Selected Correspondence Vineeto
How to Become Free from the Human Condition
VINEETO to Alan: I apologise for not answering for such a long time. Peter and I were intensely involved in the last part of the book – which was my ‘Bit’ – he had to edit all of the German expressions out of my writing – but now it is finally with the printer! Now I am having fun with the website again, replacing the pictures with better quality ones and finding new ones. Since I wrote to you last I have quit my job in the Sannyas company as a bookkeeper and will only go back there for four week, giving the woman replacing me a holiday break. My giving notice came by surprise after a week’s holiday, both for me and for them and was quite a shock for the ‘old friends’. It also evoked quite some survival fears on my side like ‘can I make it on my own?, will I survive without this safe income?’ – but what a wonderful new freedom to have cut the umbilical cord of 17 years of depending on the Sannyas community and to now be able to spend ‘days without names and hours without numbers’, as Peter puts it – on and on and on and on.
So I can, in a way, relate to your story that you are selling out and leaving your past life in terms of house, dog, partner and friend of many years, and losing all of the identity that goes with it! I found that in order to get permanently free of a particular emotion connected with a situation, I had to dig into that issue until I had explored it to exhaustion. I have to both feel and experience the issue on hand with its ensuing emotions and examine its ramifications for my life, understand in what way the needs and fears express and then identify them as silly, unnecessary and redundant – and take care of the practical side. I suspect from my own experience that in the package of ‘house, dog, wife’ you will find most of your remaining identity. I wish you all the thrill of the discovery and the delight of success.
I will attach ‘my Bit’, because it will take a few more weeks until the website will be polished and decorated with pictures. Maybe your wife will find some interest in a woman’s exploration into her own psyche and beyond. After all, I have started my journey fully raised and conditioned as a woman and the obstacles on the path of freedom had a slightly different colouring than Peter’s. But above all, it was the sincere intent for freedom and perfection that kept me going.
ALAN: I went through several crises, and the necessary self examination afterwards, before I was able to see my attachments to my wife.
VINEETO: It’s been very good to hear from you. You verily took the cue and ran with it – all the way through the tunnel and out the other glorious sparkling ordinary side of ‘just’ being with another human being! I like your courage to tackle your attachment to your wife and your years of living with her!
ALAN: Also, what is it that actually happens to cause a PCE?
VINEETO: As for your question how to make a peak-experience happen I can say I started to approach it the other way around. Given that peak-experience is our ‘normal’ state when no emotion or belief is in the road I am going for whatever obstacle I find at the time whenever I don’t experience this moment of being alive as perfect as I remember my peak moments. And as you know I have been finding lots of interesting ghosts in my cupboard, often unexpected forms of pride, fear, impatience, competition, love, loneliness, boredom and yet again another fear.
And whenever I am taking the bull by its horns and dig around in that specific emotion, understand and eliminate it, what’s left is the perfect moment of the world as it is, delightful, safe and imminently fascinating – there it is, the searched for PE or PCE! So my approach is kind of indirect, being busy with the obstacles rather with the outcome. Of course the intent, the goal is to eliminate that obstacle and each time round it becomes more easy and more of an adventure and a scientific enquiry rather than a ‘have-to-do-thing’. And this way I am getting more and more confident, stopped believing in my own emotions and know that absolute everything will get examined with the microscope. By now the cupboard which was packed full of ghosts is getting pretty empty...
This weekend I have been ‘busy’ on and off with being sick. Listless and a bit weaker I would have preferred not to have a cold. But then, as the weekend slowly went by being as delicious as ever, the walk on the beach as delightful I turned my attention to the famous sentence: How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? Now I this body is obviously very busy getting better, and isn’t it fascinating how it feels when inside the army is fighting in different places against the invading viruses ... and isn’t the pouring rain making a wonderful sound on the roof?! So then the complaint turned into an observing fascination without any emotion or wanting it different, just experiencing the facts and events of me, this body and my surrounding. Back here again!
VINEETO to Alan: I see the path to freedom as a double approach. One is to have as many peak-experiences as possible to get all the information about the actual world I can get. The other is to remove the shackles and lead-weights, whenever they occur, made up of various beliefs and their ensuing emotional reactions until underneath I find the bare instincts.
So when in a peak-experience, or at least in a clear, unemotional state I would deliberately go towards the issue that had troubled me last and search for the underlying belief that still had a grip on me. In the PCE I could much easier examine it in its complete structure, understand it and compare emotions and beliefs with the facts of the present situation. To generally call it ‘me’ or ‘fear’ usually was not enough to do the trick. I look at it like a detailed scientific investigation into the Human Condition, wanting to find out not only how I am operating, but how all human beings function, more or less similarly, with their ‘me’ intact. Pride was the first thing to be thrown out, feeling offended the next. Seeing it operating in everybody makes it easier to put the particular issue on the table and not consider it some private disability that only I was struck with.
And with each issue examined and thus eliminated, the lead weights became lighter, the access to being here easier and longer lasting.
A word about stuckness: the emotion that usually kept me from looking at the issue was mainly fear, sometimes disguised as confusion, mental laziness or simply avoidance. But after a few days, or a few hours, I would simply see the silliness of avoiding the issue and thus wasting my time by not being ‘here’ and then start off the examination. It often would go like this: OK, damn, what is it this time? What has happened just before I turned numb, or grumpy or zombie? Ah, that person said something. No, can’t be it, I’m over with this. Oh, well, maybe still a little trace? Wow, big fear now. What belief made me react? Where is the hook? And then, like a dog, I would pick up the scent and follow the trail until I had the bugger by the throat. The first resistance was the most difficult to overcome – once I had started to investigate, thrill would keep me going, and curiosity, of course.
Sometimes I would find a childhood issue, like in my early mail with Konrad, some attachment to a cozy feeling or simply the instinctual fear of stepping outside of all of humanity’s concepts and beliefs. The wish to get out of the emotion (fear or whatever) into ‘here’ before I had checked it out thoroughly and understood it in its complexity was often a hindrance and would only prolong the process. One can’t go in two directions at the same time. Once I reached the bottom of the ‘pit’ and saw what the particular issue consisted of, being here was the natural by-product.
Yes, being here is the simplest thing to do – once I am here; but cleaning oneself up entirely so as to not to be pulled back by anything is also the most courageous thing to do. When an emotion gets you into its grip it is quite a bit of work to find out all its implications, and rarely someone dares to do it. Like, when you thoroughly investigated sorrow...
I wrote in my ‘bit’ of the journal:
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:
Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, Alan, 13.12.1998
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...
ALAN: So, I would say to No. 14 (and any others contemplating following a ‘guru’):
Vineeto, I have digressed from your mail, for which I make no apology at all – ain’t it great not to feel obliged to apologise for being alive!
VINEETO: In my experience it was not a matter of ‘contemplating’ following a guru, it had been my very life. Nothing else had mattered for years. The whole meaning of life was concentrated on that one master, and on that one teaching. In that state of love and devotion there is not much rational contemplation or application of common sense possible! But after all those years on the spiritual path I had come to a point where I wondered what this search for enlightenment had given me – sitting in the corner with my eyes closed, being more and more afraid of and isolated from ‘normal’ people, and none of the glorious glimpses had improved my day-to-day life. I was still run by my feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. Further, I longed for a peaceful and harmonious relationship with a man, and none of the Eastern Wisdom had brought that goal an inch closer. That’s where Peter’s offer proved to be my ‘crack in the door’ – and then I began to investigate into something new and radically different.
I am telling you this because thinking about people’s reactions to Actual Freedom still leaves me puzzled as to what makes one actually start investigating into something new and radical. I think that a certain disillusionment, disappointment, longing and desperation is essential for considering further enquiries into the iconoclastic realms of the non-spiritual, as well as a stubborn refusal to settle for second best. After all, the spiritual viewpoint is all we know, and all we have ever learned as a solution to tackle life’s ‘problems’.
