Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: Facing the reality of my own demise has been one of my favourite obsessions in the past.
VINEETO: I am somewhat confused as to what you mean by ‘facing the reality of my own demise … in the past’ – are you referring to the demise of the ego that leaves the soul intact, as taught in each and every branch of Eastern mysticism, or are you referring to facing physical death?
RESPONDENT: I was referring to the death of the body, and by implication my identity, the traditional existential angst. I have never quite ‘got’ the soul. It always seemed a fabrication purely to assuage the visceral fear of one’s physical death. If you’re good, your soul gets to go to heaven, and in the meantime, here’s the tithing basket. The whole soul/ afterlife/ eternal energy scenario just never added up, when I applied common sense. So, the interesting characteristic of AF is this dismantling of the identity, the very thing that has the dread. Having abandoned any notion of an afterlife, it seems the only game in town.
VINEETO: The ‘soul’ is not dissolved by dismissing ‘any notion of an afterlife’ nor by maintaining an agnostic view about a life after death. The soul – ‘who’ I feel ‘I’ am deep down inside – is apparent in every belief, every mood, every emotion and every affective reaction that one experiences. To find one’s soul in action is the essential task for an actualist because the very action of recognizing my soul in action is paramount to dismantling it. The soul is the deepest core of my being, the seat of the instinctual passions, the very substance of ‘me’ – that which you once called ‘the actual being’. Vis:
This perception that ‘who I really am’ is a non-personal ‘actual being’ who is ‘palpably distinct from’ my personal identity is pure Zen. The ‘self’ plays hide and seek by dividing itself into two apparently separate identities – a personal identity, or ego, and a non-personal actual being, or soul – with the aim of humbling the first identity in order to glorify the second identity. Actualism is not to be confused with Zen because both the method and the aim are radically different – diametrically so in fact. The aim of actualism is the extinction of both identities, as becomes stunningly apparent in a pure consciousness experience where both parts of ‘me’ – the personal ‘I’ and the non-personal ‘being’ – are temporarily absent.
RESPONDENT: I used the term ‘actual being’, referring to the flesh-and-blood, and you linked it with the term ‘soul’. So maybe I’m using the wrong terminology? What is the official AF term for the body that sensately goes about its daily business? Whatever you want to call it, that’s what I was referring to, not the soul.
VINEETO: You are attempting to redefine your philosophy by using actualism ‘terminology’ and completely overlook that what you are doing is neither the method nor the practice to become actually free from the human condition. You explain it clearly in your next sentence –
RESPONDENT: I don’t know where the identity/ego ends and the soul begins, and I’m not sure it matters much, as it’s all learned behaviours and I lump them in the same category. And there is certainly no humbling or glorification going on, just a recognition of the existence of this identity/ego/soul.
VINEETO: Your understanding of the human condition is that ‘it’s all learned behaviours and I lump them in the same category’. This is the traditional spiritual stance that if one only succeeds in ridding oneself of one’s socialisation, the learned behaviours from one’s childhood, then one is free to be one’s natural being.
This ancient spiritual teaching is not improved by translating it into actualism ‘terminology’ – in fact nothing can improve this one-eyed thought-inhibiting intuition-enhancing philosophy of iron-age Eastern mysticism. If you want to become actually free from malice and sorrow then any and all previously acquired philosophies, teachings and techniques need to be thrown out – rooted out from deep within the soul you think you ‘never quite ‘got’’.
VINEETO: Or are you talking about the recent past since taking up actualism – your contemplations about your own demise of your identity in toto, both ego and soul, something that is entirely new to human history?
RESPONDENT: One curious difference between that form of demise and the one I was referring to is that slaying one’s identity is a deliberately undertaken process, rather than just waiting around to get bonked on the head by some meteorite.
