Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Real and Reality
RESPONDENT: Enter AF, presenting an opportunity to undo most or all of the programs, including the hard-wired ones. What bothers me a bit is that ‘live happy and harmless’ could be construed to be just another program, albeit a more desirable one. Timothy Leary said ‘As long as we create our own reality, we might as well make it a good one’.
VINEETO: And Timothy Leary, like so many of his generation, chose a drug-induced greater reality. He believed his ‘soul’ was located in his brain and he even arranged after his death for his head to be cut off and frozen in order that his ‘soul-brain’ could be revived at some future date. His ‘own reality’ certainly included some kind of an afterlife.
Actuality is not your own reality, on the contrary, actuality only becomes apparent when your own reality disappears. Therefore you ‘undo most or all of the programs, including the hard-wired ones’ and don’t create another program otherwise it’s not an undoing.
RESPONDENT: So my question is, how do AF adherents know they have turned off the programs, and not simply replace them with a more pleasing variety? This question is posed from curiosity, not criticism, as either response is a not bad way to live.
VINEETO: In a pure consciousness experience (PCE) you know by direct experience that the believer, feeler and passionate ‘self’ is absent and does not interfere with your direct sensate awareness of what is happening. A PCE gives you a glimpse of the actuality that is always here and that only becomes apparent when ‘I’ the believer and ‘me’, the ‘feeler’ are temporarily in abeyance.
The writings of actualists can provide you with sufficient information for you to establish a prima facie case that what is on offer is genuine and makes sense. If this is the case, you can then begin your own investigation into your psyche with the sincere intent to eliminate malice and sorrow in your life. In this way you keep your wits about you, you can crank up your naiveté while avoiding being gullible and you can confidently abandon all belief and simply go with what works.
Of course, if you are looking for a shortcut and consider turning actualism into your latest belief to file it with the rest of the passionate fairy-tales of human imagination, then you would be missing the point entirely. Actualism is not a belief or the imagination that one feels happy and harmless, but it is a proven method that, when applied with diligence, determination and pure intent, makes one tangibly and noticeably happy and harmless. The method of actualism is designed to discover, investigate and eventually eliminate the believer and that includes the believer in any system that one may have concocted out of the actualist writings.
RESPONDENT: Months after the shock wore off and I began to explore the amputation, I discovered there were two very different components to what I had previously thought of as ‘love.’ I now think of them as ‘ego attachment’ and ‘real love.’ We have discussed the ego attachment part in previous exchanges and I think we are in basic agreement about the nature of it, give or take a few terms and minor differences in word usages and definitions. The ‘real love’ that I saw left after all the elements of ego attachment were identified, is something completely unconditional, something that does not care whether she does or does not do as I wish, an awareness and regard that does not measure, assess, judge, possess, or expect. I believe it to be connected in a direct way to the kind of observing you describe as ‘my full attention and bare awareness each time we communicate.’ It is what I believe to be ‘real love.’ (Or ‘actual love’ if you wish!) What you and Peter are experiencing when you are free to interact this way.
What do you think?
VINEETO: See, you make a difference between ‘ego’ (something to get rid of) and ‘real love’ (something you want to keep). And then you say, ‘clarity does not arise’. How can it arise? Throwing away the ‘bad’ and keeping the ‘good’ has not worked for thousands of years. Humanity is still waging as many wars as 2000 years ago. Every Enlightened Master created yet another religion, and the religious wars are the most horrific ones.
Last night I saw a re-run of ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’, a black-humour musical about the First World War. Seeing the soldiers in the trenches, used as canon-fodder for the game of numbers that the generals were playing was devastating, and all the soldiers were dying and killing for love. Men die for love of country, love for the family, to protect the ones they love, unconditionally. And after the war is over, the surviving men don’t talk about the horrors they lived through so as not to upset the ones they love. A continuum of malice and suffering – and it is called ‘real love’. No one ever puts these facts in one line and acknowledges that they are interrelated.
I could still feel the impact of the horrors those men went through. They stand for all of the suffering and devastation humans go through in the course of the centuries. Seeing the facts of what causes the suffering made it clear once again that I want to do something about this horrendous situation, which is continuing today as horrendously as in the First World War. And the only thing I can do about it is to eradicate every trace of ‘self’ in me, and that includes the instinct of love, eliminate every reason why I would kill, hurt or even insult any other human being. And I know, as long as there is a trace of ‘me’ inside, I am still capable of violence when ‘push comes to shove’.
