Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: I think Vineeto (and perhaps Richard) do not know what they are talking about when they speak of Vipassana: SC ‘Body’ –
From what I have been taught, the teaching of Vipassana is to go beyond both body AND consciousness, or mind. The goal is not to react to sensations, because that is what you actually are. ALSO, if properly seen, a ‘sankhara’ does NOT arise again once it has been seen.
Thus Vineeto’s statement of anger arising again is not valid, and her understanding of Vipassana is in err. It must be Osho’s understanding, which also was in err. When the suffering is seen, it does not rise again because experiential wisdom is gained about the cause of the suffering. Then the body knows not to enact this cause again and there is no more suffering. Are you sure actualism is 180 degrees opposite?
Maybe you guys just know vipassana as taught by quacks...
VINEETO: But then again, maybe not? I practiced Vipassana daily for many years including several retreats led by Goenka-trained Vipassana teachers but I only understood what Vipassana and all of the spiritual practices were really about after I had several pure consciousness experiences. When the ‘self’ is temporarily absent it is very easy to recognize all the silly things one does in order to rearrange the deck-chairs on the Titanic, as I used to call it – to rearrange one’s ‘self’ from normal ‘self’ to ‘true self’ to ‘higher self’ to ego-less ‘self’ and so on and Vipassana is but one of many spiritual practices designed to achieve this ‘rearrangement’.
RESPONDENT: Hello Vineeto, Your response was very helpful to me. It is clear to me that you do know what you are talking about...
VINEETO: A few days later you have apparently changed your mind –
RESPONDENT: Yes, also, what can explain the TREMENDOUS increase in happiness and harmlessness that occurred directly after (continuing to now) the first Goenka course that I sat about 1.5 yrs ago? I have practiced very diligently and received many benefits from regular practice, but I have also seen people that have practiced many years that I would not even be able to tell were practitioners. I have seen people repeatedly take courses with no improvement, I just think they are not practicing correctly. Furthermore, if one moves to OSHO style meditation after taking a Goenka course, one truly did not understand the technique being taught at the Goenka course. I myself do not buy much of the theory handed down from tradition, but the technique works and it is not at all what Richard or Vineeto describes it to be. THAT is why I say they do not understand the technique.
VINEETO: I do wonder why you want to discuss your practice of Vipassana meditation when there is no doubt for you that you ‘received many benefits from regular practice’? You gave a reason in your latest post –
In this case I can only say that you have yet to understand that the practice of Vipassana (together with its desired outcome) and actualism are 180 degrees in the opposite direction. I can recommend some reading on this particular topic in The Actual Freedom Trust Library.
RESPONDENT: After considering Vineeto’s response to my post I found that YES, I did indeed benefit from these courses and NO her experience was not the same as mine.
VINEETO: Your experience of Vipassana is not the same as mine because I now understand that Vipassana is but one of many spiritual practices designed to achieve a ‘rearrangement’ from normal ‘self’ to ‘true self’ to ‘higher self’ to ego-less ‘self’ and so on. Once I clearly understood this there was no point in me ever again quietly sitting with my eyes either closed or open, trying to go ‘somewhere else’.
RESPONDENT to No 60: Over the years that I have been on this list, for quite some time I have always had my reserves to the enormous implications that Richard’s claim has, yet regardless of the verifiability of that he for sure is a vip. i=(intelligent). Being myself not one of the most stupid people in fact some sort of genius, I have always been open to consider the impossible. That’s why I have persistently practiced AF (albeit adjusted the method in my own way). Taking stock of what that has resulted in, I come to a conclusion that probably before I ever came in touch with AF – I already had reached a plateau of relative happy and harmlessness.
By and by when I started to write on this list I became a pusher of Actualism, and the method, because I sincerely believed that the sequence might affect other brains and produce a hmm chain reaction, and that PCEs would start to happen as outbreaks.
So… before I came in touch with actualism I was a sannyasin and although I have tried to made a 180 degree turn I have never done so apparently for me I set course when I decided to join the sannyasin-club, and became a meditator and that’s basically how I look at the sequence: a high-tech meditation technique (meditation on the fly if you wish) and perhaps for some a lifesaver. There’s no other way for me than meditation not that I even would want to and it is an ongoing process.
VINEETO: Although you say that you ‘have persistently practiced AF (albeit adjusted the method in my own way)’ it nevertheless seems to have persistently escaped your attention that Actual Freedom has nothing at all to do with the meditation practices as taught in the East. You only need to compare the actualism method with what Rajneesh describes as meditation to recognize that they are 180 degrees opposite. Here is what Mohan Rajneesh, or Osho as you prefer to call him, says about meditation –
In contrast, here is a description from Richard of the actualism method, posted only a day before you wrote this post –
In short, your ‘adjustment’ of ‘the method in my own way’ is nothing but a continuation of Rajneesh’s method, it ain’t actualism at all.
RESPONDENT: So... I wonder what has happened to Vineeto and Peter, did meditation not work for them?
VINEETO: meditation did not work for me because by practicing meditation for many years I became more and more insular, more and more aloof, more and more detached and thus more and more dissociated from what was actually going on.
Meditation did not work for me because I never could quite loose track of what I really wanted from life, which is living in peace here on earth, in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are and not, as I found I was as a spiritualist, being aloof, empty-minded, removed and dissociated from being here.
The sensate-only experiencing of actuality in a PCE was the final proof that meditation did not, and never could, deliver the goods.