VINEETO: The ‘curious difference’ is that in actualism I am recognizing that all ‘I’ think and all ‘I’ feel myself to be – both ‘the watcher’ and the ‘watched’ in the traditional spiritual pursuit – is the sum total of ‘me’ as an identity. Therefore there is nobody else who can do the job of dismantling ‘me’ but ‘me’. In actualism ‘I’ as the watcher or ‘actual being’ am not slaying ‘me’ as the personal identity or ego – ‘I’ have deliberately and with aforethought agreed to facilitate ‘my’ demise for the benefit of this body, that body and every body. There is no ‘slayer’ that will win the war between the opposing identities – as in a battle betwixt good and evil – ‘I’ am taking myself apart all of ‘my’ own accord.
RESPONDENT: Many of his close associates seem to got him so wrong. Osho and many other eastern philosophies have stressed so many times on being happy ‘here and now’. There may be many methods how to achieve it.
VINEETO: I don’t think us disciples got him wrong there. Commitment and surrender were not only a big issue during ranch-time, but ‘totality’, as it was called later, was the main ingredient on the path to enlightenment. The story of digging only one hole and not 50 different ones to produce a well the stressing the point to not listen to other masters as to not get confused.
‘Being happy here and now’ only sounds like the same as living this moment here, now. The spiritual ‘here and now’ does not jell with the teaching of reincarnation, enlightenment being the ending of the wheel of birth and death and the teaching of meditation – closing your eyes and go somewhere else inside – to one day maybe become enlightened. Yes, when after all this effort you become enlightened, then you can laugh and say you were always ‘here and now’. But that is a different ‘here’ and ‘now’ than the here and now of normal mortals who were considered asleep and had to do dynamic meditation and other exercises to ‘wake up’.
The other obvious difference between the spiritual ‘here and now’ and the actual ‘here and now’ is how Osho and eastern philosophers regard the body and everything physical. The spiritual concept is that the world is ‘maya’, an illusion. Once you ‘get it’, you can be happy in the spiritual realm of ‘here and now’. But you have to identify as the ‘watcher’, not as the body, you have to be detached from the body and from your senses in order to rise to your ‘true nature’. That ‘true nature’ is your consciousness, so they say, best to be achieved through meditation, which is in its purest form sitting motionless with closed eyes for hours on end. Then the identity shifts to ‘being the watcher’, to being Consciousness – and one day, one realizes that one is ‘One with All’, ‘That’, ‘Universal Love’, etc. The delusion is complete. One loses one’s ego on the way, but the soul, the feeling part of the instinctual being stays not only fully intact, but is aggrandized to the extent that one considers oneself to be God or the Universe itself.
Compared to this illusory scenario, the actual ‘here and now’ is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway. To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe. Coming from no-where and having no-where to go we find ourselves here in this moment in time in this place in space. To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Being here now is to ‘be doing what is happening’ with no sense of ‘I’ or feelings of ‘me’. To be fully here, now without a fearful ‘self ‘or a ‘Grand Self’ is to be innocent, perfect and pure, fully engaged in this only moment of being alive. (...)
RESPONDENT: I don’t understand how can anything be wrong in this universe. According to Richard (in fact, according to many Enlightened ones, but Richard never accepts it), the world is so perfect that nothing can be wrong here. Then where is the question of bringing peace to earth. I must mention here that I am not against Richard or pro Eastern thinkers. This argument is just to understand the so called new thinking.
VINEETO: There is nothing wrong with the universe. But there is something fatally wrong with humanity, with every human being, in fact. We are born with the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by our social and religious conditioning and then have built our own so-called identity on top of it. We call it the Human Condition. This condition is responsible for all the wars, murders, rapes etc. on this planet, it is the source of sorrow and malice in each of us.
And it is deleteable.
The Eastern thinking talks about stopping thought, removing ‘the little man in the head’, the ‘thinker’ – but the identity only shifts to ‘the little man in the heart’, the ‘feeler’. Emotions and instincts (the soul and the ‘core of our being’) remain untouched and are operating in every meditator, in every enlightened one, better than ever. As Richard says, the ‘I’, the ego dies, but the ‘me’, the soul, becomes even more rampant.
