration from many sources – be it my personal malice and sorrow that I want to get rid of, be it another’s report of success or be it the suffering of humanity at large that I do not want to perpetuate with ‘my’ identity. I don’t consider this being a slave (if I understand you rightly) but having a clear aim in life to do something for my happiness and my harmless and thus contribute to peace on earth in the only way I see possible.
As for being dependant on a mailing list – personally I found any discussions about the Human Condition and how it manifests in me and in others a very useful tool for my investigation. Only by interacting with other people in the market place could I find out where I am not free yet, where and how I have changed and what I still need to investigate in me. That is my main reason I write on this list and other lists – to stick my neck out to find any instinctual passions that remain uncovered.
VINEETO: I had found the ‘who am I’ question quite confusing and even in the road of getting on with ‘death’ and freedom; it would entangle me in the different ‘who’s’ that were trying to run the show in my head. In confusion, I rather look for my intent, for the reason why I am searching for freedom and for the goal I want to reach
ALAN: I completely agree, Vineeto. It is a nice excuse to get lost in intellectualizing, like Richard and I are doing above. There is, however, a difference between the discussion we are having, which is great fun, and getting ‘lost in one’s head’ – then, like you, I have found the easiest way out to be focusing on intent, recalling a PCE and concentrating on ‘what is my purpose’ – and reading the following:
VINEETO: Just a short comment on your letter to Richard and your in-built answer to me:
Well said. I think it is worth getting all our words used as straight as we can. You are doing a great job here with Richard, I am enjoying the discussion immensely. And I would not call that ‘intellectualizing’ at all because, as I understand, with Richard you are 100%, boots and all, involved in the enquiry and description of facts and experiences. It is the first time that the difference between ASC and PCE is pinned down so clearly for anyone who wants to can see it for themselves – and avoid enlightenment for themselves too.
But in a way, all this is happening in the head, you are right, but ‘lost in the head’ ? I think you are just kidding!
I had to think about what I actually do when ‘focussing on intent’ and ‘concentrating on what is my purpose’. Yes, it is always best to activate delight and a PCE, but then, as important, to untie the hooks – emotional, instinctual and ‘eventual’ – that keep or kept holding me back, hooked into the normal state of dullness, worry or fear. I am a well-trained detective now, having searched so many alley-ways of this very cunning ‘self’, unlocked so many emotions, beliefs and instinctual passions, all with that innocent looking question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’. Being lazy I shortened it inside my head as ‘What is happening?’, ‘what emotion is keeping me from being completely at ease and fully in my senses?’ The obsession has grown to such an extent that even when I have an occasional afternoon nap – a very pleasant activity, by the way – the investigation is running in the back of my head while I linger in that wonderful delicious state between sleep and waking consciousness. Not always do I remember the content of my investigations, but then I just start again...
VINEETO to Alan: To come back to the story I wanted to tell –
Driving home last night after a full working day I wondered what was really the difference between me now and me some time ago. I felt as ‘normal’ as one can be; no outstanding events had happened in the day, there was just a quiet enjoyment of the different tasks I had to do. Was that all there was to life, a non-emotional, non-eventful pleasant day-by-day living, but without the sparkle and magic of a pure consciousness experience? Was I maybe missing the mark, was I a few degrees off course or overlooking something essential here? Doubt crept in – and the impatience I have known so well from the last weeks.
Coming home, Peter introduced me to the term ‘limbo’. There was a report about a film called ‘Limbo’ on TV and he had looked it up in the dictionary:
Well, I definitely could relate to that description, I know the ‘place or condition of neglect or oblivion to which people or things are consigned when regarded as superseded, useless, or absurd’, and I also know well this ‘intermediate or indeterminate condition; a state of inaction or inattention pending some future event’. And some feelings of doubt, lost-ness or insecurity about the right direction are very normal when one is in limbo. Suddenly all made sense again – o.k., if I am in limbo, that must be par for the course. How could I ever think that anything could go wrong? It was a great relief to realize that nowhere can I go wrong or miss the mark – limbo is a place of no direction and no movement. My only responsibility now is to keep my foot off the brakes; all else is proceeding perfectly well.
While contemplating upon where I could possibly stand on the brakes, I noticed a slight shift in my determination. How long am I going to play in this safe ‘sandbox’ called Virtual Freedom, and when will I finally grow up and actually do what I have been thinking and talking about for two years – to be free, irreversibly, without leaving a backdoor open to revert to ‘normal’ or slip back into having an identity should being free become too scary? It was like straightening from a hunched position of playing in the sandbox, leaving the well-known safe area behind and standing upright. Virtual Freedom has become a nursery and it is becoming too small a playground. And it seemed immensely sensible to move on, just like leaving home when I have grown up. When leaving my parent’s home there was no regret, not much fear but an immense excitement to explore the big wide world. Now the situation seems similar. Just the next sensible thing to do. Just doing it. Stop imagining it, stop desiring it, stop thinking about it, and, for heaven’s sake, stop feeling about it. Just doing it. I don’t mean repressing any upcoming thoughts or feelings, but to stop feeding the ‘engine’, whenever I have a choice.
VINEETO: And now to something completely different. I enjoyed very much your letter to No 13 last week, and triggered a contemplation about altruism. You had said:
ALAN: Then tonight, catching up on reading what had been written while I was away, it suddenly got to me. This, what I am engaged on, is of far, far, too much importance to give up this easily. Can I live with the fact that every suicide, every war, every rape, every murder, every abuse, every instance of malice is unnecessary – and do nothing about it? No. Whatever is necessary must be done.
VINEETO: My practical mind has always had trouble with ‘altruism’ for the simple fact that even if I become free, everybody will have to discover and achieve freedom for themselves. And, as we have seen, up to now not many people have been intrigued to investigate the proposition. So I figured, cunningly, that it wouldn’t make much difference to the world at large if I became free or not. I pursued freedom simply for my own benefit and delight, knowing that this is the very best I can do with my life.
But in the last few weeks this line of pursuit has proved to be insufficient. I noticed that I kept losing my happiness and sparkle of Virtual Freedom as it was sometimes replaced by complaining about physical inconveniences like headaches or a ‘pain in the neck’, weirdness, feeling odd, fear attacks and bouts of doubt. Assessing my situation objectively, I realised that the option to stop or go back to ‘normal’ had disappeared altogether. What would I want to go back to? I had left my old life because it was unsatisfactory and that would still be the case.
