Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: I am not clear on how one eliminates the instincts. Does this happen on its own or is there something that ‘I’ need to do?
VINEETO: As for eliminating instincts, I found that the method works as effectively for discovering, experiencing, investigating and eliminating instincts as it does for investigating the beliefs, morals, ethics and values that shape our social identity. Personally, I had to get rid of my moral, ethical and spiritual restrictions first in order to be able to admit to, acknowledge and recognize the ‘gross’ instinctual passions that lie at the core of my ‘self’. First I had to question my ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, before I was able to recognize and investigate my own raw survival instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
A week ago I discovered in a National Geographic magazine from 1989 an article from Jane Goodall about the life of chimpanzees in the wild. She observed them over years and describes in detail their social behaviour. I found the article very relevant to the Human Condition. Being busy with the topic for a few days gave me plenty of time to ponder over the remarkable similarity between humans and chimps, which are our closest genetic cousins with their DNA-structure being 98% identical to humans. One night the realization hit that at ‘my’ core that ‘I’ am the same makeup as a chimp, an instinctually driven creature, but fortunately equipped with the capability of self-awareness. I can now see that the instinctual program in humans is no different to the instinctual survival program of chimps or gorillas. The understanding has been stunning, to say the least. I suddenly saw how simple it all is. ‘Me’, the chimpanzee, ‘me’, the instinctual survival program is the very core of my identity. This is what has to die.
Guided by pure intent and self-awareness I have removed the imprinted ethics and morals of my social and spiritual identity that kept the lid on those primary instinctual passions, and now I am able to see those bare instincts operating in me. Neither expressing nor repressing any emotions really does the trick and sets the magic in motion that carries me through again into the actual world of delight and perfection.
Does this answer some of your question?
VINEETO: Love and compassion, sympathy and empathy are our usual ways of relating to family and friends and through the same emotional ‘channel’ we also invite their fears and worries, sorrow and resentment, anger and hatred. There is only one way when one relates to people affectively and that is within the rules and ways of the Human Condition. The moment I feel sympathy for someone I am also swamped by their fears, the moment I am empathic for someone’s suffering I plug into the collective misery of mankind. The need to belong makes one susceptible to everybody’s feelings, be it anger or fear, greed or suffering.
RESPONDENT: I saw yesterday what you are saying about sympathy and empathy. By not buying in to her suffering I was relieved of my suffering and I was better able to take care of her. Also have seen that ‘I’ am rotten to the core because a lot of my suffering has been worrying about ‘me’ having to take care of her.
VINEETO: To examine the so-called ‘good’ emotions of nurture, care, sympathy, friendship, duty, love and compassion is a fascinating subject and can only be done by questioning and examining at the same time the morals and ethics of society that forms one’s very social identity. If one wants to be actually free of the Human Condition, one has to examine and recognize that ‘good’ simply means ‘morally acceptable’ and ‘right’ is just another ethical value, both of which vary from tribe to tribe and from society to society. The ‘good’ is a much a bondage as the ‘bad’ – even more so because it seems much more desirable. As humans we don’t want to lose the other’s affection and reassurance, the appreciation of our peers, the cozy safety of being part of a family or group, the comforting knowledge of doing what everyone considers the ‘right’ thing or the ‘good’ deed.
Freedom lies in the opposite direction. On the path to actual freedom I did not bother to try to solve the moral or ethical problems of what is ‘good’ or ‘right’ but focussed my attention instead on discovering my own ethical and moral values – my social identity in action. ‘Ah, I’m trying to find out what is right? I’m upset that someone did the ‘wrong’ thing? I’m aiming again to be a ‘good’ person?’ These were indications that my moral identity was in action and I used my awareness to examine this very identity and learned to step out of it. What is now left is a simple sensible solution – and mostly my worries were seen to be an S.E.P.-situation, Someone Else’s Problem. Once I understood that it is only me who can set myself free I also understood that everyone has to do it for themselves as well. What perfect arrangement. It for sure saves one saving people.
RESPONDENT: It is clear that the only one I can change is me.
VINEETO: What I was trying to clarify is that the first thing to change was my perception of what had to change. All my life I had tried to change for the better, first according to the Christian standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ –heaven and hell – and later according to the spiritual standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – nirvana and bad karma. What I needed to understand was that both are only slightly different standards of morals and ethics, and to shift one’s inbuilt instinctual passions from aggression to compassion, from sorrow to devotion, from fear to hope and from bondage to dis-identification is nothing other than rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The structure of one’s being is not changed – the ‘feeling being’ itself needs to be questioned and investigated, uncovered and eliminated.
RESPONDENT: I would say that I am doing ok which is a relative term. I wouldn’t call it good but I would call it ok. When I look at my total situation it seems that I ‘have it made’ except for the problem with my mother. I realize that the real issue is the instincts because if this problem didn’t exist then I am sure that other issues would most likely arise.
VINEETO: People’s automatic response is always to see their own fear, aggression, sadness or misery as being caused by the other person or the particular circumstances. I considered it a great step in my exploration when I could see that, whatever the ‘problem’, it had to do with me. And you are absolutely spot on – ‘that other issues would most likely arise’ – so best to examine the one that is so readily presenting itself...
Whenever I had an issue that bothered me and that I wanted to get rid of, I would dig into the cause of the disturbance layer by layer with the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ The first response was usually a superficial one like: ‘I don’t want to do what the other wants me to do’ or ‘I don’t like what the other just said’ or a similar resentment. Prodding further I’d come across stronger emotions such as anger, guilt, duty, shame, authority, pride or fear – or a mix of several ones. Each such emotion was worth a deeper inquiry as to the underlying rules, beliefs, morals and ethics that triggered and constituted those emotions and distorted my relationship to the particular person. It was often scary but always a great adventure to question my fixed perception and behaviour and explore a solution 180 degrees in the other direction to my familiar reactions. By being suspicious about my automatic belief of what is ‘true’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, I was then able to start assessing the facts of the situation rather than indulging in, or fighting against, my emotional reactions to what was happening.
Facts are what is actual, tangible, discernable, provable, practical, and by knowing the facts one can consider what will be the best for everybody involved. Emotions, by their very nature, are always ‘self’-centred and always non-factual – however, the physical symptoms that often accompany the appearance of the emotions make them very real, and it needs great attentiveness and persistent observation to disentangle oneself from their convincing instinctual grip.
In your investigations you might come across ancient scary tales, collective superstitions, nonsense disguised as ancient wisdom, hoary psittacisms, moralistic no-no’s, ethical taboos, fear of ostracism, weird inner psychic horror movies ... With all those possible ‘ghosts’ emerging from the depth of one’s psyche it is important to clearly distinguish between fact and feeling. Facts are tangible, constant, reliable, whereas feelings will invariable fade if one stops feeding them.
By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system. It was, however, essential that I gained this insight experientially in order to replace the emotion with contemplation and sensibility rather than merely suppressing it. Suppressing emotion is sheer postponement and a sure way to accumulate problems until they become unbearable. Once I had extracted every bit of necessary information by experiencing the emotions I could then make sensible judgements and appropriate changes in my behaviour such that I could resume being happy and harmless again.
In the glossary of The Actual Freedom Trust Library you can find annotations and related correspondence on affection, aggression, desire, doubt, fear, feeling, emotion, instinct, nurture, pride, sorrow as well as their antidotes – actual, apperception, contemplation, fact, happy, harmless, sensuousness, judgement and common sense. Reading and re-reading I found to be an excellent tool to make myself familiar with, and accustomed to, the radical and iconoclastic way of actualism and to rewire my brain into the new way of thinking and acting.
