Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: [At some point I told myself that I was going to take the risk of being called a fool in admitting that everybody got it wrong – that helped to be rid of the fear (is this fear of stepping out of ‘humanity’?) and proceed with the investigation.]
VINEETO: Yes, I can relate to that from my own experience – my pride and my loyalty to the spiritual group I belonged to were tough obstacles to overcome. Pride stands in the road of admitting that one is wrong because the last thing a proud person wants to feel is to feel foolish. When I understood that it was not me who had got it wrong but that everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong, it became clear to me that it would be foolish to keep looking in the wrong direction just because I didn’t want to feel a fool in having done exactly what everyone else was doing.
Loyalty was a similar issue – when I realized that what was keeping me being a spiritualist was a feeling of loyalty to my dead master and my then spiritual friends I was confronted by feeling to be a traitor whenever I thought about leaving. This continued on for months until I finally found that I had decided that being happy and harmless and living with a man in utter peace and harmony was more important to me than being a loyal spiritualist and the feelings of being a traitor disappeared as if by magic. Now, that my former friends consider me to be both a fool and a traitor, I can delight in the freedom of having no spiritual beliefs and of not belonging to any group whatsoever.
I think you are more talking about the fear of stepping out of society and it certainly requires bold determination to dare to step out of one’s social bondages and leave the various groups that form and maintain one’s social identity behind in order to become an anonymous and carefree human being. The process is incremental, the changes are palpable and the rewards of becoming more harmless is a continual raising the bar of feeling more happy. The final stepping out of humanity happens with the ending of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: My life goes very well. There are circumstances (some more than the other – like for example a walk in a park in New Jersey) that trigger in me questioning, checking with myself. Sort of: my head, ‘check’, two hands ‘check’, two legs walking ‘check’, body tension ... mood ... is there any discomfort... is there any stress ... am I happy, smiling... what about my motifs... what motivates my actions... How am I experiencing this moment of being alive... Sometimes I just catch myself reacting based on some emotional response.
One of my most subtle emotions is that I am somehow better than others, a ‘special’ person. It is difficult to see it because it is a very ‘quiet’ emotion; it does not create any discomfort thus signalling its presence...
VINEETO: To become aware of and discover the more ‘subtle emotions’ – the so-called good emotions that don’t seem to ‘create any discomfort’ – is indeed a bit more difficult, and feeling ‘better than others, a ‘special’ person’, is a good example for such a ‘good’ emotion. I found this feeling to be one of the core obstacles in being able to regard and experience other people as my fellow human beings.
In my spiritual days I had plenty of feeling superior to others – it was part and parcel of my belonging to ‘the master of masters’ and ‘his chosen people’. I felt specially blessed and I spent my life trying to become a ‘good’ person by listening to the ‘right’ teachings, practicing the ‘right’ spiritual practices and knowing the ‘right’ way to becoming one with the divine.
But, you guessed it, something was utterly wrong. The ‘right’ teaching did not result in peace and happiness and the ‘chosen people’ fought feuds against others religious groups and amongst themselves, just like everyone else. Over the years it became more and more obvious that my feelings of superiority couldn’t cover up what was very rotten underneath – in my honest moments I knew damn well that I was not ‘good’, let alone the best I could be. I knew that there were times when I was jealous and angry, sad and depressed, bitchy and grumpy, irritable and scared. In fact, despite the millions of wise words I had absorbed, I was neither wiser nor better than everyone else and my feelings of being superior only served to increase the separation I felt from other people.
Then I discovered actualism and began first to whittle away the ‘bad’ emotions, the ones that are very obviously in the way of becoming happy and harmless. But just as my life became easier because I was less sad and less angry, some other emotions came to the foreground and amongst them the feeling of superiority. At some point this culminated in feelings of being perfect and with it a rush of glory, compassion for all and an all-consuming pride swept over me and catapulted me into an altered state of consciousness. ‘I’ had grabbed the perfection of the actual world and claimed it as ‘my’ achievement, ‘my’ prize and ‘my’ glory.
That’s where the second half of becoming ‘happy and harmless’ comes into play. During the time when my feelings of being better than others was exaggerated and magnified like all get-out in this altered state of consciousness, these feelings were rather easy to examine and I could soon recognize that ‘I’, with my imagined superiority, was not harmless at all. On the contrary, in this delusionary state, I was so convinced of the ‘rightness’ and power of my thoughts and feelings that, had I acted on them, there would have been great potential to do harm to others.
The point I am trying to make is that feeling ‘somehow better than others’ is par for the course and is a very interesting part of the human condition to investigate. Soap operas and movie dramas are a fertile arena to observe this trait in action, where the good and pious heroes’ every word and action drip with righteousness and superiority whilst propagating hope, love and virtuousness. So yes, the feeling you discovered is an essential part of the human condition, and is well worth extensive exploration.