But something else was needed to get me through the oddness. Stubbornness, guilt for ‘being’ an intruding entity and the glittering prize of actual freedom were not enough. And I found another line of Richard’s writing – a benefit of my extensive playing with the web-site:
There it was again – ‘altruistically self-immolated’ – and this time I could see the word from another angle. It has nothing to do with being altruistic for other people – whether they get something directly out of my becoming free or not. It has to do with being unselfish as in my ‘self’ getting out of the way, so that the perfection can become apparent. ‘I’ won’t even get a medal for my altruistic behaviour – ‘I’ will simply not exist anymore. And thus my hang-up with the Christian – and spiritual – morality of being selfish or un-selfish has finally been resolved.
Now I can see the sparkling morning, the dewdrops glittering thousand fold on the thin tea-tree leaves, moving and shining like river stones, the birds chirping their birds-sounds and the air moist and warming for another glorious spring day. Everything is perfect when I stop insisting of keeping my ‘self’. Suddenly it is all easy and I am back on the wide and wondrous path – and the pain in the neck is just a signpost for the right direction. Ah, fantastic.
Since I finished this letter I had another discussion with Richard about being here now, in this moment in time, with having a past or a future, and I experienced again the eerie wonderful and odd thing of being here now without a ‘self-induced’ story that keeps the moments together like pearls on a string. From this point of view, from simply being here each moment again there is no question whatsoever that Actual Freedom is what I want, 24 hrs a day.
And, being back in having a bit of a past and a bit of a future, I am still determined to make it happen, no other reason needed. The continuing oddness of not really knowing where I left the ‘meaning of life’ that had tied my life together so nicely before, can only be a good sign. Ahoy.
VINEETO to No 2: Once I stop doing, feeling, proposing, interpreting, in short, messing around, with the world as-it-is, then everything is simply perfect. It is ‘I’ who is at the core of all the trouble. And this ‘I’ consists of ‘ego’ and ‘soul’, concepts and emotions, everything that is not touchable, visible, audible, tastable or smell-able.
IRENE: My suggestion to you and Peter is to take this scientific stand, which I had taken with Richard so many, many times over the years, in order to be totally intimate with him and listen to his every word as if this was the ultimate truth spoken to me for the very first time... so I wanted to listen. < ... >
What I’d want you to do is exactly this: find the place in yourself, where you are without any prejudice, pre-conceived ideas, hostility, aggression, defence and suspicious conclusions that you have firmly formed about me, Irene, in the last year or so.
Suppose that I have found the way to live in peace as authentically me and that I’d love you both to have this experience, purely for the good of all of us...
VINEETO: I think it is great you found a way to live in peace as authentically you, and I appreciate that you can enjoy that now after having settled down in you cute cozy place. I don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘for the good of all of us’. For me there is no ‘all of us’, no group that I belong to. I am on my own and perfectly happy to be so. This is one of the successes I had with Richard’s method, that I no longer need other people’s approval for my doing right or wrong.
This is how I function. Once I found something that I want to do with my life and I have checked that out thoroughly, I do it 100%. This is what I did when I was with Rajneesh for 17 years. I was with the movement and all the follies, with all of me. Only this way could I clearly determine that it had failed, not because of me, but because spirituality didn’t work.
Now I am giving it a 100% with Richard’s method. I have checked it out and found it worth giving my full go. You could compare it to a relationship. When I am happy with one man, why should I go around flirting like a single? If that relationship gives me all I have ever aspired for, I stop turning my head after every other man. It is that simple.
And there has been such success with actualism that I won’t change course, whatever proposal anyone is offering. You don’t change horses in mid-race, especially when you are sitting on the winning horse. After hanging out with Peter for 18 months and being constantly together with him for 24 hours a day for five months we continue to live in perfect peace and harmony, equity and intimacy. In endless discussions with Peter, using Richard’s discoveries, I have been able to clean myself up to an extent that all my meditation-techniques and group-experiences pale in insignificance. There are no deep grudges, not even light ones, no grumpiness, no indulgence in moods, no desperate days and weeks, no depression, no anxiety about personal issues or appearance – all troubles I used to have plenty of in my spiritual times. There is now even an understanding from my own experience about the ‘space’ where the Enlightened Ones dwell in that I could never grasp when I was busy meditating. And life is such a thrill, such a pleasure, such a wonderful adventure as never before.
So tell me, from my standpoint, why should I change course now – even as a trial run? It does not make sense. I think you will understand my reasoning as not being against you and your findings. They may well work for you. But I have simply set my goal posts and I won’t let them go out of sight.
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:
VINEETO: I’ve been thinking about ‘struggle’ for a while.
I can agree with you on the point that struggle in itself is not the ‘sound-proof’ criteria for going in the right direction. Further, I discovered actual freedom in a peak-experience and understood that no bit of ‘me’ is required to produce perfection or to keep it up, that on the contrary it was only ‘me’ that was in the road of perfection. It was a tremendous relief. I don’t need to produce it – it is already here. The actual world and living in the actual world is not a struggle at all.
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’.
VINEETO: What is it in you, that keeps you going when dark sides of the Human Condition come to the surface, when malice and fear and sorrow rage in their full force?
For ‘true investigation’ one needs effort, intent and courage as well as a determination not to be fooled by the cunning of this ‘self’ – the feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts – that want to stay in existence by all means.
RESPONDENT: I challenge myself to be aware of it all, good or bad, intense or barren, there can be no obstacle to freedom here and now.
VINEETO: I found that the challenge to be aware of it all was not enough to carry me through the periods of doubt and fear. On my way to freedom I had to muster my intent again and again, link it to the peak-experiences and gather all the daring and bloody-mindedness I could find. Richard has written about intent:
RESPONDENT: This would seem to mean that pure intent is based on fact. For me this would be the fact of the release that occurs when a major hurdle is realized. The point that dullness masks emotion and emotion masks belief has also been of assistance. I have a bit of trouble summoning up delight (as Richard suggests), as it seems imaginary, as opposed to the release that comes with facing issues. That is still under consideration though.