RESPONDENT: I remember a long time ago listening to a Bhagwan-tape, he mentioned two path’s to attain fulfilment, the one being Meditation the other a LOVERS-relationship. I guess that is Peter’s and Vineeto’s and likely Richards path though they will probably deny it that’s fine and it is not important anyway. My own alternative for Love is friendship, not too exclusive though.
VINEETO: Your guess is so way off track that I wonder if you have read anything at all in these years you have been on this mailing list, let alone dared to take it in. This is what Peter has written in his journal about the process he underwent when he investigated his feelings of love for me (that was in 1997) –
I have given a similarly detailed report about tackling love and leaving it behind in order to allow actual intimacy become apparent (that was also in 1997) –
And here is just one example of what Richard has said about the path of a ‘LOVERS-relationship’ –
Here is another –
It would aid the accuracy of your guesses if you made the effort to become a little bit more informed. Actualists are always upfront in what they are on about if you care to read what we have to say, which only begs the question as to why you waste your time writing to this mailing list when you have already ‘reached a plateau of relative happy and harmlessness’ by practicing meditation and state that ‘there’s no other way for me than meditation’.
VINEETO: I practiced Vipassana daily for many years including several retreats led by Goenka-trained Vipassana teachers but I only understood what Vipassana and all of the spiritual practices were really about after I had several pure consciousness experiences. When the ‘self’ is temporarily absent it is very easy to recognize all the silly things one does in order to rearrange the deck-chairs on the Titanic, as I used to call it – to rearrange one’s ‘self’ from normal ‘self’ to ‘true self’ to ‘higher self’ to ego-less ‘self’ and so on and Vipassana is but one of many spiritual practices designed to achieve this ‘rearrangement’. (…)
Vipassana is not flawed because some teachers are quacks – it is the whole institution of spiritual enlightenment that is rotten to the core.
RESPONDENT: If I may I ask respectfully, Vineeto as you seem to claim expertise/authority in the Vipassana-field. Have you ever been a leader of a Vipassana-group if so, when did you lead that group? How many times did you lead that group? Where was the location how many people participated? Who were you assistants/co-workers?
VINEETO: In my spiritual years I have assisted leaders in several Vipassana groups although I have never lead or wanted to lead a group myself.
RESPONDENT: I see, that was in your pre-virtualfree-stage.
VINEETO: No, it was in my spiritual years, well before I had even heard of the possibility of an actual freedom – the discovery of which now makes enlightenment redundant.
VINEETO: However, one does not need to lead a Vipassana group in order to have expertise in the field.
RESPONDENT: However me thinks, one who does lead a Vipassana group needs to have that authority though.
VINEETO: As I explicitly stated that I never lead or wanted to lead such a group, I wonder what relevance this statement has with the issue at hand?
RESPONDENT: Now, that authority being that self-assigned or having been assigned this authority by somebody who has the authority to do, that I think is a matter of relevance, however not in this case, as you have only claimed to be a Vipassana expert.
VINEETO: There are two meanings to the word ‘authority’ and the one that causes all the troubles is the one connected with power. (The power of the authority to enforce obedience; the power of the authority to enforce moral or legal judgements; the power of the authority to command or give the final decision; the power of the authority to control; the power of the authority of a governing body; the power of an authoritative holy book; the power of the authority to inspire belief and so on). The second – less used – meaning is: an expert on a particular subject.
Apparently, as in your use of the word ‘only’, you consider authority given by someone else to be of greater value than expertise due to someone’s substantial practical experience and insight into the matter.
Perhaps I can put it this way – there are those who teach others what hey have leaned form others and there are those who set about finding out whether what they have learnt from others works or not. What I am reporting is my experience in the practice of Vipassana – it is not meant to be a philosophical debunking nor a learned dissertation on the subject. As such my report would be better regarded as a bit of heresy from one who has delved into Eastern religion and is now a whistle blower.
RESPONDENT: On the other hand as No 73 has suggested that [Maybe you guys just know Vipassana as taught by quacks...] this would imply if – that has been the case, those quacks (i.e. teaching a new age variant from the Poona-kitchen) indeed lacked the authority to teach Vipassana and thus you may have been as well assisting people who where not qualified (aka unauthorized/certified) to teach Vipassana as well as practicing it in a way that it was not intended to be practiced. Consequently the results will likely not have been satisfactory. So… after all there may be some relevance to that case with respect to the aspect of authorization/certification. It is somewhat as if I hear you say that you have done your theory and have also practiced and more or less have learned how to drive a car, but blaming the car for not going where you want to go. Just to go by that analogy, imagine somebody practicing (Vipassana as taught to instruct by Osho and this was designed to come to arrive at a certain kind of understanding what genuine enlightenment means). Now, as that understanding seems to not have happened for you hence there are three possibilities the technique was wrong the teacher was not adequate. Vipassana was not your thing. It is one thing to bash/demonise a teacher/guru, to do that to an entire category/program is another thing. I.e. suppose the car is i.e. a <whatever brand> then by my dimlogical reasoning when I take in account your [it is the whole institution of spiritual enlightenment that is rotten to the core] would you then conclude that the whole <whatever brand> car industry is rotten to the core?
VINEETO: I gave the specific information that the Vipassana teachers were Goenka-trained – I knew them quite well because I worked in the same department. As you keep suggesting that this may not be the case, could you tell me if you have any factual information to the contrary before you fabricate more conjectures and draw any further conclusions based upon these conjectures?