RESPONDENT: Regardless, the next day it was completely obvious to me what had happened, which really sat me upright. And it was a relief to see it, and for a moment be free of it. Now I just have to get the time delay down to something less than 12 hours.
VINEETO: Once it began to filter through that my behaviour did not at all match my idealized picture of me – or as you put it ‘it wasn’t the way ‘I’ was telling myself’ – I was appalled by my often rude and uncaring behaviour towards others, which in turn fired my intent to do something radical about really changing myself. In spiritualism I had done nothing but change my ideals, in actualism I finally had the necessary tools to change my actions by eradicating their underlying causes. All I needed to provide was the passionate intent. The time delay of 12 hours will lessen as you gradually remove the moral and ethical safeguards that are instilled by the process of socialization. These safeguards are meant to curb the bare instinctual passions and consequently they act to shield one from discovering the instinctual passions in action.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I see. I’m amazed sometimes at the subtle complexities ... there are many layers to this onion. It’s a funny process this, at once abhorrent to stare into the muck, and yet exhilarating to root out and dissect the little beasties.
VINEETO: Yep, you described it well. Discovering ‘the little beasties’ becomes easier with two factors. One factor is obviously discovering and dismissing one’s pride at being different and better than others. The second factor is the clear understanding that what you are investigating is the human condition, i.e. the aspects of your identity are not your personal flaws or shortcomings but the default setting for every human being born on the planet. Then the ‘abhorrent … stare into the muck’ becomes the scientific enterprise of studying the human condition in action.
RESPONDENT: Practicing actualism has two key elements: unravelling the accrued conditioning, and experiencing the actual universe directly. I’ve been diligently doing the former for some time, with great results, but have certainly been tripping over my own feet with the latter. No 37’s recent missives have been very helpful in addressing my scepticism and understanding the crucial necessity of that facet.
VINEETO: It is amazing how much can be achieved by a good dose of naiveté combined with the determination to change radically and irrevocably.
RESPONDENT: I’ve mulled a bit recently on the notion of naiveté. I’ve read and understood the definition, but I must admit there is a lingering association in my mind with ‘foolishness’. I do see how elemental it is to this whole process. I think it would be interesting to explore this in the context of the universe thread.
VINEETO: Yes, that’s it. In actualism, the first thing that takes a bashing is one’s pride because the pursuit of becoming happy and harmless means to set off in the opposite direction to what society regards as being intelligent and wise. From the real-world point of view scepticism, cynicism, criticism and denigration are considered intelligent behaviour, while from the spiritual point of view dissociation, detachment and not-knowing are deemed the peak of wisdom.
Consequently the pursuit of becoming unconditionally happy and unconditionally harmless, i.e. giving up battling it out in either the real world or the spiritual world, is seen as a sign of foolishness … and the fear to appear foolish is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to beginning the journey to an actual innocence.
As you say, naiveté is ‘elemental’ to the actualism practice – without naiveté you cannot even consider that human beings can possibly live in peace and harmony, let alone that one can free oneself from one’s genetically encoded instinctual programming. To allow naiveté to replace scepticism and cynicism is a big step towards leaving the safe haven of resignation and never-ending uncertainty and dropping out of the day-to-day combat in the grim battle of survival.
Naiveté has two purposes in actualism – firstly, moving on from the initial analytical process of making a prima facie case as to the sensibility of actualism to beginning the experiential hands-on exploration of one’s psyche – the process that leads to irrevocable change. And equally importantly – awakening one’s dormant naiveté is vital to be able to remember, or induce, a pure consciousness experience.
As Richard’s sum it up –
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.
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.
RESPONDENT: I have been spiritual in my life but I am not spiritual now. Truth to me is what I am actually doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. I’m sorry if I have wasted your time. I will continue to look and see if I have any spirituality.
VINEETO: Personally, I was never attracted to J. Krishnamurti or his teachings as I considered them too dry and theoretical at the time of my spiritual involvement. Instead, I got sucked into the emotional indulgence and the escalating esoteric extravagance of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh. Yet the relationship that I had to him as my master differs not from the relationship that other followers have to their particular master – is it invariably epitomized by unquestioning adoration, deep felt loyalty, a love that excuses and defends the master’s every word or deed and the pride of being a disciple of such rare outstanding and powerful personality. Krishnamurti’s claim that he did not want to be a master nor want his followers to be devotees only created an apparent intellectual coolness but it never altered the fervent emotional ties that each of his followers had, and still has, with him. If you take the time and read through some of Richard’s correspondence with mailing list B you will quickly understand what I mean.