The ‘new thinking’ is not ‘so called’, it is that both, ‘I’ and ‘me’, ego and soul, ‘self’ and ‘Self’, have to die in order to experience the world-as-is, radiant, perfect, alive, pure and benevolent. This is peace-on-earth. It can only be achieved by each individual becoming free of their respective psychological and psychic entities.
RESPONDENT: Because I am exposed mostly only to eastern wisdom, I conclude that it should be because of that. However I don’t want to waste too much time and efforts to argue over whether it is new or not. Even if it is not new, it appeals to me and I would like to give it a try.
VINEETO: When I took Sannyas I had been raised and conditioned as a catholic middle-class German. In order to understand Rajneesh I had to at least question those conditionings. But then I was ready to question the old, because life wasn’t all that wonderful, burdened as I was with those primary conditionings. I attempted to leave ‘normal’ behind and became ‘spiritual’.
On the path to Actual Freedom a second de-conditioning took place, a spiritual de-conditioning. And again, I was ready for it, because after all those years of sincere effort my search did not show the outcome I was hoping for. This second de-conditioning went much, much deeper than the first, it eliminated ‘all of me’, ego and soul, emotions and beliefs, instincts and ‘spiritual achievements’. It leaves me as this physical body and its senses, free to delight in this perfect infinite universe as a sensate human being. Nothing more, nothing less.
To investigate my beliefs it took a lot of time to question, ask, discuss, read, turn them round and round, and look at them again from a different angle. It is not at all a waste of time. To be able to see a belief ‘from the outside’ in its complexity and functioning it needs time and investigation. This is exactly how you give it a try.
RESPONDENT: I will give you one example. Osho said ‘Don’t let your doubt die. You should doubt every concept, every belief till it becomes your own experience’ So I doubted Osho himself, to the extent that sometimes I even thought that this man is just an intelligent orator who is making fool of so many people. That is why I didn’t become a sannyasin. And that is why I was free to read other Gurus and Scripture and am open to any new way of life.
VINEETO: Yes, he said, ‘don’t let doubt die’ and he said ‘you have to learn to trust me completely’. I never heard him encourage us to doubt him as the master as the ultimate authority. ‘Doubting every concept’ was to doubt your old conditioning and believe in your ‘Buddha Nature’, your soul, your inner light, the Truth, which shall be revealed... Since Rajneesh himself lived and worked within the system of Eastern Teaching, he had never himself doubted the existence of a soul, or of the divinity of existence, or of Divine Grace (God coming towards you if you only try hard enough). That’s why he could speak of it so convincingly.
Your doubting Rajneesh and considering him ‘just an intelligent orator’ is what Rajneesh himself would have called ‘not surrendered’, ‘stuck in the mind’ or ‘Westerners don’t know the wonderful and blessed master-disciple relationship of the East’. I have heard several discourses on that topic.
You say, you didn’t become a Sannyasin, and you read other Gurus. Have you found with Rajneesh or other Gurus what you were looking for? And what in particular were you looking for? What are you looking for when you read about Actual Freedom? What is the intention behind your search?
I am asking these specific questions, because they have helped me to distinguish between the teachings and promises on one side and the results, both personal and global, on the other side. Upon close investigation I had to admit that promises and results did not reconcile. Neither did I become enlightened nor did enlightenment result in a solution to the word’s problems. I had the choice to forever blame myself and keep hoping – or to try something new and radical.
The new and radical was to questions the soul, the feelings, the emotions (including love) and to learn that instincts are delete-able. The new and radical is to look at facts instead of trusting any master, to only rely on what can be evidenced by the physical senses. In short, to throw everything meta-physical out the window. It definitely is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the spiritual.
VINEETO: What is it then that you want to give it a try? Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to everything spiritual. Whatever you would try, it would not be Actual Freedom. So first, let’s discuss where you imagine Actual Freedom to be similar to Rajneesh’s and other Eastern Teaching.