VINEETO: All it takes is to know and understand the theory and to have practiced it sufficiently so as to understand how it works in practice. The other expertise I have is that I have the insight not only of an ex-spiritualist but, more far significantly, the insight of the self-delusionary nature of all things spiritual that only a ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience can provide. In a PCE, when the believer is temporarily absent, one has the unique opportunity to fully understand that all beliefs are ‘self’-generated and as such non-actual.
RESPONDENT: So… Are you implying that this institution also includes the Vipassana teachers as well as their techniques? or is [it is the whole institution of spiritual enlightenment that is rotten to the core] Intended to function as a metaphor (perhaps a somewhat hyperbolic expression) in which the part [whole institution of spiritual enlightenment] refers to anything that is not in accordance with the actualist doctrine? So… My question to you is (bear in mind I’m speaking in a metaphoric manner: Do you think that the whole institution of Vipassana stinks? I am asking this because something that is rotten usually spreads a not so pleasant odour.
VINEETO: Given that you have been a participant on the Actual Freedom mailing list for nigh on four years now, what part of the sentence ‘it is the whole institution of spiritual enlightenment that is rotten to the core’ do you not understand?
RESPONDENT: If indeed such is the case then naturally your allegation to the Goenka organization needs to be somewhat more substantiated (others then having been displeased/dissatisfied as to expected achievement of benefits) in order to prove that indeed the Goenka-institution ‘stinks’ (again still metaphorically speaking).
VINEETO: I have no specific allegations against the ‘Goenka organization’ nor any other particular spiritual organization for that matter other than that they have all failed to manifest peace on earth, despite the fact that millions upon millions of devotees have diligently practiced the teachings for thousands upon thousands of years. When I sat down and contemplated the extent of this litany of failure as well as drew upon my own experiences as to the reasons for this failure (whilst temporarily setting aside my own beliefs about the subject) it one day suddenly dawned upon me that the whole institution of spiritual enlightenment is rotten to the core, a description of which I posted in my last post (in the section you snipped).
RESPONDENT: I have used the AF method of running the question in the past and found it to be a good method as I have had extensive experience with similar methods in the past. The problem I have with a method of this type is it tends to become mechanical.
VINEETO: As you say that you had extensive experience with methods similar to the actualism method in the past, this indicates that you have not yet understood the difference between actualism and other – spiritual – methods of observing one’s feelings. The method of watching and observing one’s thoughts and feelings, common to many spiritual teachings, is derived from the Buddhist teachings of Vipassana and consists of becoming aware of your unwanted or undesirable feelings in order to dis-identify from them and successively become detached from all earthly phenomena so as to bolster and make Real one’s true and immortal ‘self’.
Buddha describes the method of watching and discernment very well –
Of course, such a method becomes sensately dulling and mind-numbing mechanical, as it is designed to completely dissociate from one’s unwanted feelings and one’s earthy sensual experiences. Vipassana and other practices of spiritual awareness are based on the premise that I don’t want to be here in the physical world and that I want to get out of here as soon as possible, and the method offered is to dis-identify from one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations and become a disembodied Self existing as Consciousness only.
The actualism method is designed to do exactly the opposite. Actualism is about being here in this physical sensual paradise where we flesh and blood humans actually live. By asking myself ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I become aware of what is preventing me from fully sensuously enjoying being here – ‘me’, the alien entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body, consisting of all of my beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions. In order to become free from those feelings and passions ‘I’ will have to die in ‘my’ totality. In actualism I don’t disidentify from my beliefs, feelings and passions but I sincerely acknowledge that ‘I’ am the problem and then proceed to facilitate ‘my’ demise.
I have used the actualism method for four years to assiduously examine the source of my emotional upsets, the depth of my beliefs, the cunning of my alien entity inside, the reasons for my resistance to question further, the details of my social concerns, the insidiousness of my spiritual values, the contents of my affective relationships with people. There is nothing mechanical whatsoever to the in-depth exploration of one’s psyche, it is utterly thrilling to find out how ‘I’ tick and how to successively become free from ‘my’ automatic instinctual reactions.
If you are finding the method you have been using dulling and mechanical, you have not yet discovered the genuine article.
RESPONDENT: The problem I have with being an actualist is that is taking on another identity. You say you have lost your other identities but now you are identified with and as an actualist which is another identity.
VINEETO: There is no need to worry about your identity as an actualist. As you said you ‘have had extensive experience with similar methods in the past’, it is obvious that you have not practiced actualism yet because actualism is 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual and religious methods taught in the past. Actualism is brand new to human history and any similarity to any spiritual method is purely imaginary.
Further, the actualism method is designed to take all of one’s identity apart, without replacing any of it with any new beliefs, credos, values, wisdoms, etc. and – practiced diligently and sincerely – actualism works to minimize the possessive personal concept of ‘I’ or ‘me’ to such a degree that ‘I’ become almost non-existent. If one merely replaces one identity with another, one has not understood the method at all.
I am as much identified with being an actualist – ‘one who practices actualism’ – as I am identified with using a car, a kitchen knife or this computer. I don’t need to emotionally identify with something that works, I simply use it because it works.
It is indeed possible to live without any psychological or psychic identity whatsoever and pure consciousness experiences verify that fact each time again. Living without identity is the very aim of actualism.
RESPONDENT: Do you meditate? I mean as in intentional practice? The interest is to share and learn.
VINEETO: No, I don’t meditate any more. I had some 15 years of devoted spiritual effort with few tangible results.