VINEETO: By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know what to say. I feel like I’m in never-never land.
VINEETO: I don’t know what ‘never-never land’ represents for you, but I am reminded of Peter Pan’s dreamland for children, where one is transported from the misery and dullness of the ‘real’ world into the unreal land of imagination, where one never has to become a grown-up.
In order to pursue the path to an ACTUAL freedom, as opposed to the imagined freedom of the spiritual world, it is essential to remember a Pure Consciousness Experience. Otherwise one won’t know what one is looking for and will only translate a few of the words and terms describing Actual Freedom into the spiritual belief-system that has been one’s familiar environment for many years.
There is plenty written about PCEs, and I found Richard’s correspondence on the subject particularly helpful. Unless one reads and re-reads and reads again about actual freedom, there is no way of de-programming one’s brain from the all-pervading spiritual teachings, thoughts and feelings. (You can find relevant topics on the map of the Actual Freedom Website including selected writings and selected correspondence). Unless one has at least a glimpse that Actual Freedom lies, in fact, 180 in the opposite direction to all spiritual beliefs, one will always end up in a ‘never-never land’ of fantasy, guesswork, misunderstanding and imagination.
Personally, it took two months and a lot of discussions with Peter until I finally understood experientially, what the term ‘spiritual’ stands for. For me, ‘spiritual’ had implied the ‘godly’ way of life, following the highest aspirations of mankind, a dedication to be good, to be part of the group of people who also aspire to the same goal. The day I finally understood the literal meaning of the word ‘spirit-ual’, a whole new world opened up. Suddenly the spiritual world was not the only alternate world to the ‘real’ world, not even the best world. Suddenly I understood that I – like everyone else – was producing this world in my head and heart – with my very spirit, so to speak – and this world consisted of spiritual morals, ethics, ideas, beliefs, emotions, loyalties, pride and the belief in the immortality of the soul.
A major distinguishing factor between the spiritual approach to life and the path to an actual freedom is that spirituality teaches one to enhance the ‘good’ affective feelings. One is to indulge one’s intuition, trust, belief, faith, hope, guesswork and is encouraged to sense (as in feel out) a situation. Whereas, on the path to Actual Freedom, one explores actuality by applying thought, common sense, contemplation, practicality, intelligence and undertakes an investigation into verifiable facts of the situation. (...)
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.
VINEETO: 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.
It is a fascinating journey once one takes the plunge.
RESPONDENT: I guess this pretty much answers my question. I have been observing my instinctual passions in action for quite some time and I see that fear is at the bottom of all of it. So what there is to do is keep observing the instincts in action and chipping away by understanding it experientially. I was asking if there was anything else to be done other than that but apparently not.
VINEETO: When you say that apparently there is nothing other to be done than observe one’s instinctual passions you have apparently not read all of my post. Vis:
You might deem it unnecessary to examine all your beliefs and social-spiritual values but it is impossible to clearly observe one’s instinctual passions with an unbiased and unrestricted awareness unless one has first done the work of becoming aware of and eliminating one’s beliefs and one’s moral and ethical values.
Yesterday I met an old friend who asked me what I do with fear. He said often he wakes up in the morning and feels fearful for no apparent reason. He could well relate to when I told him that in my spiritual days I had an underlying fearfulness of not doing the ‘right’ thing and of being punished or struck by the wrath of Existence in some way or other for my ‘wrong doing’. He said there was a kind of mantra going round in his head searching for the next ‘right’ thing to do.
We talked about morals and ethics as being ingrained into human beings since earliest childhood. When I left home I was busy replacing my parent’s set of morals and ethics with another, then another and finally with the Sannyas Eastern spiritual set of morals and ethics. As my friend was a Sannyasin, he duly protested and said that Rajneesh did not teach any rules of right and wrong. I suggested that when one has an emotional investment in keeping the image of one’s master pure, one is likely not to notice that the ‘Truth’ is but another set of moral and ethical values. Even the ultimate ‘Good’ and the ultimate ‘Right’ are nothing but human-made values fuelled by ancient superstition and blind devotion to a Higher Being somewhere in the universe. Rajneeshism has its own set of morals, rights and wrongs, goods and bads, rules and social codes, as does Krishnamurtiism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc.
I said that had I questioned not only my own ideas as to what is right and wrong but also the very source of all moral and ethical codes – the belief in a God or Higher Power who enforces good and bad, rights and wrongs by a system of divine reward and punishment. Being good and right brings the reward of good karma, good fortune, respectability and a permanent berth in Parinirvana or Heaven and being bad and wrong brings punishment of bad karma, bad luck and condemnation to suffer endless rebirths or to plunge into the abyss of Hell. When I began to replace these fear-ridden spiritual beliefs with facts most of my fears began to permanently disappear.
Real-world fears are mostly based on religious or spiritual fairytales but it is also necessary to question all of the beliefs that would have us believe that life on earth is a fearful and miserable existence. One needs to question psittacisms such as ‘one needs to fight for one’s rights’, ‘it’s a tough world’, ‘life’s a bitch’, any of the multitudinous doomsday scenarios that are currently in fashion, the insidiousness of rumour and innuendo, the fear-propagating role of protest movements and the continual beat-up of the media in promulgating fear, angst and mass hysteria. To believe all that one is fed by one’s fellow human beings is to give substance and fuel to one’s fears. To make the effort to find out for oneself the facts of each situation is to cut away at the roots of these socially instilled fears ... and this is the very work that an actualist initially has to do in order to become free of the human condition.
The other kind of fear, however, is the raw animal survival fear that only comes to the surface when one’s beliefs and one’s moral and ethical codes have been substantially eliminated, and this kind of fear is indeed something one can only be aware of, and recognize, as the genetically-encoded survival program in action. This very attentiveness is the ending of fear’s ferocious grip. Or, as Richard puts it –
RESPONDENT: In other words why keep prodding and poking at the centre (the feeler/thinker) when it only makes the vortex (emotional thoughts) swirl faster.
VINEETO: In case you haven’t noticed, actualism is something everyone does for themselves. In contrast to psychology, psychiatry and human growth therapy there are no psychologist/ therapists prodding one to move into one direction or another. Having said that, it stands to reason that anyone asking questions of an actualist on this mailing list about how the human condition operates in practice can expect to get a straight answer. Given that the human condition is epitomized by senseless beliefs, archaic superstitions, emotive thoughtless responses and gut-wrenching instinctual reactions, it is par for the course that any discussion about the human condition will invariable evoke feelings of guilt and shame which in turn gives rise to defensive and evasive responses, even to the point of denial.
Having a clear-eyed, sensible, frank and open discussion about the human condition is not an easy thing to do, as is evidenced by the majority of correspondence on this mailing list.
The reason I asked No 16 why he bothers to converse with me at all was because he asked me questions about the human condition and when I answered he complained that he finds it near impossible to have a conversation with me, a reaction he has also shown in past conversations with me. I did neither prod nor poke at him, I talked about observations I had made about ‘people I know’ ( ‘I know of quite a few people who…’), observations which he assumed to be assumptions about him.
In other words what you call ‘keep prodding’ are another’s assumptions about a general statement I made. It would be useful to pay more attention to the facts of what is actually said before you jump onto the bandwagon of accusations and complaints against actualists.