RESPONDENT: I answered this question partly in my mail to Richard. What I have understood from both Richard and Eastern wisdom is that ‘I’ is the main problem and it should be completely annihilated so that the ‘new’ takes over. You say that in the actual world there will be no ‘I’ in any form and the actual physical universe is the only thing which is left. I understand a similar thing from my earlier readings. May not be in exactly in these terms but when Upanishads say ‘neti neti’ (not this, not this) or when Tao talks of emptiness or void, I never get a feeling that they are talking of something of bigger ‘I’ of a God/Truth/Love Agapé etc. May be my study is not complete. What is important for me is that I can understand that ‘I’ has to die. What comes next...I don’t know. I am not searching for any God/Love Agapé etc. as a bigger or universal ‘I’. To me God or Love is just a poetic way of saying ‘the actual physical world’. If you are averse to this word because it has become too dirty and carries too many meanings, I have no attachment to the word either.
VINEETO: It is not the ‘words’ of ‘love’ and ‘god’ that I am ‘averse’ to, it is the fact that any belief in something other than the actual and physical prevents one from experiencing the purity of the actual world.
You say ‘that I can understand that ‘I’ has to die. What comes next ... I don’t know ’ – if you don’t know what this ‘I’ all consists of, you will be safely staying on the spiritual path, maybe become enlightened – and then have an even longer way to come back from the psychic labyrinth of delusion into this physical world of the senses.
When you have a closer examination of the Upanishads, Tao or Zen, you will find that they all see life on earth as fleeting, their relationship to their physical senses is that of dis-identification and dis-association, and they perceive nature through the filters of feeling beauty and awe, feeling being the essence of the ‘soul’. Those belief-systems are 180 degrees in the opposite direction of an actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: I think there is some confusion in my usage of the term spiritualism.
In my mother tongue, the corresponding word is called ‘adhyatma’ which literally means coming to yourself. ‘Atma’ in adhyatma doesn’t mean soul or spirit, it means ‘I’. So for me when I am searching for who/what am I, it is adhyatma. And it is this search which brought me to actual freedom. Don’t you think actualism is also focussed on realising the true I and eliminating ‘I’. I understand that in actualism, the true I is realised as this physical body and nothing else.
VINEETO: Here is another example of using the trick of a superficial substitution. You say ‘who/what am I, it is adhyatma’. ‘Who’ points to ‘I’, the being, the passionately imagined identity, while ‘what’ is simply this flesh-and-blood-body without any identity whatsoever. Adhyatma is ‘coming to yourself’ or your ‘self’, who your believe yourself to be, feel yourself to be, want to be, hope to become and, lo and behold, you discover your Higher or True Self – God by any other name.
Actualism goes in the opposite direction. An actualist chisels away at the being, dismantles the being, takes it apart, exposes it for the mirage it is, investigates the emotions and instinctual passions that force one to desperately want to be somebody, a higher self, ‘me at the core of my being’, an advanced being, anything. Actual freedom is freedom from being any identity whatsoever. What remains is ‘what’ one is, this flesh-and-blood body only, not ‘who’.
It is all very simple. Whenever I have been hurt by something or someone, this was my ‘self’ being hurt. This ‘self’ is what we actualists investigate, dismantle, lay bare and eliminate. It includes investigating ALL emotions, including love, compassion and bliss. When you uncover and eliminate the underlying instincts, there won’t be anybody left feeling hurt or even peeved.
RESPONDENT: Anyway I am still on this topic ‘Spiritualism vs actualism’. You mentioned that I don’t differentiate between Ego and Soul. This is very true. With my experience, I really can’t differentiate the two. When I look at myself I see only one identity. What I understand from both spiritualism and actualism is that this identity has to die.
VINEETO: You say, you understand that both, ego and soul, have to die. Great. Now, what is this soul?
