Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO: At first I had only Richard’s report that he has no imagination whatsoever and that imagination is an affective faculty of the psyche – later in the actualism practoce I could confirm this report by my own experience in that my imagination more and more disappeared and nowadays I have a hard time to activate it, for instance when I try to visualize objects others talk about that I have never seen. I don’t miss it though – it is one less distraction from sensually experiencing what is right here.
RESPONDENT: Right. I can understand this because in the PCE on a country walk I thought idly about where I was in relation to the town and river, found I could not construct a mental map, and did not give a damn. It didn’t matter in the slightest; it had no relevance. I was ‘here’, and that was all I needed to know. Besides, I was too busy perceiving to worry about creating some internal shorthand sketch of what was all around me in all its splendour. I do know what you’re talking about in this respect.
VINEETO: Good. And I take it that there was also no ‘desire to play around with it aesthetically, like a kid with a kaleidoscope’ as there was in your ASC. Interesting Experience, 15.12.2003
RESPONDENT: However, I am now starting to think that one can have one’s cake and eat it too.
VINEETO: Before you get carried away with this thought let me ask you how you think this would work in practice. The cake we are talking about is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, a ‘self’-less flesh-and-blood body living a pure consciousness experience 24/7. To ‘eat it too’ means to simultaneously have a psyche, which perceives the world as ‘pure’ in images and symbols? In other words you want to be ‘self’-less whilst remaining a ‘self’.
You can certainly entertain this as a philosophy but never live it as an actuality.
RESPONDENT: I do not currently accept that the presence of an image generating / image-hosting psychic medium (‘psychic’ = ‘supernatural’) is necessarily identity-bound because I have no reason to think so. It seems to me now that the ASC I described (and I’ve had more echoes of it subsequently) is no less ‘pure’ than a PCE. (It is indeed much harder to convey the purity in words, because ordinary ‘imagination’ is a very shoddy thing by comparison, but the purity and perfection are there in abundance). In the ordinary state, the ‘world’ is (for me) divided into what I call ‘worldspace’ and ‘mindspace’. Worldspace is the actual physical world of three dimensions that we all share and move around in. Mindspace is a private ‘inner’ ‘space’ which has no dimensions, mass, substance, or physical location. The phantom ‘objects’ in this mindspace are not actual, in that they have no substance, mass, location, dimensions, etc. If I conjure up a winged tortoise with a pink shell and Santa Claus riding him, white beard a-blowing in the breeze, it’s pretty easy and it takes only a split second. Where does the image exist? It is caused by electrochemical impulses in brain, no doubt, but it is not these electrochemical impulses, any more than these words are the electrical impulses that cause them to appear on your screen. The cause of the image is my brain, but the image is not in my brain. It is not in the room either. Where the hell is it? It’s not anywhere, it has no location at all, but I experience it right enough. There is no question of believing it to be ‘real’, it is obviously a ‘psychic’ (clearly not ‘supernatural’) phenomenon. That’s ordinary imagination as I know it. Nothing special there. The kind of ‘psychic’ (but not ‘supernatural’) phenomena I’ve been talking about are not even similar to ordinary imagination. It has the quality of perception. It is as different from ordinary ‘imagination’ as the actual world (as experienced in a PCE) is different from the ‘real’ world (as experienced ‘normally’).
VINEETO: From you description it appears that ‘mindspace’ is the experience of normal consciousness while ‘worldspace’ is the experience of altered consciousness. I do acknowledge that ASCs can be experienced as an extremely pleasant and desirable state – that’s their very lure. Words like grand, clean, beautiful, vast, open, good, powerful, in order, stunning, great, cosmic, wholesome, luxurious, wonderful, miraculous, mysterious, inexplicable, deep, fulfilling, oscillating, greatly enhanced, gratifying, majestic and so on come to mind when I think of my past ASCs. An ASC may even appear as ‘no less ‘pure’ than a PCE’ particularly when one wants to ‘have one’s cake and eat it too’.
RESPONDENT: However, I am now starting to think that one can have one’s cake and eat it too.
VINEETO: Before you get carried away with this thought let me ask you how you think this would work in practice. The cake we are talking about is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, a ‘self’-less flesh-and-blood body living a pure consciousness experience 24/7. To ‘eat it too’ means to simultaneously have a psyche, which perceives the world as ‘pure’ in images and symbols?
RESPONDENT: No, a psyche which is as pure as the actual world. (And no ‘me’ there to ‘have’ it). Rather, it is the very thing that generates the virtual ‘me’.
VINEETO: The psyche, the generator of ‘the ‘virtual ‘me’’ is the very thing that generates the human condition. Whereas this generator of ‘the ‘virtual ‘me’’ is temporarily switched off in a PCE, which is a temporary experience of being free from the human condition in toto. You yourself reported that there is a complete absence of any psyche whatsoever, be it pure or impure, in a PCE.
RESPONDENT: To put it another way, ‘I’ am an epiphenomenon of ‘it’ (which is nothing more than the brain in operation), rather than ‘it’ being an epiphenomenon of ‘me’.
VINEETO: You are correct when you say ‘‘I’ am an epiphenomenon of ‘it’’ because ‘it’ is one’s innermost ‘being’ expanded thin and wide to such a degree that ‘it’ can appear to be as vast as the universe in which case one can feel oneself to be the universe experiencing itself. In this state ‘I’, the small s ‘self’, is experienced to be an epiphenomenon of ‘it’, the large s ‘Self’, also known as ‘the Ground of Being’.
VINEETO: In other words you want to be ‘self’-less whilst remaining a ‘self’.
RESPONDENT: No, but I can see why you would conclude that. I hope I’m getting somewhere in trying to clarify this.
VINEETO: Only meticulous observation and the comparison with your PCE can experientially reveal that an experience of ‘it’, no matter how pure it feels, is still an experience within the human condition.
VINEETO: You can certainly entertain this as a philosophy but never live it as an actuality.
RESPONDENT: I honestly don’t see why not. It would be great if we could walk in each other’s shoes for a day to get around all these words and see directly what each of us is on about.
VINEETO: But I do know what you are ‘on about’ – I had had several ASCs myself and I spent half my life with someone who was talking about nothing else morning and evening. Your dilemma is that you have cast aside your PCE as less interesting than your latest experience and as such you are missing the benchmark for determining the difference between an experience of ‘Being’ or of a ‘virtual me’ and a genuine ‘self’-less experience.
RESPONDENT: In the meantime I’m continuing to practise HAIETMOBA without trying to make a principle of anything I experience. It’s just that all objections to what has happened so far seem (to me) to be without substance.
VINEETO: To clarify, I am not objecting to your experience – it is entirely up to you what you choose to make your aim in life.
I am simply reporting to you, based on my experiential knowledge, that your second experience is not genuinely ‘self’-less while you are trying to make out that it was, despite your own reported differences between your PCE and your second experience.
VINEETO: I do acknowledge that ASCs can be experienced as an extremely pleasant and desirable state – that’s their very lure. Words like grand, clean, beautiful, vast, open, good, powerful, in order, stunning, great, cosmic, wholesome, luxurious, wonderful, miraculous, mysterious, inexplicable, deep, fulfilling, oscillating, greatly enhanced, gratifying, majestic and so on come to mind when I think of my past ASCs. An ASC may even appear as ‘no less ‘pure’ than a PCE’ particularly when one wants to ‘have one’s cake and eat it too’. My only point in this discussion is that there is an enormous and vital difference between the two and that the twain shall never meet.
RESPONDENT: No, that’s the thing: there really is not a great difference between them. In one state the self is absent, invisible, gone, and the purity and perfection of the actual world is all there to be enjoyed, freely, without any taint whatsoever, and it’s fantastic. In the other state there is all of that, plus an awareness of the psyche that generates the virtual ‘self’. These experiences have much more in common than they differ, I assure you.