ALAN: Weird stuff has been going on this evening and I know none of it is real. Or rather it is real, very real, but only something ‘I’ am creating. From heart palpitations, pressure in the head (like it is about to explode), shivering, melancholy, floating sensations, light headedness – and underlying it all a nothingness, sense of meaningless, a vast doubt (knowledge?) that it is all just me making it up. Is this just ‘me’ trying to pretend there is a process going on or is there a process going on? Or is there a process going on and ‘I’ pretend to know there is a process going on, in an attempt to cover up the process going on.
VINEETO: It is interesting you should just now describe this experience! It reminds me of a weird and fascinating experience I had just two nights ago. I had had a light smoke, when I suddenly started to feel nauseous and very dizzy in the head. The physical symptoms came along with an acute fear to throw up, to black out, in short, to lose control over my body and my life.
While Peter kept inquiring if there maybe was also some fear involved, not just a physical reaction, I was desperately trying to obtain control over my body. At the same time I was, of course, suspicious that it was all a play up of the ‘self’ trying to survive, but didn’t know how to deal with it.
When I finally laid down on the floor and ‘surrendered’ to the option of being unconscious and was actually getting interested and thrilled by the possibility of observing the experience, it very quickly disappeared like a ghost. It left me astounded about the power of ‘reality’, the vividness of the experience that fear created with all the ingredients of a ‘serious’ disease, becoming unconscious.
Only by accepting it as an adventure and at the same time doubting its actuality it lost its power over me, leaving me battered but proud like after a victorious, well-fought battle. The next night it happened again but was all much less dramatic, the temptation was there to delve into the fear, the physical symptoms were ready to emerge again, but this time I didn’t believe in the actual danger and it quickly went.
Then appeared another temptation – to divert into a journey into the psychic world, with all its ‘deep and meaningful’ insights and glorious ‘enlightenments’. But I had explored that area enough, I wanted to see what actuality there is without fear and beyond or beneath the psychic world. What I found is a magic, a stillness, unemotional, without excitement and strangely enough without ‘form’. The best description I could come up with is the definition we have here for an idiot: ‘All the stubbies are there for the six-pack, but the plastic between them is missing that would keep them together!’
Senses are operating but nobody is seeing or hearing, and then there is no difference between me and the desk that I am seeing, no distance, no ‘I’. Last night I experienced life beyond ‘being’, in a strange way hollow, but very alive and sensate. Now I can slowly and diligently examine the ‘plastic between the stubbies’, what it consists of, because recognized and understood it disappears. Sometimes it consists of fear, sometimes a vague feeling, sometimes a sense of continuity, of having past and future and definition...
ALAN: Since that time, with the realisation that none of what was occurring was ‘actual’, though very, very ‘real’ and simply a product of ‘my’ imagination, I have not again experienced such dread. This is not to say ‘I’ may not be a ‘prima donna’ again and I shall certainly recount any similar experiences.
VINEETO: One never knows how many actors are still waiting behind stage until they had their appearance. It is fascinating, when I think about it. The moment I discovered the ‘drama queen’, it lost its conviction. The moment I discovered ‘me’, the Truth-producing faculty of Enlightenment, it became impossible to believe in the ‘truth’ that I had just produced. The moment I discovered the ‘believer’, the mechanism of believing I could not believe anymore – the mechanism was switched off and disappeared. I had to investigate the facts. One piece after the other fell off ‘me’, while at the same time taking the veil off my physical senses. The colours are now more vivid, the sounds multi-layered, the skin awakes to sense the air in temperature and consistency, the little hair on my forearm being touched by the soft breeze when I walk into town.
VINEETO: One time I remember clearly, the experience was like cutting a thick cord that appeared to run from the bottom of my spine to his, like a telephone cord of sharing delight. Afterwards it felt like my very bone marrow was being drained out of me, most of my strength, determination and will to ‘fight for freedom’. A very strange experience, almost physically curling back into my self and became autonomous, not relying on him. Any need for emotional support vanished with that event.
ALAN: Like I said – a vivid imagination!
VINEETO: Yes, imagination is one thing, and it stopped once I became aware of the very act of imagining. But besides imagination there is an event or realisation and it often has an affective colour to it. That event is ‘real’, not actual and yet it seems to be necessary to finish a certain part of the ‘real’ belief or emotion or instinct that is presently under investigation. Then the whole thing disappears – the ‘real’ belief as well as the ‘real’ event both go up in smoke.