The easiest way to understand ‘soul’ for me was to see it as the sum of my emotions, feelings, beliefs and passions. Love is ‘me’, affection is ‘me’, sadness is ‘me’, anger is ‘me’, being annoyed is ‘me’, being grateful is ‘me’, being hopeful is ‘me’, being frustrated is ‘me’, being impatient is ‘me’, being fearful is ‘me’ – you can add anything you like to this list. All ‘I’ am is my feelings, all ‘I’ am is my beliefs and all ‘I’ am is my instincts. ‘I’ consist of nothing else.
Although ‘I’ am not actual, as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical, material, ‘I’ am real, ‘I’ am my feelings and the actions that result from having these feelings are real. To imagine otherwise is but a cunning trick and an act of blatant denial. ‘I’ am not merely an illusion that can be ‘realised’ away as in the spiritual teachings. As such, the death of ‘me’ will also be a real event. ‘I’ in ‘my’ totality, who is but a passionate illusion, must die a dramatic illusory death commensurate to ‘my’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it.
This fact of what ‘I’ consist of has to be discovered, acknowledged, investigated and experienced, over and over again. Only then is one willing to ‘get down and get dirty’, willing to experience and examine one’s feelings – not merely ‘observe’ them – and investigate into the hidden beliefs and instinctual passions that cause those feelings. By neither repressing nor expressing but by meticulously exploring each feeling I was then able to determine the underlying cause – be it a hurt pride, a bit of my social identity, a fear linked to my survival mechanism, a cherished belief disguised as ‘truth’ – there was always an issue beneath the initial emotion. And each of these feelings and emotions is ‘me’, my identity, my ‘self’, my ‘soul’. ‘I’ consist of nothing else but a great collection of passionate imaginations.
RESPONDENT: Peter just sent a diagram showing ‘who I am’ diminishes gradually and ‘what I am’ becomes apparent in actualism. I read the same thing in spiritualism. Just that they call ‘who I am’ as ego (and I understand soul also if any such thing exists) and ‘what I am’ as God (by whatever name). I don’t see God as an identity at all. It is just a situation when ‘I’ does not exist. With my understanding of both spiritualism and actualism so far, I think there are two big lies, which I have to understand:
I think I have understood the first lie, more or less.
VINEETO: When you say:
You have just defined ‘God’ as ‘a situation when ‘I’ do not exist’ and thus put it all nicely back into the spiritual belief system. If the spiritual ‘God’ is a non-identity, how come Rajneesh, Krishnamurti and all the other enlightened gurus had such glamour, glory and glitz about them, how come they needed heaps of devoted disciples and couldn’t live as a fellow human being among other fellow human beings? Is this not the most obvious proof of having an identity, now even bigger, brighter, shinier and ‘wiser’ than everybody else? No more ego, but the soul in full swing.
When ‘I’, the complete identity, both the one ‘I think I am’ and the one ‘I feel I am’ have disappeared, there is no sense of identity whatsoever, nobody that can identify oneself as God or Existence or ‘All That Is’. Then there is only a body with limbs and senses, blood-circulation and a brain that is aware of being alive. There is no identity holding it all together, no identity experiencing each moment, nothing that has a past and a future, no sense of ‘being’ and nothing that has any emotional memory whatsoever.
VINEETO: Hi Everybody, (...)
I was reminded of a particular outstanding experience during the Anti-Fisher-Hoffman-Process in Pune. It was the second time that I did the group, the first time that I was a staff-member. The AFH, as we called it, is a 10-12 day process of looking at childhood issues and overcoming fear, resentment, anger, attachment by using intense bio-dynamic methods. By the third day, with lots of ‘work’ and little sleep, everybody hit their limit. I dragged myself forward, fantasizing about the time when I could sleep again as long as I wanted, if I only made it through the next ‘hellish’ days. Suddenly it dawned on me that what I was doing was waiting. I was wasting my time for ‘redemption’. And I realised that there was no difference from ‘waiting for heaven’ or for enlightenment, or for the right man, or...
