Selected Correspondence Vineeto
GARY: You also said in another place in the archive about belief being the problem. It appears that I was trying to replace the old beliefs with some new ones, turning actualism into a belief system, and turning the people on this list into gurus and heroes to replace the old ones. This process is so subtle as to take one quite unawares. One’s need to believe is so seductive. This ‘I’, this lonely, frightened ‘me’ wants to turn others into protective parent figures to be believed and venerated. I think I am seeing this more clearly now.
VINEETO: Your insight into the nature of doubt triggered a process of understanding in me and I was reminded of a recent period of self-doubt where doubting myself seemed to be inexhaustible. I had left behind my doubts about the validity of Actual Freedom because actualism is clearly and undeniably working in my life, but there was always a remnant of this nagging feeling that I was too dumb or cowardly to go all the way, that I was missing some vital clue, that I was doing something wrong or not enough. No discussion about the subject could stop reproducing this doubting, again and again, in regular intervals. The other night, reading your post, something clicked – this kind of doubt is nothing but a by-product of ‘self’-belief, believing in my ‘self’. I then understood that ‘me’ doubting myself is the cover-up and, as such, a furphy, keeping the belief in ‘me’ alive, and along with the belief, ‘me’, the believer. I went to bed, not able to sensibly think about it any further, but my whole system was agitated, processing the consequences of this ‘click’ somewhat in the background while I could do nothing but lie awake and be aware of the ongoing ‘clunks’ and ‘hums’ in my brain.
Isn’t it magical how the domino effect of serendipitous events occur to support our efforts to become free of the Human Condition, once one launches oneself on the road to freedom with sincere intent? As Richard says it –
Today I had a bit of a think about this phenomenon, which I could not understand for a long time – this expression always seemed to have a mystical or spiritual connotation to it. But now I can see that it is really very simple – as everything I am and everything that surrounds me is the actual world, there is every chance that when I sincerely set myself to the task of removing whatever prevents me from experiencing the actual, the actual will rush in from anywhere, so to speak, wherever a thinning out or a ‘hole’ in the coat of beliefs and emotions is created. With sincere intent, every event will be seen serendipitous opportunity to discover more about ‘me’, the believer, the feeler, the thinker, the passionate being inside this flesh-and-blood-body.
VINEETO: As the actual world is already always here one is bound to stumble upon it by diligently removing the obstacles in front of one’s ‘psychic eyes’ that we have inherited by default – through no fault of ours.
GARY: Yes... ‘stumble upon it’, an apt description of serendipity. Had I not participated on [Mailing List B], I would not have been acquainted with Richard’s experiences, nor those of any of the others of you. At the time, I was wallowing around in the morass of choiceless awareness and was frequently confused and in turmoil. It seemed to be a bottomless pit, and as with Krishnamurti, there is no ‘way’, no method, I was loath to find a way out. But I was looking for a way out in spite of ‘the teachings’.
VINEETO: Yes, serendipity is taking the opportunity that comes along – you have been the only one so far of all the fifty people who Richard corresponded with on that list and maybe 50 more who read what he wrote. We have given away 40 of Peter’s journals and sold 25 of Richard’s journal, written on several mailing lists and I am always stunned by the disinterest and the amount of petty or virulent objections to becoming happy and harmless. It obviously takes the right ingredients to be daring and willing to take up the challenge – watching your exploration into actualism I understand more and more what kind of ingredients one needs.
And yes, Eastern spirituality is a bottomless pit and Krishnamurti’s teaching has the particular twist that you should listen but not interpret, listen but not follow, aspire but never reach. What an insidious legacy, keeping everyone small and ignorant – and this is called Compassion! But then, no belief has common sense in it; otherwise it would not require belief.
GARY: I am also interested in what happens when investigation of particular affective feeling leads to the disappearance of that feeling and what causes it to come back. In my experience, it seems that certain issues come up again and again at times. I keep thinking that because they come back, I must have missed something in my investigation into them.