VINEETO: Pure intent is derived from the purity of a peak-experience. If the intent is based only on the release from the tensions of hurdles one will be contented with temporary and second rate solutions.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, you and also others have mentioned a possibility of auto-rewiring of a brain as a result of a prolonged PCE experience. Have you noticed some old habits, gestures and body poses disappear? (If you disconnect synapses the vanishing habits could be used as indication that one is going into the right direction). As an example of what I am talking about, I noticed my semi-conscious habit of scratching my moustache (my brain must like the sensation of the moustache touching the soft skin on my fingertips), or earlier in my life, as a child, any pointed object. Or a habit of sleeping on your back, etc, etc.
VINEETO: The way you put the question, it sounds like as if one only has to find a switch ( a prolonged PCE ) and then – whoosh – the brain is auto-rewiring itself into the desired programmed position. That might be possible for computer programs, although even that is not an easy matter, but human beings function differently. One has to actively investigate into and progressively eliminate one’s emotions, beliefs and instinctual passions that constitute the ‘self’. To embark on such a thrilling adventure which will irrevocably change you, the one you think and feel you are, you will need to know what you are aiming for and why you want to question the status quo.
So the first thing which needs to be investigated is one’s intent. What is it that you are aiming for? Is it freedom from playing with your moustache and freedom from sleeping on your back? Or is there something else, something more important in your life that you want to be free from? For me, my main aim was to live with a man in perfect peace and harmony, twenty four hours a day. For that goal I successively was ready to give up religion, friends and peers, the ‘sisterhood’, job, my identity and everything I thought and felt myself to be. Living together in peace and harmony had been a longing all my life, and the failures of my former relationships had made it clear that conventional solutions including the spiritual search did not bring the desired result. While Peter and I were each dismantling our identities whenever they would hinder our peaceful living together, it became more and more obvious that there was more involved that just a happy two-some. My whole identity was at stake, my whole life was under investigation. If, for instance, I wanted to be free of being a nagging woman at home, then I had to get rid of ‘her’ completely, not just during the time I spent with Peter. So my original intent of a peaceful living together very soon extended to an actual freedom from being my ‘self’ with everyone, irrevocably.
Actual Freedom is not a small enterprise. And it is not a clip-on to one’s existing life to smooth some itchy habits and otherwise one stays the way one is. Actual Freedom is an enterprise that you decide for boots and all, to investigate into the very core of your being, into your ego and soul, in order to eliminate the very substance ‘you’ are made of – feelings, emotions, beliefs, instincts and imagination.
What I had said to Mark was:
In other words, once I have done ‘my job’, once I have investigated into my emotions, beliefs and instincts, the brain is doing the physical part of the change. But it is up to me to clean myself up, to investigate, running the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I have to remove every bit of my ‘self’ that is obstructing the smooth functioning of the brain. ‘I’ have to self-immolate. And for that I need all the intent I can gather, all the courage I can muster and whatever bloody-mindedness, patience, perseverance and determination I can pluck. And peak experiences and the success on the way give me the confidence to keep going.
RESPONDENT: So – letting go is like intent, having a choice, a choice between going with it or letting it go alone, letting it be.
The trick is to do that radically. The negative and the positive. Yesterday a program was triggered in my computer which you can call being successful, special.
Most of as we like to think this way, we just want to read as from the opposite, to feel failure, inferior. I am not talking about that. When the success program came up on the screen, I looked at it and in the looking was intent, letting go and choice. What was left I call freedom; understanding and insight that happens out of that.
I could write forever. Let’s stop here!
VINEETO: The fascinating thing about the writings on Actual Freedom is that they not only give you the full description of what is possible – Peter, Alan, Mark and me writing about our peak experiences and life in virtual freedom and Richard describing an ongoing uninterrupted experience of the unimaginable purity, boundless magnificence and sparkling magic of the actual world.
Having experienced this actual world in my 4-hour pure consciousness experience made it impossible for me to settle for second best, to fiddle with my personality or ego like moving deckchairs on the Titanic. I could then knowingly make a choice and knowingly direct my intent to extinguishing all of me, ego and soul, ‘I’ and ‘me’, beliefs, emotions and instincts alike, eliminate the very sense of ‘being’. What is left up to date is but a faint shell of the old Vineeto, well aware that her days are numbered.
RESPONDENT: I agree that the task for ‘me’ is to push the button to start the process of self-immolation. The truth for me right now is I am dedicated but I am not 100% committed. I have intent but it is not pure intent. What would it take for me to make the leap to be 100% committed with pure intent?
Can I make this leap? Can I become 100% committed with pure intent? What is stopping me? Obviously it is the ‘me’ that is stopping me and like you said it is up to the ‘me’ to keep the question ‘how am I’ going. As you said it is up to ‘me’ and ‘I’ to bring about the process of ending themselves. The best that ‘I’ can do right now is to keep the question ‘how am I’ going. I am dedicated to that.
VINEETO: To understand my intent for freedom I firstly had to take an honest and extensive stock of my life so far. I reviewed all the paths that I had tried, all the adventures I had taken as well as my intentions behind them. I found that as a youth I had marched for peace, freedom, equity and various ideas of a better world. I had been involved in Women’s liberation, only to find women as incapable of living in peace and harmony with each other as men. I then turned to changing society by education, studied social work and was full of ideals to ‘heal’ society. Yet, working as a social worker for heroin addicts I quickly discovered that I had no solution to offer for any of these ‘drop-out’, on the contrary – I could understand their reasons for turning their backs on a society that I saw as corrupt and hypocritical, restrictive and compromising.
For several years I got involved in primal therapy, which claimed that the solution lay in experiencing and expressing emotions under ‘nursery conditions’ and then all will be well. I learned to identify my emotions more in detail, but merely expressing them did nothing to resolve them, they kept appearing again and again without fail. Life did not become easier through therapy, only more expensive.
The next solution on offer was Eastern spirituality. Combined with a plethora of new-age therapies, the cozy security of a newfound family it seemed the best on offer. The intention now was to change myself rather than changing the world. For the next 17 years I got gullibly sucked into the rich imaginary fairy stories of Eastern beliefs, new-age superstitions and serious meditation.