Meeting Peter and Richard I learned a much more efficient way of getting rid of the various ingredients of the ‘self’. I think, contemplate about a particular issue, which I find by asking, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’. Writing or talking usually facilitates and intensifies that investigation. Once the implications of the issue are understood, once I see what role they play in the structure of the ‘self’ – the very thing I am intending to eliminate – the problem disappears. It might turn up again with a little different twist, or as a subtler version, then I have to investigate again. As I said before, everything boils down to fear, fear to die. To get rid of that fear, ‘I’ will have to die. You can bet on that.
RESPONDENT: As for ‘heart’ at the moment I have ‘no heart’ no doubt that will change in due course. So how am I experiencing this moment, there is the usual things ‘wants’, that pop up and are at least noticed. The doer is noticed, the tension between the eyes and base of the head is noticed, ah, an occasional burning feeling is happening at the head base. I also notice the subtle wanting of approval of my achievements which seems to occur more with Richard with that is the fear of being challenged.
VINEETO: Isn’t it amazing how many things pop up once one puts one’s attention to them! In the beginning it can be quite a madhouse up there in the head, even to the extent of physical discomfort. Specially fears would usually cause tightness in stomach, guts and back of the neck with me – and still do sometimes. But most of the time it is not enough to just notice. That’s the crux with all the meditation-techniques, they never eliminate the problem, the emotions and their underlying causes. Noticing only shifts them, and they will be back in due course.
See, that’s why the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is essential and at the same time only the entry-ticket to your discovery-journey into yourself or your ‘self’. To get rid, permanently, of a certain fear, for instance, I had to investigate into the underlying reasons – why do I have this fear, what is the belief that holds it up?
RESPONDENT: I’ve been following the mailing list for a while, but haven’t taken the plunge until now. So here are some of my thoughts about what you have written. I think what you are describing is the witness capacity or witness position. Yes, old meditators would probably be fairly successful at moving into the witness position. In spiritual practice the rule of thumb is that you are not anything that you can observe. So, the trick is if you can see something, a feeling, a thought, etc. as it ‘arises,’ the fact that you are capable of witnessing it means that you are larger than it, not defined by or ultimately identified as the thing (feeling is the best example) that is being witnessed. The problem, as you seem to surmise, is that there continues to be an implied ‘you’ doing this witnessing. The feeling or thought has become an object of consciousness, but the sense persists that there is someone one, some Who doing the witnessing. Of course, this fuels the search for the ‘real’ you.
As you mentioned, the ‘watching self’ is very, very passive. It just popped into my mind that this is like a possum, a mammal that avoids danger by playing dead. The witnessing self is free of and thus not identified with the thoughts or feelings that are arising as long as it maintains its position of emotional neutrality. If the emotional neutrality possum stance is overwhelmed either by the strength of the thoughts or feelings being witnessed, or the lack of vigilance by the witnessing self, boom, the self is right back in the throes of being all those feelings and ensuing thoughts about the feelings that were driving it bonkers to begin with.
What is referred to in spiritual literature as ‘stable witness’ will ensure a pretty good state of emotional balance, but only pretty good, because a self/Self is still present, and where there is a self there are the primitive, instinctual emotions. It’s a question of when, not if, those emotions will be activated.
So, I think that playing possum, i.e. dissociating from feelings and thoughts, can only give one a relative (although nothing to sneeze at) freedom from the sway of emotions, because there is still present a separate self sense, no matter how elevated. In the more modern theories of spiritual process, it is no longer demanded that the state of emotional balance be perfect. However, they all claim the ability to witness the feeling, even while experiencing the feeling.
VINEETO: I enjoyed your expertise in this summary on witnessing. A well-described précis of something that I spent years practicing and, upon discovering actualism, many months to comprehend, take apart and see through the whole charade. I particularly liked when you said –
One of the best things that could happen was that spiritual teaching has moved to the West and into the age of information technology – one can now apply detailed scrutiny and comparison and ascertain the facts as to why this Ancient Wisdom has not worked anywhere, at any time.
Isn’t it amazing that the whole spiritual empire stands and falls on this one premise –
It sounds logical at first, but once I understood that the brain has the innate ability to observe itself, the whole imagination of a separate self, the watcher, watching my thoughts, feelings and actions lost its foothold and was revealed as the fairytale it is – a passionate make-belief to prove our immortality, the ‘Witness’ that supposedly survives the physical body. No factual evidence can ever be established about a watcher that continues after death. It is the fatal flaw in spirituality, the bodiless spirit itself. It is not actual, per definition.
In a Pure Consciousness Experience it is blatantly sparklingly obvious that ‘I’ don’t exist and that there is nothing inside this flesh and blood body to survive physical death. What a relief!
RESPONDENT: In the spiritual process (even if you have not achieved perfect control of the thoughts and feelings) once you’ve gotten the clue that you are not the things you are witnessing, you start looking for the witness itself or, I should say, the Witness Itself. If you are rigorous in your investigation, you will finally come to the conclusion that there is no Witness to be found. Then you are left with witnessing. The question is, will it be Witnessing or is there simply a flesh and blood body present with the capacity to be aware of its own awareness?
VINEETO: This is where Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual belief. As an actualist I am not concerned about witnessing at all but about removing any belief, emotion and feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless in this very moment. I don’t witness the Witness in order to remove him/her, I use awareness to scrutinize my accumulated beliefs, investigate the underlying causes of my emotions each time they occur. When this investigation is undertaken with sufficient intent and depth, a realization will occur such that action inevitably follows changing my behaviour towards becoming more harmless and happy. ‘I’ am my emotions and instinctual passions and the witness/Witness is merely a by-product of these emotions and passions.