VINEETO: Despite the fact that I had experienced in a PCE a completely non-spiritual material-only universe that was utterly majestic and magnificent, I still had to whittle away at a lot of aspects of my belief in something other than this physical actual world. In fact, I am still at it because ‘I’ am, by my very nature, non-physical, non-actual and therefore spiritual. In the beginning I also often thought that I had missed something when a feeling or an issue returned but the longer I study the human condition in me, and the more I observe other people, the more I come to understand the perversity and the deeply ingrained structure of ‘me’, the psychological/psychic being that is a direct product of this ancient animal survival program. An estimated one million years of human history – dependent upon somewhat whimsical speculations as to the transition from animal-only to animal-human is an enormous heritage to unravel.
In the light of the extent and density of this programming, when a bit of the million-year old social programming or the billions-of-years old animal instinctual programming resurfaces, I came to understand that I haven’t necessarily missed something, I simply can’t understand it all or take it all in, at once. You could also say that one inevitably misses something the first time round in an investigation because particular issues have many aspects and many layers that are not all apparent at the first examination.
GARY: Your thoughts on this are most helpful. It is a hard thing for me to pinpoint what happens to cause a PCE to dimmer and fade, but essentially it always involves some ‘self’-centred, egocentric experience to take the fore, whether by dint of fear, apprehensiveness, and often (I think) a deep and abiding terror of extinction. Once ‘I’ realize that I am no longer needed, ‘I’ dig my heels in ever deeper and cling passionately to my ‘job’ which is to survive. There are indeed many layers to this thing, and as usual I think I may have berated myself for ‘missing’ something, when the many layers and the density of this programming is to a large extent unconscious and hidden from view. Many of my discoveries while practising Actualism have been serendipitous ... a bit like spontaneous happenings, and sudden realizations in unguarded moments about the nature of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ stand in the way of perfection.
This is not to say that there has not been hard effort and diligent persistence involved – a bit like wresting civilization from the wilderness, a deliberate hacking away and toiling to clear the ground. It seems to work in tandem.
VINEETO: I can very well relate to what you describe as ‘a deep and abiding terror of extinction’. The trick that often helps me turn this terror into excitement is to remember that ‘I’ have a voluntary mission which is far more dignifying that ‘my’ survival – ‘I’ am to bring about peace-on-earth by vacating the throne, permanently. And although sometimes I feel as though I am only inching my way closer to ‘my’ destiny, I do recognize that I am making progress. I only need to look back at how I used to experience life a few years back to know this is a fact.
And yes, unexpected insights and PCEs and deliberate exploration of ‘me’ do indeed ‘work in tandem.’ The serendipitous events happen when I again and again discover the already existing peace on earth in this wondrous and magnificent and not-passive universe. As the master wordsmith describes –
RESPONDENT: I’m up against the mother of all beliefs that I can’t do anything about it. I can’t change the instincts. This belief is so strong that it looks like a fact so what looks best to do is accept the fact that I am my instincts. This seems like the only possible relief.
VINEETO: Your reply shows that you are taking this ‘mother of all beliefs’ as a reality that you won’t question and therefore you accept that you cannot change. Fair enough, it is a deeply ingrained insidious belief, not only repeated for thousands of years by millions of people as the only wisdom but also deeply rooted in our genetic instinctual heritage. It needs sincere intent, courage and awareness to start questioning the ‘truth of our ancestors’.
The moment I questioned anything that I had believed all my life I was up against a whirlpool of fear, belief being the very substance of my identity. There are only two ways to respond to that fear – to go back to being miserable without possibility for change, or to stop running, face the fear and start investigating. The first was not a long-term option for me – knowing about Actual Freedom and not pursuing it meant that I would never be able to face myself in the mirror again with dignity.
Whenever I gathered enough courage to stop running and face the fear I was up for a surprise – the biggest part of fear was being afraid of fear itself. The moment I stopped avoiding fear, the remaining fear was substantially reduced. Still big enough to make me shake – but I had understood enough to know that I could not run forever. Fear, the very core of our software, the Human Condition, will only disappear as that software is being eliminated, anything else will only be a postponement or an avoidance.
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.
Of course, one has to acknowledge that ‘I am my instincts’. But serendipity has it that we are not only inflicted with instinctual passions but are also equipped with intelligence and the ability to be aware of what is happening. It is these very qualities that have the potential to separate us from the other animals. These are the tools to re-wire the brain, to slowly, slowly shift the balance from passionate beliefs to clear facts, from automatic instinctual reactions to considered, sensible, appropriate action and sensual delight.
I leave you with a recipe from Richard to get out of stuckness, Alan’s favourite piece of writing – by the way, Alan, how are you doing?