Before I could learn, explore or even consider that there was any new approach to life I had to question this highly emotional relationship to the one teacher that I had considered to be the only authority and fountain of wisdom. My worldview was coloured and measured against the authority of his words and teachings. If others stated similar views and ‘wisdoms’, I considered them right, if not, they were wrong. My judgements had nothing to do with my personal investigation of facts at all; it was solely a ‘feeling right’ decision according to my preconceived convictions solely derived from the master’s viewpoint – and the fact that he had been dead for 10 years did not change my emotional dependency on his authority at all.
An honest and in-depth investigation of the facts of the situation was only possible after I ‘tore Rajneesh out of my heart’, became a traitor to his message and his ‘sangha’ and thus became independent of his imagined approval or condemnation. Only then was I able to listen to his discourses and judge with my newly freed intelligence instead of ‘my heart’ and to discover his mindless twaddle and ‘compassionate lies’, his manipulation and deceit, his outright distortions and underlying ancient rotten Indian belief-system. Now I could start the long and fascinating journey of unravelling the intricate web of the psychic world – the Eastern spiritual fears of endless karma, the hope for transcendence, the reverence for intuition, love, compassion, bliss and enlightenment. Once one starts to see the psychic world and how it functions, the word ‘spiritual’ is revealed in its fuller and more comprehensive meaning.
You felt moved to defend your teacher the moment I quoted him in order to prove that he is concerned only with the spiritual and the divine and not with the actual. This reaction indicates where to look when you want to ‘see if [you] have any spirituality’. So in order to ‘continue to look and see if [you] have any spirituality’, you will first and foremost have to consider and investigate your affective relationship to your ‘previous’ teacher and teachings. Otherwise any factual discussion about what Krishnamurti said or meant will be distorted by the emotions that are instigating automatic instinctual (or, as LeDoux calls them, ‘quick and dirty’) reactions rather than considered intelligent responses.
VINEETO: So you must have misunderstood my use of the term ‘Truth-Production-machine’ when in your letter to Peter you say:
Well, you obviously have not read my correspondence with Alan or ‘Explorations of Death and Altered States of Consciousness’ that I mentioned in my last letter. Pure intent definitely does not lead to ‘Vineeto’s Truth Machine status’ but ensures that one goes beyond it, detecting and dismantling the ‘truth’, replacing it meticulously with verifiable facts and sensate experience.
Becoming aware of ‘truth’ being passionately produced over and over again and daring to stop the dreaming of this ‘truth’ gave my ‘self’ a considerable blow. After that experience and realization, satoris and enlightenment and their ensuing Grand Wisdom lost their lure and grip over me – and thus I had removed another rock from the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom – I will never run aground again on the insidious ‘Rock of Enlightenment’.
RESPONDENT: I don’t have 21 or 17 years of experience with a spiritual journey or 11 years of ‘enlightenment’ (whatever that is, and I truly don’t know, but I suspect it isn’t real).
VINEETO: To judge ‘Tried and True’ as ‘Tried and Failed’ you don’t need 17 years of spiritual journey but common sense. When I heard Richard or Peter say for the first time, ‘why don’t you judge the religion – Eastern or Western – by the outcome’, it hit me like a brick. Never even once had I looked at the factual outcome of what I was aiming for – how people are living in India, how Indians, especially enlightened ones treat women, how religious wars are raging in many parts of the world – to judge the workings and sensibility of what I was trying to achieve. At that time I felt quite stupid, clumsy, thick and thought I had wasted my time. But then, there had been nobody pointing it out to me and it seemed the best solution on offer at the time for the misery and desperation I felt about life.
It does not take 20 years of spiritual experience to look, for a change, at the facts of the particular belief-system instead of the promised solutions that it never delivers. So you are not missing any ‘time done’ here. Everyone who dares to look further than the herd can find out the facts for him/herself. Maybe the frustration of having had so little success after so many years of effort helped me to get over my pride and fear so that I started looking in another direction. (...)
RESPONDENT: Why does my saying I see we have things in common make you seem to pull back, retreating into a ‘You don’t understand Richard’ position?
VINEETO: I said: ‘It is not merely ‘definition differences’ we are talking about.’ And I still maintain that it is not only definition differences. Every difference in definition usually means a difference in belief, as I know from my own process of digging into my beliefs, emotions and instincts, and they need to be investigated before we know that we have things in common. As I have told you, it is good fun for me to be doing this and helps me to become clearer. Any communication about my favourite subject – and actual freedom from the Human Condition – is very welcome.
RESPONDENT: Because it would be scary to be like me? As ignorant and clumsy and stupid? As inconsistent and confused?