‘I’ do not want to do so and it is much easier and more comfortable to retain the status-quo, even though it be epitomised by malice and sorrow. After all, these are the things ‘I’ thrive on. And it is pure intent which gives one the reason and the impetus to make the effort. It is pure intent which provides motivation to get out of ‘stuckness’. <snipped>
And, once one has made the effort of ‘getting off one’s backside’, there is no longer any effort involved at all.
VINEETO: Going by my experiences with whatever I have achieved in life and particularly with the successes that I have had with the method of actualism, I can only say that it always took enormous effort to move out of my initial inertia, apprehension and laziness and apply endeavour, diligence and persistence in order to reach my goal. The process of becoming free from the Human Condition is not something that falls into one’s lap whereby one only needs to stop resisting and then it will all happen by itself. It took courage and a immense stubbornness, that exceeded anything I have ever needed before, to extract myself from all of my inherited and deeply imbibed beliefs and social conditioning and to face and investigate my deepest fears and my wildest passions. The natural tendency of our ‘being’ is to ‘be’, to feel, believe and do as others feel, believe and do, to succumb to the sweet temptation of belonging and to fervently resist change – to ‘stay in existence’ as an entity, as you say. The gravitational force in human beings is to play safe, conform, stay as we are, to be feeling, deeply passionate beings – whereas to become free from being a feeling being requires continuous application of attentiveness, contemplation and effort.
Of course, when a PCE occurs by a serendipitous ‘glitch’, sparked by ‘my’ gay abandon, and ‘I’ disappear for a temporary holiday, there is no effort to simply be here and delight in being this sensate, sensual and reflective flesh-and-blood body bouncing about in this perfect universe. But the ‘gravity’ of the instinctual passions soon pulls me back into being a ‘self’ and it has been my effort in the last four years to reduce that gravity by weakening the influence and fervour of both my social identity and my instinctual passions. This process goes little step by little step, finding and eliminating the more obvious beliefs and investigating the clearly evident feelings and then becoming more and more perceptive to the not-so-obvious beliefs and the subtler, mostly tender, passions disguised as beauty, desire, longing, love, need and dependency, compassion, sympathy and rapture.
The belief that becoming free from the Human Condition requires no effort is certainly a belief and has its roots in the spiritual worldview that describes the world as Maya or illusion and therefore all one has to do is effortlessly change one’s perception, thus passionately imagining that ‘I’ have risen above Maya and the rules of Maya do not apply for ‘me’. The belief is that if only I follow the right ‘path’, the right god, have the right insights, realisations or ‘truths’, then I will be specially protected from the evils of the illusionary world.
This particular belief fits very well with our inherent automatic reaction to always think of ‘me’ as being special and unique. Considering oneself to be immune to disaster, disease and death is a basic ‘self’-protective measure designed to hold fear at bay and to cope with all the frightening occurrences of danger, violence, death and disease we see in the world. From there it is only a little step to believe that, in the Grand Scheme of Things, sickness, disaster and sorrow only happens to the ‘bad guys’.
When I dismissed the fairy-tale of the all-powerful Christian God who supposedly runs the universe and became a disciple of a Guru, it did not even dent my underlying subtler belief of being immune to calamity, disease, or fatal accident, it only got stronger. However, when several close friends including my revered spiritual master died, it finally hit home as a fact that death won’t bypass me just because I believe that I’m doing the ‘right’ thing. It was an enormous shock to realize that I was neither immune nor above it all, despite my following the ‘right path’. I started to comprehend that neither my ‘right belief’ nor my belonging to the ‘chosen ones’ nor following a perfect dietary discipline would save me from disease, old age or death, let alone loneliness and despair. Once that self-protective belief-structure was destroyed, it became increasingly impossible to see myself as special and unique, i.e. less bad, less mad or less human than everyone else.
This first viral infection of the facts of life into my spiritual beliefs proved to be the instigating crack in the door that motivated me to further question what else I had blindly taken on board.
ALAN: And I have got no further than the answer I gave some time ago – because ‘I’ want to remain in existence.
VINEETO: In order to overcome my hesitation and my sometimes alarming fear I had to examine every inkling of my instinctual nurture and its resulting sympathy, compassion and atavistic universal sorrow for a suffering humanity to invoke a clean and non-affective altruism – because without also doing it for others there is no way of ‘me’ ever escaping the grip of my instinctual survival mode.
ALAN: Despite writing about it in my postings earlier this year, I seem to have ‘lost’ altruism, though I can recall a couple of weeks ago, while watching a programme on Northern Ireland, again ‘getting’ (as opposed to intellectually knowing) how unnecessary it all was. I find it very difficult to remember any experiences – I guess because there is almost no affective element contained in them. I can recall what I did yesterday, the day before and last week (sometimes with difficulty!). Not entirely sure what I am getting at here and perhaps it is a non point. But, to take the current example – I cannot remember experiencing altruism. I know that I did, because I wrote about it at the time. Is altruism a feeling? Or, perhaps it is something which can only be experienced during a PCE?
VINEETO: And in your second post –
ALAN: A bit more on altruism.
After writing the mail to Peter, I guess I got ‘off my backside’! I was sitting in the garden reflecting on something Richard had written, when suddenly I ‘got it’. The peace and perfection and purity of this actual universe is here all the time – every moment for ever and ever and ever. And, this body is experiencing that purity and perfection for every second of its existence (the body’s existence, that is).
Which led to the question – if that purity and perfection is always in existence why am I not aware of it? A few bricks tumbled down – because ‘I’ can never be aware of it. ‘I’ do not actually exist. ‘I’ am all that is standing in the way of that purity and perfection evincing itself each second. For so long as ‘I’ exist the purity and perfection (which is always there) cannot manifest.
So, why should ‘I’ get out of the way and allow that to occur? Why should ‘I’ cease to exist? After all, ‘I’ am all that ‘I’ am. And, the only reason for ‘me’ to self immolate is to demonstrate to others that the actual world actually exists. To demonstrate that peace on earth is not only possible but, achievable. Hence, altruism. Of course ‘I’ cannot do it for ‘me’. ‘I’ can only do it for others and for the sake of peace on earth. Facts are such deliciously wonderful things, are they not?
VINEETO: I used to have a bit of trouble defining altruism myself. When I discovered actualism the first thing I wanted was to become free for myself. In the beginning I couldn’t quite relate to an altruistic motive because I first had to investigate and eradicate the moral of unselfishness and the passion of compassion. I have written about unselfishness that had run deep in my original Christian conditioning and I think this I where your observation to Peter applies –
However, these acts are not done with an altruistic motive at all. People are merely obeying the morals of ‘thou shalt be unselfish and ye shall be rewarded in heaven.’ In order to discover my altruistic intent I first had to wipe out all traces of this particular moral in me together with the persistent feelings of guilt for doing something for myself instead of doing good in the world by trying to change others.
When I first started applying the method of actualism I quite selfishly wanted to become happy and to get rid of my debilitating habits of misery, my crippling feelings of fear and my embarrassing bouts of anger and neediness. A few months into the process of investigating my emotions I noticed that I had also become less and less ‘self’-centred and less and less ‘self’-ish. This was something entirely different to the hypocritical moral of being unselfish because by taking apart my emotions and passionate beliefs I was breaking down the very content and substance of my ‘self’. In my actions I became more considerate of other people and more sensitive to others’ preferences and needs. That’s when harmlessness slid to the top of the laundry list and being happy without being harmless became simply impossible.
At this point in the process compassion and universal sorrow started to come to the surface. By being less occupied with my own problems and less consumed by my own feelings – because they were simply disappearing into thin air – I started to clearly see the misery and fighting, the corruption and starvation, the injustice and torture, the rapes and murders, the child abuse and poverty, the devastating plagues and shocking wars that afflict everyone’s lives in one way or the other. There were days when I was simply soaked in helpless sorrow about the misery in the world, a misery so vast that it spread from one end of the planet to the other, an endless reservoir of sorrow stretching from the beginning of the human race until the present day.