RESPONDENT: Actualism won’t spread like a chain letter till we ‘actually care’ enough to learn how to observe and examine human instincts without ‘investigating’ them as though they are criminal.
VINEETO: When I use the word ‘investigate’ I use it meaning ‘research, probe, explore, inquire into, go/look into, study, examine, inspect, consider, sift, analyse; check out’ (Oxford Thesaurus). My investigation is a ‘self’-inquiry into my own beliefs and instinctual passions with the aim to become actually free from the human condition.
For me, the very first step in this investigation was to admit that deep down, I was governed by instinctual passions – predominantly fear, aggression, nurture and desire. This simple act of acknowledgement meant that any feelings of guilt and shame (that ‘I’ am a criminal for having these passions) or feelings of self-righteousness (that ‘I’ am a saint for having repressed or denied these passions) that arose in my investigations were clearly seen for what they were – the inevitably by-products of socialization.
For anyone who has done some ‘self’-investigation it is obvious that one can only observe and investigate human instinctual passions if one is friends with oneself and coopts any aspect of oneself as an ally in this investigation into the human psyche. Here is an example of how I described to someone what I mean by investigating feelings.
Maintaining a moralistic attitude towards one’s instinctual passions unavoidably results in avoidance, denial and detachment. For this reason actualists have always maintained that before one can begin to examine one’s instinctual passions it is essential to first rekindle one’s naiveté and be guided by pure intent born from the experience of the perfection of the actual world. Then one can begin to take apart one’s social identity – one’s spiritual values and beliefs and one’s social morals and ethics – in order to replace them with naiveté and the pure intent to have the already always existing peace-on-earth become apparent.
This is precisely described in the ‘Actualist Guide for the Wide and Wondrous Path’ –
RESPONDENT: This contaminated trio is still moralising and posturing so learning is crippled here.
VINEETO: Again your claim would have at least some smidgeon of credibility had you ever expressed any interest at all in wanting to learn anything about the human condition and how it operates, or even expressed any interest whatsoever in wanting to become free of the human condition.
Once one adopts a posture, particularly an adversarial one, maintaining it becomes a face-saving matter, hey?
RESPONDENT: Others more benign and well meaning will pick up this ‘actual’ ball (as many already have) and will ‘play’ it with (not coach) their fellow man all the way to the goal.
VINEETO: There is a rich tradition of human beings denying facts in favour of holding on to their beliefs and of human beings negating new discoveries in favour of clinging to old myths and superstitions. As such your pronouncement hardly comes as a surprise.
If it wasn’t for the Actual Freedom Trust website and this mailing list you wouldn’t have known that an actual freedom from the human condition is even possible, yet you are trying to tell experienced actualists how they should inform their fellow human beings about actualism.
Whatever ‘actual ball’ you and those unnamed ‘others’ ‘play with’ and whatever ‘goal’ you have in mind, it can only be some spurious fantasy of your own making – it ain’t actual freedom because that is a do-it-yourself and do-it-by-yourself business.
VINEETO to Alan: Today we saw ‘Lord Nelson’s Affair’, a brilliant performance about Lord Nelson and his affair with the daring, ‘immoral’ mistress before his last battle at Trafalgar. He was trapped between enjoying his life with her and fighting for his country for duty, honour and glory, while she was trapped in her particular role. Musing about the moral standards then and today, the rules and punishments of society then and now, I cannot find any difference in terms of their success in tackling the all so obvious instincts in action. Nobody was happy then and nobody lived in peace then, and that fact is still the same. Everywhere I can see human beings attempting the impossible in thousands of different ways and always failing – nobody is happy and living in peace – there is no solution within the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. When everything else is said and ‘un-done’, when all the covering social and cultural conditioning of beliefs and emotions is removed, I am as much an instinctual being as were Mr. and Mrs. Cro-Magnon thousands of years ago. As long as these basic instincts are alive as ‘me’, I am just one of the 5.8 billion people in the world battling it out for survival – until I disappear, proving it possible for everyone to live in peace in his or her lifetime.
VINEETO to Alan: I want to chat a bit about the subject that Peter has raised in his last post to you – the ‘good’ and – ‘tender’ instinctual passions. It was a good reminder for me when he said that it took Richard only a few months to eliminate anger, yet eleven years to eliminate the ‘good’ – pacifism, love, compassion, beauty and bliss.
So, as part of my investigation I watched a movie today which could be called a classic regarding this very issue. It is called ‘Good morning, Miss Dove’, a film made in 1955, full of the straightforward morals and ethics of post-war America. Miss Dove turns down a marriage proposal in order to become a teacher of her little town and teaches generation after generation not only geography but in particular how to behave like perfect moral citizens. Every word and gesture of hers is oozing the ‘good’ and the ‘right’, teaching the distinction between the respectable and the disreputable. In her subtle and ‘humble’ way she has got the whole town under her thumb, not only because almost everybody has been her former pupil and thus imbibed the very same ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, but also because she is flawlessly incorruptible. As such, she can even tell the priest how to pray with her on her death-bed.
The interesting part for me was that the concept of a morally flawless life could still touch me. Humans of all ages have strived for the best, have tried to be ‘good’ and have partly succeeded to keep the ‘bad’ under control. But ...
It’s been a good exercise to examine and analyze the stronghold of the ‘good’, to see the emotional attraction and the hidden traps. I find it harder to recognize than being angry or fearful because the ‘belief in the good’ only becomes apparent as a slight tug on the heartstring, a sweet feeling, an attraction for the ‘good’ hero in a story or a disappointment when the corrupt wins. But leaving Humanity behind means leaving the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ behind and every catch needs to be investigated.
VINEETO to Alan: That’s the fun about actualism, the wide and wondrous path – the adventure is my life and my life is an ongoing adventure and exploration – and everyone does it differently according to what is happening and what issue they are tackling at the moment.
Looking back there were always issues that I explored, feelings and beliefs that I was deeply involved in, experiencing and exploring. Initially, the exploration was highly twisted and obstructed by morals, ethics, spiritual beliefs and social conditioning; torturous straightjackets that made every move seem wrong or bad. But only because I had experienced the failures of those beliefs, morals and ethics, could I then apply the understanding that the solutions offered are in fact not leading to a happy and harmless life, let alone peace on earth. On the contrary, they all lead 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
One of the later explorations was experiencing time. By exploring the emotions and instinctual passions that prevent me from being here, I am more and more able to simply be here, in this moment. First I realised that the future is slipping away. The past had been gone with all the emotional issues resolved that had tied me to past memories. It is fascinating to notice how by being here the notion of ‘real’ time – this imagined web of ideas and feelings about past and future and their supposed implications for this moment – is falling by the wayside and disappearing with alarming speed, leaving me at times disoriented as if a fairytale has turned into a pumpkin. But as I recovered from the confusion and its ensuing insecurity the ‘pumpkin’ turns out to be utterly delicious – each moment is a delight because it is actually happening, it is neither felt nor imagined but happening right this very moment – whatever is happening is actual. There is such an innate pleasure and satisfaction in the experience of the very actuality of this moment that whatever I do is a bonus on top of it – what abundance.
The other thing that I discovered is the seemingly inexhaustible persistence of ‘me’ inventing myself all over again after hours of happily doing what is happening. Spoiling the fun ‘I’ start furphies such as self-doubt, worry, comparison, impatience, fear or begin looking for some other self-centred emotional issue. Sometimes I wonder if my female-tinged emotional conditioning is particularly sticky or if male conditioning provides a similar fertile affinity to being an emotional being.