ALAN: And sure enough, earlier today, while doing something in the kitchen ‘here’ I am again, the shivers of delight up the spine, much more intense than previously, a ‘crinkling’ sensation all over the head. I realise my body is trembling all over, though there is no fear, only delight and wonder at the simplicity of it all. It is as though a second pair of eyelids have opened – 360 degree awareness as Richard calls it – and I am, indeed, the experiencing of what is happening. Everything is brighter, clearer, louder and I am free to delight in the absolute fun and joy of simply being alive.
VINEETO: What an immense serendipity to have stumbled across Actual Freedom and then to have had the curiosity, discontent and courage to investigate it – it beats every single adventure I ever had in my life so far. And then to be able to communicate about it to someone on the other side of the world, you, who is enjoying winter and snow, maybe – life is truly magical.
ALAN: So, that is where I am up to for now – more interesting times ahead, no doubt. What have you been up to? Ain’t life fun.
VINEETO: Yes, indeed fun and delight and – I think we need to invent some more words, I am always short for synonyms of delight...
VINEETO: An actualist is investigating issues that are at the forefront of human evolution, pursuing something that has never been done before in human history, penetrating not only ancient beliefs commonly-held truths and superstitions, but also exploring experientially sacred feelings and the core instinctual passions themselves. By examining the whole range of the ‘good’ emotions and socially sanctioned feelings as well as those deemed bad and unacceptable, one is venturing beyond the universal human threshold – beyond humanity itself. In actualism one is reprogramming one’s brain that has been genetically programmed for survival and procreation as well as socially and spiritually conditioned to ensure that each new member born fits in with the existing status quo of humanity – given the all-inclusive scope of this reprogramming, it is certainly not a small thing we are doing. Therefore it is not only ‘worthwhile continuing a bit longer’, but to me it is the obvious only thing to do – to pursue this task until it is done.
ALAN: And therein lies the problem. Having stepped up to the brink, so to speak, in the first half of last year, ‘I’ know there is nothing more to investigate, no more discoveries to be made. The only thing left is the final step, the complete elimination of ‘me’.
VINEETO: How can you say that ‘you’ ‘know there is nothing more to investigate’, when ‘you’ are the very entity that is to leave the stage in order for you, the flesh-and-blood body, to be free? How can you say that there are ‘no more discoveries to be made’ when you just reported discovering a belief ‘that it seems to be just as difficult to attain a condition of actual freedom as it is to ‘achieve’ enlightenment’?
I know at times I was as impatient as you seem to be and I consequently got upset when I still discovered another bit of ‘me’ and then another, until I realized that it was the very expectation that freedom should fall into my lap tomorrow that was preventing me from continuing to sincerely question every little bit that ever keeps me from being happy and harmless 24 hours a day.
Two days ago I re-discovered something that I had known before in a PCE but experientially ‘forgotten’ since. I was busy watching a report on National Geographics where several guys were chasing and filming a big tornado in Colorado, US, in order to get more accurate data for weather predictions and also for the thrill of the adrenaline rush of being so close to danger. Suddenly something in me snapped and an ever-so-subtle tension of feeling a part of their adventure disappeared when I realized that I was here safely of my couch, while they were there, on the other side of the globe, in stormy and rainy weather. With the absence of this subtle tension I also realized that a thin thread of emotional connectedness with humanity is almost always latently present, ready to become apparent at the tiniest trigger. My receiver for psychic currents is almost always automatically switched on, connecting ‘me’ to humanity, and it is these subtle psychic currents that I am going to be watching now more closely in order to ween myself away from these insidious bonds to the passions that exemplify human-ness.
I found again and again that it is not enough to discover something once and then rest in the assurance that ‘I know it now’ but I also have to put this understanding into practice until it is part of my daily experience, actual and tangible, an obvious and undoubted fact, an implicit experience on a cellular level. That’s what takes time, and constant practice. There is a constant leaning forward, as it were, inherent in being a practicing actualist, which means one is actively and increasingly progressing towards one’s goal.
And to round it up to what I said at the top – writing is part of this practice because when I am forced to put my understanding into coherent words and explain my understanding to someone else, then a mere mental understanding won’t do, I’ll have to have walked the talk in order to be able to know and have experienced what I am talking about.