With this insight that there is only now, that I live only now, and that there is no heaven to go to – I woke up into full awareness and aliveness. Postponement only brings more misery, hope is for the hesitant one who does not want to take the first step to freedom. This peak-experience lasted for several hours, and while everyone else was tired to the bone I bounced in refreshed aliveness. Later on the event got filed into the category of ‘group-highs’ and the memory of it soon faded away. But for those few hours I had lived in the actual world, here, now, without God, heaven, authority, love, hope and postponement. I had actually experienced that this moment is the only moment we have got, the only moment we can experience being alive, to be either miserable or happy, complaining or fully alive.
And this is where I see one of the main differences between the freedom, Peter and I talk about, and the teachings of the enlightened masters of all ages: the concept of life after death. ‘Eternity’ was a good attraction at the time, improving on the notion of the Christian heaven and hell. The idea was that the soul was eternal, and would live on forever and ever, evolving and in bliss, or, re-appearing in endless re-incarnations, sorting out one’s so-called karma. Enlightenment offered the dream of ‘me’ living on for ever – even after physical death ‘I’ would continue ... and this very dream lead to the most insidious postponement – everything will be fixed with enlightenment or otherwise in Nirvana after death... This belief in eternity comes in many forms and disguises, but if you take a closer look, you will always find that the Divine, the Melting with the Universe, the Dissolution into the Greater Whole – life after death – are an essential part of Eastern teaching.
VINEETO to Alan: Driving home last night after a full working day I wondered what was really the difference between me now and me some time ago. I felt as ‘normal’ as one can be; no outstanding events had happened in the day, there was just a quiet enjoyment of the different tasks I had to do. Was that all there was to life, a non-emotional, non-eventful pleasant day-by-day living, but without the sparkle and magic of a pure consciousness experience? Was I maybe missing the mark, was I a few degrees off course or overlooking something essential here? Doubt crept in – and the impatience I have known so well from the last weeks.
Coming home, Peter introduced me to the term ‘limbo’. There was a report about a film called ‘Limbo’ on TV and he had looked it up in the dictionary:
Well, I definitely could relate to that description, I know the ‘place or condition of neglect or oblivion to which people or things are consigned when regarded as superseded, useless, or absurd’, and I also know well this ‘intermediate or indeterminate condition; a state of inaction or inattention pending some future event’. And some feelings of doubt, lost-ness or insecurity about the right direction are very normal when one is in limbo. Suddenly all made sense again – o.k., if I am in limbo, that must be par for the course. How could I ever think that anything could go wrong? It was a great relief to realize that nowhere can I go wrong or miss the mark – limbo is a place of no direction and no movement. My only responsibility now is to keep my foot off the brakes; all else is proceeding perfectly well.
VINEETO to Alan: It’s a fascinating business ‘to be or not to be’ and how to move from one to the other. When we watched the report on Timothy Leary that Peter wrote about, I could relate very well to the flavour of those times, the idealism, the peace movement and the ‘tune in, turn on and drop out’ scene. My ‘drop out’ was not into drugs, but into religion. I went to India to find God. My God was called Rajneesh and he claimed to have all the answers. I learned to be more sophisticated with my labelling, he was ‘an Enlightened Master’, the best, of course, something which every master claims to be. And if we did what he told us, surrendered and meditated earnestly, we would get to experience heaven on earth, i.e. become enlightened and thus reserve a place for our soul in Nirvana-land after death.
Doesn’t this sound very similar to the good old Christian religion of Big Daddy in the sky who knows it all and promises you heaven after death if you are good? With the only difference being that my ‘God’ was still alive and the Christian God-man had died 2000 years ago. Therefore the transition out of normal society into a spiritual community wasn’t such a big jump as I had thought at the time. Emotionally and instinctually I was still feeling safe with the higher authority of the ‘Good’ and secure with the reassuring feeling of belonging to a religious tribe.