VINEETO: Richard said it to No 7 the other day:
When reporting about your recent realization you said, ‘As a fact, there is no ‘life after death’ – what a relief!!!!!’
I guess, your 5 exclamation marks indicate just a little an affective colour – what do you think? I experienced relief as the freedom from an affective burden, making it obvious that I had ‘really’ understood and not just done some cerebral gymnastics.
ALAN: Your mention of Rajneesh reminded me of Peter’s recent exchanges with No. 14. Fortunately, surrendering to a master never appealed to me, though I never met one in the flesh. I read a few books and even wrote to a few (with only one reply!). I much enjoyed Peter’s mail, even though he is giving away the secrets of the inner circle – I mean, how can we stay the ‘inner circle’, if we no longer have any secrets? So long as he does not tell everyone how to enjoy every second of every day or how to discover an absolute fun and delight in every action – from writing e-mails to cleaning up dog shit. Anyway, back to the subject. While I discovered some things of interest in the writings of these ‘masters’, there was always something which did not quite gel, or did not seem ‘right’. Now it is so, so, obvious – all one has to do is look at the facts, without beliefs getting in the way.
VINEETO: Yes, the actual and the spiritual...
It is only in the last few months that I have started to experientially understand the basic difference between ‘actual’ and ‘spiritual’. I now understand that EVERYTHING one usually experiences as real is filtered, edited, produced and coloured by the ‘spirit’, ie. by ideas, beliefs, emotions or passionate thoughts and is therefore spiritual. Usually there is not even a chance to experience the actual world directly because one is completely immersed in a spiritual world, created by instincts, emotions, feelings, beliefs and imagination. Thus a Christian is as ‘spirit’-ual as a New Age seeker, a Voodoo follower is as ‘spirit’-ual as a convinced believer in Atheism. In that context it makes no difference if one surrenders to a master or ‘only’ believes in a God, an afterlife, the Grace of Existence, Universal Love or a god of one’s own making – everyone is removed from the actual world.
In recognizing and acknowledging this essential difference between the spiritual and the actual it becomes more and more irrelevant ‘what’ one believes or ‘what’ one feels, rather it is the very act of believing and feeling itself – no matter ‘what’ it is. The layers of belief seem more and more subtle until one finally reaches the core-belief, the belief that ‘I’ have to exist. So, I figured, I will be only 100% non-spiritual when this ‘self’ is completely demolished. This self is the ‘spirit’ and its world is the spiritual world, a world of spirits, imaginations, beliefs, ideals – anything but factual, anything but actual, anything but sensate, tangible, palpable, sensual and tactile.
ALAN: Great fun – our explorations of the ‘primal self’ – the instinctual passions – seem to indicate that the predominant instinct is for ‘my’ survival, though ‘nurture’ can over-ride this on occasion – to give up one’s life for one’s children, for example. Threatening this ‘primal self’ causes the instinct of fear (the ‘flight or fight’ response) to be triggered, with its consequent release of various chemicals, mainly adrenaline. It appears to be our common experience that a ‘frontal assault’ on this ‘primal self’ is likely to result in physical death, probably brought on by a heart attack. So, what is necessary is to ‘weaken the connection’ (speculation – brain cells dying), by simply enjoying this moment of being alive, paying less and less attention to ‘my’ enfeebled demands and letting the ‘process’ complete its work. And none of this matters one little bit because life is actually perfect and nothing ‘we’ can do can interfere one iota with that perfection.
VINEETO: A little addition about what I found out today – I consider the psychological death as real as a physical death because ‘I’ am going to lose importance, substance, life and this body. The logic is right – from the viewpoint of the ‘self’. In the clarity of a PCE or of those excellent moments I know that this logic is only the self-centred viewpoint of the ‘self’.
VINEETO to Alan: How is life in the midst of selling your house and business, moving place and changing relationship? Maybe you don’t even have time to think about it because you’re so busy doing what is happening?
I have just finished two weeks of working again, replacing the bookkeeper for her holiday in a sannyas-business. For the few recent months I had been doing some secretarial work in that same sannyas-business about twice weekly, marketing a new product after I had quit my full-time job there 1½ years ago. It had all been going along fine until last week when I went there every day and my past habits caught up with me again. The woman who is running the business had been a close associate for many years and ‘naturally’ I set out trying to help her solve her – what at first seemed to me purely practical – problems.