Coming from spiritual practice I had to unlearn passive watching and undo the ‘dissociating from feelings and thoughts’ in order to apply sensible thought to question and eliminate beliefs and to experience and investigate emotions and feelings. Once you abandon the idea of a Witness, there is only one self, ‘me’, my identity, whatever hide-and-seek games we have been taught to play with it. It makes it all so very simple, practical and effective.
VINEETO: I don’t see how [anger passing away] can be ‘the result of good old Vipassana’, where you were ‘the witness watching the anger passing away’, if you say that at the same time you ‘know that [’you’ are] not different from anger’. Either you know that ‘you’ are the anger, that ‘you’ are the emotion, which is not what is taught in Vipassana – or you practice Vipassana and merely witness the anger passing away until it arises next time. But that does not eliminate the emotion, as ‘you’ remain intact, and at the most ‘you’ only transcend the emotion.
To really grasp the fact that ‘you’ are emotions and emotions are ‘you’ results in you being willing and eager to investigate into the deeper layers of ‘you’ to eliminate the very cause of anger arising in the first place. To really face the fact that ‘you’, and only ‘you’, are the cause and reason of anger arising – as well as all the other emotions – is the first and essential step to do something about this emotion rather than merely witness it. The acknowledgment of the fact that the Human Condition in you is preventing you from being happy and harmless creates the burning intent and necessary guts to investigate further into the very substance of ‘who you think you are’ and ‘who you feel you are’. That’s when common sense starts to come to fruition.
RESPONDENT: I am now seeing Vipassana in a different light. It is very helpful in putting me at ‘this’ moment ‘here’ and it also puts me back to this physical body. Vipassana is not limited to watching of breathing only. It can be extended to watching any sensation in the body. In the beginning, of course there is a watcher, but I was told that gradually watcher goes away and there is only watching happening. I have, though, no personal experience of the watcher going away. But I could do away with emotions like anger with the help of extended Vipassana where apart from watching you also understand anger. The term ‘watching’ is used to be non-judgmental. That means I did not try to fight with anger, In fact I did not even wished that it should go away, but that doesn’t stops me from investigating. And just by understanding it and understanding the reason behind it, it goes away. It becomes foolish to get angry. That’s why I said it gives rise to common sense. As I have said earlier I did not try this method for all the emotions. Perhaps I never thought of listing down all the emotions and worked on them one by one.
VINEETO: Vipassana, according to its ‘home-place’, Theravada Buddhism, is practiced so that
What you call extended Vipassana is still Buddhism with its understanding that who you really are is your ‘consciousness’, ie the ‘watcher’ as distinct from body and senses and from the bad emotions and thoughts, which then are merely ‘seen’ or ‘observed’. Upon enlightenment, as you were told, the ‘watcher [is] going away’, but only because you then dissolve into being ‘one with everything’.
Anger passes away, not because you ‘understand the reason behind’ it but because you become the watcher and remove yourself from your anger. In the same way you can remove yourself from any feeling or emotion without ever having to investigate into the substance of your very ‘self’. To really face the fact that ‘you’, and only ‘you’, are the cause and reason of anger arising – as well as all the other emotions – is the first and essential step to do something about this emotion instead of merely witnessing it.
Further, Buddhism, and therefore Vipassana, is clearly based on the understanding that –
You see, their aim is to ‘get out of the body’ and ‘into consciousness’, because the ‘body is a collection of suffering’. Similarly, you ‘get out of anger’. But ‘you’ remain intact. That’s why anger arises again. Looking back I can see that at some point early in my relationship with Peter I made the decision not to let emotions come in the road between us and prevent a peaceful living together. Peace was the priority and for that I was ready to sacrifice everything – I was even ready to change, radically, completely, drastically.
VINEETO: You might remember moments of comfortably stretching out on the couch, an ease and a well-being spreading through every cell, no feeling or emotion interfering in the peaceful moment, everything is perfect for that particular period, be it a second, ten minutes or longer. This is when you come closest to experiencing the actual world – the world as it is and people as they are. This is the most intimate one can be – as a ‘self’ – when, for a moment, there is no emotional demand on how the situation should be. That’s when you are closest to a peak-experience...
RESPONDENT: This is something which confuses me. I have many many such moments when there is no emotional demand on how the situation should be. I am fully satisfied with that moment. But even then I don’t remember any peak experience. I don’t remember any such moment where there is a 360 degree awareness of everything around me or that there is no distance between me and other objects and all such things which I have read described by others. These moments are happy, peaceful and relaxing but not overwhelmingly delightful. That’s why I call my stage an ordinary happiness, because it is nowhere near spiritual samadhi and now I found that it is quite different from the actualists’ peak experience as well. It can’t even be Virtual Freedom because Richard says there can be no Virtual Freedom without a peak experience.
VINEETO: The answer may lay in your method. There is no way to experience a pure consciousness experience with Vipassana because you remove yourself even further from the actual world by being the ‘watcher’ and staying aloof. Vipassana is, after all, an evasion and does not tackle the root cause of the Human Condition, ‘you’. Watching leaves all of your belief-systems intact, all of your imagination, all of your ‘positive’ feelings and merely transports you into a synthetic reality of its own imaginary quality. This has nothing to do with experiencing the actual world as it is.
I think it would be interesting to examine for yourself why you want to keep to the method of Vipassana, although ‘extended’ – and yet have a bit of Actual Freedom clipped on as well? By the very nature of Actual Freedom, which is utterly and iconoclastically non-spiritual, this is not possible. There is no bridge between Actual Freedom and spiritual practice.
To become actually free you remove the very cause of your disturbance – ‘you’ – instead of removing yourself from the cause.