The only way to extract myself out of this overwhelming feeling of sadness for others was to apply common sense – it doesn’t help anybody that I sit in front of the television and cry my eyes out. However, it is clear that it certainly helps me and everyone else I come in contact with that I am becoming free from malice and sorrow ... and this is where the feeling-only state of compassion was turned into active altruistic intent. The feeling of compassion then became the action of altruistic intent – I am ploughing on despite my fears, against any tendency to rest in comfortable numbness in order to bring an end to malice and sorrow, to prove that actual freedom is possible – not for one person only but for anyone who wants it desperately enough.
Peace on earth is not a small matter, it is enormous. Actualism is the participation in the process of making peace-on-earth a scientific, i.e. repeatable, fact ... to prove that it is possible to live free from the human condition, 24h a day, everyday. When actual freedom is proven to be repeatable then it is really an irrefutable fact.
After I cleaned myself up from the moral of unselfishness and the blind passion of compassion, altruism started to become more and more apparent – not so much as a feeling but rather as a continuous striving towards my avowed aim of ‘self’-immolation. This altruistic intent results in the deliberate obsession to do whatever is necessary to turn the dream for peace into a fact and to be considerate, caring, good company, harmless and perfectly happy in the world as it is with people as they are. In order to turn my dream for peace into a fact constant application, stubborn determination and keen awareness are needed – in one word, effort. What fuels this effort is altruistic intent and this is what gets me off my butt every day.
To sum it up –
The process of actualism for me so far has been – to use Gary’s analogy of the Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke – to successively and deliberately dismantle and break down the ‘dyke’ of my social identity, thus allowing occasional ‘torrents’ of my raw instinctual survival passions to leak through. By this stage I was already virtually happy and harmless and as such experiencing the instinctual passions at their most basic did not result in any dangerous or malicious actions. By experiencing these passions in action I was able to examine and deeply understand their workings, giving particular scrutiny to the tender passions of nurture and desire, including any variation of love and libido, so as to safely avoid the famous trap of Enlightenment. In the course of this investigation I could more and more turn all these raw passions into fuel for one single obsession born out of my understanding of numerous PCEs – to altruistically ‘self’-immolate. This process via the state of being virtually free from malice and sorrow has worked for me so far and I personally cannot see how a simple realisation that ‘ if ‘I’ accept that ‘I’ do not actually exist then ‘I’ will cease to ‘be’’ could transport me from ‘there’ to here. However, I am merely reporting my own experience of what worked for me and other actualists could possibly discover other methods to become actually free.
RESPONDENT: 1.You actively inquire as to how you are experiencing this moment, looking for an honest answer.
2.If you discover that are you are either not happy or not harmless at this moment you then actively inquire as to why this is so until you find what event triggered you to cease being happy and harmless this time around.
3.Then you do whatever is necessary in order to get back to being happy and harmless by allowing yourself to recognize the silliness of having such an incident (no matter what) take away your enjoyment of this only moment of being alive or to cause you to feel acrimonious towards a fellow human being.
4.If you find that the same trigger-events keep preventing you from being happy and harmless, you then actively inquire into the specific reason for your own current feeling of misery and/or acrimony, which is more often than not a particular moral or ethical conviction you hold to as being good or right, a firmly held borrowed wisdom or spiritual belief you hold to be a truth, an emotional reaction to something that went against ‘your’ idea as to how things should be, or some other aspect of your social conditioning. If the reaction is much more of a deep-down gut reaction, then you inquire what particular instinctual passions you were experiencing at that moment or you are experiencing in this moment?
5. When you find which particular aspect of your social conditioning has caused you to stop being happy and harmless you do whatever is necessary in order to erase, change, eliminate, eradicate this aspect of ‘you’ in order to not have it again interfere with your being happy and harmless.
* Step number 5 is the hard part. If I have a fear of spiders that appears each time a spider is present, how should I perform step number 5?
VINEETO: Given the advice you received from other correspondents on this list, do you really want to take yourself, i.e. your fear of spiders, so seriously that you allow an arachnid to stand in the way of you becoming happy and harmless?
RESPONDENT: Actually, I have found that everything is always ok at this moment right now and running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is a great tool for keeping me in this moment.
That’s all for now. Thanks for being there and thanks to all of you for making this list and this website available and for your willingness to help.
VINEETO: The question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is not only ‘a great tool for keeping me in this moment’ but it is also the precise method to remove every single obstacle that prevents one from experiencing this moment as perfect.
You see, with this method you can do much more than calming yourself or be ‘in this moment’ – you can become actually and permanently free of all the worries and fears, depression and resentment, sorrow and malice, free from the Human Condition altogether. With this method you can examine and investigate what keeps you from being happy and harmless in this very moment and remove the disturbing element, ‘me’, ‘ego’ and ‘soul’, irrevocably and forever.
RESPONDENT: I have a strong sense of abandoning humanity.
VINEETO: In order to abandon humanity as an actuality and not as a feeling or fantasy one needs to know one’s humanity, one’s beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions through and through because ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the way to come to know all the ingredients of this ‘humanity’ in oneself. Whenever I am not happy there is something to investigate and this ‘something’, these emotion-backed thoughts and vague feelings are the stuff that constitute ‘I’ and ‘me’. ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are nothing other than all the beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions that, in due course, one will encounter and discover in oneself on the path to becoming happy and harmless. Investigating one’s beliefs and emotions, one by one, will enable one to leave them behind, one by one. Then, without a social identity, life is a pleasure and a delight and the ongoing experience of Virtual Freedom gives one the necessary backbone to encounter the underlying instinctual passions.
Abandoning humanity is only possible after one has rid oneself of one’s social identity first and thus has the confirmation and confidence that the method works. Moreover, without experiencing the purity, magnificence and perfection of the actual world in a pure consciousness experience one’s abandoning humanity can only lead to feelings of dread and despair or the grand delusion of Oneness.
RESPONDENT: I even feel as if I am abandoning Actual Freedom.
VINEETO: Okey, dokey, that seems to be more likely and it surely is easier than ‘abandoning humanity’. For obvious reasons Actual Freedom is not everyone’s cup of tea and it requires – as Peter wrote to someone earlier –
It is everyone’s freedom and choice as to what they want to do with their lives and only a few seem to be dissatisfied and frustrated enough with the results of their spiritual search to be vitally interested in the Third Alternative. Being vitally interested in Actual Freedom and peace-on-earth will give one the courage and sincere intent to actually and irrevocably change one’s direction of thought, and one’s actions, in order to become happy and harmless, 24 hrs a day, every day.
The first time I discovered that it is, in fact, possible to change one’s action I was rather shocked.
Peter and I had just started our relationship and Peter had discovered that he had been battling me to change according to his ideas. Peter wrote about it in ‘Living Together’ –
When Peter decided to stop battling me I reacted in disbelief. Everybody, particularly spiritual authorities and famous group leaders, had emphasized that it is not possible to change one’s behaviour in such a radical and irrevocable manner, just by mere decision. One would need long meditative practice or extensive therapy experience that could possibly ‘heal the wounds’ which supposedly caused such behaviour in the first place. Furthermore, Eastern spirituality teaches that it is entirely unnecessary to change one’s behaviour because one merely needs to transcend one’s ego and ‘realize’ that all is but a dream.