A week later I found myself tossing and turning one night, slowly comprehending the full implications of the tricks and pitfalls in the marketing business she has been taking on and my emotional involvement in wanting to help, feeling loyal and sympathetic – the whole lot. Because I was attempting to find a solution within the Human Condition, I got lost in a spiralling quagmire of fear, horror and dread, until it became devastatingly obvious that there was indeed no solution for the situation. Unless I quit trying to solve ‘real-world’ problems for her, I will only keep suffering myself. To stop means abandoning her and her ever continuing problems, being a traitor to helping her, giving up finding solutions and admitting to failure. But that means abandoning humanity and humanity’s problems, being a traitor to the ‘real’ world, giving up finding solutions and admitting to failure – yippee!
Richard described it well on Mailing List B:
Yes, a sinking ship, and the eerie feeling as if going down a plughole when I stay emotionally involved in the situation...
It is so good there is now a third alternative. It is so good to step out of the ‘real’ world, into the actual world and to leave my ‘self’ behind – being a traitor and a failure, but happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: I’d like a personal view from you over these matters. It is all a little bit dark for me right now. I haven’t got a kind of a structure in my investigations and my questions. I hope that will change along the way.
VINEETO: Peter has written to No. 3 a good description of how to start the investigation. But it is inevitable, when you say ‘it is all a bit dark for [you] right now.’ Actual Freedom lies, in fact, 180 degrees in the opposite direction to everything that we have been programmed to believe as true for decades. And not only our generation but human beings for millennia have been programmed with the Human Condition – and therefore it takes a fair amount of reading to slowly get a grip and an understanding of what Actual Freedom is all about.
The whole journey to Actual Freedom basically consists of reading, contemplating, talking about one’s queries and discoveries, experimenting for oneself, digging into one’s psyche, reading again, comparing notes, having a realisation, reading again and so on. It is purely an individual’s search for an actual (not imaginary or theoretical) freedom that each of us does on our own, some passing on log-books for people who come after us.
I remember when I understood the word ‘spirit-ual’ for the first time. I had been with Peter for about 2 month and he had continuously questioned the spiritual teachers, the spiritual approach, the spiritual world. At the time I was still a convinced disciple of Rajneesh and could not understand his ‘obsession’, as I thought of it then, against the spiritual. Suddenly, one evening, I ‘got’ it – ‘spiritual’ means invented by the spirit, i.e. a fantasy, a imagination, a feeling, but not experienced by the physical senses. Up until then, for me, ‘spiritual’ had simply meant aspiring for the highest value, the ‘good’, enlightenment, Moksha. But that evening I understood its spirit-ual nature, non-actual by its very definition. It was one of my first break-throughs from the ‘dark’ confusion and widened the crack in the door to investigate further, overcoming my ‘spiritual’ objections.
The Actual World is the world of people, things and events, experienced as a sensate and reflective physical body and brain.
Because of the Human Condition we experience this actual world as overlaid and distorted by feelings, emotions, beliefs, intuition, imagination and theories – a world that we regard as ‘real’ but that is not actual.
The ‘real’ world and the actual world are two completely different worlds.
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: By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know what to say. I feel like I’m in never-never land.
VINEETO: I don’t know what ‘never-never land’ represents for you, but I am reminded of Peter Pan’s dreamland for children, where one is transported from the misery and dullness of the ‘real’ world into the unreal land of imagination, where one never has to become a grown-up.
In order to pursue the path to an ACTUAL freedom, as opposed to the imagined freedom of the spiritual world, it is essential to remember a Pure Consciousness Experience. Otherwise one won’t know what one is looking for and will only translate a few of the words and terms describing Actual Freedom into the spiritual belief-system that has been one’s familiar environment for many years.
There is plenty written about PCEs, and I found Richard’s correspondence on the subject particularly helpful. Unless one reads and re-reads and reads again about actual freedom, there is no way of de-programming one’s brain from the all-pervading spiritual teachings, thoughts and feelings. (You can find relevant topics on the map of the Actual Freedom Website including selected writings and selected correspondence). Unless one has at least a glimpse that Actual Freedom lies, in fact, 180 in the opposite direction to all spiritual beliefs, one will always end up in a ‘never-never land’ of fantasy, guesswork, misunderstanding and imagination.