It is, in fact, 180 degrees in the opposite direction to all spiritual approaches!
Having meditated myself for years, I understand the hesitancy to question the whole package altogether. But there is a faculty of the physical brain that is far superior to practicing spiritual ‘awareness’, and that is apperception. This apperception, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself, enables you to clean yourself up. Have a look in the glossary for a definition and Richard’s description of apperception.
RESPONDENT: In fact, if you spent 10-20 years with Osho and/or eastern religions and you missed the bottom-line, which is no different from what Richard is saying, don’t blame Osho or eastern religion or any other religion. But blame yourself that you missed it!!
VINEETO: I spent 17 years with Osho, I listened to almost every of his discourses and I thoroughly and intensely tried to make sense of what he was saying and apply it to my life. I did a lot of therapy and meditation groups to deepen my understanding. But after 17 years I was not happier that when I had started, I still had all my emotions intact, meaning, they would pop up once in a while and give me a hard time. And none of my friends had ‘got it’ either. I cannot see where I missed the bottom-line, because the bottom-line was meditation. The very bottom-line was transcending this world, including all the senses, and rise into ‘Consciousness’ where you are detached from everything that is happening to you or other people – including the wars, rapes and murders. The bottom line is ‘you are not the body, but eternal Consciousness’, and thus we were all trying to do the impossible – meditate and still live in the marketplace, be happy and transcend it all, ‘have’ a body and not be in it.
Once I stopped blaming myself for the failure of those unsuccessful years, which had not brought me closer to the purity and happiness I was looking for, I was shocked when I started to see the vastness of the spiritual plot, that traps people in their misery. Alan put it very well when he said:
Maybe you want to consider for yourself that it is not your fault that you missed it – unless you got it? – and start to question the revered teachings, so insidious instilled in all of us. In the beginning it is hard to see the forest for all the trees, but it is well worth a turn-around, in fact 180 degrees in the opposite direction of what Osho and the Eastern religions are trying to sell us.
VINEETO: And now to your second question.
VINEETO: Vipassana has to be seen within the whole context of Buddhism to understand its intentions and implications. Vipassana is the particular method to reach to the Buddhist’s highest goal – Nirvana. The idea in Vipassana is to become conscious of the sensations in the body, of the ‘stress’ of the sensations, feelings, desires, attachments etc. in order to extract one’s self from those stressful feelings. You are supposed to learn consciousness in order to become the Consciousness, thus removing your ‘self’ from the content of what you sense, feel and think. Have a careful read through the following discourses on ‘feelings’ and ‘mind’ by Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10; PTS: MN i.55) and you might understand their emphasis. You will also note that Buddhists don’t make a distinction between sensations and feelings.
Essentially, they say, that you are not the body, not the mind, not the sensations, not the feelings. They say you are the ‘soul’, you are Consciousness. This is 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. In Actual Freedom you are the flesh and blood sensate and reflective body only, no ego, no soul.
But, if you get lost with their many words of going round and round and round then you know that the method is just to hypnotize oneself out of one’s normal way of thinking and feeling to end up in a pleasant drug-like state of no-mind, somewhere else, numbing one’s intelligence as well as one’s feelings and sensations. Spiritual practice is to numb your feelings and emotions while for actual freedom you need to dig into them, feel them, explore them, investigate them and trace them back to the root instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
In the above article the expression of ‘not clinging to anything in the world’ is the give-away. The whole meditation consists of turning away from something considered ‘unwanted’ to something considered ‘wanted’ – which is a moral evaluation of good and bad. The whole Buddhist religion is a very moral code of ethics.
Here is a bit more of Mr. Buddha’s teachings of how to get out of their physical senses and retreat into an imagined reality or fabricated peace and tranquillity. Of course, practicing Vipassana is like being drugged by an overdose of pain killers – when you don’t feel anything, see anything, hear anything, it is kind of peaceful – I would rather call it numb and dull! And then, removed from the world of physical senses there are no limitations to the full range of imagination – one imagines being peace, light, love, compassion – take anything from the ‘feeling-shop’ whatever you want, nothing is actual anyway.
Can you see the intense effort that goes into changing one’s sensitivity, and into fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything perceived in the physical world is considered stress and bad, and one has to work hard to dis-associate oneself from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
VINEETO: Un-conditional love was there in front of me like the unreachable carrot, the dream that one day, by the magic of devotion, meditation and the Grace of Existence, my desires, hopes, fears and possessiveness would turn into the fairytale of ‘true’, divine love for ever. But it was a dream, an ideal, only very rarely experienced under extremely positive conditions.
RESPONDENT: Here I don’t agree with you. I am watching my desires, hopes, fears and possessiveness originated by thinking processes and then I find myself not controlled by them (desires, hopes, fears and possessiveness).
VINEETO: ‘Watching’ is a spiritual term and means that you dis-associate yourself from these particular feelings (which spiritual people insist on calling thoughts), and in an imaginary process you move your identity away from those feelings to a realm where ‘you are not your feelings’. Consequently, from that imaginary realm of ‘being’, you imagine that you are ‘not controlled by them’.
This has nothing to do with actually getting rid of those feelings, and it is proven by the fact that feelings keep appearing again and again.
To actually, and permanently, get rid of ‘desires, hopes, fears and possessiveness’ one has to investigate into the root cause of those feelings and discover the instinctual passions from where they keep arising. This means dismantling one’s identity – because ‘I’ am my feelings and instincts – and results in a process of ‘self’-immolation. The very existence of the ‘self’ is being investigated and threatened by the questioning of emotions and feelings, and it is not something everyone is ready to undertake. It is so much easier to imagine that one is not those ‘desires, hopes, fears and possessiveness’, and as such one keeps the head in the clouds and the dirt under the carpet.