ALAN: And so, I am left with the question you first asked on 28 January 01? Vis.:
My only answer, at present, is fear. And from 10 June 01:
Yes – and only as required by the circumstances – and the circumstances have not yet arisen! Alan to Richard, 7.6.2001
VINEETO: Do you mean to say there is a right time when the right ‘circumstances’ arise and then actual freedom will happen on its own accord as in ‘when the writing is not doing itself there is no point’? From my experience serendipity only happens when I take the opportunity presented to me with both my hands and go for it. In actualism I am the master of my own destiny because ‘I’ make the circumstances happen that eventually lead to ‘my’ extinction, whereas in my spiritual days I used to wait for circumstances – or a sign from Existence – that should announce my ripeness for liberation. Needless to say it never happened.
Personally I have been very suss about everything that sounded like ‘it just happens’ or ‘you only have to stop believing the wrong beliefs’, because that was exactly the essence of the spiritual chimera I chased for seventeen fruitless years. Actualism appealed to me because, for the first time, I found a method that was totally concerned with hands-on practice. The practice of actualism evinces genuine practical change as opposed to a mere altering or adjustment of ‘my’ consciousness and it produces tangible results as opposed to an imaginary climb up a spiritual ladder to ‘somewhere else’.
VINEETO: I told you my story of the first few months of actual freedom to make it clear that without the intense search to solve my paradoxical situation of having two beliefs – the spiritual conviction and the then-belief of actualism – I would not been able to prepare the ground for, and thus facilitate, my first major peak experience. As I see it from hindsight, my pure consciousness experience only occurred because of my intense questioning and investigation into the nature of my spiritual beliefs. The word ‘PCE’ contains the word ‘pure’, a purity from one’s beliefs and feelings for this particular time, a purity from the very substance of ‘self’. It is well documented that a PCE often occurs after a particular shocking or dis-orienting experience, and I had actively caused that situation in myself by questioning beliefs and daring to look at facts squarely in the eye!
I was at a point where I was willing to question ALL my beliefs, whatever the outcome, because I had understood that this was the only way out of my dilemma, hanging between two opposing choices as to what to do with my life. I had no way to figure out the ‘right’ thing to do, because there was no authority that could point out the direction for me. There was no moral, ethical or ultimate spiritual value that I considered ‘true’ enough to rely on for a decision. I figured that ‘truth’, as I called it then, could not be something that one has to support by believing it or trusting it. It has to be something so obvious, so evident and reproducible that it can stand for itself.
The intensity of wanting to find that which could withstand all questioning, made me ready for the eye-opening break-through, tearing open and dissolving the curtain of my passionate beliefs that had blinkered my perception, obscured my clarity and prevented me from seeing the actual.
The PCE did not appear out of the blue by the grace of ‘Existence’ to be leisurely compared to my ancient spiritual beliefs – it was born out of my intent to find a way out of the need to believe and to find a solution to my failure to be happy and free. There was already a rip in the curtain, so to speak, of my nicely settled, second-rate existence, and that rip widened dangerously with every questioned emotion, belief or ‘truth’. It got so big that it became un-patchable and then, despite my fears, I thought: ‘Well, let it rip, I can’t hold it together anymore’ ... You’ll find the continuation of the story in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’ on our website.
‘Let it rip’, you already have an obvious hole in your spiritual curtain. Look ...
RESPONDENT: The real problem is that now, if I want to go back to my ordinary happiness – it doesn’t look possible. The ‘fact versus belief’ thought haunts me in the backdrop.
But I and only I have to take care of this problem – this is another thing I learnt from actualism.
VINEETO: What you call your ‘real problem’ is actual serendipity. It’s great news. And, from my experience I can only say, ‘don’t take care of it, make it bigger.’ It can be the window to seeing the actual for the first time in your life. The actual lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the shallow happiness of the spiritual. As you can see on the diagram of ‘180 degrees’, there is a gap between the pinky-dinky spiritual path and the path to actual freedom that one needs to jump across if one wants to get on to the bus to freedom. And, as you can see from my story, that ‘jumping the gap’ is the thrill of a lifetime.
Then actualism won’t remain a belief in what we are reporting, but will become a sensate, sensual and magnificent experience of the perfection that abounds all around us, every moment again. The trick is not to settle for second best.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.