To make a long story short – none of my enterprises brought me freedom, peace and happiness. It didn’t teach me how to live with a man in peace and harmony. I knew only too well that I was still enjoying fight, spite and bittersweet sadness and I still felt lonely and fearful. To acknowledge failure was enough to fuel my intent to explore something new, something practical.
Also, I wanted to live with a man in peace and harmony, 24 hrs a day, every day. For that goal I was willing to question my dearly held beliefs of gender identity, social morals and values, spiritual beliefs and convictions. To live not only in peace but to share a life of fun and adventure, intimacy and harmony, I considered more valuable than anything else I had done up to now.
All these considerations gave me enough drive to investigate, question, discover and turn beliefs upside down to find out about them and compare them with verifiable facts. It was all very confusing in the beginning to say the least, but the thrill of investigating why all those beliefs had never worked kept me digging deeper and deeper into the very substance of my identity. And every success, every result, every belief replaced by facts drove me further into more inquiries, encouraged me to identify, trace back and investigate my ‘precious’ feelings and emotions.
You see, intent does not grow in a day or is instantly 100% at the start, it gets bigger and more and more purified with increasing discoveries about the Human Condition in oneself. To acknowledge malice and sorrow in action in oneself, day by day, gives one the firm intention to factually do something about it, to actually and irrevocably change oneself.
And then, with persistent and honest investigation into one’s beliefs and feelings, with rocking ‘the boat’ of one’s identity to the limits, there is bound to be a pure consciousness experience. Asking myself the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of beings alive?’ never had a calming effect on me – on the contrary. To investigate a surfacing emotion, to label and define it and trace its root and underlying belief usually intensified the thrill until I triumphantly got the bugger by the throat and bingo – there lay dead another dearly held ‘truth’ or conviction, value or loyalty. To break through to the very core of one particular emotion leaves me with the actual and that often brings about a PCE.
To give you an example of what I mean I post you a bit that I wrote at the time of one particular discovery –
Daring to question ‘God’ by whatever name had eliminated one of the major columns my identity-structure was based on and caused the whole construct to tumble – for a few hours. Then I could experience the actual world as it is, without the restricting and fearful guardian of the ‘self’ in operation – which in turn fuelled my intent for more such discoveries. The serendipitous spiral of actual freedom is set in motion. On the path to actual – as opposed to imaginary – freedom I found that the only way to end fear was to face it and investigate it, and the only way to end pain was to find and eliminate its cause, for ever.
And it works.
‘Knowing full well the cost’, as No 3 said, which is ‘me’ in my entirety, it is gloriously delicious to be amongst the forerunners of human evolution. To be able to successively and irrevocably free oneself from the ancient animal heritage of the instinctual passions that are but a redundant remnant of thousands of years of malice and suffering is the best I can ever do with my life. Living at the cutting edge of the discovery to a new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth and actual freedom from the Human Condition takes on an exquisite momentum by itself that makes life exquisitely thrilling and wondrously delicious, day after day. And it all is available by sincerely asking the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: Yes, the situation with my mother has brought me face to face with my instincts. The question that arises now is ‘am I 100% committed to eliminating them?’ The answer is I am not 100% committed to eliminating them because I have doubt as to the possibility of doing it. Can I become 100% committed? What would it take?
I have survived the ‘attack of the instincts’ and am now feeling pretty good. I am not stopping the inquiry. I am now inquiring into can I become 100% committed to eliminating the instincts now that I have become intimate with them?
VINEETO: I like your approach. First you make an experiential enquiry into the nature of your ‘adversary’, the core of the Human Condition, and then you move on to the next question – ‘do I really want to take up the adventure of eliminating this ‘adversary’?’
In fact, there are two questions that you have raised:
Personally, I can answer the first question in the affirmative – for me Actual Freedom works, every day, incrementally and increasingly and irreversibly. And that is probably what scares most people. One really changes oneself, not just one’s ideas about oneself. Doubt is, in fact, part of the protection scheme of one’s ‘self’ in order to stay unscathed, unchanged and unquestioned.
In order for you to find out if it works you will have to give it a go. You take the tool of asking the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and apply it to a simple issue in your life. It is better to start with a small issue and be successful than to want to tackle a major instinct right away and get scared and doubtful. (...)
Only by experiencing that the method works can you be confident that Actual Freedom is possible. Then you will have to neither believe nor doubt, it will simply be your own experience. One turns a theory into a fact only by proving that it works with observable, verifiable and repeatable experimentation.
Answering the second question of commitment needs some ‘soul-searching’. As I have written before, I needed to take honest stock of my life and acknowledge that all my past effort to be happy and harmless had failed. Already in my spiritual years I had made it my goal to get rid of the source of the problem in me – then I believed it to be the ego. Once I fully comprehended that the problem consisted of both the social identity (the ego) and the instinctual passions (the soul), I went full steam ahead with the investigation. I simply refused to settle for second best, now that a clear method, pioneered by Richard, was available.
I know many people who are on the spiritual path because ‘normal’ life in society was unbearable for them, so they left it behind. But now they are contented with imagined solutions, feeling ‘good’, feeling ‘spiritual’ and feeling compassionate when, in fact, their behaviour has often only changed from selfish to superior selfish, from sad and grumpy to detached and ‘above it all’. Such imagined solutions are available cheap and easy but they do not produce actual happiness and actual harmlessness.
Actual Freedom, on the other hand, produces actual change – one actively and incrementally changes one’s outlook on life and one’s actions such that one becomes more happy and more harmless every day and thus finds one’s ‘self’ diminishing with every problem, belief or emotion disappearing.
These are the two options – spiritual pseudo-freedom and actual freedom – and they lie 180 degrees in opposite directions. It is purely a matter of what you want to do with your life.
In order that you can have a taste of what is possible, I suggest reading about Pure Consciousness Experience in our library, particularly the respective correspondence as well as Richard’s descriptions of Actual Freedom. It might help you remember or induce a PCE, which is the essential guideline for an actualist.
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.