VINEETO: History has shown that for those who are pursuing an ASC, the ‘self’-less experience of a PCE not only becomes unattractive but even the memory of it vanishes completely out of sight. It is not for nothing that it took until 1992 before the first human being broke free from the grip of the grand delusion that is the altered state of consciousness into an actual freedom.
Like it or not but it is a fact that you can only pursue one experience or the other experience because an actual freedom requires the elimination of ‘self’.
RESPONDENT: I think because we’re discussing the points of contention, the underlying similarities have been overshadowed. In both states the entire burden of self (and all its capacity for mischief and misery) is gone. And that is wonderful.
VINEETO: History has also shown that in an ASC the ‘self’s’ ‘capacity for mischief and misery’ is not gone at all. Because the instinctual passions are not eliminated in an ASC havoc can strike at any time – and then it strikes Big Time. (...)
RESPONDENT: Yep. The PCE I had last summer had none of this ‘pattern matching’ or ‘symbol-generating’, or ‘plasticity’, and the psyche was not ‘visible’ at all. There was an underlying similarity though that I can’t quite put my finger on, except to say that both seemed to have had a pure and perfect basis.
VINEETO: Would it be right to say that the first was a pure, i.e. ‘self’-less, experience while the other was an image of a pure experience created by your psyche?
RESPONDENT: Not quite. The other was an experience in which psyche was present, but it was not created out of or by the psyche. In both cases there was an underlying purity and perfection; in the latter case it was manifest in mind as well as in world. And the presence of a mind-medium (unlike ordinary ‘imagination’) did not in any way diminish the perfection and purity of the actual world as experienced by the senses.
VINEETO: The purity of the actual world means that there is no ‘self’ or psyche present and it is the affective ‘self’ or psyche that distorts the clear perception of what is actual.
If you decide to reinterpret ‘the perfection and purity of the actual world’ as being an experience of the psyche ‘manifest in mind as well as in world’ then we are talking about two different things. It does make communication a little confusing though.
RESPONDENT: No, not ‘psyche manifest in mind as well as world’. Rather, purity and perfection manifest in mind as well as world.
VINEETO: Okay, I have read you wrong here. What still stands, however, is that ‘the presence of a mind-medium’ seems to be what is responsible for ‘this ‘pattern matching’ or ‘symbol-generating’ or ‘plasticity’’ – the very events that differ from your PCE.
RESPONDENT: There can be thought without a thinker.
VINEETO: Yes. In a PCE thoughts happen or don’t happen depending on the situation.
RESPONDENT: And, in my experience at least, there can be visualisation without a visualiser, and no accompanying loss of the perfection and purity of the actual world.
VINEETO: This is how you described your experience with the visualisation –
The psyche, which you said was ‘definitely’ present, is the visualizer. Whereas in a PCE the ‘self’ /the psyche, which is not only the ‘Human Drama’ but the very motor for ‘images and symbols’ is absent. In a PCE I am this psyche-less flesh-and-blood body only, apperceptively aware of the sensual delights and reflective thoughts while they are happening on their own accord.
The reason why I am so persistent about keeping a clear distinction between the quality of a ‘self’-less experience as compared to the quality of an altered state with ‘a psyche present’ is because if anyone decides to want to become free from the Human Condition in toto then he or she needs to have an indubitable benchmark and therefore make a clear distinction between the two experiences. Otherwise one would waste one’s time chasing an Altered States of Consciousness instead of an actual freedom from the human condition.
VINEETO: This is how you described your experience with the visualisation –
The psyche, which you said was present, is the visualizer.
RESPONDENT: No, I’ve tried to make this clear: it is not the ‘doer’, it is not an ‘entity’. The brain is the visualiser,
VINEETO: This seems to be the crucial point of disagreement, which I think can only be settled as an experiential answer achieved by meticulous and ongoing observation.
From my own experiences of ASCs I can understand why the psyche does not appear to be the ‘doer’. In an altered state of consciousness ‘I’, the doer, makes way for ‘me’, ‘being’ itself, and the feeling of this expansion is so grand, so vast and so impressive that the ‘being’ itself does not even appear to be an entity because one does not see or feel the edge of it. It is not for nothing that before Richard’s discovery of an actual freedom from the human condition, a permanent Altered State of Consciousness, be it spiritual or secular, was considered the summum bonum of human experience.
RESPONDENT: … just as the brain (not the ‘self’) is the ‘thinker’.
VINEETO: Only in a pure consciousness experience does the ‘self’ not interfere with the brain thinking.
RESPONDENT: The brain can produce images of its own accord without ‘me’ painstakingly constructing them in ‘my’ mind.
VINEETO: It is the affective faculty born of the instinctual passions that generates ‘images of its own accord’. Imagination is so immediate, automatic and effortless, it is my experience that it takes some practice in observing one’s psyche in action in order to discover that imagination is a function of the affective faculty. (...)
RESPONDENT: I understand that, when Richard broke through into ‘actual freedom’, his capacity to imagine or visually recollect disappeared at the same time as his affections. Whether this is cause or correlate is unclear.
VINEETO: No, Richard made clear that they correlate –
RESPONDENT: Suppose I have a toaster and a radio plugged into the same power point with a double adapter. I flick off the power switch, and both radio and toaster cease to work. Would I now be justified in saying that the music I heard a few minutes ago was an epiphenomenon of the toaster?
For all I know, Richard may be exactly right – but I would like to know once and for all, what basis is there for saying that the brain’s capacity to generate images is an epiphenomenon of an affective ‘self’?
VINEETO: The basis is apperception.
RESPONDENT: Is it just that the two disappeared simultaneously, or is there a more solid factual basis for claiming that one is caused by the other?
VINEETO: If one takes notice of the reports of others and relates the data from the PCEs (no imagination, no ‘self’) to one’s normal day experiences (imagination, ‘self’) and to an ASC (extra-ordinary imagination, ‘Self’) there is a strong indication that ‘self’ and imagination are correlated. These contrasting experiences are indication for a prima facie case to be made such that can eventually be verified by your own experience.
Then there is your own pure consciousness experience – you yourself reported no imaginative activity happening in an experience in which the ‘self’ is temporarily absent. This is experiential, empirical evidence.
VINEETO: Whereas in a PCE the ‘self’ /the psyche, which is not only the ‘Human Drama’ but the very motor for ‘images and symbols’ is absent.
RESPONDENT: Is the ‘self’ is the very motor for ‘thoughts’? Your experience (and mine too) confirms: no. But try explaining that to someone who hasn’t experienced the temporary abeyance of ‘self’. They’d assume the self is still there, you’re just unconscious of it, or something of the sort.
VINEETO: The ‘self’ – the psychological and psychic entity arising from the instinctual passions – is the ‘very motor’ for emotional thoughts, also known as feelings. However, many people don’t bother to make a distinction between their feelings and their thoughts and this includes all the spiritual authorities that have been so influential in Western society in the last half-century.
VINEETO: In a PCE I am this psyche-less flesh-and-blood body only, apperceptively aware of the sensual delights and reflective thoughts while they are happening on their own accord.
RESPONDENT: So how are ‘reflective thoughts’ occurring without ‘psyche’?
VINEETO: Thoughts are an activity of the human brain. When the ‘self’ or psyche is temporarily absent in a PCE then thoughts are no longer influenced by impulses from the amygdala and the limbic systems and intelligence can function unimpeded.
RESPONDENT: I asked Richard to clarify the difference between ‘mind’ and ‘psyche’ as he uses the terms, and his answer was quite clear: his description of ‘psyche’ was a supernatural ‘life-force’ of sorts, a ghostly metaphysical entity or presence or power or force that is assumed to inhabit the flesh and blood body.
VINEETO: When you use words such as ‘of sorts’, ‘ghostly’ or ‘is assumed to’ you indicate that Richard’s description that the psyche is a meta-physical entity inhabiting the flesh-and-blood body is not your experience. However, this is how you described your PCE –
This ‘invisible membrane’ that you seemed to ‘had walked through’ *is* your psyche and this entity, presence, power or force is experienced as something very real when one leaves it behind in a PCE – there is nothing ‘of sorts’, ‘ghostly’ or ‘assumed’ about it at all prior to or subsequent to a PCE.