VINEETO: The journey so far has been also scary, yes, but incredible rewarding. I see it as no bad thing to be inconsistent and confused. After all, you are on a discovery journey. Ignorance, stupidity, inconsistency and confusion are part of the Human Condition that is being investigated. A bummer of a birthmark for each of us, that is true. The way to overcome the ignorance and confusion, created by the many beliefs, was to investigate the facts of each situation, and facts are simply facts. Further, it has taken many leaps to overcome pride and fear again and again, but the fascination and thrill of investigating and eliminating my own shackles has given me the necessary fuel.
ALAN: Also, what is it that actually happens to cause a PCE?
VINEETO: As for your question how to make a peak-experience happen I can say I started to approach it the other way around. Given that peak-experience is our ‘normal’ state when no emotion or belief is in the road I am going for whatever obstacle I find at the time whenever I don’t experience this moment of being alive as perfect as I remember my peak moments. And as you know I have been finding lots of interesting ghosts in my cupboard, often unexpected forms of pride, fear, impatience, competition, love, loneliness, boredom and yet again another fear.
And whenever I am taking the bull by its horns and dig around in that specific emotion, understand and eliminate it, what’s left is the perfect moment of the world as it is, delightful, safe and imminently fascinating – there it is, the searched for PE or PCE! So my approach is kind of indirect, being busy with the obstacles rather with the outcome. Of course the intent, the goal is to eliminate that obstacle and each time round it becomes more easy and more of an adventure and a scientific enquiry rather than a ‘have-to-do-thing’. And this way I am getting more and more confident, stopped believing in my own emotions and know that absolute everything will get examined with the microscope. By now the cupboard which was packed full of ghosts is getting pretty empty...
This weekend I have been ‘busy’ on and off with being sick. Listless and a bit weaker I would have preferred not to have a cold. But then, as the weekend slowly went by being as delicious as ever, the walk on the beach as delightful I turned my attention to the famous sentence: How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? Now I this body is obviously very busy getting better, and isn’t it fascinating how it feels when inside the army is fighting in different places against the invading viruses ... and isn’t the pouring rain making a wonderful sound on the roof?! So then the complaint turned into an observing fascination without any emotion or wanting it different, just experiencing the facts and events of me, this body and my surrounding. Back here again!
ALAN: So, to get back to the subject, what causes the ‘zombie period’? For me, it is not living this moment of being alive. As I said above, it is ‘me’ desperately trying to regain control, the fear of ‘my’ extinction. But, these are intellectual answers. At the time of ‘stuckness’, there is no obvious way forward (suggestions welcome) and it is a bit a case of waiting. What helped was recalling my PCEs and concentrating on this moment of being alive. But, it is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. When ‘here’, it is the easiest and most effortless thing to do, to enjoy this moment – as you know, it is impossible to do otherwise, and the question becomes meaningless. When ‘stuck’, one has no idea how to get out of it – except reading what Richard, you and Peter write, and have written, maybe eventually gets through and one realizes that it is the simplest and most obvious thing to do. Maybe it is a sort of tricking ‘me’ into not being here?
VINEETO: (...) I see the path to freedom as a double approach. One is to have as many peak-experiences as possible to get all the information about the actual world I can get. The other is to remove the shackles and lead-weights, whenever they occur, made up of various beliefs and their ensuing emotional reactions until underneath I find the bare instincts.
So when in a peak-experience, or at least in a clear, unemotional state I would deliberately go towards the issue that had troubled me last and search for the underlying belief that still had a grip on me. In the PCE I could much easier examine it in its complete structure, understand it and compare emotions and beliefs with the facts of the present situation. To generally call it ‘me’ or ‘fear’ usually was not enough to do the trick. I look at it like a detailed scientific investigation into the Human Condition, wanting to find out not only how I am operating, but how all human beings function, more or less similarly, with their ‘me’ intact. Pride was the first thing to be thrown out, feeling offended the next. Seeing it operating in everybody makes it easier to put the particular issue on the table and not consider it some private disability that only I was struck with.
And with each issue examined and thus eliminated, the lead weights became lighter, the access to being here easier and longer lasting.
A word about stuckness: the emotion that usually kept me from looking at the issue was mainly fear, sometimes disguised as confusion, mental laziness or simply avoidance. But after a few days, or a few hours, I would simply see the silliness of avoiding the issue and thus wasting my time by not being ‘here’ and then start off the examination. It often would go like this: OK, damn, what is it this time? What has happened just before I turned numb, or grumpy or zombie? Ah, that person said something. No, can’t be it, I’m over with this. Oh, well, maybe still a little trace? Wow, big fear now. What belief made me react? Where is the hook? And then, like a dog, I would pick up the scent and follow the trail until I had the bugger by the throat. The first resistance was the most difficult to overcome – once I had started to investigate, thrill would keep me going, and curiosity, of course.
