Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: 2. You are moments away from leaving your spouse after a long, deep relationship. The spouse announces that she has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Do you stay to help her (familial, genetic and social programming), or do you leave as planned in order to be happy?
VINEETO: Generally speaking, as a practicing actualist I am happy and harmless regardless of what situation I am living in.
Being virtually free from the human condition, I am no longer bound by morals and ethics – there is no such thing as actual-freedom-morals or ethics – nor am I driven by instinctual passions and, as such, whatever I do is without malice and sorrow. Morals and ethics only exist because of the need to keep the lid on the selfish instinctual passions and when these passions no longer rule the roost I am able to make a sensible decision about what is appropriate and best for everyone in the situation, me included.
The second thing to consider is that, as an actualist, I investigate all my emotions that inevitably come up when relating to other people, the ‘bad’ emotions like greed, anger, withdrawal, fear and hate as well as the ‘good’ emotions like love, beauty, trust, hope and faith. When there is neither love nor hate, neither fear nor trust, neither despair nor hope clouding my perception then it is inevitable that no matter who I live with I will live with the person, or persons, in utter peace and harmony.
RESPONDENT: Maybe these are trite examples, but they are in the real world. Thanks.
VINEETO: Actualism is about living in the world as it is with people as they are. I am not intending to change other people – or the world – but I whittle away at removing what prevents me from being happy and harmless right here, right now.
RESPONDENT: My sister-in-law (who has a visceral revulsion to religion) stayed up to until 2am yakking about these matters. Her mother has been diagnosed with ALS and will need a lot of care for the remaining year of her life. This of course is a difficult matter to deal with as it brings up all sorts of issues, those of her mother, and those of the other family members. She wondered how to deal with the specific issues and I was at a loss to offer much concrete help. The next day it dawned on me that these sorts of predicaments don’t have ‘answers’, and all we can do is attend to the moment. Humans (including myself) by and large have a need to ‘fix’ pain and suffering as it comes up, and this is an impossible task.
VINEETO: When I ask myself how am I experiencing this moment of being alive and get the answer that I suffer or empathize with someone else’s physical or emotional pain, then the next question for me was why. From whence comes this, seemingly automatic, connectedness with someone in distress that makes me want to fix him or her up in order to ease my own co-suffering. Consequently I searched for the hook in me that ties me to other people’s feelings.
One significant reason for my empathy I found in the deeply ingrained belief that life is essentially suffering – and that the best one can do is alleviate the suffering. Every single religion and spiritual pursuit is built upon the basic premise that ‘life is a bitch and then you die’. I had to find this deep-seated conviction in me and deliberately root it out, discovering that I had indeed a choice to change and become incrementally free from the human condition of malice and sorrow. And if I can become free then anybody has that choice as well – human beings are not inextricably trapped in misery, as they so fervently believe.
RESPONDENT: Hence we ask ‘how am I...’ and things turn out the way they turn out.
VINEETO: How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? is not to be confused with a mantra that bridges bad moments until luck changes – this question is designed to be a piercing tool, an excavator, a well-digger and I apply it to uncover deeper and deeper layers of my unhappiness and my unfriendliness until I reach to the core of my identity. My suffering with the poor and downtrodden, the victims of war and violence, starvation and corruption was a longstanding issue – whenever I saw a contemporary report on television I would either be angry or sad and I had to look closely into my feeling connection with humanity in order to become gradually free from ‘my’ empathy and compassion, ‘my’ righteousness and idealism.
I experienced my psychic connection with people as emotional strings consisting of thousands of single strands – beliefs, values and instinctual passions – which I had to unhook one by one. Sometimes a whole bunch of them were loosened at once, and what a realization, but often it was a matter of tracing one feeling to its core and finding all the little ties and knots that connected me with the feelings and beliefs of other people. Often I was shocked when such a tie broke, particularly when I ‘unhooked’ my affective connection to a person close to me such as a family member or formerly close friends.
To become free from being connected with people is not a matter of cool detachment – as in ‘it doesn’t concern me’. What I discovered as I questioned my spiritual beliefs was that many suppressed feelings came to the surface, and I particularly became aware of the suffering of others as I no longer hid behind my feeling of righteous detachment. I began to understand that another’s feeling, when it resonates in me, is my social-instinctual identity in action. ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’ and there is no way of escaping the fact as long as I am an identity. To step out of humanity is to leave ‘me’ behind.