As you said yourself, past this ‘invisible membrane’ the world is then perceived as perfection and ‘the ‘me’ who had set out for a walk … seemed to be aeons ago’. This ‘me’ is your psyche – so palpable as to be experienced as real and so all-consuming that it produces it’s own self-centred reality.
However, when the PCE fades and one is back to normal, it is inevitable that most of the experience is forgotten. That’s when paying attention to one’s thoughts and feelings comes into play because only by paying ongoing attention to how one experiences this moment of being alive can one begin to observe and understand the psyche in action and become familiar with all of its aspects. And to pay attention to one’s psyche in action is part and parcel of fully leaving it behind.
RESPONDENT: What I am calling ‘psyche’ is not in any way separate from the brain or the flesh and blood body.
VINEETO: It seems that you are making a case for your second experience (the ‘interesting experience’ with a psyche present) to be not only equivalent to but better than a pure consciousness experience.
Your claim that ‘psyche’ is not in any way separate from the brain or the flesh and blood body’ contradicts your own experience that in a PCE there was no psyche present – therefore it must be possible to separate the two.
RESPONDENT: The only difference is that in my mind/ psyche, images are not evidence of a ‘self’, whereas for you (for reasons still unexplained), images (but not ‘thoughts’ or words or actions) are a manifestation of a ‘self’.
VINEETO: From the perspective of the psyche images are not ‘evidence of a ‘self’’ because the psyche is the ‘self’. In a PCE, however, when the psyche is entirely absent and with it the action of imaging, apperception is freed to operate and the full scope of one’s psyche can become apparent if one is observant. Then, when one returns to ‘normal’ and begins to practice being attentive to one’s feelings and thoughts the various aspects of the ‘self’ will gradually become more apparent.
RESPONDENT: See, the ‘self’ is a virtual entity, right?
VINEETO: More correctly, the ‘self’ is an entity arising from the genetically encoded instinctual programming, something all humans are endowed with. In that the ‘self’ is experienced as the core of one’s ‘being’ and as such very, very real. One’s ‘self’ is as real as your anger is, as real as your fear is, as real as your nurture is and as real as your desire is. To leap to an intellectual understanding that the ‘self’ is virtual is to miss the fact that one’s own feelings that are the very substance of one’s instinctual ‘self’.
RESPONDENT: If one can directly perceive not only the ‘stuff’ of which this virtual entity is made, but also perceive the medium in which this and other virtual entities are formed, the very perception of this virtual entity seems to render it harmless. Time will tell though. I’m not going to put on blinkers. What will be will be, and if I find out I’m kidding myself, I won’t be embarrassed to acknowledge it. (Once again, I agree that the ‘self’ can be very cunning indeed, and I don’t believe ‘I’ am immune to its wiles – but as yet I see no reason to suspect that this is the case here).
VINEETO: When I use the term ‘direct perception’ or ‘direct experience’ I talk about ‘self’-less perception – one’s sensory perception is not intercepted, interpreted, distorted or enhanced by the ‘self’. In an ASC, as you said, with the presence of an ‘image generating / image-hosting psychic medium’, the ‘self’ has not yet been fully seen in its totality because the moment the ‘self’ is seen in its totality, it disappears. In an ASC one only perceives part of the ‘self’ while the other part, that you called ‘psyche’, remains intact and gets blown out of proportion, hence one’s ‘self’ feels transformed and one’s perception becomes proportionately distorted.
RESPONDENT: Ok, but while ever you are in ‘virtual freedom’ rather than ‘actual freedom’, you are indeed running the show. And part of the ‘you’ who is running the show is a ‘belief’ (for want of a better word) that ‘you’ as a psychic entity must disappear entirely in order to allow the already-existing purity and perfection of the actual world to manifest itself.
VINEETO: No. It was the ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience itself which revealed that normally there is an ‘I’ who thinks and feels she is running the show all the time and it also reveals that in order to allow the already-existing purity and perfection of the actual world to manifest itself ‘I’ have to disappear. This is not ‘a belief’ but recognition of a fact via direct perception.
RESPONDENT: What I was on about was the day to day dismantling of the self. But never mind, I understand what you’re saying and why, and it makes sense.
VINEETO: Okay, in the ‘day to day dismantling of the self’ I am guided by the memory of my PCE, which has always been my benchmark for determining the difference between what is actual and what are ‘my’ creations, my feelings, my beliefs and my passions.
Furthermore, the method of actualism is designed to reveal each instance when I am missing out on experiencing the already existing perfection because I am feeling what it is like to be here instead of actually being here – when I am feeling bored, feeling sad, feeling angry, feeling upset, feeling grand, feeling antagonistic, feeling dissociated and so on.
These feelings are ‘me’ and whenever I notice any of those feelings, both the affectionate and desirable feelings and the hostile and invidious feelings then I bring them to the bright light of awareness where they eventually disappear along with the aspect of my identity related to those feelings. In this way I minimise the ‘good’ feelings along with ‘bad’ feelings, whilst encouraging the felicitous/ innocuous feelings, which in turn minimizes the influence and substance of ‘me’. Guided by the pure intent gleaned from the PCE ‘I’ have no chance of remaining undetected.
RESPONDENT: The practical investigation involved in the actualist method, from what I understand, depends on common sense and discerning facts from beliefs, as well as pure intent from the a PCE, and the PCE itself. Can someone get rid of their conditioning while not having seen that the self is a hallucination, as experienced in a PCE?
VINEETO: One can certainly begin to dismantle one’s conditioning without remembering having experienced a PCE.
One of the first parts of my social identity I examined thoroughly was my female role in the man-woman relationship, which I have described in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’ in Peters Journal. In my investigation I started with my problem of pining, examining why I did not feel happy and whole without the man I loved, dug into my gender conditioning of feeling and believing that I was not complete as a human being in my own right without having partner in life, and eventually discovered the Cinderella-like dream programmed into me since childhood. I did not stop my inquiry until I got to the very root of the problem, my identity as a woman in relationship to a man. I was then faced with the decision of hanging onto my dream or making a conscious decision to abandon the dream and with it a chunk of my female identity and then be able to relate to the flesh-and-blood person I was living with instead of seeing him as the man of my archetypal dream.
This particular investigation happened before I had a complete understanding of the full scope of actualism and a couple of months before I had my first PCE. However, it is my experience that the more one successfully inquires into one’s social conditioning and the more one abandons one’s beliefs, morals, ethics, social roles and cultural taboos, the more likely it becomes that a tear will occur in the fabric of one’s identity, which then can enable a pure consciousness experience to take place.
RESPONDENT: Are facts concerning the self exclusive knowledge to actualists who believe or know that the self is not real?
VINEETO: I think No 60 had a good point in his answer to you – the belief that the ‘self’ is not real can turn into an obstacle if one maintains it as a belief. Having said that I also remember that, whenever fears or objections loomed which threatened to prevent me from investigating further, it was helpful to remind myself that it was my identity in action – and not actuality.
RESPONDENT: Can you blame spiritualists for believing nonsense if they have not had or recall a PCE?
VINEETO: I don’t blame spiritualist for believing nonsense – I was a nonsense-believing spiritualist myself for most of my adult life. But now that I am free of these beliefs I simply call a spade a spade and nonsense I call nonsense. To do anything less would be to do a disservice to any of my fellow human beings who are also interested in becoming free of their spiritual beliefs.
RESPONDENT: In general I find it makes sense that the self does not have any actuality, but that doesn’t mean that I am any more sure of it than theologians convictions and arguments about the existence of God.
VINEETO: The non-existence of ‘me’ as an actuality makes sense because it is an experience that everybody has had at some stage in their life albeit one that most people only have a very vague whiff of a memory tucked away in the mist of early childhood.