So I observed Peter very carefully for the next few days to see if he was merely suppressing the desire to ‘battle’ or just changing his manipulation-strategy. To my shock and surprise I had to acknowledge that he had actually changed his behaviour, by one definite and radical decision. The ‘bad’ news was that now I had no excuse to postpone putting my ‘good intentions’ into action instead of wanking about how nice it would be if one could only change oneself. The good news was that I finally had ‘live’ proof, through Peter’s changed behaviour, that one can indeed change Human Nature and thus can begin to put an end to all the sorrow and malice that is going on in the world – in one person, myself. It was now simply a matter of confidence and courage, because changing oneself based on intelligent thought, insight and subsequent action is irrevocable – and it irrevocably diminishes one’s ‘self’ each time, bit by bit.
RESPONDENT: I’m not having PCEs but I am having direct experiences. I will write when I have more to say. That’s all for now.
VINEETO: As I said above, in order to understand what Actual Freedom is about it is essential to remember a pure consciousness experience. It is vital to investigate precisely those ‘direct experiences’, and determine when and where and how the experience is being polluted by the ‘self’, by the feeling and spirit-ual interpretation of the actual sensate, sensuous experience.
It is a fascinating adventure to explore one’s sensate experiences with the magnifying glass of attentiveness and heightened awareness and to discover the ingredients that invariably occur to stop or prevent one’s direct experience of the actual world. Particularly in the beginning I would often be thrown into a turmoil of fears and ‘bad’ feelings when trying to remove the ‘good’ feelings of love, beauty, spiritual meaningfulness or virtue from a sensate experience. Suddenly all hell broke lose, the ‘bad’ feelings of loneliness, starkness, dread or vice would come to the surface. Moral and ethical values would appear as noisy and frightening doubts in my head calling me traitor, whore, evil, animal. But remember, those feelings – as scary as they may look at first – are nothing but the flipside of the coin called morality and can confidently be dismissed along with all the good feelings. The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ feelings are the rose-coloured and grey-coloured glasses one has to remove from one’s eyes in order to experience the actual world as magnificent as it is.
RESPONDENT: Standing on my own two feet is what I am talking about.
VINEETO: And in your second letter you said –
RESPONDENT: The reason I feel I don’t belong and don’t want to join the new list is because it is a list for actualists to practice actualism. I want to learn about the instincts but I don’t want to practice actualism. Therefore I feel I don’t belong here. Also, I am deeply disturbed about your claim that actualism is not a group. This is obviously a group by any definition.
VINEETO: According to the welcome message ‘this is a forum for discussion about an end to malice and sorrow forever and an actual freedom for all peoples’. If you want to experiment with another way to bringing about an end to malice and sorrow – and fear – then that is your prerogative and I wish you well. Personally I only know of one way that works – the actualism method – and therefore I might not be of much assistance to your wanting to learn.
As for actualism being a group – maybe it would help our mutual understanding if you could tell me what you mean by ‘this is obviously a group by any definition’ because as I see it everyone writing on this list is doing his or her own thing and most people are outspokenly opposed to even beginning to use the method of actualism. I still can’t see what would make these people a group one belongs to.
For a cult one needs a belief in a divine message and a divine messenger who personifies that belief. First, it is impossible to worship a thorough-going atheist as a divine messenger – some have even tried and had to give up. Second, actualism is the process of questioning and investigating every single one of my beliefs and their underlying feelings, emotions and passions, and it can therefore, by its totally do-it-yourself methodology, never be a cult. It is telling that everyone who considers actualism to be a cult has not yet applied the method of actualism to the point of personally examining his or her own beliefs.
Belonging has only apparently something to do with others, with some group, some cult, some tribe, some nation – to get rid of the issue of belonging I had to dig into all my own values, feelings and beliefs of my social identity that caused me to automatically need to feel part of a group, a nation, a race and a spiritual belief system or to continuously rebel and rile against this conditioning. For example, although I still have a German passport per default, I neither belong to the German nation nor to any other nation because I have eliminated my social and instinctual issues about belonging. Similarly, my gender is female but I don’t belong to the woman’s camp or the ‘sisterhood’.
RESPONDENT: I am looking now to see if fear is ‘who I am’. That is what it looks like.
Would you agree with that? How do you see it? It looks like at the bottom of it all is fear and that is ‘me’. If I see that fear is ‘who I am’ then what else is there to do but understand it experientially?
VINEETO: When I started to explore my identity I found that ‘who I am’ was primarily my beliefs and my feelings of belonging to a particular group of like-believers, my values and morals, my identity as a woman, as a member of a group of friends, etc, that formed a certain image and persona that is ‘me’, which I built up and adjusted over the years. In the process of uncovering and removing one bit of this identity after the other, replacing my morals and values with a discernment of what is silly and what is sensible and replacing my beliefs with solid facts, I then discovered that there is yet another layer to ‘me’. Unfettered and undistorted by moral and ethical restrictions I experienced ‘me’ as the whole range of the raw instinctual passions, our animal heritage of ‘what can I eat and what can eat me’. I discovered that fear and aggression are very closely interlinked, as are the so-called tender passions of nurture and desire.
As long as I was ruled by the moral and ethical straightjacket of my social-spiritual conditioning, I would sweep any upcoming emotions and passions under the carpet or cover them up with loving feelings. Fear was usually the only acceptable feeling to experience within the strict moral code of social and spiritual rules as aggression is taught as being unacceptable and usually punished if overtly expressed. Eliminating my social identity allowed the various animal passions to come to the surface and enables me to experience and examine them. Thus I experientially come to know, time and again, that it is ‘me’, the very core of my ‘being’, that keeps these passions alive.
Each time, as I become aware of a passion arising and stay on its trail without repressing and without expressing, I have the bugger by the throat – I have become aware of ‘me’ in action. The more experience I have in experientially examining ‘me’ in action, the quicker I am in detecting ‘me’ yet again and then swoosh – at this point of keen awareness it is possible to step out of being a ‘self’ for a short period and experience a ‘self’-less freedom from the human condition.
When you ask ‘would you agree with that?’ I wonder what use it is for you if I agree or not. Whatever I say will be either believed or doubted. I can share my experience with the method of actualism with you but an intellectual-only understanding of my experiences does not cause you to become free from fear, let alone free from ‘self’.
In order to confidently be your own authority and stand on your own two feet you would need to persistently dig into your own psyche in order to be able to confirm or deny what I am reporting.
You say – How do you see it? It looks like at the bottom of it all is fear and that is ‘me’. If I see that fear is ‘who I am’ then what else is there to do but understand it experientially?
The traditional approach so far has been to question and then sublimate one’s savage passions – fear and aggression – and to enhance the tender passions of nurture and desire (love and compassion). If you do this persistently and tirelessly, you can reach an Altered State of Consciousness as described by many saints and sages. However, an ASC is not the end of the instinctual passions, the passion cards have only been shuffled a bit and one has moved from the physical so-called evil world further into the meta-physical so-called tender realms.
Actualism is the method that questions, examines and tackles all of the instinctual passions, both savage and tender, as they all belong to the same animal survival program. In order to eliminate fear completely I need to eliminate ‘me’ completely, all of my social identity, all of my spiritual beliefs, all of my good and bad feelings and eventually the very core of ‘me’ as a feeling ‘being’.
To get rid of fear completely it is not enough to just ‘see that fear is ‘who I am’’ and then become fearless as in rising above fear. There is no such thing as a shortcut of a blinding flash of light as the spiritual myths and fables have us believe. There is no fairy wand or Grace of Existence or a helping hand of God that interferes with human destiny and freedom. Becoming free from the instinctual passions is all in your own hands and it is a process of chipping away at one’s self-centredness and fearfulness and passionate survival automatism, bit by bit, experience by experience, in an ongoing attentiveness of how am I experiencing this moment of being alive.
Again, what I say is something you might possibly take at face value and then begin to discover for yourself as you diligently nibble away at your social conditioning such that you can begin to observe your instinctual passions in action in yourself.
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: Ok, it sounds like what you are saying is that once the root is revealed and understood completely then it disappears. This does make sense to me. This answers my question clearly and completely. Thank you.