RESPONDENT: You said above ‘And once I stopped doing what caused me to feel sorrowful, then the fear of this sorrow re-occurring also disappeared.’ I am not sure about this because stopping what causes fear in a given situation is not going to eliminate the fear from reoccurring. It will stop the current fear in the current situation but it won’t end fear (‘me’). This sounds more like an avoidance of fear (‘me’).
VINEETO: We’ve been at this point before. If I may remind you of the discussion in question –
RESPONDENT: Ok, this makes some sense and I have started doing this since I talked to you last. I have used the fear to start reducing the risk of actual danger or loss. I still don’t see how this is going to permanently eliminate fear from re-occuring but I will keep looking at it.
VINEETO: You cannot eliminate fearful feelings just because it seems like a good idea. In order to free yourself from the genetically encoded survival program you will need an altruistic goal – an aim in life that gives you the non-‘self’-oriented perspective you need in order to dare to radically change. Without an altruistic goal you will go round in circles, trying this method and that teaching, this technique and that medicine without ever evincing any change at the core of your ‘being’.
As an actualist I want to become unconditionally happy and harmless, knowing full well that achieving this goal will be the end of ‘me’. Because I have a clear direction I can apply the actualism method with success – whenever I am not happy, as in feeling fearful, worried, anxious or sad, I immediately explore what prevents me from being happy and do whatever it takes to return to feeling happy as soon as possible. Similarly, whenever I am not harmless, as in feeling annoyed, angry, resentful or unkind, I immediately explore what prevents me from being harmless and do whatever it takes to return to being harmless as soon as possible.
VINEETO: Given that even enlightened people do not manage to eliminate anger and anguish – they merely disguise and designate it as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ – I do wonder what plans you have and what method you want to use in order to accomplish your aim of having ‘the cake and eat it too’?
RESPONDENT: Having my cake and eat it too is only a saying describing what I have been doing. Obviously I can’t have my cake and eat it too and that is not my aim. I have been using an old method that I used in the 70’s which has been working.
VINEETO: You say
and you also say that
Putting the two statements together, it reads that your ‘old method’ from the 70’s is ‘having my cake and eat it too’.
Yet despite the fact that you say your ‘old method’ ‘has been working’ you started this thread with –
It seems that ‘your old method’ is not working after all if something is still missing for you. .
VINEETO: I have enjoyed you latest posts to the list and I particularly liked your precise list of questions regarding the infinity of the universe. It was the urgent quest to know that served to bring me definitive answers about the universe and what it is to be a human being and, going by your posts in the last two days, you certainly have discovered some definite answers.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had a bit of time off from work recently and have sort of hunkered down – ‘all one gets by waiting is more waiting’ is certainly true – and I’ve accumulated enough evidence at this point – so I’m taking the second reluctant foot that is still on the other side of the fence and jumping in with both finally.
VINEETO: Ah, wonderfully put – ‘the second reluctant foot’. Although the period of establishing a prima facie case is crucial in order to be able to understand what actualism is about, I found that I only started having success with the actualism method after I had jumped in with both feet, … or, to extend your metaphor, you cannot walk forwards if you have one foot on each side of a barbed wire fence. (...)
RESPONDENT: (...) What I had been noticing lately is a tendency to pounce on any beliefs or opinions whatsoever – possibly even in the ‘educated guess’ form.
VINEETO: Ah, in the light of ‘a tendency to pounce on any beliefs or opinions whatsoever’ I understand your query that ‘the word ‘belief’ is deficient’. However, I think that as long as you stick to pouncing on your own ‘educated guesses’ there is no way you can astray because you will find out soon enough if your ‘educated guesses’ qualify as being beliefs and as such need further examination. It is the passionate intent to get to the bottom of all of your beliefs that is crucial for uncovering all the borrowed knowledge and all of the ideas, principles and convictions that you, like everyone else, have inadvertently taken on board.
RESPONDENT: The fact that my ‘search’ has ended and dealings with people have improved is clearly attributable to actualism.
The unanticipated downsides have had to do with the fact that for most of the last two years, I have practiced actualism incorrectly. I have mostly looked at the human condition and my experience by trying to think through them and understand them. Unfortunately, though that approach gave me an intellectual understanding of the human condition, it has not allowed me to eradicate it in myself. I’ve only recently been able to discern the difference experientially, which has to do with examining emotions with attentiveness rather than attempting to analyze them intellectually. There is a big difference that can only be discerned experientially, and from what I can see, the trick is to remain with attentiveness rather than intellectualizing. Also, an important note – I’ve have long understood (intellectually) that there is a difference, but one has to understand this experientially.
There have been a lot of misunderstandings about the phrase ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive.’ I’ve tried to focus on ‘what’ I am experiencing – a sort of passive awareness, ‘what’ I am sensing – passive awareness – ‘what’ I am feeling – passive awareness – and other variations on the ‘what’ theme. It is only with the recent distinction between ‘what’ and ‘how’ that I see the question is specifically designed to be a simple test of the quality of experience in whatever form. ‘How’ is the important part in that it puts attention on the quality of experience – the emotions and feelings underlying thoughts so that one understands them experientially with attentiveness, not intellectually.
VINEETO: Ah, how simply you said it!
‘How’, not ‘what’ is indeed the clue to the difference between attentiveness with pure intent and the passive awareness of Eastern tradition. It had never occurred to me that it is this word that signifies the vital difference, but now that you said it is perfectly obvious – ‘how’ inquires into the quality of the experience and then the sincere intent to improve the quality of this moment to be both more happy and more harmless indicates what needs to be done. Whereas ‘what’ simply takes stock of the content of one’s experience and by doing so one can either focus on sensate experiencing, thereby avoiding undesirable affective experiencing – trying to become an un-feeling ‘self’ – or one can focus on desirable affective experiencing, thereby regarding what one sensately experiences as being secondary or even illusionary – trying to become a non-thinking, dissociated ‘self’.
VINEETO: This is precisely why pure intent is so crucial if one wants to become actually free from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: I am sure that this is true, and I’m also pretty sure that I don’t have the purest of intents. Not yet anyway. I have a few too many doubts to confront, but I’m certainly keen to keep exploring. (I’ll raise these doubts in detail later, but for now I’ll just mention that they are not doubts about Richard’s sincerity, they are doubts about whether the final step in AF is actually possible for all people, or whether it requires a biological configuration unique to Richard, and maybe a handful of others).