The existence of God, however, does not make sense – god is a product of fervent imagination and even devout theologians cannot answer all the questions that arise from the mysteriousness of God’s supposed nonsensical qualities. But the belief in God has a certain emotional appeal for most people – for ‘me’ as an identity it might be comforting to believe in a creator and protector god because ‘I’, by ‘my’ very nature, am lost, lonely and frightened and very cunning.
RESPONDENT: So are matters of investigating conditioning dependent on being able to say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’ and getting a clearer perspective on the issue from there? I find that if I didn’t know that the self was not real, I would not be able to think clearly when I investigate various topics.
VINEETO: In a way this question is now irrelevant because you have already said that
As such you can use this intellectual understanding to practically question the actuality of ‘you’ in action whenever ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings prevent you from being happy and harmless. In the moment of my decision to let go of the Cinderella dream ‘I’, the ‘self’, felt to be very real and what helped me to become free from this part of my identity was not the knowledge that the ‘self’ is not an actuality but my intent and determination to get rid of my feelings of pining and dependency whatever the cost.
After the decision of course I knew that what had felt so very real was not actual because it had disappeared without a trace. In other words, when I found that I could do without a part of my self that was causing me to be unhappy and in doing so I felt more happy and more free, it became more obvious to me that whilst ‘I’ don’t exist as a physical actuality, ‘I’ am real in that ‘I’ manifest myself as malicious and sorrowful feelings. If you are interested in having an experiential understanding of how ‘you’ operate then there is only one way to do it and that is to do it – thinking about it is not the same as doing it.
RESPONDENT: However, earlier in my investigative process I did not recall a PCE, but saw that Richard’s written experiences made sense, and that upon looking for the self the oft-repeated bit ‘you are your feelings and your feelings are you’ rang true. But still at that point, and I’m not 100% sure at this point, could I say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’.
VINEETO: I found that it was useful to have a good intellectual grasp, as in making sense, of actualism and the information involved before I began to translate the theory into practice. However, I was never a great fan of theories and particularly in the case of actualism I was eager to apply what I had understood in order to become more happy and less antagonistic towards others as soon as possible … and the more I practically applied myself to the investigation the more I theoretically understood what Richard was talking about.
This is no different than learning anything new – read up a bit on the theory, read through the instruction manual, try it out, learn by trial and error, check back with the manual if needed, if you get stuck then ask questions of someone with more expertise, keep at it until you develop a certain level of competence and then all of a sudden it all makes sense and you find yourself doing it effortlessly. Learning anything new requires an initial interest, then the intent to do it and the rest is application, diligence, patience and perseverance.
As such you could say ‘I have seen that the self is not real’ as an intellectual understanding which will then give you the confidence and the courage to go ahead and confirm this understanding as an actuality – first by questioning certain aspects of your ‘self’ and not being distracted by the smoke-screen ‘you’ will inevitably produce, and then by the happening of a ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience.
VINEETO: The third requirement of learning something new becomes apparent in your response when I described the nature of this list –
The self can’t generate anything, 16.6.2001
Before you have even begun to find out and investigate what actualism is all about, you propound the borrowed wisdom of Eastern spiritualism, already absolutely convinced that we actualists have got it all wrong. If you want to insist that ‘the self is not an actor’, then that is entirely your business. But if you already know, why do you make-believe that you are ‘trying to understand’?
Obviously, in order to learn something new you will have put aside the insistence that you already know and that you are right and maybe consider the possibility that you have been on the wrong track all along. This is, of course, a devastating blow to one’s pride but, then again, the question is ... would you let pride stand in the way of learning something new about the human condition? In order to understand actualism it is vital that you are open to the possibility that all of humanity has got it 180 degrees wrong.
It is vital to understand that the word ‘wrong’ has nothing to do with a moral or ethical judgement as in ‘you have been a bad person’ but that it is a simple statement of fact that none of the traditional real-world methods or spiritual beliefs and teachings has brought peace on earth, i.e. they are wrong in that they don’t work. Despite their perpetual promises, none of the religious and spiritual movements, none of the self-help-therapies and none of the revered philosophies has come up with a practical down-to-earth, workable solution to eliminate malice and sorrow in human existence. Their solutions do not work, pas du tout.
As for your statement ‘the self can’t generate anything’ – if you don’t even want to consider that you, i.e. your ‘self’, is responsible for your words and actions, then you certainly are on the wrong mailing list, as you have firmly shut the door to taking your life into your own hands. I am not going to discuss with you the borrowed beliefs about what the self is or not – beliefs that originated in a time when Wisdom had it that the earth was flat and the sky above was a dome populated by Gods and Demons. To believe this ancient wisdom to be the irrefutable Truth is to remain Neanderthaloid in one’s thinking and to be in blatant denial of modern scientifically proven facts.
Have you never experienced a rush of anger and wondered where it came from, have you never been overwhelmed by sadness and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a shiver of fear literally running up your spine and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a gut-wrenching despair and wondered where it came from. Have you ever wondered what enrages human beings so much that they would kill, rape, maim and torture other human beings or wondered why people become so despairing that they would kill themselves. Have you ever wondered ‘who’ or ‘what’ generates these passions that directly cause all this mayhem and suffering? Have you ever wondered why in all Eastern philosophy suffering is considered intrinsic to being human and the only escape is to become a divine Self? I just wondered if you had ever wondered about these things before you accepted the Wisdom of the East as being the inviolable and unquestionable Truth?
I have examined all my beliefs and thrown them all overboard. I have stopped believing long ago. No belief can hold water when confronted with facts. I rely solely on facts and on my own thorough examination of myself. I have numerous times experienced how ‘me’, the alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, generates my emotions and feelings and therefore I do know exactly what I am talking about.
In various ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences I have also experienced that this sensate and reflective body can live very well without a ‘self’ and as such, my confidence is based on facts and experience. So, if you genuinely consider what I write to be sincere, as you indicated, then this might help you overcome this particular legendary obstacle to learning about the Human Condition. (...)
RESPONDENT: Incidentally, it seems to be the greatest desire of our kind to get rid of this unwelcome doubling and return to the pure living, being animal.
VINEETO: If you desire to ‘being animal’, considering it ‘the pure living’ then that is entirely your own business. This list, however, is set up for those who want to move beyond the Tried and Failed wisdom of old and are ready to discuss how to eliminate the animal instinctual passions in themselves together with the ‘self’ that generates them.
RESPONDENT: The nature of the self is one of my favourite topics and I’ll be happy to go further discussing this topic with you.
First, I can’t agree with the possibility that the self can generate anything. The self can’t generate anything. The self is a delusion. And this very delusion works in our mind to make us believe that the self is at the origin of our thoughts, of our action, and even – as you say – of our animal drives.
It’s wrong. Our thoughts come first. And, as a result of the thinking process, the self is created or reinforced afterwards. The self comes second, at the end of action. It’s not at the source of action. Action takes place without the self. The self is not an actor, just a sub-product, a subsequent reaction.
VINEETO: How can you say that ‘the nature of the self is one of my favourite topics and I’ll be happy to go further discussing this topic with you’ and in the same breath ‘first, I can’t agree with the possibility that the self can generate anything’ and then ‘it’s wrong. Our thoughts come first’? If you already know about ‘the nature of the self’ then how can there be a discussion or even a ‘trying to understand’ something entirely new and different?
You said ‘our thoughts come first. And, as a result of the thinking process, the self is created or reinforced afterwards.’ – whereas there is overwhelming scientific and observational evidence that at birth all humans come genetically pre-coded with an instinctual ‘self’ that is then fully developed by the age of about 2 years. This development coincides with the first obvious signs of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire in every infant’s behaviour. With the first signs of the emergence of this instinctual behaviour we begin to be instilled by our peers with a social identity consisting of morals – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – and ethics – ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ – together with a full set of social beliefs and psittacisms. Eastern belief has a bet each way in that it is sometimes held that material existence corrupts a pure soul and sometimes that one comes to earth pre-karma-ed and this karma needs to be worked off. Whichever version is believed, neither recognizes or acknowledges the pivotal role that the genetically-encoded instinctual passions play in giving rise to human malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Simple prove: A very young child does not have any self, he already has animal drives and so on.