Sometimes I would find a childhood issue, like in my early mail with Konrad, some attachment to a cozy feeling or simply the instinctual fear of stepping outside of all of humanity’s concepts and beliefs. The wish to get out of the emotion (fear or whatever) into ‘here’ before I had checked it out thoroughly and understood it in its complexity was often a hindrance and would only prolong the process. One can’t go in two directions at the same time. Once I reached the bottom of the ‘pit’ and saw what the particular issue consisted of, being here was the natural by-product.
Yes, being here is the simplest thing to do – once I am here; but cleaning oneself up entirely so as to not to be pulled back by anything is also the most courageous thing to do. When an emotion gets you into its grip it is quite a bit of work to find out all its implications, and rarely someone dares to do it. Like, when you thoroughly investigated sorrow...
RESPONDENT: Since I came across H.A.I.E.T.M.O.B.A. (how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?) I now delight in finding out more facts about this physical universe, especially the functioning of the human body and mind. I had first lost this delight when I began down the spiritual path as I was taught that ‘this is all an illusion’. This insidious bullshit called religion has plagued me for too long. There is much more freedom now to explore, and delight in this exploration, of the Human Condition. There is also a satisfaction in myself being responsible for myself and not delegating responsibility to some divine being.
That’s all for now,
VINEETO: Yeah, so good that I ‘restored’ the good old brain out of the shed after years of attempted ‘no-mind’, to de-rust it and oil it, and have one exploration after the other. After all this groping in the dark for the ‘inner world’ which ‘cannot be spoken off in words’, I had finally a reliable tool to sort out for myself what is silly and what is sensible. It was a bit of a bummer for my pride to find out that most things I had done were silly, or even really silly, but then I delighted in the possibility and freedom become more and more sensible.
RESPONDENT: Yes it is good to encourage oneself to think again after being told that thoughts were the problem with my existence. I am glad I go back to uni in a few weeks. I did quite well last year even though most of my time was spent reading books on Osho and Buddhism. Now I can concentrate on my studies, and delight in it too!
It will also be good to get away from the idiot box. If I see Oprah Winfrey trying to get America to ‘remember your spirit’ one more time!! Heh heh. It is quite funny to see the superstars become more spiritual as the Y2000 comes around. I wonder if Oprah will eventually become disillusioned with the results of the spiritual efforts, oh well, it is none of my business anyway! I am making my life more happier and harmless and that is all I can do :-) I think I should go for a walk in the sunshine :-)
VINEETO: It was great fun for me to de-rust my brain and train it so I could work out my emotions, beliefs and finally the instincts. The brain is the only tool we have to re-wire our brain, as strange as it may sound. One only needs a few ingredients, as Peter wrote the other day –
With a switched on brain, TV can become a useful tool to study the Human Condition, not only in me, but in its workings in everybody. Oprah Winfrey is a goldmine of information, and her all-round spirituality, that includes everyone’s superstitions, is quite revealing. You are making your own observations – but for me, I always used them back on me, to check my fears, my superstitions, my hypocrisy. And it helps immensely to remember that they are the Human Condition, in all of us, and not a personal quirk. I don’t find TV to be an idiot box at all. One doesn’t need to switch one’s brain off when watching... quite the contrary, it can be a fascinating source of valuable information for exploring the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: This would seem to mean that pure intent is based on fact. For me this would be the fact of the release that occurs when a major hurdle is realized. The point that dullness masks emotion and emotion masks belief has also been of assistance. I have a bit of trouble summoning up delight (as Richard suggests), as it seems imaginary, as opposed to the release that comes with facing issues. That is still under consideration though.
VINEETO: Pure intent is derived from the purity of a peak-experience.
If the intent is based only on the release from the tensions of hurdles one will be content with temporary and second rate solutions.
Richard explains it simply and clearly in his journal:
The alternative is to start from the other end:
I can say from my own experience – it is a wide and wondrous path, but it needs a commitment to digging into one’s sinister presences, one’s dullness, one’s fear and one’s pride and all the tricks that the very cunning entity of ‘self’ comes up with. Without the memory of a peak-experience there won’t be enough intent to instigate one’s own self-immolation.
RESPONDENT: I seem to agree to some extent with No 5, but not to the extent of being mad with Vineeto. I also do not find anything radical in Richard’s teachings. I already am aware of most of this stuff thanks mainly to Osho and other eastern philosophies.