With that understanding in mind, the report of the ‘great drop out’ of Timothy Leary, the ‘high priest of the his times’ could be seen for what it is, a ‘shifting of furniture on the deck of the Titanic’, staying safely within the parameters of the ‘self’ and of an imagined life after death for that very ‘self’. Yet I find it very serendipitous that crazy people, including myself, have experimented with all kinds of possible options of what it is to be a human being. It gives me an opportunity to study what I as well as everyone else have discovered, to investigate the uselessness of the traditionally offered solutions and to stop repeating the mistakes of the past.
RESPONDENT: Actually, I have found that everything is always ok at this moment right now and running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is a great tool for keeping me in this moment.
That’s all for now. Thanks for being there and thanks to all of you for making this list and this website available and for your willingness to help.
VINEETO: The question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is not only ‘a great tool for keeping me in this moment’ but it is also the precise method to remove every single obstacle that prevents one from experiencing this moment as perfect.
You see, with this method you can do much more than calming yourself or be ‘in this moment’ – you can become actually and permanently free of all the worries and fears, depression and resentment, sorrow and malice, free from the Human Condition altogether. With this method you can examine and investigate what keeps you from being happy and harmless in this very moment and remove the disturbing element, ‘me’, ‘ego’ and ‘soul’, irrevocably and forever.
VINEETO: By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know what to say. I feel like I’m in never-never land.
VINEETO: I don’t know what ‘never-never land’ represents for you, but I am reminded of Peter Pan’s dreamland for children, where one is transported from the misery and dullness of the ‘real’ world into the unreal land of imagination, where one never has to become a grown-up.
In order to pursue the path to an ACTUAL freedom, as opposed to the imagined freedom of the spiritual world, it is essential to remember a Pure Consciousness Experience. Otherwise one won’t know what one is looking for and will only translate a few of the words and terms describing Actual Freedom into the spiritual belief-system that has been one’s familiar environment for many years.
There is plenty written about PCEs, and I found Richard’s correspondence on the subject particularly helpful. Unless one reads and re-reads and reads again about actual freedom, there is no way of de-programming one’s brain from the all-pervading spiritual teachings, thoughts and feelings. (You can find relevant topics on the map of the Actual Freedom Website including selected writings and selected correspondence). Unless one has at least a glimpse that Actual Freedom lies, in fact, 180 in the opposite direction to all spiritual beliefs, one will always end up in a ‘never-never land’ of fantasy, guesswork, misunderstanding and imagination.
Personally, it took two months and a lot of discussions with Peter until I finally understood experientially, what the term ‘spiritual’ stands for. For me, ‘spiritual’ had implied the ‘godly’ way of life, following the highest aspirations of mankind, a dedication to be good, to be part of the group of people who also aspire to the same goal. The day I finally understood the literal meaning of the word ‘spirit-ual’, a whole new world opened up. Suddenly the spiritual world was not the only alternate world to the ‘real’ world, not even the best world. Suddenly I understood that I – like everyone else – was producing this world in my head and heart – with my very spirit, so to speak – and this world consisted of spiritual morals, ethics, ideas, beliefs, emotions, loyalties, pride and the belief in the immortality of the soul.
A major distinguishing factor between the spiritual approach to life and the path to an actual freedom is that spirituality teaches one to enhance the ‘good’ affective feelings. One is to indulge one’s intuition, trust, belief, faith, hope, guesswork and is encouraged to sense (as in feel out) a situation. Whereas, on the path to Actual Freedom, one explores actuality by applying thought, common sense, contemplation, practicality, intelligence and undertakes an investigation into verifiable facts of the situation.
RESPONDENT: I have a strong sense of abandoning humanity.