VINEETO: Given that you have said above – ‘the self is at the origin of our thoughts, of our action, and even – as you say – of our animal drives’, you now seemed to have changed your mind such that someone who has yet to have a self already has animal drives. This is an interesting thread should you want to discuss it further.
RESPONDENT: It seems that in the evolutionary process, mother nature has given our species this tool (among other sophisticated neo-cortex tools chimps don’t have) to allow a continuity in our actions but this tool has taken little by little such an importance, that we try to limit its nasty effects or even to get totally rid of it, if such a thing can be possible.
VINEETO: By tool, are you talking about a self? There are ample studies that indicate that chimps have a rudimentary animal ‘self’ very similar to that exhibited by an infant human. In Eastern belief this tool or self is given such importance that it eventually becomes a totally narcissistic ‘Self’, thus overwhelming any chance of sensible thinking in the neo-cortex. The puerile belief, that one can sublimate one’s savage instinctual passions while giving full unfettered reign to the tender instinctual passions so as to transcend being a mortal human and becoming an immortal Spirit, has to be abandoned if one is to become what one can potentially be – a flesh and blood mortal body free of all instinctual passions. And ‘such a thing’ is indeed possible.
RESPONDENT: I was wondering if you’re aware of the fact that many of the principles and ideas evoked by AF can be found in other practices, and when I say that I refer to fourth-way ideas. For me they are strikingly familiar.
VINEETO: Allow me to answer this question at the end of this post.
RESPONDENT: Apart from this, I cannot figure out how Richard managed to ‘escape’ from his real ‘I’ (here in the sense of God, Self, etc.), that is if he has had One (which is the equivalent of saying one’s enlightened). So if you please can explain. I had the experience of being enlightened, although for only three hours, and it seems to me to be Impossible to exist something beyond that, as this state contains all possibilities.
VINEETO: Yes, I know from my own experience that while feeling enlightened it does seem ‘to be Impossible to exist something beyond that, as this state contains all possibilities’ – but it only seems that way.
RESPONDENT: Another aspect of that experience was that the ‘I’ was not mine, but belonged to a person I very much loved; the identity called No 32 was not there during the period.
VINEETO: Could ‘a person I very much loved’ by chance be another name for God, the glorious ‘Being’ who replaced ‘the identity called No 32’? That would make you about God number 5872.
RESPONDENT: Was not this a PCE, as in my memory it has all + many more of the characteristics attributed by AF language for a PCE? I must say I don’t know which were the exact causes for that, maybe the collapse of my identity, or maybe the suffering involved, or maybe the love played an important part in the process.
VINEETO: The description of your ‘experience of being enlightened’ that it had ‘all + many more of the characteristics attributed by AF language for a PCE’ together with your comment that ‘‘I’ … belonged to a person I very much loved’ clearly point to an affective ‘Self’-loving experience whereas a pure consciousness experience is a non-affective ‘self’-less (and ‘Self’-less) experience. Your comments about feeling the collapse of ‘Suffering’ and the importance of ‘love’ are also words that describe an affective experience.
RESPONDENT: All I know is that it Happened and was real.
VINEETO: Such an experience seems very, very real while it is happening – all the good feelings come rushing in and seem to overpower the bad feelings … and these feelings are so much grander than ‘my’ normal experiencing that they are experienced as very real. However, Enlightenment, although experienced as very real, is a feeling and not actual. (see The Actual Freedom Trust Library for descriptions of fact and feeling, real and actual).
RESPONDENT: What I don’t understand about AF is why do you ignore the fact (for me) that when this identity collapses, someone else gradually takes the space, and that is our true Self.
VINEETO: The writings of actualism do not ‘ignore the fact … that when this identity collapses, someone else gradually takes the space, and that is our true Self.’ It’s just that a ‘Self’, by whatever name, is a delusion born out of an illusionary self – or to put it another way – the idea of God is nothing but a fairy tale and to imagine oneself to be a God is to live in a ‘self’-created dream-like state.
RESPONDENT: Why do you ignore the Self?
VINEETO: I have come to know the ‘Self’ in an extensive Altered State of Consciousness but I have also had numerous pure consciousness experiences when the ‘Self’ and the ‘self’ (the identity) is temporarily absent. An actualist does not ‘ignore the Self’ but knows by experience that there is a Third Alternative to being normal or being spiritual.
RESPONDENT: Before having that experience I knew nothing about religion or have anything in common with any spiritual practice. I’ve read your posts (and I fully agree with you) about some spiritual teachers, about their pretences, the lies and the hypocrisy involved as I was also part of a group. It must be made a clear difference about what each one of us understands by the term ‘enlightenment’, as this term has been widely used and may now signify many different things. The best description I can find is in the term ‘4th state of consciousness’ as described in fourth-way terminology. I would also like to ask Richard if he understands the same this as I do by ‘enlightenment’? (google, yahoo ::: ‘fourth way’, ‘4th state’).
VINEETO: ‘The 4th state of consciousness’ is another description for enlightenment. To search for the ‘true Self’ is spiritual, meta-physical practice because it involves the belief in something non-physical – the Self.
RESPONDENT: What I’ve found out was the truth that none of these present self-named, entitled enlightened beings are at present in such a state, at best in an altered state of consciousness.
VINEETO: Given that ‘self’-aggrandizement is the very core of enlightenment, it is common amongst enlightened people or wannabe enlightened people to dismiss all other enlightened beings as ‘not quite enlightened’. ‘My Truth’ is a highly affective experience, and a very competitive one at that.
RESPONDENT: What I want to say is that this so-called Self, Absolute, I, God really exists, it’s alive and kicking and that the state in which you discover him is not an altered state of consciousness but the ultimate state available for humans. To be or not to be a bee?
VINEETO: There is no doubt that according to ancient wisdom and common belief the experience of enlightenment is ‘the ultimate state available for humans’. Nevertheless, this ancient 5000-year-old experiment of achieving Higher Consciousness or God-consciousness is significantly flawed, i.e. it has failed to bring anything resembling peace on earth between human beings, and all the wars and murders and domestic violence and torture keep going on.
To recognize and admit to this long history of continual failure is to begin to initiate a change in one’s perception – a 180 degrees turn, away from all the ‘self’-aggrandizing spiritual beliefs and practices towards a down-to-earth investigation into one’s beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions that make ‘me’ tick.
VINEETO: Now in response to your first question –
RESPONDENT: I was wondering if you’re aware of the fact that many of the principles and ideas evoked by AF can be found in other practices, and when I say that I refer to fourth-way ideas. For me they are strikingly familiar.
VINEETO: Given that you said that ‘this so-called Self, Absolute, I, God really exists’ and that this is ‘the ultimate state available for humans’, it is understandable that you don’t consider a third alternative possible.
A third alternative to being normal or being spiritual only comes into view when one is deeply dissatisfied with either of the traditional ‘self’-centred and ‘self’-obsessed states of consciousness .
For those who are dissatisfied with their life as-it-is and who are suss of the spiritual world, the Actual Freedom website points to the fact that there is an actual world right here under our very noses, a world which can only be discovered when one leaves the self and the Self behind.
RESPONDENT: Banishing the personal pronoun (I, me) from one’s internal language (thinking?) seems to immolate the self ... does it make sense to anybody?
VINEETO: No. Contrary to popular opinion, controlled thinking does not alter anything in your feelings and emotions, it only pushes one’s ‘self’-centred feelings and thoughts further under the carpet, so to speak, and thus it becomes more difficult to observe and investigate the ‘self’ in action. The ‘self’ can be likened to the little controlling man in the head and the little passionately driven man in the heart, and can only be tackled successfully by bringing them out into the open, into the bright light of awareness, for observation, examination and investigation so as to discover exactly how ‘I’ and ‘me’ operate and prevent the possibility of anything remotely resembling clear thinking from happening.