RESPONDENT: (...) I had been musing on an (admittedly poor) analogy in tipping a waitperson in a restaurant. While using money as a medium for judgement is mildly abhorrent to me, it does make the server have a momentary good feeling. I do exist in a world of imperfect beings and I can choose to either follow my principles and piss off the waiter, or get off my high horse and do something that greases the skids for the immediate micro-culture. I guess that example constitutes a reasonable compromise.
VINEETO: I wonder why you say that ‘using money as a medium for judgement is mildly abhorrent to me’ when thinking about tipping a waiter or waitress? I have been working as a waitress myself and, although I enjoyed a good chit-chat with amicable guests, I much appreciated their tip because it helped paying for my bills. Today I am on the other side of the service contract and when I enjoy friendly service in a restaurant I am happy to contribute to the waiter-customer deal with a tip. I can’t see anything ‘abhorrent’ about this deal – after all, most of us sell our time, skills and services in exchange for money that pays for livelihood, toys and pleasures.
Whilst it is sensible to abide by the legal laws of the society you live in, whether or not you follow the social mores is a matter of choice. To make that choice a matter of principle on the basis of right or wrong, good or bad, can only lead to a surrender in the form of a begrudging acceptance or a victory in terms of a defiant belligerence. It’s my experience that ‘my’ principles stood in the way of me being happy and harmless which is why, whenever ‘my’ principles arose, I always binned them and looked for the sensible approach.
What you term ‘the immediate micro-culture’ I would call the fact that humans exchange goods and services with each other in order to earn a living. If I may say so, I would think your ‘high horse’ in this case is to consider yourself to be outside of this common-to-all necessity of earning a living, from which position you then ‘grease the skids for the immediate micro-culture’. In actuality I am part of the exchange game whenever I am in business with my fellow human beings and, given we humans all play the same game in order to earn a living I aim for a win-win situation for all involved in the situation.
It is not the fact that money is used in the exchange of goods and services that is ‘abhorrent’ but the fact that human beings are instinctually occupied in a ruthlessly-competitive impassioned battle for survival against each other. This is the basis of the deeply ingrained and instinctually-fuelled automatic reaction of judging the other as friend or foe, higher or lower in rank, useful or useless to my desires, and this is what I needed to address in me because this ‘self’-centred habit was continuously interfering with having a peaceful and equitable interaction with people.
RESPONDENT: I do have some questions regarding my current activities. I know you once worked two years with drug addicts and saw that you couldn’t help them. Would you go back to working with them now – if you had the chance?
VINEETO: When I left social work because I realized that had nothing to offer, I went to the East and immersed myself in spiritual therapy groups in order to find some answers. I then worked for about three years as a helper and administrator with group leaders and came to observe that therapists didn’t have an answer to their own problems in life, let alone for others. As an instance, the person who lead the most popular relationship groups had more trouble with his personal relationships than most other people I knew.
I also learnt a lot about power, reverence, subserviency and dependency, both front stage and back stage, as it operates in the therapist-client business. When I came across actualism, this was invaluable experience as it made immediate sense that anybody who wants to change themselves can only do so out of their own intent, by themselves and for themselves. Only when I change myself out of my own intent can I be autonomous.
RESPONDENT: I ask this because I am teaching people who are bordering on poverty and some basically see life as something terrible, even the young ones, and this fuels their malice and so consequently there are victims … well you know how it goes.
VINEETO: You put your finger on the nub of the issue. The strange thing is that most people who have enough money to live comfortably also ‘see life as something terrible’. The feeling of resentment as in ‘I didn’t ask to be born’ and ‘I don’t want to be here’ is something that is common to the human condition – whatever class, race or nation people are coming from and whatever age-group they are in. The persistent stranglehold that religious and spiritual pursuits and teachings have over humankind – all of which are predicated on the promise of some kind of an afterlife – is potent evidence of the basic resentment that human beings feel at having to be here.
RESPONDENT: All this is really helping me to understand the human condition, and wanting to be completely free from it, but I see no solution I can offer to ameliorate their present condition … one thing I have noticed though is that they are taken aback at my refusal to get angry and blame them when they become mischievous.
RESPONDENT: They don’t yet know what to make of me ... but I do wish I could teach them something more than just English.