VINEETO: Given that you still seem to hold to the conclusion that ‘sorrow comes from fear’ you now jump to a further conclusion that once ‘the root is revealed and understood completely’ then fear ‘disappears’ . You are therefore not concerned about eliminating what you call the ‘superficial emotions’ of malice and sorrow but that your sole aim in life is to become fearless. The aim of eliminating fear without aiming at eliminating one’s malice and sorrow is well-established in all the spiritual teachings – becoming fear-less by realizing ‘who you really are’, a process also known as Self-Realization. Thus one feels oneself to be all-powerful, i.e. fear-less, and is then no longer afraid of being malicious and sorrowful. The result of this transcendence can be observed in all the realized teachers who are known to pluck the heartstrings of sorrow in the name of feeling divine compassion and who unabashedly display their anger and displeasure from time to time, particularly when their disciples don’t ‘get it’ or fail to surrender.
The method of actualism aims at becoming aware of one’s beliefs and emotions and finding out the facts for oneself – I don’t wait for ‘the root’ to be ‘revealed’ to me by some Divine Intelligence but I actively search for the causes of malice in me and eliminate them one by one and I actively search for the causes of sorrow in me and root them out. In the course of becoming increasingly happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are, the instinctual fear of actually being here in the world-as-it-is, with people as-they-are, incrementally disappears on its own accord.
Maybe it will further clarify the difference between spiritualism and actualism by describing the process of examining a particular feeling – a process that, if thoroughly completed, can lead to the virtual elimination of that feeling together with that part of my identity who harboured and was nourished by this feeling. I will use sorrow as the example, given that the thread of our conversation initially started with the topic of exploring the causes of sorrow.
Whenever I experienced sorrow, the examination began right at the moment when I first became aware that I was experiencing the feeling of sorrow. Due to our social upbringing, every human being is taught to cope or deal with these undesirable feelings in very specific ways, amongst them being repressing one’s feelings, expressing them, accepting them or indulging in them in socially-acceptable ways, seeking solace and protection from some mythical God, Divine Intelligence or Divine Teacher or denying and transcending undesirable feelings by becoming a Higher Self.
Examples of this social programming are the spiritual belief that sorrow is good for me – therefore making feelings that are debilitating and devastating into something desirable, and the normal-world conviction that sorrow is part of human nature and you can’t change it – a fatalistic acceptance of all sorrowful feelings. We are taught a form of wishful thinking that by denying our feelings of sorrow they will somehow go away or at least not surface too often and men in particular are taught to believe that it is possible to think one’s way through sorrow and thereby rationalize it away. This socialization programming does have slight variations according to cultural conditioning, spiritual beliefs and gender, but all of this programming has a universal thread – it is solely designed to enable one to either cope with sorrow or, if that fails, to then dutifully follow the traditional religious/spiritual path of denial and transcendence.
The common thread of this socialization programming is to think that because fear is the most basic human emotion that one has only the two traditional choices – either make the best of being fearful in the real-world or seek to become fearless by following the spiritual path. To continue to believe this to be true means that one cuts oneself off from becoming aware of the fact that it is malice and sorrow and not fear that are the most salient emotions that characterize the human condition. This is where the discovery of actualism breaks entirely new ground because it does not pussyfoot around with denying the instinctual passions – it directly addresses those passions that prevent human beings living together in peace and harmony on this planet – malice and sorrow.
To theoretically think about and draw spurious conclusions about sorrow, i.e. ‘sorrow comes from fear’, only serves to bypass the first prerequisite of any investigation – the direct experience of the feeling itself – and one is therefore unable to become aware of what actually happens in the body and in the brain when one feels sorrow. Unless one personally observe right here, right now, the feeling while it is happening, it is not a scientific examination. The only way to find out what is fact and what is fiction, theory or speculation is to find out for oneself and conduct one’s own hands-on scientific investigation.
So when you find that what you understand to be the root of a feeling does not result in the elimination of that feeling, then you might have to go back to the ‘outer layers’ and investigate the traditional beliefs, values and conclusions that you are unwittingly taking for granted. Unless you question everything – and find a definite unambiguous factual answer to each of your questions – there is no way of ever experientially understanding the root of an emotion, let alone an instinctual passion.
VINEETO: In other words, I made a deliberate decision to uncover my beliefs in order to abandon them, beliefs that were disguised as truths, held by me as well as my peer group to be valid and right, good and fair. What made them appear to be right and true were not only my own passionate feelings but the fact that others around me also felt them to be true.
Given that beliefs are nothing other than emotion-backed thoughts the task to uncover my beliefs was fairly easy in principle – whenever I got upset about what someone said I could then reasonably assume that one of my dearly held beliefs or values was challenged. In practice, however, it was often not so easy because each belief I uncovered in fact challenged the very person I felt myself to be.
So, the answer to your question ‘what’s left when all beliefs and ideas including the spiritual is abandoned?’ in my experience was that what is left is the feeler. Consequently I then began to investigate the feelings that do not necessarily have beliefs attached to them but that nevertheless stand in the way of me being unconditionally happy and harmless – the necessary prerequisite to becoming free from one’s ‘self’ altogether.
RESPONDENT: How did you investigate those feelings and link the identity to them?
VINEETO: How to link the identity to my feelings? That’s easy – the pure consciousness experience makes it undeniably clear that ‘I’, the social and instinctual identity, am a feeling identity … therefore any affective feeling is always an articulation of one’s identity in action. Even if one does not have a clear memory of having had a PCE, the simple act of being attentive experientially reveals that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.
When I began to pay exclusive attention to this moment of being alive I soon became aware that my social and instinctual identity thrives on gloomy and antagonistic feelings as well as loving and compassionate feelings whereas feeling happy and delighted deprives the identity of its nourishment. Hence Richard’s method to minimize both the good and the bad feelings while activating and enhancing the felicitous/ innocuous feelings made imminent sense.
This method is not to be confused with the spiritual method of not identifying or not associating with one’s feelings and thoughts – as in the Buddhist practice of detachment – as this practice only serves to create a new pseudo identity, an identity who actively dis-identifies from unwanted aspects of one’s old identity. In actualism I readily acknowledge that ‘I’ in toto am the problem and then proceed to facilitate ‘my’ demise.
As for ‘how did you investigate those feelings’, i.e. those feelings that don’t necessarily have beliefs attached to them – I found that there was no need to make a distinction between feelings with beliefs and feelings without beliefs. Given that my aim is to eliminate ‘me’, the identity, in toto, any feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless is acknowledged, felt and labelled as it arises, neither expressed nor suppressed but attentively observed, in order that I can then either nip it in the bud or, if need be, explore and understand it fully so as to then be able to abandon it.
Feelings connected with beliefs inevitably surfaced whenever the particular belief was challenged. The only way to completely disempower the feelings is to abandon the belief – no belief, no need to feel defensive, feel aggrieved, feel the need to attack and so on. Even when I thought I had eliminated my major beliefs, such as my religious and spiritual beliefs, I would nevertheless discover yet more beliefs that I had inadvertently taken on board and these beliefs made themselves apparent by the fact that I got upset or sad or irritated about what someone said or did.
Undertaking an exploration of one’s own feelings when and as they are occurring – becoming fascinated with the business of being alive – is the means to developing apperceptive awareness, a prerequisite to becoming free of the human condition itself.
RESPONDENT: Now it has been this incident that has been a continuous source for me to doubt and redoubt the position I had taken in the matter of evaluating the validity of the method of actual freedom being the continuous running of the question ‘How am I living my life this moment?’ I just only recently (couple of weeks) have been doing this with pure intent and so far I have achieved very satisfactory results.