VINEETO to Alan: Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a devoted meditator of my former tribe (Sannyas) which I found interesting in many aspects. First of all I was both happy and astounded at how well and easy the discussion went – I didn’t have to struggle with any of the vagueness, psychic confusion, doubts or fears that I knew so well from earlier discussions with spiritual people. In the conversation I could easily state that with Actual Freedom I know now where I stand, what I want and how I go about reaching that goal, while he maintained that to reach enlightenment you are supposed to give up the desire and certainty of ever attaining it! The perspective and understanding of the actual world is all so easy and simple, so obvious and transparent that the hazy, mysterious hocus-pocus of ‘Truth’, ‘That’, the ‘Grace of God’ or ‘Existence’ seem nothing but passionate and silly childish fairytales.
It was interesting that in the discussion we constantly needed to define the words we used. He had different connotations about ‘instinct’ as only meaning the physical startling response or the change of breath or heartbeat at imminent danger. So he could easily hold on to his belief that without instincts one would die, not be able to breathe, or maintain one’s heartbeat. When I asked him what he would call our instinctual reactions of anger, fear, sex or rage, he had no appropriate word at all. Similarly we had to different definitions of the word ‘emotion’. Emotion to him only meant a very strong feeling, easily noticeable as emotional outbursts like screaming, crying, fighting or being shocked. When I asked what he would call emotions like hope, trust, attraction or apprehension, those feelings did not seem to exist at all and had no specific name, but were definitely not emotions. Thus he could maintain that he hardly had any emotions and that they are not the problem with human beings, since they only happen ‘once in a while’.
For him the problem lies in the mind, in thoughts, which start, trigger and continue emotions. Out of this reasoning he had to deny that children have any emotions at all before they develop the ability to think. They only suffer physical pain, but no emotional pain. I was simply astounded by such ignorance and stubborn denial. Even monkeys have been observed to suffer when their mother dies to the extent that they grieve to death, even at an age where they could easily survive by themselves.
From the premise that thought is the source of all evil it was only logical to conclude that meditation is the right method to stop the inner dialogue. By persistently watching the mind, the mind is supposed to disappear on its own accord. As with all spiritual believers, he was of the firm conviction that once one succeeded in stopping one’s thoughts there will be perennial peace of mind, no-mind as in dead mind. When I reported that I had succeeded in eliminating 95% of my inner dialogue by investigating emotions as the source and breeding ground for my ‘troublesome’ thoughts he exclaimed: ‘But I don’t want to investigate. Investigation is an activity of the mind and I don’t want to strengthen the mind .’
This statement made it clear to me again why so few spiritual people are willing to investigate their beliefs, feelings and emotions. The very word ‘investigate’ is evil, the very action of contemplation is considered the ultimate no-no. And one doesn’t even have to bother to change one’s malicious or sorrowful behaviour, because that is only one’s ‘personality’, which won’t interfere with the ‘higher self’ of enlightenment – so why investigate one’s personality or want to change it in the first place?
This conversation reminded me of an advertisement that I found in a woman’s magazine for meditation. It said:
RESPONDENT: What successes are you achieving using a method based upon Richard’s explanations? I have never really seen a ‘method’ in Richard’s madness, although, there may be one. <snip>
VINEETO: There is a very effective method indeed. But only those who are appalled by their own malice and tired of their own sorrow are interested in finding out about it and are moved to apply it to their own lives.
RESPONDENT: There are many techniques to discovering who you are and why you are that way, but observation is the discovering factor, not belief in methods.
VINEETO: You have written to another poster on the list –
I think this is a good description of what the spiritual method of observing is about. The very fact that Krishnamurti and other Eastern masters have talked about the right way of observing for years makes it obvious that observing is indeed a method that is designed to produce only one result – to ‘become the observed’.
I practiced observation and meditation for years when I was on the spiritual path. But after 17 years I was not content with the results of this method, neither was I satisfied with surrendering to 100% confusion or not knowing. Yes, when I surrendered 100% to my good feelings and tender passions, the real-world struggle disappeared and eventually I managed to enter the imaginary world where everything felt bliss and light. But something was always missing. Going into my own inner world was not good enough – it didn’t bring about actual change in my daily life and in my interactions with all people.
VINEETO: I always considered that I am not actually free when I can be annoyed, irritated, saddened or scared by someone else without there being a physical threat. To become free of these emotional reactions I took up meditation and when meditation proved ineffective and dissociative, I became attracted to investigate into the cause of my social and instinctual programming in order to become free of being affected by other people’s words and actions. Not being affected by other’s sadness makes me unconditionally happy and not being affected by other’s aggression makes me unreservedly harmless.
It’s a great life.
RESPONDENT: How is not being affected by other’s sadness or aggression different from what you call meditative dissociation?
VINEETO: The three ways a person can experience the world are 1: cerebral (thoughts); 2: sensate (senses); 3: affective (feelings).
In meditative dissociation one moves away from sensate and cerebral experiencing and aims to experience only the good part of the affective feelings. In Eastern religions and philosophy, this practice of suppression and non-attachment has been raised to a high art whereby one can, through assiduous practice, create a whole new, utterly dissociated, identity based solely on feeling Good-ness and God-ness. This process of becoming non-attached to feelings that are not desirable and identifying with the feelings that are considered desirable and are highly valued by our peers can lead to an Altered State of Consciousness whereby a mortal human being imagines and feels himself or herself to be above it all, as in Divine and Immortal.