VINEETO: Could you explain a bit more in detail of the ‘stuff’ that you are aware of and that seems to you to be the same as Osho’s and Eastern Teaching? I know from my own experience that it took quite some time, a lot of hearing and reading and a lot of daring for me to question Osho’s and the Eastern teaching in order to really understand that Richard’s discovery is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of EVERYTHING that is being taught in the name of enlightenment. Wearing spiritual glasses at the time when I met Peter – and having an investment to keep them – made it at first impossible for me to actually hear what Peter or Richard had to say. Fear, pride and spiritual arrogance were the main reasons not to question the teachings that I had been wearing like a second skin.
Only when I began to admit that not everything was wonderful in my life and my efforts according to Osho’s teachings had not been very successful, was I able to investigate a bit deeper into Richard’s story and I could start thinking about the possibility that something may be wrong with the spiritual teachings and not only with the thousands of disciples who all did not ‘get it’.
VINEETO: (...) Spiritualism vs. actualism is a great topic to nut out and absolutely vital for the path to an actual freedom. It takes great courage and persistence to disentangle oneself from the net of spiritual beliefs, which pervade each and every issue of life, from love and relationship to the way we look at the physical universe, people and events. This psychic net of beliefs and emotions is such a thick cobweb laid over our sensate-only perception that, once removed, even for a short period, you think you looking at a completely different world.
But let’s stick to one point at a time –
RESPONDENT: Anyway I am still on this topic ‘Spiritualism vs actualism’. You mentioned that I don’t differentiate between Ego and Soul. This is very true. With my experience, I really can’t differentiate the two. When I look at myself I see only one identity. What I understand from both spiritualism and actualism is that this identity has to die.
VINEETO: You say, you understand that both, ego and soul, have to die. Great. Now, what is this soul?
The easiest way to understand ‘soul’ for me was to see it as the sum of my emotions, feelings, beliefs and passions. Love is ‘me’, affection is ‘me’, sadness is ‘me’, anger is ‘me’, being annoyed is ‘me’, being grateful is ‘me’, being hopeful is ‘me’, being frustrated is ‘me’, being impatient is ‘me’, being fearful is ‘me’ – you can add anything you like to this list. All ‘I’ am is my feelings, all ‘I’ am is my beliefs and all ‘I’ am is my instincts. ‘I’ consist of nothing else.
Although ‘I’ am not actual, as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical, material, ‘I’ am real, ‘I’ am my feelings and the actions that result from having these feelings are real. To imagine otherwise is but a cunning trick and an act of blatant denial. ‘I’ am not merely an illusion that can be ‘realised’ away as in the spiritual teachings. As such, the death of ‘me’ will also be a real event. ‘I’ in ‘my’ totality, who is but a passionate illusion, must die a dramatic illusory death commensurate to ‘my’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it.
This fact of what ‘I’ consist of has to be discovered, acknowledged, investigated and experienced, over and over again. Only then is one willing to ‘get down and get dirty’, willing to experience and examine one’s feelings – not merely ‘observe’ them – and investigate into the hidden beliefs and instinctual passions that cause those feelings. By neither repressing nor expressing but by meticulously exploring each feeling I was then able to determine the underlying cause – be it a hurt pride, a bit of my social identity, a fear linked to my survival mechanism, a cherished belief disguised as ‘truth’ – there was always an issue beneath the initial emotion. And each of these feelings and emotions is ‘me’, my identity, my ‘self’, my ‘soul’. ‘I’ consist of nothing else but a great collection of passionate imaginations.
VINEETO: When you say you must be doing something wrong because you are ‘stuck’, it might also be that you did something ‘right’ and then hit a major issue which might generate fear.
RESPONDENT: You have got this one right, Vineeto. There is an undercurrent of fear/sadness still there. I am going against it head on two ways: first, going to the daily life situations in which I would have dreaded to go into, 3-5 years ago, and apprehensive of going for them about 1-2 years ago. Second, keeping my eyes open to look for causes which brought this fear in the first place.
This one is a difficult one as, to best of knowledge, I cleaned myself of fears arising from the incidents from the age of 3 years-now. But I remember I had this undercurrent of fear/sadness at the age of ~4 years too. So, the causes for this fear/sadness must have their origins before the age of 3 years. The best I can think of is that my mother might have beaten the crap out of me before the age of 3, but I cannot have any memory of that. I am not sure how to go about it but I am working on it.
VINEETO: In my spiritual years I believed that I was ‘cleaning myself of fears’ by doing lots of Dynamic Meditation and lots of therapy but I gradually noticed that fear had only shifted to other issues, but it never disappeared or even diminished. I would not be afraid of one particular situation, but nevertheless apprehensive of another, fearful of change, of being alone, of being raped, of not getting what I desired or of not being appreciated by others. Yet, knowing no other alternative at the time, I kept going.