VINEETO: When I think about what strengthened my intent over the last years, I find it curious that they were all things that had to do with how I wanted to live my life and had little to do how other people chose to live theirs. At about age 45 I had determined my main goal for the rest of my life, which was that I wanted to live with a man in peace and harmony, and I soon discovered that this intent for peace and harmony could not stop at our front gate if I was at all sincere.
The other persistent passion throughout my life was my search for truth, as I called it then, a truth that is true for everyone, not only for those who choose to believe one version of truth or another, and this search ended when I had a pure consciousness experience. I knew right then and there that the only ‘truth’ that is true for everyone, regardless of their gender, race or culture, is the actuality that is already right here, experienced by the senses, available for anyone who cares to make the effort to remove the obstacles that prevent one from sensately experiencing it.
The question as to whether an actual freedom from the human condition ‘is actually possible for all people’ can only be answered on an individual basis because to achieve this freedom requires that an individual makes it the most important thing in his or her own life. Thus far I have met or have corresponded with very few people who are interested in doing so.
If, however, you want empirical proof that an actual freedom does not require ‘a biological configuration unique to Richard’ then you will have to wait until a second, or third, person becomes actually free from the human condition. Personally, I didn’t want to waste my time waiting for that, I’ll rather be part of the proof.
RESPONDENT: (2) I don’t want to fall for the shortcut that goes half-way and makes it all but impossible to go the rest of the way, if you know what I mean.
VINEETO: I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘the shortcut that goes half-way’ – are you talking about an imaginary freedom such as a permanent ASC (which is not ‘half-way’ but rather the wrong direction) or are you talking about a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow as being the half-way that ‘makes it all but impossible to go the rest of the way’ … or do you mean something else altogether?
Whatever the case, I can only recommend to not let the fear of not being able to go all the way prevent you from beginning the journey. In my experience the courage and the knowledge as to how to proceed only became available when I began walking the walk. Each step of this exploration into my psyche is a step into unknown territory – the only guide you have are your own PCEs and the reports from practicing actualists about their particular experiences on the path.
RESPONDENT: My current plan is to just do it now, and to try to make sure that I’m doing it right. Do you think it’s better to have a ‘road map’, or to just stick with now?
VINEETO: Isn’t the ‘road map’ the description of how to do it ‘right’? Or are you talking about a different ‘road map’?
The only thing that I really needed to get ‘right’ was my intent because, as Peter explained in his last post to No 32, it’s the intent that determines the direction in which way to proceed – there is the intent to either explore consciousness per se in order to pursue out-of-the-normal experiences or there is the intent to become actually happy and actually harmless in order to live in peace and harmony with one’s fellow human beings as-they-are in the world-as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: I am not too sure if other people who report success with actualism method are in the same state because for me this doesn’t look to be anything spectacular or fundamentally different than normal life one could live. This is very well within human condition.
VINEETO: From the way you describe how you are currently experiencing life you seem to be somewhat more happy, less bored, less dull than you were last year. Therefore when you now say that ‘this doesn’t look to be anything spectacular or fundamentally different than normal life’ you seem to have not taken into account how you previously experienced normal life. Taking your words at face value, you seem to be belittling whatever success you may have had, seem stuck at being reasonably happy and reasonably harmless and are now saying ‘this doesn’t look to be anything spectacular’ as though the actualism method itself is somehow lacking.
RESPONDENT: I did not mean that ‘the actualism method itself is somehow lacking’. I am not even saying that it has not worked for me at all. What I am trying to check with others using the method is if the degree of change for me is too slow compared to others, which could be very well because I am not using the method correctly as you wrote below. Or is it that I am belittling whatever success I have had so far. In other words, even though I am equally happy and harmless as other people using the method, I somehow don’t realise the contrast. I am still not sure and perhaps it would help if I can talk in detail to somebody else who is in the early stage of practising the method.
VINEETO: The success you have with the actualism method is directly related to the strength of your intent. Therefore whether or not your progress is ‘too slow’ cannot be measured according to the successes of other people practicing the actualism method but can only be measured according to the degree of happiness and harmlessness you want for yourself, relative to how much effort you are willing to apply to the task.
VINEETO: However, if you want to further investigate why ‘this doesn’t look to be anything spectacular’ it might be appropriate to look at the post that you have written on the same day to No 3, in which you describe how and when you apply the method of actualism –
Has it not occurred to you that the reason you had such limited success with actualism – ‘this doesn’t look to be anything spectacular’ – is that you are not using the actualism method as it has been described to you?
RESPONDENT: May be, you are right. I have two problems. One, when you say ‘by finding out what triggered off the loss of feeling good, one commences another period of enjoying this moment of being alive’. I do not exactly know what do you mean precisely by ‘enjoying this moment of being alive’. Is ‘being reasonable happy’ to enjoy the life? Let me clarify that I do not mean material comfort and worldly success by ‘reasonable happiness’. I am reasonably happy when I am content and peaceful. In other words I have no serious complain with life, I have no need to change anything and I do not carry any acrimonious feeling towards others. Do you call being in this state to be ‘enjoying the life’? If yes, then I am enjoying the life most of the time. However why I call this state as only ‘reasonably happy’ is because I find that this is a negative definition. This is basically an absence of bad (and good) and acrimonious feelings. To give you an example – when I compare this state to the state when I fell in love for the first time – some twenty years ago, I find this state to be a bit dull. Now, I am not saying that I am looking for the same feeling of ‘falling in love for the first time’, because I know now that it is a false and foolish state to be in and consequences of that are disastrous. I am just giving you an example of the intensity of the experience. On the other hand when I read people describing their PCEs, I find those to be very intense experiences.
VINEETO: I wonder why you are wondering about the degree of success you are having using the actualism method when you say –
If you are happy being ‘reasonably happy’ and if, when you are feeling ‘reasonably happy’, you feel you ‘have no need to change anything’, then actualism is clearly not your cup of tea.
However, if you are inspired by ‘people describing their PCEs’ and you would like to live a ‘self’-less PCE 24 hours a day, everyday, then you will need to change. You will need to make being harmless and happy priority number one in your life – the very top of your laundry list.