VINEETO: The question you used is different to the method of actualism – which is asking yourself each moment again: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – I am not nitpicking here, the difference is remarkable. The actualism question will immediately focus you on to how you are experiencing this very moment, the only moment one can actually experience. The question you are asking is a spiritual question whereby you can easily create a ‘me’ who is ‘living ... life’ feeling good while ignoring or sublimating the ‘me’ who is ‘living ... life’ feeling resentful, angry, sad, etc. The actualist question, if run with sincere intent, will leave nothing unobserved, nothing hidden, nothing repressed, nothing sublimated in the interests of ‘my’ gratification and ‘my’ glory.
If you ask yourself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and you are sincerely feeling happy in this moment, that’s great. When you are not feeling happy, then you start investigating what was the trigger for the particular emotion you have since you were last happy. You look at the very reasons, why you are not feeling happy in this moment. Usually you don’t need to go back very far, half an hour, a day, at the most a week. The method of actualism is not about unravelling or healing childhood hurts, but is about tracing every single emotion, feeling and belief that you find lurking inside so as to become happy again as soon as possible. You will find that you will also focus on becoming harmless as it is impossible to be happy unless one is harmless – unless one feels God-like, of course, which is where pure intent plays its part. Running the question – ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ works, immediately – and that, for many, is the scary bit. One actually diminishes and eliminates one’s very identity by removing the problems and feelings that give one’s identity credence and substance.
RESPONDENT: The possibility to start of from the so-called state of Virtual freedom has appeared to be (for me that is) a great way to demolish all kind of self-deluding states where I can be present as an entity in whatsoever form except being present as this flesh blood body system apperceptive of this wondrous world where only malice and sorrow somehow can affect this basic sense of harmlessness and happiness. Hence I agree with the statement that it is essential that I eradicate this malicious habit of I.
VINEETO: One doesn’t start off from virtual freedom, in actualism, you start at the beginning, where you are at in this moment. As you continue to investigate what keeps you from being happy and harmless and you eliminate more and more of the spiritual-world and real-world beliefs that trigger you to be malicious and sorrowful, you eventually begin to experience a stage of Virtual Freedom. Virtual Freedom is the stage you reach when you are harmless and happy 99% of your time.
Peter has produced an extensive glossary of terms that has links to related correspondence by Richard, Peter, Vineeto and others on each of the topics and it might be a useful tool to find out more what actualism is all about. You can also have a look at the sitemap that has been designed to make navigation around the ever growing website a bit easier.
Actualism is so new and so radically different to anything that has been taught as wisdom up to now that it takes persistent reading, re-reading and mulling over particular topics to understand that it is in fact 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual beliefs. For instance, in actualism there is no such statement ‘that it is essential that I eradicate this malicious habit of I’ . To regard ‘I’ as a habit is spiritual-speak for it ignores the fact that ‘I’ am both a social-psychological entity and an instinctual-psychic entity and that the instinctual component of the identity is genetically encoded in each and every human being. To dismiss this genetic component as mere habit is to perpetuate the ignorance of ancient flat-earth wisdom. It is clearly not habit that causes all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, child abuse, domestic violence, despair and suicide.
It is ‘me’ in my totality, the alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, that a sincere actualist aims to eradicate, both the ‘good me’ and the ‘bad me’. In spiritualism one aspires to merely get rid of a ‘malicious habit’ by replacing it with a good habit. In actualism it is understood that all habits, both the good and the bad, and all one’s beliefs and feelings, both the good and bad, are arising out of the same instinctual entity and must be addressed in their totality – without presumption, favouritism, discrimination or prejudice. (...)
RESPONDENT: As the demonstration in Byron Bay has illustrated what fear does in human interaction, I have made it a point to write to No 12 and tell him that in his words I have a different viewpoint as to how create peace in this world than he has and I have asked him to consider to apologize for his behaviour which by now I label disrespectful. It is not a judgment I know that he did what he did because he is not actual free, this was his cry for help ... or am taking this too serious?
VINEETO: The method of actualism is specifically designed to focus your awareness on your own emotions, feelings and beliefs such that you can change yourself, radically and irrevocably. Intuiting or guessing what someone else is thinking or feeling and what are their motivations and beliefs, let alone trying to change someone other than oneself, is a sheer waste of your potential happy and harmless time.
Given that you have said you now have ‘a different viewpoint as to how create peace in this world’, you now have the opportunity to apply the method of actualism and turn what can only be a viewpoint at this stage into a verifiable fact – as in becoming actually harmless and happy.
RESPONDENT: Given that I think that intelligent social interaction is the key to actual freedom, also given that the ‘alternate’ method has been devised largely as a result of my discovering and exploring of the AF-site and list-interaction, I’ll describe the applied method briefly; The alternate sequence is: How am I experiencing Myself here alive. It has been implemented in the following way but I invite anyone who is willing to experiment with it. It’s a seven-steps-sequence starting with How (while touching the tip of the left thumb with the right index finger.)
I’m curious as to any comments/suggestions as to how they have experienced (especially in a social setting) the result of applying the alternate method, but then again if the old one works well, why would one experiment with a different one.
VINEETO: I assume that by asking ‘How am I experiencing Myself here alive’ you want to focus on yourself rather than on what other people might think and feel. You might find, however, that focussing the attention on ‘Myself’ rather than on ‘this moment’ might eventually serve to aggrandize or at least overemphasize one’s ‘self’ instead of increasing one’s sensuous attentiveness to this moment of being alive.
When I ask the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’, either verbally or as a wordless awareness, I am paying attention to what is happening this moment, which includes all sensory perception, any thinking or reflective processes that are happening and any non-felicitous feelings that need further investigation. And the outcome is less and less disturbance to the overall sensual enjoyment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: I am interested in experiencing exactly what you are talking about.
VINEETO: As I said before there is a double approach to actual freedom. On one side you try and remember or evoke a peak-experience, and it is very helpful to get more and more an experience of those ‘moments without self’. An actuality of being here which is so pure, so sensately rich, so all-involving that there is simply no room for love, God or any other feeling – no room for a ‘me’. You may find, like No. 6, short moments of ‘WOW’, or a perfection when seeing a particular cloud-formation in stunning colours, just before ‘the heart’ chimes in with gratitude, reverence, beauty, awe, love, bitter-sweet sadness or admiration. Or you have a moment of quietly enjoying the sound of rain pouring on leaves, clinking on the roof, pouring and pouring, ... before a complaint, a worry, or any other emotion sets in.
The other side of the double approach is finding the ‘self’ in action with the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
It is a perfect question to determine how the ‘self’ is present – what feeling do ‘I’ have now?, what objection to being here?, what longing to connect with someone?, what slight feeling of numbness or boredom?, what irritation about someone’s words or behaviour? Driving a car was always a good test for me, so many ways to get irritated, and so unnecessarily.
Exploring the substance the ‘self’ is made of ... ... ... ... and then, one day, a peak-experience comes sneaking around the corner.
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: I noticed that my ‘unwillingness to enjoy being here’, doing whatever I am doing is my major problem preventing me from being happy now. It helps me if I check with myself if I am fantasizing or not. My mind is very fantasy prone and goes on different day-dreaming imaginative trips while numbing any other prevailing sensations.
VINEETO: Yes, I remember a kind of teetering between the intensity of pleasurable physical sensations and the subsequent fear, shame, guilt, and insecure feelings at having a good time, sometimes accompanied by an automatic anticipation of punishment that immediately dampened the experience. Particularly in sex I had to uncover and dismantle layer upon layer of numbing conditioning, social morals and atavistic fears, anticipated hurts and imagined ‘wrath from the Almighty’. And whenever the actual sensation became too burdened by fears and morals, I escaped into a well-known fantasy world. The trouble was that in my imaginary world I was always isolated from my sex-partner, from my own body-sensations and from the world around me. Secondly, this imaginary world could be destroyed by the slightest remark, by the smallest event.
Yet, knowing all those disadvantages of being in the imaginary world, it still took a conscious decision not to stay there. Whenever I found myself retreating, I had to actively remove the causes of my fears and frustrations that had initiated the withdrawal into fantasy-land in the first place.