RESPONDENT: I am sharing it also with the community, I work as a massage therapist in an upper class health spa and in my own place. Working with the human conditioning in the physical manifestations is one good possibility to support another to become free.
First supporting the temporary release of the manifestations, then seeing the underlying mental conditioning, understanding and with the magic of intent to let go of the conditioning itself.
VINEETO: I am curious about your understanding of the word ‘conditioning’. I have come to see conditioning as the first layer to be removed, including all the personal, social and collective input that is fed into all of us since birth. But conditioning is not everything. We are all born with a set of survival instincts that make us susceptible to and heavily dependant on the moral conditioning we receive. When the restricting shield of society’s ethics and morals breaks down, the survival instincts of fear and aggression, nurture and desire are as raw as you can observe them in animals. CNN with their daily News gives ample testimony of the various manifestations of those instincts in action. Unless we discover those instinctual passions in ourselves and start to eliminate them, the ‘self’ will continue to exist and create havoc in one cunning way or another. The difference between the path to actual freedom from the Human Condition and any spiritual or psychological ‘solutions’ is that Actual Freedom gives you a method to get rid of the root cause of the problem – ‘me’ in whatever form.
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in.
VINEETO: In my experience it is one thing to understand intellectually the personal facts and global consequences of believing in god and religion, and it is another step to actualize this understanding in my life. It is already a daring step to question the sensible-ness of all the religions, of the (imaginary) existence of God and the oh so holy belief in a ‘higher entity’ running the show and rewarding or punishing us for good or bad deeds. It is vital to gather your own information – facts and figures, so to speak – in order to make it blindingly obvious how much harm this belief in an absolute authority and an eternal soul has caused throughout human history. Once you have enough information for a ‘prima facie case’ then you can proceed with investigating what it is that still makes you want to believe in a Messiah, a Guru, Ancient Wisdom or Ancient Ethics.
In my own experience, a mere intellectual understanding was only the beginning of my investigation and it proved insufficient to get rid of guilt, fear, insecurity, taboos or the psychological need to rely on an ultimate authority. To eliminate the belief itself, in my case the belief in the superiority of an enlightened master, I had to dig deep into my psyche, examine the admiration, love and need to belong, investigate the source of the emotions and find the underlying passionate conviction. A great part of this conviction was made up of cultural conditioning (Christianity and Western ethics) as well as later acquired beliefs, such as the bundle of Eastern mystical beliefs. In questioning the validity and sensibility of all these morals and rules, beliefs and superstitions, I discovered an even deeper layer – my need to belong to a group, a religion, a tribe. I discovered the need to have a personal idol who I admired, worshipped, sought advice from (in books, Osho’s discourses or imagined conversations), who gave me reassurance and a feeling of ‘doing the right thing’. I knew ‘somehow’ that all this didn’t work very well – it produced neither personal happiness nor peace at large – but I was too scared not to have the guidance from those ‘authority’ figures.
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. <snip quote>
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.
‘The Mahasatipatthana Sutta’ (DN 22; PTS: DN ii.290; http://world.std.com/~metta/canon/digha/dn22.html)
Can you see the intense effort of changing one’s sensitivity, of fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything in the physical world is considered stress and bad and one has to work on dis-associating from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
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: The main point is that I don’t want to hurt anybody while resolving my issue. I have noticed that this tendency of mine has, in a subtle way, been used by my wife (or maybe it is used by women in general) to make it very difficult for me to break up with her by apparently denying the issue while simultaneously making me feel guilty.
I think that honesty and clear communication is crucial in any relationship, be it with a lover (this seems easy but not painless, however) or my wife.
So ... I will proceed the best I can in hope of a peaceful separation and maintaining a friendship with my wife. The separation which will allow me to cultivate the relationship with the woman I am attracted to and hopefully to live together.
Well, this is my update as to what’s happening in my life. There are some spontaneously peaceful and perceptive moments combined with some confusion and fear of making a painful decision.
VINEETO: As this is obviously your adventure and your exploration into depth of the Human Condition in you there is nothing much I can add. I myself had several complicated relationship situations in my life, so I know it is not an easy task. I have learned a lot from those situations, about me, about relationship and about the things that don’t work.
The most important point for me when starting on the path to Actual Freedom was to remember that it is always only me that I can change and that I can make free. I can never do anyone else’s job and nobody can do anything for me. That’s the very nature of an actual freedom.
One of the first things I had to learn and successively understand was that obeying the ethical and moral rules of society or religion was not going to help me to reach the purity and perfection so clearly experienced in a pure consciousness experience. As long as I oriented myself on the ideas of right and wrong it always left one party ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’ and neither peace nor equity were ever achieved.
My ideas of what was morally good or ethically right would stop me inquiring, fearing to do something ‘wrong’, violating the moral code and ethical value of the tribe, the peer group and the spiritual / religious group I had belonged to. First I had to understand the workings of those moral and ethical rules in me before I could inquire further into the nature of my feelings, emotions and passions.
Having experienced the purity and perfection of the actual world and the intent to live that pure consciousness experience 24 hours a day, every day I could safely begin to abandon the moral and ethical codes that society imposed on me. Thus I whittled away at my social identity and its ensuing notion of right and wrong, good and bad. Now I can dig into the feeling that arises, find the root cause and understand why, when and how I feel this way, without the fear of ‘being wrong’ or ‘being bad’. Knowing the actual world from the memory of my PCEs I can determine what is ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ and act according to what is sensible and best for everyone involved.
RESPONDENT: As a side note, according to Richard’s understanding of the egoless state of being, there is no imagination possible in an egoless state because one is totally busy living the life as it is happening moment by moment. As a consequence, there might be no concern about the future. If there is a total dis-concern for the future and one is living – as the body – in the world inhabited by other people, will not the physical safety be in danger? Or is the very idea of ‘danger’ emotionally driven and even when a dangerous situation occurs, the body will be busy living it and hence there will be no hard feelings against the situation.
VINEETO: There are a few distinctions that are vital for an actualist –
1. In Spiritualism, particularly in Eastern Spirituality, one is taught and encouraged to get rid of the ‘I’ or ‘ego’ in order to reach a permanent ‘ego-less state’ or altered state of consciousness aka enlightenment. In an ‘ego-less state ’ there is no little man in the head as the controller, but one’s feelings, the soul – fuelled and maintained by the instinctual passions – are now without a controller and rampantly expand to a feeling-state of ‘I am One with Everything’, ‘I am not the body’, ‘I am That’, and ‘I am the Divine’.
Actualism is firmly based on the fact that the animal instinctual passions are at the core of the Human Condition, which has an additional layer of societal conditioning, morals, ethics and beliefs that have been developed down the ages in order to control extreme outbreaks of the instinctual passions. Therefore a freedom from the Human Condition includes the elimination of both one’s social identity, which consists of the morals, ethics and societal conditioning (in Eastern spirituality called ‘the mind’ or ‘the ego’), as well as the underlying raw instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
So when I was writing –
... I was talking about ‘me’ as who I think I am and who I feel I am, both ego and soul.