VINEETO: Yes, I can understand your wish very well. When I meet clients for bookkeeping I sometimes drop a few sentences of common sense into the conversation when they tell me about the big and little problems of their lives, but irregardless of whether they agree with the common sense or not, there is little sign of them wanting to actually change to ameliorate their situation.
You are already offering them the best there is – an ongoing genuine demonstration that one can be happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are and live in peace and harmony with one’s fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Well that’s it for now. Feeling happy and harmless,
VINEETO: It is a pleasure to hear from you. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and your humour, namely when you said – ‘Ha! Try bonding with an Actualist.’ Isn’t it so much more gratifying to stand on one’s own two feet?
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.
VINEETO: Yes, ‘we live in a very medically advanced society’. Therefore it is very well possible to have an old age that is as pleasant and as comfortable as one’s middle age. One can also have an old age that is as emotionally traumatic as one’s middle age unless one does something about it, and this will have the added advantage that one then won’t be an emotional burden to one’s children!
Strangely enough I have hardly met anyone who was interested in changing his or her painful, sorrowful or traumatic situation for a happy and harmless life, whatever the age or gender. Emotional traumas are for those who like to keep their emotions and their identity. But, in fact, there is no need to have an emotional trauma at all, provided one is ready to give them up and willing to investigate into the source of one’s feelings and emotions.
Eliminating one’s identity and leaving Humanity behind has the great advantage that one does not need to suffer with the sufferers and/or rescue the victims of self-imposed suffering. In my experience, most people want sympathy and com-passion (the word means literally – company in suffering), but nobody is interested in practical methods to bring about actual change – so any attempt to rescue others or offer advice is only like pissing in the wind – you get wet for trying.
ALAN: At one point, I tried to make a ‘guru’ out of Richard, but he would not play.
VINEETO: In the first few months with Peter I sometimes tried to land a sarcastic or snide remark on him. He simply didn’t ‘get it’. He just said, ‘I lost you here, what do you mean’ – and it was a sincere question. I then would only feel embarrassed and investigate my outbreak of malice.
ALAN: What I find so useful, in talking with Richard (and you), is that I know there is no hidden agenda, nothing ‘going on’, so whatever reaction I have, I know it is ‘me’. Do you understand what I am saying – I have not put it very well. All of the passions require a ‘reflection’ and if that ‘reflection’ does not exist, then one knows that all that is occurring is in one’s own head.
VINEETO: Yes, I know what you mean. It is indeed very helpful in sorting out one’s projections and emotional reactions to know that the other has no hidden agenda except sharing delight. But then later, I came to a point where I am only concerned with my own reactions regardless of what anyone’s hidden agenda could have been. That’s what is so good about writing on the sannyas-list and now here – whatever is thrown at me is not my concern unless I have a reaction to it. I sort out my reaction – should there be any – and then answer to the facts. An invaluable exercise!
Now, I often can’t recognize hidden agendas anymore. The other day I got a reply on the sannyas list which didn’t make sense to me. Two days later I suddenly said to Peter: ‘Maybe it was sarcasm, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense!’
ALAN: You say ‘More and more I fail to understand people’s emotional reactions, their psychological reasoning or the psychic vibes...’ I think I understand what you are saying – that you can no longer ‘empathise’ with others. I have found that the actions of others becomes more and more easy to ‘understand’, when one is lacking this ‘empathy’. Being driven by the human condition means ‘their’ actions and responses are very obvious and, oft times, very silly – and one is not thanked when one points this out!
VINEETO: Yes, I automatically empathized with people as a main tool of communicating, whereas now I am rather bewildered about certain actions or reactions of people. I can say that I understand the Human Condition in principle, how it works and how it worked in me, but I cannot understand anymore why someone wouldn’t apply intelligence and awareness instead of getting angry, sad, silly or spiritual. I cannot put myself into ‘their’ shoes anymore, so to speak. The advantage of this experience is that I have to actually inquire what is going on, instead of attempting to assume, guess, intuit or fill in the details myself.
I also noticed a change in how I perceive information about human beings, how they cope and try to make sense of their lives. Watching reports on TV, for instance, I more and more fail to understand what is going on in their minds and hearts and I have given up trying. Watching the different aspects of people’s lives all over the world I am amazed, astounded, astonished and impressed by the variety, the complexity, the wide range of human life on earth.