Personally, it took two months and a lot of discussions with Peter until I finally understood experientially, what the term ‘spiritual’ stands for. For me, ‘spiritual’ had implied the ‘godly’ way of life, following the highest aspirations of mankind, a dedication to be good, to be part of the group of people who also aspire to the same goal. The day I finally understood the literal meaning of the word ‘spirit-ual’, a whole new world opened up. Suddenly the spiritual world was not the only alternate world to the ‘real’ world, not even the best world. Suddenly I understood that I – like everyone else – was producing this world in my head and heart – with my very spirit, so to speak – and this world consisted of spiritual morals, ethics, ideas, beliefs, emotions, loyalties, pride and the belief in the immortality of the soul.
A major distinguishing factor between the spiritual approach to life and the path to an actual freedom is that spirituality teaches one to enhance the ‘good’ affective feelings. One is to indulge one’s intuition, trust, belief, faith, hope, guesswork and is encouraged to sense (as in feel out) a situation. Whereas, on the path to Actual Freedom, one explores actuality by applying thought, common sense, contemplation, practicality, intelligence and undertakes an investigation into verifiable facts of the situation.
RESPONDENT: My previous teachings to me are about the actual. For example, a key ingredient of my previous teachings is about having a direct experience of the actual which I feel is necessary to having a PCE.
VINEETO: I am curious what ‘direct experience of the actual’ means for you, because all the new-age teachings of self-discovery that I know of, both spiritual and therapeutic, teach you about the experience of the ‘real me’, the ‘true self’, the ‘natural I’ and the ‘original face’. Most people don’t even make a distinction between the experience of sensual feelings like touch, temperature, hunger, sex, sleepiness on one side and affective feelings, moods, emotions and passions on the other side.
Whereas the actual is – to quote the library –
–– Existing in act or fact. Oxford dictionary
Peter: Actual is that which is palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical and material. It is that which can be experienced by the physical senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. That which is actual, being in action or in existence at this moment in time, is not merely passive.
In comparison, that which is deemed to be real is merely the cerebral and affective interpretation of the actual and physical by the psychological and psychic (social and instinctual) entity that dwells within the human body.
In comparison, spiritual Reality while feeling super-real and ‘other-worldly’ is merely an affective, imaginary, hoped and longed for, fairy tale – a further illusion built upon the initial illusion of reality. The myth of a spiritual Reality was created in ancient times as an escape from the very real horror, and the imagined evil spirits, evident in everyday earthly reality. The Actual Freedom Trust Library
RESPONDENT: I must point out that I am not ‘just’ writing, but like you, I am writing from experience.
VINEETO: Because Actual Freedom is so new and radically non-spiritual, it often happens that it is difficult to distinguish between Actual Freedom and the teachings of ‘wisdom’ that have been around for centuries. Having had several experiences of PCEs and of Altered States of Consciousness I can say that I am an expert on the pitfalls and seductions of the spiritual world. If you are interested you can read about my explorations into death and the psychic world.
If by ‘I am writing from experience’, you mean life-experience, it can only be an emotional experience from within the Human Condition and, as such, is worth sharing to enhance the inquiry. If you mean you are writing from an experience of a PCE, I can only go by what you write and your words and descriptions don’t convey the experience of a self-less state.
In our exchange before last you used expressions like:
To me these expressions are indicative of a spiritual experience, and are not describing a pure consciousness experience. In a PCE one is this flesh-and-blood body only with the clear awareness of what is actual. Everybody who can remember a PCE can recognize when someone describes the purity of the actual world. In a PCE the ‘real’ world does not exist because the ‘real’ world consists of ideas, beliefs, emotions and passions produced in the head and in the heart. In a PCE there is no ‘emotional ... remembrance’ because emotions are the very substance of the self.
RESPONDENT: Labels are not needed except as you say, ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’... and it is good fun.
VINEETO: I have never talked about ‘labels’ ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition’. I said – as you have quoted at the very top of the letter:
Label according to the dictionary means: ‘...to put in a certain class, to describe by a certain label’. Macquarie
When you say ‘labels are not needed ...’, I take it that you don’t mean words or descriptions, but use ‘label’ as in making a moral judgement. Personally, I find that both precise descriptive words and accurate judgments based on facts are essential for the inquiry process. How else is it possible to distinguish silly from sensible, malicious from harmless and sorrowful from happy? The important thing is what one’s judgement is based upon – and most people use their feelings and intuition to judge a situation, a person, a statement or an event. But to base one’s judgement on facts, common sense, pure intent and the memory of a pure consciousness experience is the only way to find one’s direction in the maze of old wisdom and NDA beliefs, ancient psittacisms and self-centred emotion.