So, from my experience, I can say that digging into the past will never wipe out the causes of fear. Only when I met Richard was I able to understand the reason for it. It is a common belief that human beings are born innocent, ‘tabula rasa’, a clean slate, without any malice and sorrow, and that all evil – fear, anger, sadness – is only created by bad treatment in our childhood years – or maybe by ‘repressed memories’ of bad past lives. The very premise of that belief is wrong.
Human beings are born with certain distinguishing instincts, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. These instincts are blind Nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to give one a start in life and to ensure the survival of the species. So despite our good intentions and moral codes, we are relentlessly driven to act instinctually in each and every situation in our lives and this is the base cause of all our angst, suffering and confusion. We, as human beings, also have a highly developed sense of self, overlaid with a social identity, consisting of the beliefs that had been instilled in us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’, or punished for ‘bad’, behaviour. This identity includes the morals, values and ethics that ensure that we are a fit member of the particular society into which we are born. We then take on these beliefs and develop them as our ‘own’ identity. This innate sense of self, reinforced by our social identity, is the very ‘guardian at the gate’, sabotaging any well-meaning, but inevitably futile, attempts at fundamentally and radically changing the Human Condition of malice and sorrow within us.
When I put away my pride and dared to question this emotional, therapy-enhanced, yet utterly useless and harmful identity, I had to acknowledge the reason why the concept of therapy had never worked. One never gets to permanently experience the ‘innocence’ of a baby after digging into one’s memories of birth- or childhood-traumas – because the baby has never been innocent and without fear in the first place! Geneticists are now finding neurological evidence of those innate instincts, yet nobody except Richard has devised a method to get rid of those insidious buggers.
VINEETO: I remember well when you described to Richard a few weeks back a pure consciousness experience that you had:
No 5, I just wonder if, in the heat of your discussions about dearly-held beliefs and loyalty and everybody’s supposed ‘beef’, this memory of the exquisite and delicious purity of your experience, the magnificence and perfection of this actual physical universe has been forgotten. I take it that the memory of this event, or of similar experiences, was what has attracted you to this list in the first place.
Why defend the indefensible, why not start at the other end and begin to discriminate your own beliefs from verifiable facts, thus removing the hybris and rubbish that prevents one from experiencing such delicious purity over and over again? I found that there are so much more sensible things to do with one’s time and intelligence than fighting a petty competition instead of investigating what creates the need to fight and deny in the first place. Don’t you want to find out how to become happy and harmless?
This mailing list can be an immense support in examining one’s beliefs, feelings, emotions and instinctual passions that every human being is inflicted with. Once one has taken the first hurdle of overcoming one’s pride, the investigation can become a sport and a delicious and thrilling discovery journey that beats every other adventure there is on this planet.
In my letter to Alan I have just mapped out again how the path to Actual Freedom is paved with facts and success, when one successively and incrementally diminishes one’s social identity, eliminates all of one’s beliefs and examines one’s instinctual passions. From being driven and troubled by emotions, feelings and instinctual rages I have now succeeded, in a remarkably short time, to disentangle myself from the psychological and psychic web of Humanity’s beliefs and feelings, from ‘who I thought and felt I was’, and live now in an almost permanent PCE-like state of Virtual Freedom.
RESPONDENT No 60 to Richard: Nothing happens to set off an instance of my problem with the method. Practising the method itself induces feelings that would not otherwise be present. All I have to do to is start asking myself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’, and pretty soon it sets off the feedback loop I’ve written about several times now. This does not happen in daily life; it is caused by practising the method. I’ve just this minute been writing about this again here <snip>
RESPONDENT to Richard: (...) I’d like to hear some reasonable explanation of why from an experienced actualist.
VINEETO: The whole scenario that has been displayed on this mailing list in the last 2 weeks reminds me of a scene repeatedly used in comedies where a man staggers home drunk, sees his bruised face in the mirror and begins to apply ointment and bandaid to the mirror. In fact the situation has now evolved to the point where the same man is in the process of smashing the mirror to bits.
Given that No 60, despite first asking every one’s opinion on the issue, has now proceeded to warn everyone off from even thinking about reasons why the method fails only him and not the other actualists, and given that he has also ruled out any other possibility for why the actualism method fails for him, another option comes to mind – and all who have used the actualism method are no doubt well acquainted with this particular, sometimes remarkably stubborn, trait of the human condition.
I’m talking about nothing other but good old pride.
As an added staying power pride has its own feed-back loop in that pride itself prevents one from admitting that pride is the problem – it’s a sticky wicket but nothing that cannot be overcome with a good laugh. No 60 would probably not consider my pointing to pride a ‘fair dinkum suggestion’ but then again, neither is it a suggestion (rather a case of calling a wooden broomstick with a square flat metal tool for digging in the ground a spade) nor is the human condition in any way a ‘fair dinkum’ condition – else there would be no reason to leave it behind in order to experience peace on earth.