2. Richard lives in Actual Freedom, which is being here without any identity whatsoever. With the death of his identity the faculty of imagination disappeared along with his instinctual passions. Therefore, whatever Richard writes is not a mere ‘understanding of the ego-less state’ but an accurate description of what he is living 24hrs a day, every day. Imagination for him is simply not possible because imagination cannot exist outside the feeling entity inside this flesh and blood body – it dies with the entity. And because there is no imagination interfering, he is ‘living the life as it is happening moment by moment’.
My ‘concern about the future’ goes as far as covering the basic necessities for my physical survival – a place to live, spending money, clothes, food and obeying the law of the land. For work I found it sensible to keep a car, so I take care that it is registered, insured and running well. Neither a fearful nor hopeful imagination about the future nor feelings, beliefs, morals, values and instinctual passions interfere with this simple and solely practical ‘concern about the future’ and life is easy and carefree.
As far as ‘the world inhabited by other people’ is concerned – there are some practical safety measures to be considered. When appropriate, I will keep my mouth shut and not talk about Actual Freedom, because people seem to get really upset when their dearly held beliefs are questioned. The Internet for instance, is a much safer place to have a conversation about Actual Freedom. But most of what is considered ‘danger’ is, in fact, merely emotionally perceive and disappears with the thorough investigation of one’s emotions, feelings and instinctual passions – the actual world is an imminently safe place to be.
RESPONDENT: For example in my repair work I have this fear of jobs being returned; the feeling is one of personal failure and even after carefully looking at this I realized I could not control what people thought and that much of the time what they thought was grossly misinformed. This was helping with understanding but not the fear. You see, the fear was about their actual response the expression on their faces etc, the put down at that moment. What I really objected to was their deliberate put down, but my conditioning, based on punishment, disallowed any defence of my position.
Hmm, I don’t know if I have come any closer to determining what a bad habit is. Lets see... if someone uses punishment to condition you, it does not constitute on your behalf a belief. It is just that you have learned, ‘Do this or else’.
VINEETO: A good example. One can never change or control what people think, so one might as well stop trying and tackle one’s own feelings about their thoughts. The practical situation is that when I sell my time, I am dependant that people like what I sell in order to make money. The other, usually bigger, part of the situation is the fear that I won’t be liked, that I will be rejected by the group, that I won’t belong – and this fear is a totally different ballgame.
When I started on the path to Actual Freedom I noticed that my own value standards as to what I wanted to achieve became vastly superior to the general accepted version of ‘good’ and ‘right’ – because my standards are derived from the pure consciousness experience when the perfection and purity of the universe becomes overwhelmingly apparent. Now I don’t want to be ‘good’ or do it ‘right’ in other people’s eyes, I want to remove the obstacle, my very ‘self’, that stands in the way of the purity and perfection of the actual world.
Out of this intent, I do the best I can in everything I do, I actively care about my fellow human beings and thus I become more happy and harmless. This change has given me a confidence that made it then comparatively easy to leave the world of morals and ethics behind and to regard other people’s opinions as what they are – opinions of people who are unavoidably, and through no fault of theirs, afflicted with the common disease of the Human Condition. The only difference between me and the people I meet and interact with is that I serendipitously came across someone who had managed to free himself of malice and sorrow ... and I took up the challenge.
Since I know that I investigate my own malice and sorrow in order to eliminate it, other people’s put-down reveals simply their affliction by the Human Condition and is therefore not my problem. So I only take care of my own malice and sorrow and investigate why I insist on wanting other’s approval. It is a fascinating journey to explore the need to please, the need for approval, the need to belong to a group – however lose or undefined that group may be. In short, I get rid of the ‘me’ who feels offended and who needs to belong.
Being in the world as it is with people as they are gives ample opportunity to examine my very instincts until the complete understanding causes them to wither away – and with it one’s very identity. What remains is superb confidence, overweening optimism, genuine caring and ever-increasing delight.
RESPONDENT: This brings up a dilemma in my mind. One of influence and existence. Sometimes I seem happy just to have removed an emotion’s substantial influence without trying to get to the core of it. I find it difficult going into emotions when I’m working so I guess that is why I only attempt to draw on what I have discovered about them to stay out of the spell of any arising emotions. I’m sure there is more to it than that though. For example I think self-doubt needs more investigating as I find sometimes that considering another’s point of view, the basis of some confusion.
VINEETO: Fair enough, you only go as far as you want as fast as you want. As long as you ‘seem happy’ then that seems to work. I simply suggested a way to explore further in case the option to ‘stay out of the spell of any arising emotion’ is not enough for you.
As for ‘self-doubt’ and ‘considering another’s point of view’ being ‘the basis of some confusion’ – that issue may be enough of a back pressure to investigate further, whenever the issue re-occurs. Just as some food of thought – although it might not have any relevance for your situation – I am posting you something I wrote at the time when I discovered the root cause for my continuous problems with authority and my fear to stand up for myself...
VINEETO to No 13: It is always a surprise to me to hear once in a while that someone is interested in pursuing Actual Freedom and is appreciating what we write about it. Almost everyone I have met and talked to about Actual Freedom seems stubbornly convinced that the traditional solutions of ethics and morals or spiritual transcendence must be the sure way to cope with life.
I see it that I have come into the world with the Human Condition of malice and sorrow like a car that comes out of the factory already with a faulty engine – and everyone tells me to polish the outside in order to fix it up and make it look all right on the surface. No one considers looking under the bonnet where the problem is, and instead of screwdrivers, spanners and mechanical instructions one gets offered different brands of paint and polish.
To translate the metaphor: no one acknowledges the core-problem, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and therefore the only ‘tools’ that are passed on from generation to generation are rules of moral, ethical and spiritual behaviour, varying from tribe to tribe, which is only a cosmetic fix of hypocritical ‘feel good and do good’. Why not, for a change, inquire into the root cause of the dilemma and fix up the problem itself?
That’s what Richard’s method has been for me – the tool to get under the bonnet and fix up my brain, re-wire the synapse, and change the course of brain-activity – from feeling to thinking, from intuiting to contemplating, from meditating to researching, from passionate imagination to clear-eyed observation and from ‘self’-centred myopia to 360 degrees vision. The question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ has been the spanner to fix the engine, so to speak, and I have used it to investigate and research how the brain works in order to incrementally eliminate its software.
The bugger in the engine is the ‘self’, this entity in each of us which is not only lost, lonely and frightened but is also very, very cunning. The challenge and the fun has been to find the many tricky ways the ‘self’ disguises and deceits, hides and pretends, delays and objects to exposure – because ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul will do anything to avoid death.
RESPONDENT: ...‘few ‘want’ to understand because they have a vested interest in ‘being’’.
VINEETO: This brings me to the next point that is absolutely essential if one ever wants to make a step on the path to Actual Freedom – pure intent. Without pure intent, and without the understanding that the only solution to the Human Condition in oneself is ‘self’-immolation, every attempt to catch a bit of happiness will remain polluted by one’s lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity.
For me, before I even considered to convey anything to anyone about actualism I dug deep inside myself, investigating every mood, feeling, emotion and passion that became apparent in my interaction with people, things and events. I examined every truth, belief, moral conviction and ethical certainty until I discovered the self-evident facts for myself and eventually got rid of the very act of believing itself. I questioned love, intuition, female conditioning and instinctual behaviour, my relationship to my peer group, my spiritual beliefs, my attitudes and feelings about authority, my old and new religious principles, my ideas about environmentalism, about politics, about right and wrong. My whole inner world was taken apart and eventually thrown out and often times it was not only an exciting and rewarding but also a scary and terrifying enterprise. But I had the honest intention to stop at nothing less than the undeniable actuality – I simply had had enough of all the beliefs, lies and self-deceptions that failed to make me both happy and harmless.