Being ‘reasonably happy’ can generally be achieved either by repressing one’s unwanted feelings, obeying the social-religious morals and ethics, or by detaching from one’s unwanted feelings, following the spiritual practice of dissociation. If you are interested in experiencing the dazzling splendour and peerless pristine excellence of the actual world then you would have to investigate why you would settle for feeling ‘reasonably happy’ – reasonably as in ‘moderately, modestly, cheaply, within one’s means, tolerably, passably, acceptable, average’. Oxford Thesaurus
In order to lift the bar to feeling excellent you would have to ask yourself the question – why do I not feel perfect, which feelings interfere with my feeling perfect and reduce my experience of life to merely feeling ‘reasonable happy’, which, as you said yourself, isn’t ‘anything spectacular’?
RESPONDENT: The other problem is how do I graduate from feeling good (which is what perhaps I am, most of the time) to feeling ‘happy’ and then to feeling ‘perfect’. What is the difference between feeling ‘good’ and feeling happy? My take on this is that feeling happy would have something positive. It will have some of the element of PCE – may be in lesser intensity. This brings me to another question on sensual delight. Do you experience the sensual delight even when you are not in a PCE? If yes, then perhaps this is the part I am missing and perhaps this is the ‘positive’ part of the happiness. Am I right?
VINEETO: Before I go into the nitty-gritty of degrees of being harmless and happy, the unresolved question is whether being harmless and happy is priority numero uno in your life. If it is, then settling for second best will be out of the question for you. If it is, then you will automatically lift your game from being ‘reasonably happy’ to feeling happy to feeling perfect to sensual delighting in being here and you will know for yourself what feeling perfect means without needing to compare it with anyone else’s feeling perfect. Perfect means the best and needs no comparison.
VINEETO: Cultivating the attentiveness required for the actualism method to be successful is not akin to some sort of meditation that you do ‘while going to sleep or when [you] have nothing else to do’. If you want to change your life from feeling ‘reasonably happy’ to feeling good to feeling happy to feeling perfect, then attentiveness needs to be applied each moment again, regardless of what it is you are doing at this moment and regardless of where you are at this moment.
To use the example you related to No 3, when ‘preparing for a presentation’ you focus your attentiveness on how you are experiencing this moment of being alive whilst doing the research and activities for the presentation and in doing so you become aware of what causes you to have sad, anxious or irritated feelings during this activity. When cooking dinner, you ask yourself to how you are experiencing this moment cooking dinner, when driving a car you pay exclusive attention as to how you are experiencing this moment while diving along the road, and so on.
RESPONDENT: I am somehow unable to follow this approach. When I am preparing a presentation or writing a mail or reading a book, I cannot focus my attentiveness to how I am experiencing this moment of being alive, because these tasks require exclusive attention for themselves. Yes, while cooking dinner or while driving I can focus my attention on how I am experiencing this moment, because these jobs do not require exclusive attention. I think there are two different things we are talking about. I would like to understand how you can have exclusive attention to two attentiveness oriented tasks at the same time.
VINEETO: Actualism, being non-spiritual, non-philosophical and down-to-earth, is like any other pursuit in life. For example, if your aim is to win the Olympic gold medal in the 5000m marathon, then you will spend your days training and exercising until you are confident of reaching your goal – you will stream-line your whole life, putting all other desires aside, to make sure you reach your goal and you won’t let off until you have perfected your skills. But if you only want to do a little bit of jogging to see if you like it or not, then you won’t need to practice, you won’t need to change your life, you won’t need to perfect your running style.
VINEETO: Of course, attentiveness is acquired like any other skill in life – you begin with the easy and graduate to the more difficult. First you begin being attentive as to how you experience this moment of being alive when brushing your teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, waiting for the bus, driving a car, standing in the elevator, cooking a meal, watching television, and so on. When your attentiveness increases through practice, you advance to the more involved and more emotionally charged occupations of your day. Again, it all depends on your intent – no interest, no effort, no result.
RESPONDENT: I realize that intent is lacking in me. Now I have to find out why is it so?
VINEETO: No 47’s recent response to No 44 can give you some food for thought regarding this question. Vis –
VINEETO: This PCE confirmed that my holding onto a cozy relationship was nevertheless my identity in action. Although my relationship with Peter is founded on felicitous feelings only and I live with him in perfect peace and harmony, I clearly could see that ‘I’ as an identity was preventing something far, far superior to any psychic or psychological connection – an exquisitely delightful direct intimacy with a fellow human being. A couple of days later, when I checked what was left of ‘my’ relationship to Peter, I realized that not only had I lost any sense of my former affective connectedness but also my feelings of competition and comparison had disappeared. I had always regarded Peter as the better and older actualist and the better and more accurate writer and now I found such emotionally-charged comparisons had completely vanished. I also discovered that this entailed that I no longer feel obliged to respectfully wait until he becomes free before I dare the final jump. Now that I don’t relegate myself to a slot in an imaginary queue, nobody can prevent me from becoming free from the human condition.
GARY: Seeing my identity in action in a similar way to you can fuel my intent, can it not? If I see clearly what is getting in the way of living in peace and harmony, in other words the ‘downside’ to affective feelings, then would that not tend to spur my intent to be free from those very things that get in the way?
VINEETO: The comparison between a pure consciousness experience and my every day living experience certainly spurs me on. Seeing and understanding, over and over, the ‘‘downside’ to affective feelings’, as you say, does indeed weaken the magnetism of being ‘me’. However, I think that you need to have the firm intent to live in genuine peace, whatever the price, in order to be motivated to question and explore your identity and find out ‘what is getting in the way of living in peace and harmony’ . Then the potent combination of sincerity, naiveté and wonder will tip the balance towards making ‘the already always existing peace-on-earth become apparent’, as Richard said to No 37.
Seeing similarities between your social/instinctual identity and others certainly gives you confidence as to the accuracy and veracity of your investigations, but what spurred me on was success in becoming more happy and, even more importantly, more harmless. Experiencing that the actualism practice demonstrably works over a substantial period of time and in all down-to-earth conditions then incrementally turns confidence into surety.
GARY: Does the intent lead to a PCE or do you think something else is happening?