So, labels are very much needed, for fruitful communication, for clarity and for in-depth investigation into the substance and content of the Human Condition. Once one gets rid of the moral and ethical judgements (usually the self-recriminations are the hardest) of good and bad, right and wrong, then the clarity that comes with sound judgement is all good fun.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me that most of your ideas were based on your own projections/expectations rather than on the ideas set forth by Osho – My understanding of his words was more along the lines of understanding that the search was for ‘where is this ‘self’?’ And given enough introspection trying to find where this ‘self’ was – one comes to the conclusion that there is no self – (have you been able to localise this self through your indoctrination into Peter/Richard’s way of looking at life? If so, where does it end and the ‘other’ begin?
VINEETO: Yes, I have been able to localize this self many times, both in experiencing times without the ‘self’ in operation and from observing the details of its components operating in me. First I will give you the dictionary definition and then tell you about my discoveries.
As I see it, human beings have a rudimentary sense of self (as do other primates with larger brains) which is expanded by our ability to think, reflect and communicate with others. The combination of both results in an individual self, our ‘social identity’, underpinned by our instinctually driven animal-self, the innate instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. The self is very real, especially when interacting with other people and it usually becomes apparent through our emotional reactions to people and situations. It consists both of ‘who we think we are’, usually called ‘ego’ and ‘who we feel we are’, usually called ‘soul’. (See The Actual Freedom Trust Library)
Once I understood that the ‘self’ includes beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, it was much easier to get a handle on it. Still, in the beginning it has been very scary to investigate emotions and beliefs, and the ground under my feet seemed to disappear many times. To explain to you how I came to understand ‘self’ in its complexity I will post you the description of my first peak-experience in our journal, where I left the realm of the ‘self’ for several hours and experienced the world without its distorting layer of emotions, beliefs and instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: They have a peculiar way of expressing experiences which I can share and recognize. What I wonder about, is what they call fact. And I must ask you, Peter, what is a fact, when that which is a fact to you is not a fact to me?
VINEETO: From this different view of understanding the fact of death without an after-life, I can see facts as naked as they are, without the embellishing veil of love, compassion, hope, right and wrong, soul and inner world. I had taken all those feelings for facts before I met Richard, but after closer and honest investigation they could not stand the scrutiny of my discrimination. I had had strong experiences or ‘realisations’ about truth, love, hope etc. and that had made it all the easier to believe them as real – I don’t deny that those experiences are real. But they are not actual, which means, you cannot see, touch, hear, smell or taste them. They exist in the head and only in the head (or are felt in the heart) and they are a bit different for everybody. A Christian sees Jesus in a vision, a Sannyasins may hear Osho talk ‘truth’ in their minds.
Facts are material facts, physical facts, sensual facts, scientifically proven facts (in opposition to a scientific theory like a black hole), what has really happened or is the case, as the Oxford dictionary says.
The so-called facts of the ‘real world’ are mere beliefs. That millions of people believe them does not make them facts. And belief can have amazing results. I have had wonderful spiritual experiences and psychic understandings. But in comparison with the peak-experiences of the actual world it is evident and obvious that they are mere passionate imaginations.
VINEETO to No 12: Despite all the in-built contradictions Osho was clear on one point:
RESPONDENT: I see you are well practiced in painting something with ugly colours. I suspect No Where will you ever find that Osho clearly made this point. But IT is clear that this is your perception, and therefore you build your works on something you paint ugly, something that may or may not be reality in any world (real or actual) except in your perception.
VINEETO: Do you mean to say that Osho never told us to realise that we are God (the Divine), and never said that he has already realised it? Is this not the very essence of what he was saying?
No 12 has made a particular point that ‘Vineeto missed Osho’ and I responded to his statement. I said:
Well, I have described at length in the above mentioned letter as to why I decided that I’d rather live in the actual world of people, things and events than get lost in the imagination of the psychic world with its passionate imaginations of Compassion and Truth. In that sense I have serendipitously ‘missed Osho’ and now have turned 180 degrees in the opposite direction to everything spiritual and non-actual. Life has not only gained immense meaning, but I am finally able to be happy and harmless, live at ease in the world and at peace, on my own and with other human beings.’