RESPONDENT: I have had a kind of ‘natural high’ experience marked by a natural ‘ease’ in the last couple of days. I was driving home from work and, as my radio is broken, I had nothing else to do but think. I have noticed that I have been, in a subtle way, fighting myself. First desiring something that was impossible or dangerous but exciting and then indulging into sadness, despair, longing, imagination provoked by this longing. I have recognized that if I want to be happy it must happen now. So, I looked what was keeping me from happiness. And then I noticed my tendency to imagine things. As soon as I recognized this I felt a great relief as I realized that if I really, really want to stop doing that... I can, by just putting my effort into it and by just stopping doing that right now. As I realized this I felt a renewed commitment to continuing these investigations and to being happy right now.
VINEETO: It is so good to come back here into the physical world whenever one notices oneself going ‘off the planet’. From my experience, this commitment ‘to being happy right now’ included looking at everything that kept me from being happy. That could be pleasant or fearful fantasies, social conditioning, power struggles with the opposite sex, rigid ideas of how people or the world should be and many other facets of the Human Condition. But each time I removed one of the obstacles of being happy right now, whenever they appeared, I was rewarded with a greater sense of freedom, one reason less to be unhappy and a great sense of achievement – the method actually works.
VINEETO: Yes, life is not a sick joke. One only needs to take a clear-eyed look around to know that there is no malice or sorrow in the clouds, the trees, the birds, the mountains and valleys and the stars in this wondrous wide universe. However, human beings, solely because they are inflicted with the genetically encoded program of the animal instinctual survival passions overlaid by a social identity, are unable to experience the splendid purity and vast abundance of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: I have discovered that when I check with myself: ‘how am I experiencing this moment’, and if I then realize I ‘dull’ myself, what works for me to get out of this being ‘stuck’ is to return to the basics. To contemplate my existence as a human on this planet. Actually, I often then find myself in love, in peace with the world as it is. It is not unlike the love for a woman because I have the need, the desire to be here, to enjoy it right now; the way it is. There is a certain feeling of intensity, sensual perceptiveness. There is also the sense of being undisturbed by hostile people or events. It makes me very comfortable and happy.
VINEETO: In my own experience, it has been relatively easy to be ‘in love’ with the world when everything was running smoothly, when I could maintain ‘the sense of being undisturbed by hostile people or events’. There were periods throughout my life when I had felt relatively safe, ‘very comfortable and happy’ and at peace with the world, but these moments were always conditional. Despite my temporary sense of being undisturbed by hostile people and events the feeling was fragile, my being undisturbed was not actual, i.e. permanent and my uneasiness was merely overlaid by a feeling of love. Any person or event could disturb such conditional peace and throw me right back into an emotional roller coaster.
My attraction to actualism was that, by ridding myself of the psychological and psychic entity inside this body, I can become happy and harmless unconditionally – without ‘me’ there won’t be anybody who is being riled or disturbed or scared by people, things and events.
The longer I practiced the method of asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and the further I investigated my own beliefs, feelings and emotions, the more I am now able to be happy and harmless regardless, no matter what the circumstances. The method of actualism is so effective because it is based on one crucial fact – whatever or whoever triggers emotions and feelings in me, be it love, hate, fear, sorrow or desire, these feelings are always my own feelings and I can therefore investigate them and ultimately leave them behind.
The basic program of the animal instinctual passions is ‘what can I eat, what can eat me’ – these passions divide the human world sharply into friends and foes, and the overlaying morals and ethics create further divisions of good and bad, right and wrong. One wants to feel love but not hate, one wants to feel connected to the good people and avoid the bad people, one wants to feel right and never feel wrong. In order to be able to live in the world as it is with people as they are, I had to examine this primary division whenever it surfaced.
Actualism is a process of shifting one’s focus from assessing a situation through opinions and instinctual feelings and instead investigating facts and actuality in order to come to a sensible response. If I look at a situation and I am overcome by emotions that prevent me from seeing the facts clearly then I first need to examine these very emotions and their underlying beliefs. Mulling over, nutting out, contemplating and observing emotions and beliefs in action is what enabled me to more and more see things for what they are when stripped of opinion, belief and passionate reaction – simple facts. A fact is a fact – it is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong – it is self-evident and it speaks for itself.
In the introduction to Actual Freedom it is summed it up like this –
RESPONDENT: Why did I join? It was obviously because I am still questioning what was all this ‘actual Freedom path’ all about. I am still trying to understand what is ‘actually being here and now’ for you. It’s true that apparently I feel very close to the type of questions you raise, freedom beyond beliefs, what we are instead of who we are, free will or not, the link between personal identity and action, and so on... It’s true also that certain aspects of your literature are contradictory with certain other aspects, but maybe it’s common problems using words... and because you remain a sort of riddle, puzzle, enigma for me, I wanted to have a new check at it, are you Okay with that?
VINEETO: In order to understand what we are on about, anyone coming from the spiritual world would need to suspend disbelief and prejudice, otherwise it won’t be possible to listen to what is being said, let alone understand what is being said ... and your interest will die in the bum within half an hour. As you might have gleaned from Richard’s letter to you, actualism is completely new in human history and lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual belief – therefore you will need to have both your ears and eyes open in order to catch a glimpse of what lies beyond both the real and spiritual world with their set-in-concrete beliefs and passionate imaginations.
RESPONDENT: I don’t write that to defend religions or the spiritual world, in fact I am closer to you than you think, but there should be more crucial arguments against religions than the hypocrisy of certain gurus. More theoretical arguments, I mean.
VINEETO: Instead of merely entering into ‘more theoretical arguments’ I will give you a guided tour into a practical application of actualism on the topic of ‘trying to understand’. Just as a warning beforehand – this is not an attack on what you are saying in particular, I am simply using your words as a live example of how to investigate the Human Condition of malice and sorrow as it is manifest in oneself. Then you can decide for yourself at the end of this letter if actualism is of further interest to you, or not.
When you understand that the Human Condition by its very definition is common to all, then the trap of feeling wrong, bad, accused or insulted can easily be avoided.
RESPONDENT: ‘If a man is talking alone in the middle of a forest and there’s no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?’ <snip> Thank you for taking time to develop the long message I just received on the mailing-list. And thank you for your sincerity.
VINEETO: Your ‘joke’ points to the first requirement of learning something new – you will have to consider it possible that somebody, and even worse, a female, knows more about this subject than you do. Otherwise this common male resentment towards females, that causes you to preface your post with a non-too subtle attack on the messenger instead of listening to the message, will be the first reason to close the shutters, or more to the point, prevent you from even opening them in the first place. However, if you genuinely consider what I write to be sincere, as you indicated, then this might help you overcome this initial obstacle to learning about the Human Condition.
VINEETO: The second requirement of learning something new is to become aware of and reign in one’s initial automatic reaction of ‘self’-defence, which sabotages any intelligent inquiry into facts before one has even started. Despite your assertion further down in your letter that ‘our thoughts come first’, empirical scientific evidence has proven in repeated experiments that the input stream to the Amygdala, the lizard brain, is quicker – 12 milliseconds as opposed to 25 milliseconds to the neo-cortex, the thinking brain. The first information goes to the Amygdala – it operates as a quick scan to check for danger. Indeed, the Amygdala is regarded as the alarm system, and its function is perhaps better described as being concerned with bodily safety – hence this lightning-quick scan of sensory input involuntarily produces a flow of chemicals to the body’s vital organs – a reaction that is commonly known as the automatic instinctual ‘fight or flight’ response.
This instinctual almost-instantaneous reaction is always thoughtless, as it is activated prior to the possibility of any thinking happening, be the thinking sensible or otherwise. This ‘quick and dirty processing pathway’ results not only in a direct automatic bodily response, but the Amygdala’s direct connection to the neo-cortex is much slower – causing us to then emotionally experience the instinctually-perceived danger – i.e. we feel the fear a split-second later than the bodily reaction.