On one side there is this amazing technology that is galloping in many areas such as computer technology, engineering, medical science, biochemistry etc. and I see the intelligence, the effort, the altruism and heroism that people show. On the other side there is immense suffering and violence, brought close up through TV with story after story from all over the world. Every single human being suffers, in one way or another, all six billion of them. I am only able to fully acknowledge this fact because I know and pursue the only sensible way out. Seeing the immensity of the unnecessary, instinctually driven suffering only intensifies my intent to make my contribution for peace-on-earth
Another outcome of not being able to empathize with others is that I start seeing the funny side of beliefs and emotions, particularly when I read Richard’s correspondence on other mailing lists. There is definitely a learning curve how not to be stumped by doubly twisted stupidity soul-d as deep wisdom, the latest spiritual insight, silly psittacisms and atavistic humbug. How is this for a sample –
Or this one from Richard’s latest –
There is no point in trying and understand this, it is simply a load of fervent imagination. The only way out is common sense –
ALAN: As you will have seen, I have not posted to the mailing list for some time and have not read much either. Your email prompted me to ponder why. And I came up with: everything has already been said I had nothing new to report when the writing is not doing itself there is no point.
VINEETO: I can only say that from my own experience with writing, that the writing is never ‘doing itself’. Apart from sitting in front of the computer and moving my fingers, I also have to put my brain in action, search for the appropriate words I want to say, often with the help of Thesaurus and Oxford dictionary, and then consider the grammar so as to convey as accurately as possible what it is I want to say. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to write a letter and in this time some processing happens that makes the issue I’m writing about clearer and more transparent to me. I always get something out of writing – it is as much part of my investigation into the human condition as is watching television, talking to people, doing nothing really well or working in the marketplace.
RESPONDENT: There is no misunderstanding here Vineeto, you have been my teacher.
VINEETO: When, one and a half years ago I had doubts that the spiritual gurus failed to deliver freedom I met a man who said he was not a guru. As I watched him closely I understood that he in fact had nothing in common with the gurus I had met, loved and believed in.
This man, Richard, said that it is possible to live without emotions and furthermore, without beliefs and instincts. As I watched him dealing with daily affairs it seemed actually possible to ‘survive’ without emotions and beliefs, and obviously completely happy and harmless, which I have not seen in anybody before. And so I tried it out for myself.
I emulated him, meaning I started to look at the world the way he did, every day a bit more making sense in a radically new way. I was trying to find a way of experiencing life the way he did, without emotions, beliefs and instincts. Other references were my own peak experiences.
Of course, I had to sort out a few problems on the way... But now, 18 months later, I am similarly happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT to Peter: So Peter, I write this mail only to share my thoughts and am not looking for your or anybody’s answers. Nice sharing thoughts anyway.
VINEETO: It’s good that I am not anybody, so I can reply to your sharing of thought with my sharing of thoughts.
RESPONDENT: I think the meaning of my above sentence was taken in wrong sense. I explained it in my reply to Richard. But somehow, my reply didn’t come back to me from the list. Anyway. Not worth bothering.
Your reply to Richard got through all right. And I do think it is worth bothering. You said to him:
VINEETO: Your reaction reminds me of my childhood. When I had been really angry with my parents and felt quite helpless as to their seemingly unjust behaviour towards me I used to think: ‘When I am dead, you will be sorry!’ But even as an angry ten-year old I had enough wits about me to figure out that they may be sorry – even that I couldn’t be so sure of – but I will be the one who will be dead and then won’t be able to enjoy their grief. Here we call that ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’. On this list everybody is here for his or her own benefit and discovery.
There is one sentence in Richard’s autobiography where he describes the seminal question that finally brought an end to his spiritual delusion of enlightenment: ‘How am I in relation to other people?’ –
The question has been an immensely useful tool for me, and I have used it along the path to actual freedom as a continuous investigation into my ‘self’. ‘How am I in relation to other people?’ has put me right on the spot with my emotions, feelings, beliefs and instinctual reactions, and as life with Peter became delightfully easy, how I was with other people became more important for my self-examination. When I became fearful, angry or annoyed by someone, there was always a welcome opportunity to look at the issue at hand. Otherwise, how could I know what my issues were? Living in a sheltered nursery or blaming others for their behaviour was not going to redeem me from my ‘self’. You said to Peter:
RESPONDENT: ‘But I and only I have to take care of this problem – this is another thing I learnt from actualism. So Peter, I write this mail only to share my thoughts and am not looking for your or anybody’s answers’.