VINEETO: ‘Being mothered’ is clearly an expression for not only a physical taking care but also a close emotional relationship. Mother-child is the most primary relationship for a human being when starting life. A mother – or a substitute mother – is essential for the baby to physically survive and in later years – together with the father – essential for the child to learn the basic functions and rules in the world. From the parents one gets one’s first and strongest imprint and conditioning, and scientist say that in the first seven years one’s character is basically formed. In a physical sense it may well be that one ‘no longer need[s] to be mothered’ from the time one leaves home, but the roots of one’s identity are shaped by mother or father and the positive and negative feelings for mother or father usually play a considerable part in one’s life – unless one leaves home emotionally and physically.
Although I had done various primal therapy groups to investigate my emotional ties with my parents, there was still a lot to do and to investigate when I came across actualism. Psychology gives great credence and value to one’s memories of childhood feelings, be it anger, resentment, love, dependency or trauma and works to reconcile the now-adult with the past feelings of childhood – while actualism aims to find the root of a particular emotional hang-up, to understand the cause and eliminate it as part of one’s identity, as a son or daughter. For instance, when the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ brings up a feeling of guilt connected to the values instilled by my mother, I would contemplate about guilt in the Human Condition as one of the moral functions that keep the social and religious system in place. With this understanding guilt is no longer a personal issue between two individuals, but an issue of the Human Condition instilled in me.
With enough courage and the firm intent born out of a PCE I can then step out of that part of my social identity and leave the values of being a ‘good daughter’ behind. The same procedure applies for any other issue connected with the mother-daughter, mother-son relationship, like loneliness, authority, fear and security, duty, peer pressure, etc. One needs not delve into the unreliable memories of childhood hurts but only investigate the feeling that is arising now as it applies to one now and as one is experiencing it now. Understanding is only needed in order that one can take action to be free of the feeling in any future moments where a similar situation may trigger a similar feeling. Be wary of trolling past memories for if one lifts the lid, the garbage bin will forever fill itself up again. Psychological and psychic therapy that focuses on childhood issues has failed for this very reason.
Only then I can say with confidence that I ‘no longer need to mothered’.
VINEETO: I can go along with your statement that the mother needs to be ‘professionally cared for, nursed and hospitalized etc.’, if that is the case, but there is also the issue that people want to be taken care of in the emotional sense of the word. It is usually the demand for emotional care, the pressure to ‘give back what I have given to you’, etc. that creates conflict and stress.
An actualist will deal with this conflict like with any other conflict – not trying to change the other (which is impossible), but changing oneself in that one removes the stranglehold of the Human Condition in oneself and thus becomes un-afflicted and un-affected by the emotional demands of others, be they mother, doctor, brother or peers.
Then one can, with ease and delight, sort out the practical necessities and find the best and most sensible solution for everyone involved. (...)
VINEETO: Yes, that’s right. One has to be careful, though, because there is a vast difference between the actualism practice and the spiritual teaching of ‘you are all right as you are right now, no need for change’ à la Paul Lowe and company.
The question is what is this ‘your best’? By what standard is ‘your best’ measured? How do I determine what is my best? In spiritual years my best was measured according to the dream of ‘good’ and ‘bliss’, the morals and ethics of Eastern religion, and my failures were excused by the obvious ongoing failures of most human beings to achieve the goal of enlightenment. ‘That’s life’ or ‘Existence wants you to be like that’ are two of the common excuses for not being the best, for being sad, worried and malicious.
As an actualist I have a different aim and a different evaluation of what is the best I can be. Having experienced the actual world in its purity, perfection, magic and benevolence in PCEs, my best is always oriented on this experience and my effort to change is always directed to eliminating the ‘self’ that is preventing me from experiencing this perfection 24 hours a day, every day. Then instead of ‘self recriminations’ I examine my errors in order to stop repeating them, investigate what caused them in the first place and aim to be as happy and harmless as I can be.
VINEETO: Personally, my best would be to learn how not to be affected by someone else’s feelings and demands such that I can make an appropriate and sensible response to the situation and enjoy the other’s company when we are together.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I shall have to write in more detail, (when I have time), but when you wrote; ‘I would like to take the offer and investigate the presented points for what ‘they are worth’ for an actualist and in what way they can be used as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’
Your response was excellent but don’t under-estimate what others have come to understand and what others may or may not believe.
VINEETO: I read through my last letter to you very carefully and I could not find anything that indicates that I ‘under-estimate what others’ – in this case you – had to say in your seven points to No 16. Neither did I say anything about what you ‘may or may not believe’. Since the points were very short, I found it appropriate and useful to explore your statements on a deeper level in order to have a clearer understanding of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is not about what ‘others may or may not believe’ but about ascertaining the facts of the situation. This is, after all, the very purpose of this Mailing List.
Knowing my own process, and therefore having studied the Human Condition in detail, I indeed know a lot about ‘what others may or may not believe’ and what may therefore be useful hints or clarifications in order to free oneself from one’s social identity and one’s instinctual passions. After all, the Human Condition is common to all and does not vary very much in each person. Aggression is aggression in man or woman, young or old, East or West, as are the other instinctual passions. The social identity has a few more possible variations according to the particular culture that one was raised in, but the basic moral and spiritual beliefs are very much alike. Everyone believes that an immortal spirit or soul inhabits this flesh-and-blood body and that for the sake of one’s ‘eternal future’ one should aspire to follow the ‘good’ and ‘right’. Underpinning the ‘good’ and the ‘right’ there is also instilled the common fear of retribution, punishment, ostracism and ridicule should one dare to stray from the well-worn path. (...)
RESPONDENT: Does this mean that you either expect to arrive, or believe that you will also arrive, (like Richard), some day if you continue to search and investigate verbally and experientially?
VINEETO: On the spiritual path one can either become enlightened, like 0.0001% of the people who have conscientiously lived the spiritual teachings, or one is among the millions who merely follow the Eastern morals and ethics of right and wrong, good and bad. In my experience, even after years of sincere and diligent application of the spiritual methods, life was essentially not better, neither more happy nor more easy – and I was definitely not more harmless, since that is not the aim of the spiritual path. The spiritual path is not concerned about this life at all, but about turning away, transcending and denying this world in order to attain eternal bliss and fame in some after life.
The path to Actual Freedom has the advantage that I have a very clear knowledge of what I want to achieve through the experience of selflessness in a PCE. Also, after a relatively short time I can see the actual, tangible and ever-increasing success of a life more and more free of malice and sorrow and eventually reach a state of Virtual Freedom. If everyone lived in Virtual Freedom, there would be peace on earth, even if nobody else managed to become actually free. So Virtual Freedom is not to be dismissed lightly as ‘arrive ... some day if you continue to search and investigate verbally and experientially’. For me, anyway, it is a point of no return.
If, however, someone writing from the experience of Virtual Freedom is not enough of a proof that the method to Actual Freedom works, there is always Richard’s writing, if you want to verify or clarify what it is I am saying. (...)
RESPONDENT: Labels are not needed except as you say, ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’... and it is good fun.