RESPONDENT to Richard: While wishing to know why another is having problems with the method may seem unrelated to my own practice of actualism, in this case I’ve had some experiences that mirror No 60’s.
RESPONDENT: Dear Vineeto, in the following quote of you, I emphasized some important keywords. After the quote you find a little comment.
Let me gently disagree. I would disagree to ‘The feeling of Unity is but a short-lived feeling...’, according to your example of the ‘opening ceremony of the Olympic Games’. I would rather say, that there was not any ‘feeling of Unity’. And I would rather say, there was the feeling of a desperate hope ‘how can it be that we are not all one?’ as a result of a wanting to be all one.
What you and all the world was watching (and witnessing), was the extension of a method that dictatorial countries use to give sugar (beside bread) to their citizens. I would like you to bear in mind that these ‘simple methods’ have been used by the German-Nazis all around Hitler.
VINEETO: I wonder if you are watching the present news on television – or why would you have to draw an example from a leader who has been dead now since more than 50 years? Malice of human beings against other human beings is not confined to ‘the German-Nazis all around Hitler’ and it certainly did not die out with Hitler. Torture, murder, war and genocide is happening all over the world, every day, in Sierra Leone, in Rwanda, in Israel, in India, in Serbia, in Indonesia, in the Arab countries, in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in South America.
It was exactly my point that the methods to influence and guide the mood of a large group of people are still as effective as ever and the instinctual passions that are instilled in all humans are the reason that those ‘simple methods ... cast an effective spell on the collective human psyche’. The example of the feeling of unity at the Olympic Games was an example of the collective psyche in action, in this case for good rather than evil. This type of ceremonies is analogous to religious and spiritual mass gatherings and meetings whereby a feeling of ‘we are all one’ is indulged in despite ample evidence of humanity’s behaviour to the contrary.
RESPONDENT: Conformism, helplessness, boredom, escape from truth and hard inner work going through pain, and the more or less deep routed hope and longing for being Loved and Cared for, is in its deeper realms of course a result of a spiritual movement, but in the realm of collective entertainment and the realm of (all) countries’ interest (which can not cause anything more than it is, and what it is, is nothing but egoistic and national pride, competition and personal fame) the phenomenon of ‘cheers and tears’ is nothing but a psychological result of itself.
VINEETO: The same passions that drive people to strive to become the greatest and most powerful in sport, politics or business, drive other people to become kings of the psychic world, forever above and beyond the suffering of ‘ordinary’ mortals who ‘only’ want to ‘entertain’ themselves. You call it ‘nothing but egotistic and national pride’ and yet you completely overlook the megalomaniacal arrogance and blatant superiority of the spiritual competitive pursuit of personal fame, power and immortality in calling oneself God as in ‘I am the Creator’ or ‘We are the World’ or ‘I am the Universal Consciousness’. Every spiritual seeker deems himself or herself better, superior, wiser, purer than and far above so-called normal people – it is all part and parcel of being a passionately-driven seeker. There is nothing superior to being spiritual, one is merely one step further removed from the actual physical world of sparkling vibrant purity.
RESPONDENT: There is nothing spiritual in the ‘Olympic Games’. As long as there is competition (which is the very reason that the ‘Olympic Games’ exist at all – and can only exist at all) there is nothing spiritual to be found. Competition is the result of the psychological and natural need to survive. But the spiritual need is ... to d i e, my friend.
VINEETO: Are you suggesting that there is no competition amongst spiritual people? Are you suggesting that a spiritual person has surpassed ‘the psychological and natural need to survive’? Are you saying that you do not see a hacking and pecking order amongst groups of spiritual seekers and amongst the gurus and god-men? I don’t know what spiritual school you have been attending but the spiritual longing has been and always is to seek immortality. One seeks the death of the ego in exchange for immortality for one’s soul – this is not death, this is an impassioned psychic delusion.
The closing ceremony of the Games has only confirmed what I observed at the beginning, that the Olympic community is as much spiritually driven as any other religious and spiritual movement in the world. Did you not notice the Greek Goddesses, the keepers of the flame, the sacred flags treated with reverence, the stirring Olympic hymn? This was not a psychological event – this was a psychic and deeply affective event. Everyone believes in Love, Beauty, Compassion, Redemption, the Good and an immortal spirit-world.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me, that it can be a dangerous thing, to make a rough, superficial, much money supported event like the ‘opening ceremony of the’ Olympic games into a spiritual come-together.
VINEETO: Well, they certainly made it into a spiritual event. In case you hadn’t noticed, spiritualism is currently mainstream fashionable run-of-the-mill around the world. Being ‘money supported’ doesn’t make a gathering immune against spirituality.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.