VINEETO: There are the spontaneous PCEs that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, which I explain as a spontaneous temporary glitch in the instinctual programming that allows the perception to be purely sensate and thinking to be free from any affective influences. These PCEs seem to be more frequent in childhood when the identity is not yet set in concrete, so to speak.
However, when a person has a good dose of sincerity, sufficient enough to re-awaken his or her naiveté, then he or she may develop an intent to live the purity, peace and wonder they have experienced in such rare moments of ‘self’-lessness as often as possible – i.e. it takes naiveté to devote one’s life to becoming happy and harmless. Only then, the memory of a spontaneously occurring PCE spurs me on to demolish the elaborate and firmly consolidated edifice of my ‘self’ in order to facilitate pure consciousness experiences happening again and again.
You could compare it to living in a securely air-tightened bunker when suddenly a crack appears in the wall and brings in some pure sweet fresh air … and suddenly the whole bunker disappears along with ‘me’. The bunker eventually reassembles itself and the crack is automatically repaired – a process due to the ‘self’-sustaining nature of the social-instinctual programming. It is then up to ‘me’, the one who thinks and feels to be in that bunker, to either wait for another accidental crack – akin to waiting for Godot – or to actively do something so as to experience the magical actual world again. In other words, when the PCE fades, ‘I’ then have to get on with the moment-to-moment business at hand – to demolish the very structure that is ‘me’.
A weakened and less ‘self’-centred structure of ‘me’ certainly provides more opportunities for ‘cracks’, i.e. PCEs, but all of ‘me’ needs to be extinguished in order that those ‘cracks’ don’t automatically ‘self’-repair and yet again shut out the splendour and purity of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: The Work is definitely not spiritual – it’s a method for self investigation.
VINEETO: Has it ever occurred to you that the method is only as good as the goal one wants to achieve with using the method? <snip> In short, if the aim is not ‘self’-immolation it is inevitably ‘self’-aggrandizement and ‘Self’-empowerment.
RESPONDENT: Ah, yes. Goals are good for achieving desired outcomes like building empires and manipulating the masses but in some matters, including self investigation, I prefer to let the investigation and curiosity direct the outcome. Preconceptions are so boring.
VINEETO: The goals in actualism have nothing to do with ‘building empires and manipulating the masses’ – I wonder if you read anything at all on the Actual Freedom Trust website as your cynical fantasy is running wild again. To have the goal to get rid of malice and sorrow is indispensable for the ‘desired outcome’ of being happy and harmless because unless I have the deliberate and altruistic intent to actively tackle the human condition within me, I am forever at the mercy of the genetically encoded forces of nature – the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. What you call ‘so boring’ is nothing other than the intent to change the ancient and genetically imprinted heritage of human nature.
VINEETO: There is a diametrical difference between actualism and Byron Katie’s methodology, not only in goal but also in technique.
RESPONDENT: Yes, there is a difference there. Actualists like to ‘take apart’ and destroy their concepts.
VINEETO: I am pleased that at last you recognize differences between your favourite teachers and actualism because in my experience such acknowledgements can lead to a clear-eyed understanding of what actualism is on about. But it is not that actualists ‘destroy’ their concepts for no reason or purpose – my beliefs and emotions are questioned whenever they stand in the way of me being happy and harmless. The intent comes first and the investigation of beliefs and feelings only happens as a consequence of this intent. In other words, I know what I want – an actual freedom from the human condition of malice and sorrow – and then I do whatever it takes to reach my goal. To investigate without the goal to become actually free from ‘self’ is purely ‘self’-serving.
RESPONDENT: Tell me – how does one take apart a thought or belief? Do you mock it and call it ‘silly’ to make it go away? Does this wipe the program clear? The computer analogy only goes so far with the mind. Attempts to banish thoughts are ultimately futile.
VINEETO: Actualism is not about banishing thoughts at all – actualism is about becoming free of the instinctual passions that are the source of all of human malice and sorrow. And you again deliberately ignore the most important part of the method of actualism – pure intent. For someone for whom ‘preconceptions are so boring’ pure intent does not even enter the picture of self-investigation and consequently taking apart one’s beliefs will appear ‘futile’. When you have the intent to become free from your insidious good and bad feelings in order to experience the felicitous feelings each moment again, then the investigation into your beliefs and feelings has a purpose and a direction and as such will show incremental success.
RESPONDENT: I prefer the Byron Katie model – examine your thoughts and beliefs deeply enough and they will unravel naturally. Gentle observation does the trick. That’s been my experience.
VINEETO: Does what trick? What is the purpose of ‘unravelling’ your thoughts and beliefs? What is it you achieve and how do you know that you achieved something if you have no preconceptions and no goal, let alone a benchmark against which to measure your success?
As for ‘gentle observation’ and without ‘preconceptions’ at that – I think the description of the human condition on Richard’s homepage speaks for itself –
Byron Katie never went ‘deep-sea diving’ herself, she grabbed for the tender passions as soon as there was a chance and blew them up all out of proportion such that she now perceives herself to be God personified, and not only herself but ‘everything and everyone’ as well. There is far, far more to becoming free from the human condition in toto than an intent-less ‘gentle observation’.
RESPONDENT: [quote]: Argument implies a desire to win, strengthens egotism, and ties us to the belief in the idea of ‘a self, a being, a living being, and a person’... Hui Neng
VINEETO: The spiritual people all tell you not to argue, which also means, don’t question, don’t doubt, don’t find out for yourself, believe them, in short – don’t think.
I like discussion. I am glad there is a discussion happening on the list, people are talking about their beliefs, in whatever way, it is coming out in the open. So I have nothing against argument, or the desire to win. On the path to freedom one has got to use every tool one can find, be it desire to win, bloody-mindedness, rebellion, joy of discovery, or whatever incentive to move on you find in yourself.
Richard talks about ‘pure intent’ and I have found that a very useful measure. Pure intent is keeping my goal in sight, cleaning myself up not for power or personal gain but for my own and everybody else’s happiness, my own peace-on-earth and the possible peace of everybody else.
Intent is born out of the peak-experience and one’s memory of it. It will be helpful to remember and maybe write down one’s last or most outstanding peak-experience in order to have a constant reference point as to what one wants to achieve...
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.