VINEETO: With this you indicate that you don’t want anybody’s input in the question of ‘How am I in relation to other people?’ How on earth do you want to get rid of your ‘self’ and ‘Self’ if not by feedback and reports from people who already have gone a considerable way on the path to actual freedom? Of course, if you prefer to stick with the Tried and True, there is no need for fresh input at all, the program of the Human Condition, complete with instincts, moral and religious conditioning is already fully installed in each of us. And then you say to Richard:
RESPONDENT: ‘When I said ‘(I) am not looking for anybody’s answer’, it doesn’t mean that I am stifling or discouraging anybody to answer. It is just that I would not depend upon anybody else to give answers to my problems. I will try to sort it out myself.’
VINEETO: How do you want to sort out for yourself what the difference is between actualism and spiritualism? Actualism is brand-new, and unless you have had a pure consciousness experience, you won’t even have tasted what it is about. ‘Sort it out myself’ is but spiritual balderdash and it works well in the spiritual world where you only have to depend on your own intuitive feelings and mindless imaginations to arrive in a self-fabricated world of delusion and sublimated instincts.
But if you are at all interested in discovering the actual world and discovering how beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions are hindering you from experiencing this actual world, you will need all the input and feedback you can get. The tribal and religious conditioning in itself is so thick, so ancient and so insidious that it takes great courage, sincere intent, clear determination and lots and lots of reports from the actual world to dig oneself out of the mess one finds oneself in – as the Human Condition.
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: Nevertheless, work has been a good test for my Virtual Freedom and, apart from one or two little emotional twigs, I have passed the test to my satisfaction and enjoyment. It is such good fun being with people as they are – sometimes I even get a chance to infiltrate some common sense into the conversation, but to talk about freedom is generally a no-no. I just stopped to ask them about their feelings. The response is such an emotional mess and nobody wants to change anything about this mess anyway. I found that my happiness doesn’t depend on other people’s opinion or approval, and then, I also enjoy working by myself.
One woman who inquired what my non-spiritual lifestyle was all about got noticeably upset when I did not agree with her that ‘we are all looking for the same thing’. She insisted that everybody deep down looks for the same truth, and how come I dare say that she was not on the same ‘Path’ as I was? I explained that I am questioning emotions in order not to create ripples in people’s lives, and she then affirmed that she liked her emotions and wanted to keep them. She would just watch them come and go in the usual ‘spiritual’ fashion. Two days later she returned only to tell me that I had tried to make her feel wrong. I had merely stated that I am not on the spiritual path and why it was not the same thing that she pursued. I explained that I did not want to create ripples in my life with my own sorrow and my snide remarks or expressions of malice and that’s why I had started to question the value of emotions as such. She was obviously happy with her emotions, yet felt attacked the moment I said I wasn’t on the same spiritual path.
Another interesting conversation happened with a very old friend who also insisted that ‘deep down I know that you and I are searching for the same thing. There is only one truth, I feel,’ he said. This statement was somewhat a surprise as he had read the whole of Peter’s book! We had quite an animated discussion where I explained in detail that I am neither looking for truth nor that we are ‘deep down’ looking for the same thing. He is searching for love, bliss, enlightenment, freedom from the misery of ‘having a body’ and admitted that he wants to escape from the world. Whereas I am questioning my emotions, beliefs and instincts and consequently can live happily in the world as it is with people as they are. After 30 minutes, being somewhat challenged by the presented facts, he said, ‘you haven’t changed at all, you are still a missionary!’ Well, that arrow completely missed its target since I had no emotional investment as to the outcome of our conversation. It won’t influence my state of well-being whether he gets interested in actual freedom or stays on his torturous search for the ultimate escape. His outlook reminded me of the last guy in the diagram which I sent to the list last week: ‘from the Dark Age to the New Dark Age’. How is it that people think that worshipping a passionately imagined ‘Truth’ or God is going to make them suddenly free and happy when it has not worked for thousands of years?
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:(...) 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: So I waited patiently a bit while you got over your newfound guru trip. And I still don’t quite see the end of it ... but I am learning to accept people as they are, (on another list) so soon I will be able to accept that you are just doing what Vineeto chooses to do right now, and ...