This is crucial to understand in order to be able to gather some factual information as opposed to merely having an intuitive-instinctual thoughtless gut-feeling of what feels ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. In order to be able to think clearly – free from the grip of one’s own instinctual passions – one first needs to decide to let one’s initial instinctual thoughtless reactions pass by and then assess carefully the facts of what is being said.
As an example, when you say, right after thanking me for my sincerity –
... then you have obviously already decided that I must have ‘a certain aggressive mood’. If your instincts tell you I am being aggressive we might as well give up the whole business right here. Instead of observing the fact that ‘I feel attacked’ and maybe investigate why you have this feeling and how often it occurs, you have jumped to a pre-programmed conclusion as in ‘I feel attacked – therefore the other must be aggressive’. First you make the assumption that it must be the other who is aggressive which then gives you the ‘self’-gratifying option of informing me that you will ‘not react to a certain aggressive mood’. Further you have rendered your own offer hypocritical by the reproachful joke you put at the top of your response –
... and another opportunity to investigate your own feelings has passed.
However, if you genuinely consider what I write to be sincere, as you indicated, then this might help you overcome this particular obstacle to learning about the Human Condition.
In actualism one understands that the only person one can reliably experience, observe in action, examine in depth, understand in context and change in any meaningful way is ‘me’. Therefore in actualism one’s attentiveness is utterly and completely directed towards one’s own feelings and beliefs, one’s own automatic reactions to what others say and do.
VINEETO: The third requirement of learning something new becomes apparent in your response when I described the nature of this list –
Before you have even begun to find out and investigate what actualism is all about, you propound the borrowed wisdom of Eastern spiritualism, already absolutely convinced that we actualists have got it all wrong. If you want to insist that ‘the self is not an actor’, then that is entirely your business. But if you already know, why do you make-believe that you are ‘trying to understand’?
Obviously, in order to learn something new you will have put aside the insistence that you already know and that you are right and maybe consider the possibility that you have been on the wrong track all along. This is, of course, a devastating blow to one’s pride but, then again, the question is ... would you let pride stand in the way of learning something new about the human condition? In order to understand actualism it is vital that you are open to the possibility that all of humanity has got it 180 degrees wrong.
It is vital to understand that the word ‘wrong’ has nothing to do with a moral or ethical judgement as in ‘you have been a bad person’ but that it is a simple statement of fact that none of the traditional real-world methods or spiritual beliefs and teachings has brought peace on earth, i.e. they are wrong in that they don’t work. Despite their perpetual promises, none of the religious and spiritual movements, none of the self-help-therapies and none of the revered philosophies has come up with a practical down-to-earth, workable solution to eliminate malice and sorrow in human existence. Their solutions do not work, pas du tout.
As for your statement ‘the self can’t generate anything’ – if you don’t even want to consider that you, i.e. your ‘self’, is responsible for your words and actions, then you certainly are on the wrong mailing list, as you have firmly shut the door to taking your life into your own hands. I am not going to discuss with you the borrowed beliefs about what the self is or not – beliefs that originated in a time when Wisdom had it that the earth was flat and the sky above was a dome populated by Gods and Demons. To believe this ancient wisdom to be the irrefutable Truth is to remain Neanderthaloid in one’s thinking and to be in blatant denial of modern scientifically proven facts.
Have you never experienced a rush of anger and wondered where it came from, have you never been overwhelmed by sadness and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a shiver of fear literally running up your spine and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a gut-wrenching despair and wondered where it came from. Have you ever wondered what enrages human beings so much that they would kill, rape, maim and torture other human beings or wondered why people become so despairing that they would kill themselves. Have you ever wondered ‘who’ or ‘what’ generates these passions that directly cause all this mayhem and suffering? Have you ever wondered why in all Eastern philosophy suffering is considered intrinsic to being human and the only escape is to become a divine Self? I just wondered if you had ever wondered about these things before you accepted the Wisdom of the East as being the inviolable and unquestionable Truth?
I have examined all my beliefs and thrown them all overboard. I have stopped believing long ago. No belief can hold water when confronted with facts. I rely solely on facts and on my own thorough examination of myself. I have numerous times experienced how ‘me’, the alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, generates my emotions and feelings and therefore I do know exactly what I am talking about.
In various ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences I have also experienced that this sensate and reflective body can live very well without a ‘self’ and as such, my confidence is based on facts and experience. So, if you genuinely consider what I write to be sincere, as you indicated, then this might help you overcome this particular legendary obstacle to learning about the Human Condition.
VINEETO: The forth requirement of learning something new is to dust off and polish one’s somewhat rusty capacity to think and reflect in a less ‘self’-centred manner, to contemplate and question, to inquire and explore, in short, to develop one’s non-affective intelligence. Whereas you declare –
This psittacine dimwitticism is found everywhere in the Eastern spiritual world, be it Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, Sufism, Rajneeshism, Buddhism, Taoism, traditional Hinduism, Krishnamurtiism or whatever and this belief that the ills of humanity are the result of thinking has conspired to prevent any sensible thinking happening or any genuine questions being raised. Thinking has been condemned, denigrated, repressed, imputed, blamed, and made responsible for all the evil in the world whereas all ‘Self’-aggrandizing feelings and instinctual passions have been lauded and encouraged. However, it is a scientifically proven fact that feeling comes before thought and it only requires a sensible clear-eyed observation to confirm the fact that our highly prized emotions and feelings are directly responsible for all the mayhem in the world. The genetically-encoded blind instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire give rise to malice and sorrow in human beings – not wrong thinking as the Eastern holier-than-thou Godmen would have us believe.
Upon discovering actualism, the first thing I had to re-learn was how to think, to contemplate and inquire in a way that produced some tangible result. For instance I learnt that it is useful to always come back to the question or issue from where I started and not – as our usually untrained brains tend to do – get lost in the different alleys and branches of speculation, imagination or irrelevant side issues. Prior to discovering actualism, I was usually very quick in inadvertently changing the subject and steering away from ‘dangerous’ areas, particularly when one of my dearly held beliefs was in question.
When I started investigating the Human Condition in myself, there were lots of ‘dangerous’ areas of contemplation, beliefs to be dismantled and feelings to be unveiled, lots of issues to be avoided at all costs. I remember I was literally stunned by the outcome of applying straightforward objective thinking and I was also surprised to find out how roundabout my way of thinking often had been, particularly as I had been so totally influenced by the Eastern ‘above all, do not think’ belief. Thinking has such a bad press in the spiritual world where one is taught that the gateway to heaven is to ‘follow your feelings, trust you intuition and leave your mind at the door’.
When I started on the path to Actual Freedom it was an adventure and a delight to re-instate, lubricate and develop my common sense, autonomous thinking and intelligence in order to understand the actual and factual world, to make sense of all the beliefs that I had adopted and to study and examine the instinctual passions I was driven by.
It was fascinating to observe and experience my brain clicking into crystal clear functioning – at first only once in a while with what one would call a ‘striking thought’ and then I noticed that I could actually make sense of the down-to-earth conversations about Actual Freedom I had with Richard or Peter. Eventually I was able to think straightforward thoughts, unclouded by fear or imagination and come to startlingly obvious conclusions and realizations. The outcome of such application of common sense was often very staggering, new, fresh, shockingly different to what I had believed, ‘felt’ or ‘intuitively known’ to be true.
Down-to-earth practical common sense, of course, has nothing to do with theoretical rationalisation, useless philosophizing, cerebral masturbation and conceptual imagination. For me, the crucial test always is – how can I put my sensible understanding into practice, how can I put my realization into practice, how can I act on the ‘striking thought’. I enjoy the astonishing clarity that the human brain is capable of and I have applied it to my behaviour in order to become free from malice and sorrow. The outcome is dazzling, to say the least.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.