VINEETO: I have never talked about ‘labels’ ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition’. I said – as you have quoted at the very top of the letter:
Label according to the dictionary means: ‘...to put in a certain class, to describe by a certain label’. Macquarie
When you say ‘labels are not needed ...’, I take it that you don’t mean words or descriptions, but use ‘label’ as in making a moral judgement. Personally, I find that both precise descriptive words and accurate judgments based on facts are essential for the inquiry process. How else is it possible to distinguish silly from sensible, malicious from harmless and sorrowful from happy? The important thing is what one’s judgement is based upon – and most people use their feelings and intuition to judge a situation, a person, a statement or an event. But to base one’s judgement on facts, common sense, pure intent and the memory of a pure consciousness experience is the only way to find one’s direction in the maze of old wisdom and NDA beliefs, ancient psittacisms and self-centred emotion.
So, labels are very much needed, for fruitful communication, for clarity and for in-depth investigation into the substance and content of the Human Condition. Once one gets rid of the moral and ethical judgements (usually the self-recriminations are the hardest) of good and bad, right and wrong, then the clarity that comes with sound judgement is all good fun.
VINEETO: When I started to investigate Richard’s findings I had thought I was quite cleaned up, having been a morally ‘good’ girl and a spiritual seeker for years. So the first step on this new journey was to actually acknowledge the malice and sorrow that I was still carrying – like everybody else. It was not easy to acknowledge that I was as bad and as mad as everybody else, hanging on to my emotional identity, my feelings, my intuition, my beliefs.
After 17 years of meditation and watching intently I was still neither enlightened nor happy and harmless. So I really had nothing left to lose – except the very idea of who I was, instincts, beliefs, emotions, pride, superiority, the whole lot.
RESPONDENT: The obvious question is a ‘how’ question, and my experience has been that all ‘how’ questions come from the sense of self itself and are based in the usual motivation of the sense of self, that being of course, fear, and are nothing more than an announcement of the presence of the sense of self.
VINEETO: See, the ‘how’ question-explanation is just used by the ‘self’ to avoid the looking. You prove to yourself that it is a hopeless exercise and then you are back in ‘safe’ desperation and searching. It reminds me of Richard’s expression: ‘the psychological and psychic entity is a lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning entity.’ The frightened produces the very cunning; you have to find out your tricks. If you ask, ‘where am I maintaining a belief instead of investigating facts’ and ‘why’, there might be an honest answer. And the knack is to start with the ‘good’ beliefs, the positive ones, the ones we want to keep because they seem so right, so nice, so sweet, so cozy, so honourable. It is belief itself that is the problem, not merely a matter of which belief is right or wrong.
VINEETO: Yes it is great fun, we are just a handful of those who are desperate and daring enough to question the whole of Ancient Wisdom ... and it works on the way...
RESPONDENT: Hmm, when I consider it, yes, were are daring enough to step out from behind the backs of all the religious and spiritual teachers and release from them and are showing our willingness to ‘stand on our own two feet’!! Whilst having a conversation with my girlfriend last night, we discussed how both of us have propped up others during our lives; making them seem wanted and worthwhile. Allowing their fears and convincing them that their petty problems are important.
I suggested that it is time to let people stand on their own two feet, to not take responsibility for someone else taking offence at our actions. We all have a choice about whether or not we respond to the taunts of others, or whether we take on their problems as our own. People have to accept responsibility for their lives and stop shirking their problems on to others. Standing free in confidence and independence is how life is meant to be.
VINEETO: I found it fascinating to discover the various ‘contracts’ I had with people, like ‘I pat your back and you pat mine’, ‘I feel what you feel’, ‘I believe in your story and you believe in mine’. I could see that those contracts held me in the common belief that ‘we all need to stick together because life is dangerous and terrible’.
‘Standing free in confidence and independence’, as you say, meant for me that I did not try and change or blame others, but put all my eggs in one basket – fix myself up. I have written about it in our journal:
RESPONDENT: People have to accept responsibility for their lives and stop shirking their problems on to others.
VINEETO: It is easier to see the problems in other people at first, but one never succeeds in changing other people. Besides, there are 5.8 billion of them and that is a lot to change. In actual freedom everybody has to do it for themselves. In my relating to others I had the simple and obvious guideline that I wanted to be both happy and harmless, which meant that I did not want to take on other’s sorrow nor cause harm to others. Whenever I discovered a feeling of annoyance, revenge, retribution, withdrawal, a snide or rude behaviour towards others, I knew that I was not harmless and that I had something to look at. And whenever I felt hurt, fearful, insulted, irritated, pitiful or compassionate, I knew that I was not happy and consequently had something to look at.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh?
RESPONDENT: I feel gratitude towards Osho, not just because he instigated doubt in me, but also for the way I think now about life, universe, God, myself. Not that I just follow what he says about these things, but his words helped me a lot to make my own mind about these issues. I don’t agree with many of the things he said. I could not understand his life style. But still what I learnt (learning is not following) from him is enough for me to feel gratitude towards him. However now after having some e-mail discussions with Richard, I am reviewing the feeling of gratitude per se.
VINEETO: Gratitude and loyalty were the two strongest ties I had to Sannyas. I had to literally take apart my beliefs in love, loyalty and gratitude before I could even begin to question what other authority issues I had had with Rajneesh. Only after dismantling all those feelings and eliminating them in me, was I able to investigate the content of what he was saying – which then became increasingly obvious as being 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. Whenever morals or feelings are operating within us, we cannot examine the issue with common sense. The only way common sense works is as bare awareness – bare from feelings such as gratitude, loyalty, love, aversion, etc.
RESPONDENT: To end, my advice to you (if you are open to it) is ... don’t get so hung up on words, theories ... relax a little and take things a little more lightly and ... oh yes ... it might not hurt to be just a little less judgmental.
VINEETO: If it was only words – but, you know, Actual Freedom works. I would not bother wasting my time writing about something that does not work. But eliminating beliefs and emotions and living here in the actual world makes my life happy, peaceful, lively, fun, satisfactory and terminates the eternal search for the elusive meaning of life. I just don’t want to be miserly about this discovery, that’s all.
As for ‘judgemental’ – I am definitely making judgments about what is sensible and what is silly for me. Also I don’t subscribe to the New-Dark-Age moral of ‘not being judgmental’ – there are too many people killed for instinctual passions and beliefs. I am simply stating my point; I am not condemning you or anybody, that’s none of my business, thank you. In spiritual jargon, however, there is rarely a distinction made between the two, thinking and judging are in general considered something ‘bad’ and therefore condemned.
RESPONDENT: To become enlightened and to go beyond enlightenment doesn’t mean that the personality stops working. Being inside a body, being earthy requires a personality. Another thing is to be able to distinct yourself from your personality.
VINEETO: For communicative purposes I first want to agree upon a common understanding of what ‘personality’ means. So I use the dictionary:
I, as a human being have been wired or programmed in a certain way. This wiring consisted of the beliefs that had been instilled in me from the time when I first was rewarded for ‘good’ or punished for ‘bad’ behaviour, and it included all the morals, values and ethics that would make me a fit member of society. On top of it, and developing from the age of about seven were the beliefs and traits I would take on and develop as ‘my own’ identity. At the core, inherited from ‘Mother Nature’s’ survival package, are our animal instincts of aggression, fear, nurture and desire.
In the process of becoming free from the Human Condition the emotional and social characteristics are being eliminated by thorough investigation. What (not ‘who’) is left are foibles, talents, preferences, interests which are different in everyone – as in definition No. 1. You can see the difference in Peter’s writing and my writing, and if you go to Richard’s web site his style is very different again. But there is no emotional, social or instinctual personality remaining.