VINEETO: So anything I say to expand and correct your first – misinterpreted – impression of Actual Freedom is seen as ‘guru trip’? I fail to see how you can ever learn about something so iconoclastic and radically new as Actual Freedom as long as you have such an emotional reaction that causes you to disregard the facts that I am presenting.
As for ‘learning to accept people as they are’ – let me give you a reply to a similar comment from someone who you acknowledge being actually free (‘actually free as your friend Richard is’) –
List B, No 33, 23.6.2000
RESPONDENT: hmmm ... what I mean to say is ... it seems you are upset because I said I am actually free; and you are only virtually free ...
VINEETO: You do go on about me seemingly being upset ... but repeating an opinion does not make it a fact. It is simply a false impression. Virtual Freedom is vastly superior to anything that I have known from my spiritual days because one becomes actually happy and harmless 99% of the time and able to live with another person in utter peace and harmony 24 hrs. a day.
As for saying that you are ‘actually free’ – I know, and you know from meeting Richard face to face, that one who is actually free from the Human Condition has no need of ‘learning to accept people as they are’ – the entity that needs to learn to accept people has ceased to exist. To call your spiritual way of life ‘Actual Freedom’ only makes you look like a fool who is redecorating himself.
RESPONDENT: I notice something in the conversation between Vineeto and No 66. There is a camaraderie as in between I am already there but you are trying to be me, good.
VINEETO: This is what camaraderie can mean –
The only synonym for camaraderie that comes close to what is actually happening is ‘fellowship’, or better still ‘fellowship regard’.
All I did in my post to No 66 was share my experiences with a fellow human being about becoming virtually free from malice and sorrow, just as I have shared my experiences with you only two days ago about investigating the feelings that prevent one from being happy and harmless. The only difference is that No 66 appreciates this sharing due to his interest in the topic whereas you seem intent on putting your own ‘spin’ on things based solely upon your own feelings. (...)
RESPONDENT: Or from No 66’s side, hey shucks you are there, I am getting there mommy, say cheese.
VINEETO: You already made your feelings unambiguously clear that you find No 66’s behaviour ‘reprehensible’ –
Repeating a feeling does not turn it into a fact – your insistence only indicates that you have not yet understood that peace on earth in this lifetime for this flesh and blood body entails changing one person and one person only – ‘me’– and as such what other people choose to do with their lives is entirely their business. (...)
RESPONDENT: It is all quite pathetic, this hierarchy business.
VINEETO: If you had understood that peace on earth in this lifetime for this flesh and blood body entails changing one person and one person only – ‘me’– and that *your freedom is in your hands and your hands alone*, then you would also comprehend that a hierarchy is only possible if your freedom is constrained by or is dependant upon someone else and whilst you may feel this to be the case a little research and some clear thinking about the matter will reveal that this is not the case.
RESPONDENT: You know in Vipassana (as taught by Goenka), there are stages of seekers. And everybody is trying to attain the recognition as an advanced seeker from everybody else while in the meanwhile forgetting what the whole hoopla was about in the beginning (to be free from suffering and desire).
VINEETO: Ah, I see now where your notion of hierarchy in actualism comes from.
If you see similarities between the procedure of Vipassana, a Buddhist meditation technique devised to achieve an *imaginary* state of nirvana, and the method of actualism to become *actually* free from malice and sorrow then it is no wonder that you see actualism in terms of hierarchy and it is no wonder that you keep ignoring the fact that actualism is about autonomy, the very antithesis of the hierarchy that is inherent in all spiritual belief.
RESPONDENT: So why then create the Actual Freedom Trust website, eh?
VINEETO: In what way is the creation of the Actual Freedom Trust website for the purpose of passing on information about how to become actually free of both malice and sorrow to anyone regardless of their age, gender or cultural upbringing, regardless of where they are currently living on the planet, free of charge and free of any duty or obligation whatsoever, a contradiction to the statement that ‘what other people choose to do with their lives is entirely their business’?
RESPONDENT: You are happy, so why not keep quiet?