‘Banishing the personal pronoun (I, me) from one’s internal language (thinking?)’ is comparable to re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, whereas by applying the method of actualism one does exactly the opposite – I acknowledge that all my feelings, emotions and emotion-backed thoughts (i.e. beliefs) are ‘me’, the ‘self’, the alien entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body. Thus I am un-doing the spiritual training of dis-identifying from unwanted feelings and emotions as in ‘I am not the body, I am not the self, I am not the bad emotions’, etc. By acknowledging that every feeling is ‘me’ in action I am then able to identify, label and observe each feeling, investigate its cause, its trigger and its source and once an affective feeling is understood experientially in its totality, it will disappear. In this way you nibble away at the ‘self’ bit by bit, affective feeling by affective feeling, self-centred thought by self-centred thought until ‘I’ and ‘me’ become so thin and transparent as to hardly interfere with the pure delight of being here.
RESPONDENT: If the self cleans the self up, and mine is fairly presentable just now, perhaps a little sad, what is left, after all is said and done, is still a self, a ‘me,’ an ‘I.’ Just dressed up real nice.
VINEETO: You described it very well – this is as good as it gets within the Human Condition. The trouble is, in order to get rid of the ‘bad’ you have to throw the ‘good’ out first, which is created in the first place to keep the ‘bad’ under control. One only needs Love to counter-balance malice and sorrow, hate, jealousy, sadness, fear, greed... so something grand and good is aspired for to keep the lid on the ‘bad’, the animalistic instincts that are intrinsic in all of us.
Meditation and Eastern Spirituality attempt to transform those instinctual passions and their resulting emotions into love and compassion, and I have experienced how that works. It is quite a powerful experience, when fear and sorrow are transcended into bliss, ‘truth’ and compassion. It swamps the whole psyche: seductive, overwhelming, radiant, and one realization of ‘truth’ follows another in an endless continuum of supposed insights. Very, very seductive indeed. One is easily taken in that this is the answer to everything.
But this is not the emotionless pure clarity that I have experienced in the PCEs. This is not the solution, it hasn’t been for 5000 years of enlightenment’s history. Those instincts are never eliminated. Once you question bliss and discover the illusion it is, fear and dread pop up their ugly head again. What Richard discovered, and what Peter and I are now finding out for ourselves, is that there is the actual world once one has freed oneself of all beliefs, feelings and instinctual passion which the human psyche produces. This perception of the actual world is then bare of any emotions and feelings, both of ‘bad’ AND ‘good’, freed of any kind of imagination, freed of any distortion of the Human Psyche.
RESPONDENT: Let’s say I’ve seen this is true, as indeed I have, with a few definition differences here and there not of much importance ...
VINEETO: It is not merely ‘definition differences’ we are talking about. It is worlds apart. This is something nobody has ever dared to question before. Or have you found any kind of Guru or teacher who dared to question Love and Compassion, who dared to put his grand wonderful identity as ‘One-with-the-Whole’ at stake? Not a single one! All the Enlightened Ones keep their BEING in tact. They know WHO they are. So this conversation is not about definition differences. It is about a completely new understanding and approach to the human feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. It is about eradicating them, not merely transforming them. Actual Freedom is based on the acknowledgment that those feelings and passions are only software, not hardware – they can be deleted.
But to eradicate my beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions means that everything that I know I am ceases to exist, and everything anybody ever claimed to know or to be ceases to be of any reference. This includes my beliefs in an immortal soul, a life after death or before birth, a god-like energy of the universe and a belief in the meaning of life. I am not surprised that hardly anybody has dared to take up the inquiry. It is a ruthless operation. But also it is the very best I have ever done in my lifetime. And it works. That may be scary because one really watches oneself dying, having less and less substance and identity to fall back on for one’s definition and reference.
When I started to investigate Richard’s findings I had thought I was quite cleaned up, having been a morally ‘good’ girl and a spiritual seeker for years. So the first step on this new journey was to actually acknowledge the malice and sorrow that I was still carrying – like everybody else. It was not easy to acknowledge that I was as bad and as mad as everybody else, hanging on to my emotional identity, my feelings, my intuition, my beliefs.
After 17 years of meditation and watching intently I was still neither enlightened nor happy and harmless. So I really had nothing left to lose – except the very idea of who I was, instincts, beliefs, emotions, pride, superiority, the whole lot.
VINEETO to Alan: The other thing that went through my mind was my story about me being a ‘Truth-Production-Machine’. I wrote about it at the time, having an enlightenment experience:
As I see it today, there was an experience of ‘getting it’, understanding the Power and Glory of the heartfelt, chest filling experience of Enlightenment and I then stepped out of that drama of the ‘Self’, I abandoned this particular belief / imagination / emotion. But in the frantic and desperate attempt to survive the ‘self’ jumped to the next possible identity: ‘I’ had seen through this immense illusion, ‘I’ have greatly understood, ‘I’ am the hero again. And with the ‘I’ claiming the honour of the realization for its identity, a Pandora box of new imaginations, fears and identities is given full reign.
VINEETO: For me nothing justifies ‘a cessation of investigation’, until the fat lady has sung. That is my aim in life and it does not matter how long it takes because for me there is no other game to play that is worth playing. I left the real world behind when I found that it sucks and I left the spiritual world behind when I found it to be a shallow fantasy and a hypocritical delusion.
ALAN: And, for ‘me’, ceasing the investigation is what ‘I’ most want.
VINEETO: The other day I heard a woman say in a TV drama discussing her emotional state: ‘I like being messy because that’s who I am’. I find her statement a good description of normal existence because to be a social-instinctual identity is to be emotionally messy. In that context, my sincere intent is that I don’t ‘like being messy’, both for my own sake and for that of others, no matter what consequences it has to ‘who I am’. Speaking personally, rather than wanting to ‘cease the investigation’, I have found the process of self-investigation both thrilling and fascinating – it gives ‘my’ life both meaning and purpose.
The way you formulated your reply it appears that there is a ‘me’ who wants to be actually free and a ‘me’ who doesn’t. Yet in fact there are not two ‘me’s’, there is only one entity, who may sometimes want to be free and other times not want to be free.
With the memory of the PCE ‘I’ could clearly see that ‘I’ am standing in the way of perfection and therefore ‘I’ agreed to take ‘myself’ apart. The impetus to examine, investigate and change comes from ‘me’ – ‘I’ am willing to die because ‘I’ have unmistakably understood it to be the best and only solution to the human condition. Once ‘I’ made the full-hearted decision to actively stage my own disappearance, the journey became easier and I could make use of my instinctual passions to help ‘my’ mission. Now desire helps me to achieve the best possible, aggression to stubbornly stick to my goal, nurture to altruistically sacrifice my ‘self’ for the benefit of this body and every body, and fear, well, fear gives me the impetus to end fear forever.
But it is ‘me’, and only ‘me’, who is willingly doing all the work of becoming free. For comparison –
ALAN: Perhaps this is where there is an advantage in living with like-minded people – it is more difficult to ignore?
VINEETO: Other like-minded people, i.e. practicing actualists, are of no benefit whatsoever as long as ‘what ‘I’ most want’ is ‘ceasing the investigation’. Unless an actualist is eager to roll up his or her sleeves and do something in order to become free from the human condition, other people who talk about their experiences with the method and demonstrate its success by being increasingly happy and harmless can even be perceived as nosy intruders.
Personally, I cannot ‘ignore’ the lure of actual freedom, not because I live with Peter or occasionally chat with Richard, but because I am haunted by the memory of the perfection that already always exists and that only becomes apparent when ‘I’ am absent. My backpressure to become free doesn’t come from ‘like-minded people’ asking probing questions but from having tried the normal-world and spiritual-world solutions and found that they failed.