Seeing it from a Sannyasin’s point of view, you call my response ‘painting with ugly colours’. But with your very response you show that you are biased, and that you have an emotional response to what I said (‘ugly’).
The difference between ‘real’ and ‘actual’ is significant. ‘Actual’ is that which is palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, material and sensately experienced. In comparison, ‘real’ is that which, while appearing actual, is merely the affective interpretation of the actual.
As an example: usually people say, ‘I feel that what you are saying is...’, ‘I feel that your are being ...’, I feel melancholic because of the weather...’ – an affective response to and interpretation of the actual.
But how would someone who is fond of his affections – because they is the very substance the ‘self’ is made of – be able to experience and understand the non-affective, non-cerebral, but sensate and sensible description of the actual? I can give you a description of a pure consciousness experience, as I have done before, but are you able to read it with clear eyes? Whenever I compare the actual world to the spiritual world I do this to point to the ‘rose-coloured glasses’ that you, the reader, are wearing. When I was a sannyasin, I had been wearing rose-coloured glasses, it was inevitable. It took great effort, courage and a year of continuous investigation into all my beliefs to be now able to experience the world-as-it-is, without any glasses ie. interpretations whatsoever.
VINEETO: I had taken all those things quoted as facts, before I met Richard, but they could not stand the scrutiny of my discrimination. I had strong experiences or ‘realisations’ about truth, love, hope etc. and that had made it all the easier to believe them as real – I don’t deny that those experiences are real. But they are not actual, which means, you cannot verify them through seeing, touching, hearing, smelling or tasting them. They exist in the head and only in the head (or are felt in the heart), and they are different for everybody. A Christian sees Jesus in a vision, a Sannyasins may hear Osho talk ‘truth’ in their minds.
RESPONDENT: So you’ve learned, you have seen that YOU made concepts. The trouble was not in the words ‘everything is perfect as it is’, but in you. The trouble is not in the teaching but in you who interpreted it. There’s no need to shit on the teaching as you are now or is there.
VINEETO: I had always defended the Master and blamed me. It is part of believing in authority.
Once that belief in authority was questioned and eliminated, I could come back to the issue, examine the teachings of the master and the life of the master, what he said, what the result was, for me, for others and for the country that had been stricken with Eastern teachings since millennia. It revealed a totally different picture.
RESPONDENT: Osho says: meditation and love go hand in hand. Is it not the same as what you guys have been saying? Meditation defined as aliveness, watchfulness, investigation, paying attention to one’s feelings.
VINEETO: When you are trying to fit what we say into what Osho said you will miss the point entirely. In the last days I have talked to two old girlfriends, both enthusiastically and devotedly on the spiritual path, and I have tried to tell them about my findings and experiences. It was bewildering to see how they both said it was all the same like the spiritual. It leaves me at a loss what words to use. But, I will try again –
Meditation is based on the watcher. You watch your thoughts and feelings in order to rise above them, to dis-identify from them, which in the end amounts to going somewhere else, where you are not the body, not the mind, not the emotion. You are to identify with the watcher and thus move away from the source of your troubles, your body and brain inflicted with the emotions and instincts of the Human Condition. If you persist and identify with the watcher strongly enough, you become the watcher and simply ‘watch’ your body doing its number. Nothing is changed in the Human Condition except ‘you’ become someone other than this flesh and blood body. Then you become the ‘soul’ (the heart), and maybe you even become so deluded as to flip into an altered state of consciousness, aka enlightenment.
Actual Freedom is firmly based on this flesh and blood body with its physical senses as the only actuality there is. Everything that not perceivable by the physical senses is feeling and imagination, deeply ingrained in our genetic heritage and our socially absorbed psyche, but nevertheless imagination and as such non-actual. The aim of the path to actual freedom is to come out of the psychic and psychological structure of the ‘real’ world, the instinctual passions, emotions and beliefs, and step into the actual, sensate and sensual world of the physical universe, where everything is already here, perfect, magical and pure.
In order to come out of the real world one needs to investigate into the ‘hooks’ that keep pulling one back into misery, malice and fear – and investigate and eliminate them whenever they appear. That is done by running the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ Then everything that is preventing you from feeling good will be examined and traced to its root.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.