VINEETO: The reason why I have put time, effort and money into co-creating and maintaining the Actual Freedom Trust website is because of fellowship regard. I like to share my experiences about becoming virtually free from the human condition, something that has not been written about anywhere in the world other than on the Actual Freedom Trust website. In short, I do not take lightly the fortuitous opportunity of not only being able to actualize peace on earth but also of being able to share it free of charge with any of my fellow human beings who may also be as interested as I am in becoming free from the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: Precisely because communication is what we are all doing here. This mailing list is expressly set up to exchange notes and ideas and judgments and one’s experiences in one’s quest to be happy in a non-spiritual way.
VINEETO: This is the stated purpose of what this mailing list is set up for from the welcome message to this list –
The ‘quest to be happy in a non-spiritual way’ is markedly different to an actual freedom from malice and sorrow and maybe, just maybe, the ‘quest to be happy in a non-spiritual way’ as opposed to the intent to be happy and harmless is what causes a good deal of the controversy on this list including the recent feeding frenzy.
There is an expression in English which goes – ‘I want my cake but I want to eat it too’ which could well be translated into ‘I want to be free of ‘me’, but I want to be ‘me’ too’.
RESPONDENT: If every time I criticise another person on this list, the defense sounds like Mind your own business, you can only change yourself, then this list would have just become a vehicle for AF propaganda, not a genuine discussion in which all parties are open to change and criticism.
VINEETO: Several points for clarification –
VINEETO: Seeing that you are not yet ‘done on this list’ and have not yet moved on to ‘more fruitful avenues’ but stayed to post more allegations about actualists, I thought I would make a comment on your last post to No 58 –
RESPONDENT: Yeah, I’m a contrary guy at times. Thankfully, reading this list and investigating more fruitful avenues is not a binary either/or opposition for me. Besides, I wanted to issue a ‘big up’ to my mate No 58.
VINEETO: I noticed that the ‘big up’ to your ‘mate’ consisted of little other than adversarial statements about other members of this mailing list. When I became aware of the implications of exclusive friendship and loyalty I realized that as long as I nourished those ideals I would not be able to be harmless and I would not be able to live with people in peace and harmony. Exclusive friendship and loyalty are anathema to peace and harmlessness because those feelings always demand that one takes sides and supports one’s friends, family, tribe or nation in their animosity, regardless of the facts of the situation.
RESPONDENT: Have you ever felt aggression, hatred, condescension or any other negative feelings at all when you read correspondences of No 16, No 65, No 58, No 60, No 23, No 71 or anybody else? None of the above mails triggered any negative feelings at all?
VINEETO: As I am not free from the human condition I do have feelings from time to time, although ‘aggression, hatred, condescension’ are not amongst them. That said, I do find some posts from correspondents rather silly when they waste their time concentrating on red herrings or fighting against imaginary windmills instead of talking about the issues at hand, namely how to become free from the human condition. On many occasions I understand the reasons for this behaviour as I too had to struggle in the early days with similar resistance to looking at my own feelings and beliefs rather than blaming others for my feelings and instinctively defending my beliefs.
RESPONDENT: If not, do you have a ‘feeling’ when you read/reply? What is the ‘feeling’?
VINEETO: No, not when I reply. Even when I occasionally have one or the other feeling when reading a post, I never write, let alone click ‘send’, when I am in any way emotional. Very early on in actualism I understood that the way to deal with one’s emotions is to neither suppress nor express them and since then I have always made it a point to keep my hands in my pocket, so to speak, until I have investigated/abandoned any emotional issues that may have arisen.
RESPONDENT: Is it that of caring, friendliness?
VINEETO: The reason I reply to correspondence on this mailing list and share my experience with the actualism practice, which often involves correcting misunderstandings and misrepresentations, is that of fellow-ship regard which is different to the feeling of ‘caring, friendliness’ in that it is actual rather than affective.
RESPONDENT: I was wondering if you could ‘break down’ how you experienced life at the beginning of virtual freedom … year by year … to the present.