VINEETO: A short response about what you wrote to No 23:
RESPONDENT: You know, it is unbelievable that minds can be so thick. I haven’t given up hope that there must be a gap, a small slice of openness for communication to peep through, but it seems not so. I’ve never before in my life come across someone so totally brainwashed, and it makes me a bit curious – how is it possible? But you’re right, it is poison and it doesn’t do good.
VINEETO: Good to hear that you have not given up yet. Maybe there is indeed something we can agree upon. I am a very sensible and down-to-earth person, so who knows, there might be a chance.
You are right with the term of ‘totally brainwashed’ – I have washed not only my brain clean of all conditionings, beliefs and social psittacisms, but I have also washed my heart or soul clean of any emotions and underlying animal instincts. With neither a psychological nor a psychic entity one can experience the actual world as it is, magnificent, sensuous, benign and perfect. It is possible, and it only took me 18 months of intense and honest investigations into my ego of conditionings and beliefs and into my heart and soul, and it was utterly worth it. Life is now so easy, so carefree and so simple as I always wanted it to be but could never achieve through meditation and Eastern spiritualism.
Maybe you have no choice but to call it poison, because it has no nectar (love) in it. But the actual is neither nectar nor poison, it is simply experiencing this moment of being alive without separation by any ‘self’. Moral eyes may see that as poison. The same applies to your perception that I am not human:
RESPONDENT: Me not into discussions. You not human to share from yourself as you are beyond humanity, becoming a dictionary parrot instead. Me not want to bla bla with parrots.
VINEETO: What has been considered human up to now is this: Every human is born with a set of instincts (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) meant to ensure the survival of the species. Further we are imbibed with a social identity from early age consisting of the particular morals and ethics of the tribe or culture we are born into. We further develop an individual identity within the tribe consisting mainly of the particular beliefs or customs that appeal to us for whatever reason. This collection of hard-wiring and programming we fondly call ‘me’, and we then proceed into the world to make our way as best we can. No wonder everyone feels lost, lonely and frightened and develops a very cunning nature. Thus our personal view of the world is so dense, so thick, so instinctually perceived as to be real, that it is taken to be ‘set in concrete’ as it were.
Someone who has freed himself, or herself, from this entire set of beliefs, emotions and instincts must look ‘unhuman’ to everyone else who is still trapped in the Human Condition. I think I have shared more about myself than many others here, but not in the emotional way you are used to, or expected me to.
RESPONDENT to Peter: Honestly, I feel there is just too much effort to have sex. I mean to make the whole atmosphere right, to seduce the woman, to put her in a good mood, to prepare. To see the same old, same old stages of the whole game. By the time it is right and everything seems ready I feel already tired of it and I would rather not do it (which of course drives the partner crazy).
VINEETO: I like your sincerity in asking. Sex is not an everyday subject to be talked about in public, is it? I thought I will give you some input from the female side of the so-called ‘mystique of sex’.
Before I met Peter, I always thought of myself as not quite adequate in the imagined standard of ‘good in bed’. I felt, something was always wrong with me, and I was aware of repression lurking somewhere – I didn’t feel free in sex. I found out later that most of my peers where afflicted with the same ignorance, guilt and morals about sex. Then, on top of the difficulty I already had with my ‘normal’ Christian sexual conditioning there was the confusion about the spiritual idea of having to transcend sex in order to reach enlightenment.
Part of my contract with Peter was to look into everything that was in the road between us, and that included sex. I welcomed the opportunity to explore my conditioning with someone who was not afraid to find out all about sex. So we delved into the core of the matter.
Peter wrote about it in his journal in the Sex chapter:
I found that there is much more to sex than having sex. It was fascinating to observe how the sexual drive works. The sex-drive that is programmed into us is not concerned about our pleasure. It is merely there to reproduce the human species and, as such, it operates differently in men and in women. As a woman I found that I am instinctually driven to try and tie down the male, to keep him as a protector and provider for potential off-spring. Even when there is no plan of having children, that drive still functions and plays its role. It is expressed in wanting attention, love, assurance, promises, security, status, maybe financial reliance and many more conditions, that have nothing to do with enjoying sex. The sex drive in operation actually inhibits the free enjoyment of sex. It was important for me to recognize and dismantle the functioning of this instinctual drive in order not to be run by it.
The other challenge was the moral conditioning. All religions regard sex as either outright bad or at least as a ‘lower energy’ that needs to be refined and transcended. Then the body with its senses is not the primary focus of attention, but one is run by thoughts, concepts, feelings and resulting confusion, which all inhibit the enjoyment of sex. It took a few months of committed investigation into those morals and ethics and their fears and guilt, before I could enjoy the actual physical happening of sex rather than the dreams of never quite fulfilled hopes and expectations. The resulting intimacy in sex is every time again astounding.
I admit that it takes courage to question one’s beliefs, face one’s fears and examine the general agreed opinion of how to behave in bed, but the outcome is well worth the investigation. I can highly recommend daring to eliminate one’s conditioning and sexual instinct and abandon oneself completely into the sensual experience of two bodies having fun.
From my experience, I know there is no short-cut – I have tried a few before. They all left the strange taste of hypocrisy and I eventually grew bored of lifeless pretensions. Now, without any idea of what is going to happen next, sex is fresh each time, no memory of the day before whatsoever. It is indeed pure delight.
RESPONDENT: Are you attracted to having sex with different men? When there is no love or feelings between you and your partner this could happen, I guess. Also, jealousy would not be the issue.
VINEETO: Oh good, a down-to-earth question. Sex without love...
One of the first things that Peter and I discovered preventing actual intimacy were the feelings of love – that sweet syrup that was usually poured over the spiky, malicious, miserable ‘self’, which one is most of the time! When Peter and I questioned love and threw it out, naturally the question came up in me – ‘without the feeling of love, why would I want to be with him?’
What would be left of me when I didn’t feel love? How could I relate both to Peter and other people, if not with emotion or intuition? What would I have to offer in friendships or conversations, if not sympathy and consolation? My whole edifice of ‘who’ I was, who I believed myself to be, began to fall in a heap as I questioned and demolished the attributes of love and emotion. Now naked of all those characteristics and beliefs, as well as their resultant emotions and behaviour which have kept man and woman apart for millennia, I am experiencing for the first time in my life an actual intimacy with a man. Now there are no dreams, no expectations, no emotions or any other restrictions that could cloud the thrill of meeting another human being. Now instead of random moments of ‘sweet love’ I am able to give Peter my full attention and bare awareness each time we communicate and so does he.
I just hang out with him because it is immense fun, all the time. It is as much fun sitting next to each other on our computers, watching TV, commenting on the weather, serving a cup of coffee, cooking dinner, going for a walk into town, having a chat while lying each on our couch or having a rompacious romp. As for jealousy – that disappeared along with the feeling of love. Each of us is free to do what we want to do and so each does what we enjoy most.
I have written about sex without love some 12 months ago:
With the sexual drive gone, I don’t have any need to flirt or hunt for other men. With the feeling of love gone, I enjoy each moment with Peter as fresh and intimate as if it was the first time. There are neither boredom nor fear, neither expectation nor disappointment, neither mysteries nor secrets, neither bickering nor interference. And what better play-mate could I find! It is ongoing delight.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.