RESPONDENT: And finally I can not understand how sensorially somebody can understand the nature of finite or infinite universe. I thought that may AF uses the word infinity not literally but metaphorically. May be it uses it to show that we are not in a spot in particular, but then what difference makes if the universe is finite or infinite?
VINEETO: The human elaboration of the instinctual animal ‘self’ into a sophisticated and cunning psychological and psychic identity makes it almost impossible to conceive or consider how this flesh and blood body would experience the universe without this parasitical identity … unless one remembers a pure consciousness experience. In such a ‘self’-less pure experience the usual ‘self’-centred restrictions on one’s normal perception and understanding are temporarily out of order. Only in a ‘self’-less state can the universe be perceived as it is – infinite and eternal.
As long as ‘I’ am governing this body’s sensual perception, my ‘self’-dominated and ‘self’-oriented perception will always inflict its own limits on what I perceive and as such will impose its ‘self’-centred nature onto the physical universe. Similarly, the thinking process is contaminated by ‘self’-dominated and ‘self’-oriented thoughts and feelings – the identity is running the show all the time – and therefore a clear understanding of the actual world is impossible whilst ‘I’ insist on ruling the roost.
That’s why I said that in order to understand the nature of the universe, the first unavoidable step is to rigorously question one’s own beliefs and feelings in order to incrementally diminish the dominating role of one’s ‘self’-centred thoughts and feelings so as to slowly enable a more clear-eyed perception to come about – there is no other way.
RESPONDENT: Not many people of the list are interested on the subject, so if you think that the subject does not need to be discussed don’t be bothered please.
VINEETO: I had great fun talking about the infinite nature of the universe as it always gives me an incentive to experience the infinity I am writing about.
However, a theoretical, i.e. non-experiential, discussion about infinitude can never produce satisfactory results because unless you question and investigate your pre-existing beliefs first, you are actively preventing the possibility of an intellectual understanding that the physical universe is infinite and eternal, which is the prerequisite for an experiential understanding of the infinitude of the actual world.
VINEETO: While in the land of freedom everything is already always well, nothing can go wrong because everything is actual. Without emotions and instinctual passions I simply respond to what is happening, choose what is sensible and enjoy every moment as it lives me. It is all so easy once the ‘self’ is not in command and the instincts are but a faint rumble sometimes before they will finally wither away completely.
RESPONDENT: This says it all and my ‘belief’ about it is I don’t have it. I am choosing more sensible solutions but it seems as if the ‘self’ is still in command. I know the actual is always here now but the ‘self’ is keeping me from it. The ‘self’ is a barrier between me and the actual. I can see that this is just a belief and all I have to do is give up this belief and the actual will be revealed. The question that arises is ‘why can’t I give up this belief?’ What am ‘I’ hanging on to?
VINEETO: If the ‘self’ was ‘just a belief’ , as you say – and as all the Eastern religions say – one could simply believe that one is not the ‘self’ and every problem would be solved... But the Human Condition in each of us is not just a belief. At the core, ‘I’ am the instinctual passions.
Peter said it very well in his rave to Alan the other day ...
It is not a matter of giving ‘up this belief’ but a matter of ‘self’-immolation. The ‘self’ is not ‘a barrier between me and the actual’, the ‘self’ is all that ‘I’ am and ‘I’ am ‘hanging on to’ dear life. ‘I’ know that in order to live the perfection that I have experienced in numerous Pure Consciousness Experiences, ‘I’ have to disappear in toto. This ‘clear eyed view of the obvious’, this understanding of the inevitable then gives enough drive to actively pursue the investigation and elimination of the social, emotional-instinctual entity. What a thrill!
VINEETO: So whenever fear hits me I ‘hold on to the mast and let the storm pass’, not make any decisions because of fear but sit it out. It always passes.
RESPONDENT: I think that accepting the fact that ‘I’ am my instincts was facing the fear. This freed me up to see the actual. I am not having a PCE but there is a kind of peacefulness now. When I was talking to my friend on the phone I realized that what was actual was I was sitting here and talking to him. Everything else was made up (imagined).
VINEETO: Fear is never imagined. Emotions are never imagined although imagination can add fuel to the initial emotion. The physical reactions that accompany particular emotions ensure that you experience them as very real at the time. Instinctual passions are not mere imagination as one would imagine a bag of potato chips – they are the result of the chemical flows that are automatically produced by our genetically encoded software. When you were overwhelmed by fear or anger you did not experience it as imagination but as a very real situation. Nothing will change if one only regards instinctual passions as imaginary. The solution lies in a scientific and experiential exploration of the Human Condition. And once I understood a belief or an affective feeling in its totality, I was able to leave it behind.
One thinks and feels oneself to be locked up in a small world as a restricted and myopic ‘self’ and that seems to be the only world there is. But once one diligently and persistently examines the ‘self’, each particular belief, feeling and instinctual passion that it consists of, one discovers the door and dares to walk out, leaving one’s self behind. In the beginning there are only short moments of freedom, fleeting experiences of the perfection that is possible, then those moments increase until it becomes obvious that the only sensible way to live is as experienced in the PCE, every day.
It is possible, but one needs to make freedom the most important thing in one’s life.
It is purely a matter of what you want to do with your life.
VINEETO: I have reported from my own experience and from extensive observation of other people that the instinctual package not only consists of all the instinctual passions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – but also that malicious and sorrowful feelings are far more predominant in people’s everyday life than the feeling of fear. Rape, murder, domestic violence, warfare and genocides are not a predominant expression of fear but are the direct result of malice. Depression, despair and suicide are not a predominant expression of fear but are the direct result of sorrow. I also reported to you that I found that unless one eliminates one’s instinctual malice and sorrow, one can never be actually free of fear, for they are part and parcel of a single package, but all of this you blithely dismissed with the derogatory comment that we ‘only want to teach and indoctrinate’ you.
If you prefer to concentrate only on fear then that is entirely your business. It is your life you are living and you are the sole arbiter of whether you are happy and whether you are harmless. There is, however, only one method on offer on this list and that is a D.I.Y. way to irrevocably eliminate malice and sorrow from one’s life.
RESPONDENT: I do understand sorrow.
VINEETO: Good. Because when you understand sorrow utterly and completely, it disappears.
RESPONDENT: I am sorry that I have ever tried to have a discussion with you. It has been a total waste of time and I feel sorrow over that.
VINEETO: Ah, but that is not an understanding of sorrow but passing the blame for your own sorrow on to someone else. I understand now why you said to Peter –
The ‘first base’ for comprehending and becoming free of sorrow is to understand that sorrow, just like any other feeling, has its source in one’s own instinctual programming – regardless of whoever or whatever is the trigger for one’s feeling. To make someone else responsible for one’s own feelings only serves to multiply and perpetuate sorrow and adds feelings of malice such as frustration, condemnation and accusation to the equation, which in its wake brings one even more sorrow.
Given that the topic of our discussion has been your theory that ‘sorrow comes from fear’ and the fact that ‘at root fear is the most basic of all the instinctual passions’ I might add something that is essential to understand fear. Fear in human beings is the direct result of ‘me’ wanting to survive – ‘I’, the passionate alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, will do anything in order to stay in existence. Thus the only way fear can be diminished is to diminish the ‘self’ – the weaker the ‘self’ becomes, the less fear there is. There is simply no other way to permanently decrease and eventually eliminate fear because ‘I’ am fear and fear is ‘me’.
The magic ingredient for diminishing the ‘self’ is altruism. Obviously, when my intent is focussed on a goal greater than ‘me’, ‘self’-interest and ‘self’-centredness then play a minor role in the game – that’s why actualists refer to ‘pure intent’. Contrary to the traditional idea of battling and transcending fear via ‘self’-enhancement, the fact is that only an altruistic pursuit can reliably reduce and eventually eradicate fear because only altruism can break the instinctual ‘self’-centredness that is the very root of fear.