In this sleight of hand, or more correctly spiritual sleight of mind, ‘me’ and my feelings get off scot-free and nothing actually happens except the whole sorry saga of eastern religion gets another pundit, another propagator, another sage revered for his puerile wisdom and parroted platitudes such as ‘it my is attachment to human suffering that is the problem’.
Not being affected by other’s sadness or aggression in the pursuit of ‘self’-immolation is 180 degrees opposite to such meditative dissociation –
The aim of running the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is to become aware of exactly how I am experiencing the world of people, things and events and to investigate what is preventing me from being happy and harmless in this moment. It is therefore important to discriminate between the pure sensate sensual experiences, as in sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and the ‘self’-centred cerebral thought and affective feeling experiences that are sourced in the instinctual animal survival passions. Feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts – thoughts arising in response to the flooding of chemicals that originate from the animal instinctual brain, the amygdala. As the amygdala quick-scans the incoming sensorial input, it is programmed to automatically respond with an instinctual reaction – essentially those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. It is important to recognize that these reactions, while felt in the body as sensations, and interpreted by the brain as feelings, are actually instinctual animal passions in action – they are the very substance of ‘who’ we feel ourselves to be, deep down at a bodily level, in both heart and gut.
The further I experientially investigated why I was affected by another’s sadness or psychic aggression, the more I discovered ‘me’, the feeler in action and how I was entangled in the psychic web of humanity’s collectively experienced feelings and instinctual passions. In order to not be ‘affected by other’s sadness or aggression’ I am exploring, becoming aware and then stepping out of experiencing the world affectively, as a feeling ‘me’, and more and more I am able to experience the world sensately.
I remove the obstacles that prevent me from being here in this place and now in this moment whereas the meditator aims to go there ‘where I belong’ and be ‘what I have always been’, my immortal spirit, and then one desperately tries to feel present in the material world.
RESPONDENT: Maybe what you call meditation is some kind of avoidance.
VINEETO: Yes, meditation is definitely ‘some kind of avoidance’ – it is going somewhere else and avoiding to deal with the prime cause of our malice, sorrow and feeling of separation, the psychological and instinctual ‘self’. Meditation is like taking drugs, covering malice and sorrow with a golden layer of inner peace, love, beauty, compassion and the feeling of immortality and thus avoiding the extraction of the rotten tooth. If you watch the news you will notice that the Eastern countries that have practiced meditation for centuries have as many territorial civil and religious wars as Western or African countries. Meditation does nothing for an actual peace on earth in this lifetime, it only transports people into an imaginary Peter Pan Never-never-land of dissociative self-centredness.
RESPONDENT: Osho says: meditation and love go hand in hand. Is it not the same as what you guys have been saying? Meditation defined as aliveness, watchfulness, investigation, paying attention to one’s feelings.
VINEETO: When you are trying to fit what we say into what Osho said you will miss the point entirely. In the last days I have talked to two old girlfriends, both enthusiastically and devotedly on the spiritual path, and I have tried to tell them about my findings and experiences. It was bewildering to see how they both said it was all the same like the spiritual. It leaves me at a loss what words to use. But, I will try again –
Meditation is based on the watcher. You watch your thoughts and feelings in order to rise above them, to dis-identify from them, which in the end amounts to going somewhere else, where you are not the body, not the mind, not the emotion. You are to identify with the watcher and thus move away from the source of your troubles, your body and brain inflicted with the emotions and instincts of the Human Condition. If you persist and identify with the watcher strongly enough, you become the watcher and simply ‘watch’ your body doing its number. Nothing is changed in the Human Condition except ‘you’ become someone other than this flesh and blood body. Then you become the ‘soul’ (the heart), and maybe you even become so deluded as to flip into an altered state of consciousness, aka enlightenment.
Actual Freedom is firmly based on this flesh and blood body with its physical senses as the only actuality there is. Everything that not perceivable by the physical senses is feeling and imagination, deeply ingrained in our genetic heritage and our socially absorbed psyche, but nevertheless imagination and as such non-actual. The aim of the path to actual freedom is to come out of the psychic and psychological structure of the ‘real’ world, the instinctual passions, emotions and beliefs, and step into the actual, sensate and sensual world of the physical universe, where everything is already here, perfect, magical and pure.
RESPONDENT: What you might call the witness or the watcher is just the state of being without thought. It is consciousness, being without thinking!
VINEETO: What you are trying to tell me is just a psittacism of Eastern teaching. That does not make it a fact.
I take it that this sentence is supposed to be an answer to my last letter to you where I wrote:
This ‘ state of being without thought ’ is exactly the problem. The affective identity of this ‘thoughtless being’ is fully alive and kicking, causing even more havoc now that all sensible thought is removed. Nobody wants to acknowledge that it is the ‘feeling’ faculty that is the main problem with the Human Condition, and nobody has even bothered to acknowledge or investigate the instinctual emotions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire at the very core of ‘being’.
You may not yet be aware that my emphasis is upon examining and eliminating the feelings – affective feelings – that cause our thoughts to dominate the brain the way they do. Thought – the only tool that can bring about peace-on-earth in this life – is denigrated so much ... and the feelings that infiltrate thought get always off scot-free. Maybe re-examining the whole concept of ‘mind’ as being the problem would give you some insight into the actual world as opposed to the spiritual and affective world of ‘no-mind’. Just have a good look at the outcome of life in the East!
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.