RESPONDENT: I appreciate you arranging this. While it does seem that virtual freedom ‘deepens’ as time goes on, it is consistent enough, that I can tell that I’m not there yet. I walk around in virtual freedom land quite a bit on a daily basis, but I’m not there ‘99%’ of the time for sure. Thanks
VINEETO: Two things come to mind that might be relevant. One is something I wrote to Alan way back in 1999 –
When I took up actualism there was no one to compare my own progress with on the wide and wondrous path because Irene had already made her turn-around and Richard’s path to an actual freedom led through enlightenment and I therefore had to forge my own path and go by my own assessment. What I had as a guide, however, was the comparison to the time before I started to apply actualism, before I made it my goal in life to clean myself up as much as humanly possible so as to facilitate an actual freedom from the human condition. And this comparison became more and more startling as the months went by until the time came when I could no longer even imagine how people manage to insist on perpetuating the emotional and actual turmoil that is called ‘normal life’ when there is such an easy-to-follow alternative on offer. Nowadays I often think I am normal while everyone else is busy being mad.
In other words, at some stage, based on my comparison to life before actualism I made Virtual Freedom my standard and I was then bound by my own integrity and supported by my intent not to slip back into not having a perfect day. Or, to use one of my mixed metaphors Peter finds so confusing – once you lift the bar you have something to hang your hat on.
The other thing that comes to mind is that after cottoning onto my bad-mood-habits I found it relatively easy to be happy when I was by myself, at home, or in nature. What was not so easy was to maintain this happiness when I was interacting with other people, be it sorting out male-female issues and/or spiritual beliefs with Peter, being stuck in traffic, being challenged at work or feeling confronted/ lost/ bored on social occasions. Interactions with people brought up a plethora of real challenges to my beliefs, my convictions, my habits, my gregarian/ territorial/ aggressive/ defensive instincts, my prejudices, my pride, my worries and fears, my taboos and emotional hurts and so on. Sometimes an irritation over a small thing, such as a high-pitched voice, a screaming child or a driver cutting in on me proved to be but the tip of the iceberg of deep-seated emotions that were there for the investigating. I found that nothing is too small to investigate, particularly when it happens repeatedly – being emotionally upset, no matter how trivial it might seem, is always an indication that ‘I’ am throwing the spanner in the works.
Writing to the mailing list was a particular challenge to ‘not let the buggers get me down’ given that putting me down was often their sole intent in communicating. But my aim was to become un-irritable, to become aware of all the things that caused me to become angry, peeved, sad, down on myself, iffy, doubting or outright hopeless. I found discovering how I tick and keeping my innocuity in an often adversary climate more exciting than climbing Mount Everest or bungee-jumping … to make peace-on-earth one’s number one priority is not only the best meaning ‘I’ can give to my life, it is also highly challenging and extremely rewarding.
RESPONDENT: When in a relationship with a non actualist, what are you supposed to do when they are angry at you? Restore the perceived imbalance, say sorry, accept punishment, say it won’t happen again, and that you got nothing from it, or whatever the ‘best’ strategy is? Or Say you just did what needed to be done? Or If you did something ‘wrong’, say why you did it, end of story?
VINEETO: When I interact with a non-actualist, which is pretty much everyone, and they get angry at me, the first thing I do is stop adding fuel to the fire. Very often this is as simple as making it clear to the other person that I have no intention of upsetting them. I find this works on most occasions but sometimes the only solution is to bow out of the situation as gracefully as possible. Of course actualism is not about adopting a new set of social mores so how you handle each of the interactions you have with other people will be dependant upon your own success in eliminating the impediments you have to being as happy and harmless as possible. The more successful you are in this endeavour the more you will find that you are spontaneously happy and effortlessly harmless, in which case you will inevitably find that more and more of your interactions with other people will be harmonious.
Once the adversarial situation is ended and I am on my own I then explore whether there was anything in my behaviour that was in any way harmful or sorrowful, in other words, did I have expectations of the other person or did I feel disappointed by their behaviour, was I demanding or angry, smug or sad, arrogant or blaming, hypocritical or critical, and so on. If the other person’s behaviour evoked an emotional response in me then I explore the reasons why so as to be able to prevent having such a reaction the next time round.
The fact that one might live with someone in an intimate relationship does not change this basic intent to be harmless, in fact it requires even more attentiveness so as to be able to recognize the other as a person in their own right with their own aspirations and ideals, feelings and thoughts, behaviour and idiosyncrasies in order that one doesn’t fall into the habitual trap of wanting to change them.
My intent in every interaction is that I am, as much I can possibly be, without malice or sorrow and without expectation or hidden agendas whilst still being an identity. Whenever I find a malicious or sorrowful feeling in me, then I’ve got something to look at. Whether or not other people have malicious or sorrowful feelings is simply their business.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.