The traditional honourable goals have been to battle malice and sorrow in other people through political, religious or therapeutical pursuits – thus everyone meddles in everyone else’s life and is busy trying to solve everyone else’s problems. For an actualist the altruistic pursuit translates into actively eradicating malice and sorrow from his or her life in order not to burden anyone with his or her sorrow and not to hurt anyone with his or her malice. Fear then disappears on its own accord because the more faint the ‘self’ becomes, as the ‘self’-serving emotions are progressively investigated and eliminated, the less there is for ‘me’ to control, deny or defend.
VINEETO: You would be more successful if you tried and remembered one of your peak-experiences. From the memory of your peak-experience, where the world is seen as a perfect and magical paradise without malice and sorrow, you could understand from your own experience what Richard is talking about – that there is an actual, physical world without emotions, judgments, good and evil, beliefs and concepts. It has always been here, just humans are and were so busy with their personal problems and psychic imaginations, that they hardly ever experience it. Only when you experience this actual world yourself, can you decide for yourself, if you want to discover more about it or not. Everything else is simply a waste of time.
KONRAD: Not necessarily. If Richard’s condition is a malfunction, I can, through meditation, understand how he experiences the world by just considering how the world would look like without emotions, and then try to understand whether everything I observe about Richard makes the sense he says it makes.
VINEETO: No. Just considering, as you call it, won’t do. This considering is an act of imagination and has nothing to do with actual facts. Imagination is vast and without boundaries as you can see in everyone’s psychic and religious imaginative experiences. Experiencing the actual world free of emotions is not the same as merely imagining a world without emotions. It is the ‘self’ or ‘being’ that is doing the imagining and that very ‘self’ or ‘being’ is in the road to experience the world as perfect and obvious as it only can be when the ‘self’ or ‘being’ is – temporarily or permanently – absent.
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: A seeker that deems himself better is the one that asserts that I (as opposed to most others) have realized. It doesn’t matter whether it is unity consciousness or an actual world of sparkling vibrant purity that is allegedly realized.
Either way, the self is established in it.
VINEETO: Your using of the term ‘allegedly’ points that you don’t know such sparkling vibrant experience of the actual world. What then puts you in the position of declaring with certainty that ‘the self is established in it’?
The three ways a person can experience the world are
In meditative dissociation one moves away from sensate and cerebral experiencing and aims to experience only the good part of the affective feelings. In Eastern religions and philosophy, this practice of suppression and non-attachment has been raised to a high art whereby one can, through assiduous practice, create a whole new, utterly dissociated, identity based solely on feeling Good-ness and God-ness. This process of becoming non-attached to feelings that are not desirable and identifying with the feelings that are considered desirable and are highly valued by our peers can lead to an Altered State of Consciousness whereby a mortal human being imagines and feels himself or herself to be above it all, as in Divine and Immortal.
A normal ‘self’ experiences the world cerebrally and affectively as a grim and instinctual struggle for survival. A pious ‘self’, conditioned by the Eastern philosophy of right thinking and highly selective affectations, produces an illusion of unity consciousness that bears absolutely no relationship to the rampant fear, malice and sorrow that epitomizes the Human Condition. To stick one’s head in the clouds and imagine and feel a unity consciousness always has been, and always will be, a cop-out for there is in fact no God, no unity consciousness.
When you say ‘either way, the self is established in it’, you are talking about an affective experience that can never be ‘self’-less. However, the ‘self’-less body, physical matter, is perfectly capable of experiencing both thought and sensation (cerebral and sensate experiencing). ‘Sparkling’ and ‘vibrant’ is the sensate description of the purity that prevails when there is no ‘self’ present to spoil the sensate and reflective experience.
Thinking is nothing but biofeedback, although incredibly sophisticated. It is a perfectly physical phenomenon, which gets polluted and distorted by social-psychological and emotional-instinctual ‘self’-centredness. Awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and sensate experiences is an even higher developed form of biofeedback. Such highly developed biofeedback can even observe its own instinctual-affective programming in operation and, given sufficient intent and persistence, systematically eliminate it. What an utter serendipitous outcome of animal evolution!
RESPONDENT: Have you been able to localize 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: I don’t know what you mean by ‘the other’. Once I am outside of the self, there is no ‘other’, just this body and brain functioning perfectly well and experiencing the world around me intimately, sensuously, fully alive and in appreciation of my surroundings. While I am writing to you, Peter is clicking away on his keyboard, the computer is humming quietly, the night still and magical with the full-moon high in the sky. My fingers find their way from typing letters to making words, my body still tingling from sex.
Life is wonderfully easy without the burden of the ‘self’. It was never the body or the senses or the brain that were the culprit, it has always been the ‘self’ that corrupts both thoughts and senses. This ‘self ’is responsible for all the misery on the planet, for all the wars, tortures, murders, rapes, poverty, greed, corruption and hypocrisy. By dismantling and extinguishing it bit by bit I am able to live here, now, in this actual physical and sensually experience-able world. I don’t need to escape into a fantasy-place where I imagine that the ‘self’ does not exist. I came to see the fantasy-world of enlightenment as a big, big fairy-land and quite some people have been deluded into it, although rarely anybody succeeds in staying permanently deluded. A Buddhist pundit calculated that 0.0001% of seekers ever reach their ultimate goal. But in the end enlightenment is only an Altered State of Consciousness, a construct of passionate imagination and a delusion of grandeur.
I did experience this enlightened ‘Self’ myself – it is called having a Satori, I guess – and can observe it in detail from an outsider’s standpoint – seeing the grand belief and the overwhelming emotions of ‘wisdom’ and Divine Compassion – and I know the qualitative difference when there is no self at all in operation. All Enlightened Ones still have an identity; it is called ‘I am God’ or ‘I am one with God’. It is nevertheless an identity, very grand and ‘holy’, universal in its feeling but still with one at its core who claims to be ‘one with the Divine’. The Enlightened Ones loose their ego but safely keep their soul, their identity merely shifts from the head to the heart, leaving all the animal-instincts unquestioned.
VINEETO: And I was very afraid to lose my ‘self’.
RESPONDENT: I think that everybody goes through that ... that is why the EGO is deathly afraid of meditating. Look at me ... every time I get a chance to meditate, the ego has a hundred ideas of what else I have/need to do...
VINEETO: Again, I am not just talking about the ‘EGO’. Ego is the little man/woman in the head on the control-leavers, soul is the little man/woman in the heart pulling on the heartstrings. To lose my ‘self’ and my ‘Self’, ego and soul, means complete extinction, not even a ‘being’ is there to continue after physical death. When I die, I die, full stop. I am nothing but this physical body, so there is nothing that will live on after this physical body dies.
VINEETO: But then, I had already started to question my conditioning, my primary beliefs in Sannyas, I had already started to doubt my behaviour as part of this insidious ‘self’ or ‘ego’. Could it be that my very limited success was due to that I had not done it totally, that I had not questioned the second part of me, the soul, the ‘Self’? To question not only the bad emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy or rage, but also the good emotions like love, friendship, intuition, unselfishness and compassion was a radical step.
RESPONDENT: I can understand that ... but you have had to go through the one (loss of mind) before you get to the other (loss of soul) ... so you can compare the two.
VINEETO: On the path to Actual Freedom you eliminate both, ego and soul, at the same time. In this way one can avoid the delusion of enlightenment – avoid running aground on the Rock of Enlightenment. I did not have to go through the ‘loss of mind’ – quite the opposite – I actually recovered my intelligence – after all those years of trying to ignore it – and used it to questioned beliefs and instincts. By honestly and vigilantly asking the question ‘How do I experience this moment of being alive’ I was able to slowly, slowly investigate all my emotions, instincts and beliefs – my very ‘self’ (ego + soul).
VINEETO: But one thing I had already understood in Sannyas, that everything that I create in my head – or heart – is part of me and not to be relied upon. So I gathered all my courage and stopped believing the stories my head produced without interruption. The effect was enormous. I literally came ‘here’ for the first time that I can remember.
RESPONDENT: And how did it feel?
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.