VINEETO: In order to abandon humanity as an actuality and not as a feeling or fantasy one needs to know one’s humanity, one’s beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions through and through because ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the way to come to know all the ingredients of this ‘humanity’ in oneself. Whenever I am not happy there is something to investigate and this ‘something’, these emotion-backed thoughts and vague feelings are the stuff that constitute ‘I’ and ‘me’. ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul are nothing other than all the beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions that, in due course, one will encounter and discover in oneself on the path to becoming happy and harmless. Investigating one’s beliefs and emotions, one by one, will enable one to leave them behind, one by one. Then, without a social identity, life is a pleasure and a delight and the ongoing experience of Virtual Freedom gives one the necessary backbone to encounter the underlying instinctual passions.
Abandoning humanity is only possible after one has rid oneself of one’s social identity first and thus has the confirmation and confidence that the method works. Moreover, without experiencing the purity, magnificence and perfection of the actual world in a pure consciousness experience one’s abandoning humanity can only lead to feelings of dread and despair or the grand delusion of Oneness.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I shall have to write in more detail, (when I have time), but when you wrote; ‘I would like to take the offer and investigate the presented points for what ‘they are worth’ for an actualist and in what way they can be used as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’
Your response was excellent but don’t under-estimate what others have come to understand and what others may or may not believe.
VINEETO: I read through my last letter to you very carefully and I could not find anything that indicates that I ‘under-estimate what others’ – in this case you – had to say in your seven points to No 16. Neither did I say anything about what you ‘may or may not believe’. Since the points were very short, I found it appropriate and useful to explore your statements on a deeper level in order to have a clearer understanding of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is not about what ‘others may or may not believe’ but about ascertaining the facts of the situation. This is, after all, the very purpose of this Mailing List.
Knowing my own process, and therefore having studied the Human Condition in detail, I indeed know a lot about ‘what others may or may not believe’ and what may therefore be useful hints or clarifications in order to free oneself from one’s social identity and one’s instinctual passions. After all, the Human Condition is common to all and does not vary very much in each person. Aggression is aggression in man or woman, young or old, East or West, as are the other instinctual passions. The social identity has a few more possible variations according to the particular culture that one was raised in, but the basic moral and spiritual beliefs are very much alike. Everyone believes that an immortal spirit or soul inhabits this flesh-and-blood body and that for the sake of one’s ‘eternal future’ one should aspire to follow the ‘good’ and ‘right’. Underpinning the ‘good’ and the ‘right’ there is also instilled the common fear of retribution, punishment, ostracism and ridicule should one dare to stray from the well-worn path.
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 moral girl and a spiritual seeker for years. So the first step on this new journey was to actually acknowledge the malice and sorrow I was still carrying – like everybody else. It was not easy to discover 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, superiority, the whole lot.
RESPONDENT: As for ‘heart’ at the moment I have ‘no heart’ no doubt that will change in due course. So how am I experiencing this moment, there is the usual things ‘wants’, that pop up and are at least noticed. The doer is noticed, the tension between the eyes and base of the head is noticed, ah, an occasional burning feeling is happening at the head base. I also notice the subtle wanting of approval of my achievements which seems to occur more with Richard with that is the fear of being challenged.
VINEETO: Isn’t it amazing how many things pop up once one puts one’s attention to them! In the beginning it can be quite a madhouse up there in the head, even to the extent of physical discomfort. Specially fears would usually cause tightness in stomach, guts and back of the neck with me – and still do sometimes. But most of the time it is not enough to just notice. That’s the crux with all the meditation-techniques, they never eliminate the problem, the emotions and their underlying causes. Noticing only shifts them, and they will be back in due course.
See, that’s why the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is essential and at the same time only the entry-ticket to your discovery-journey into yourself or your ‘self’. To get rid, permanently, of a certain fear, for instance, I had to investigate into the underlying reasons – why do I have this fear, what is the belief that holds it up?
VINEETO: To get rid, permanently, of a certain emotion, what I did was –
I have done this process of tracing with every single irritation, emotion and belief that I found lurking inside ‘my soul’ and in this way have reduced ‘my soul’ to a very small percentage of its original size. With it my troubles, worries, fears and irritations have also been reduced to a very small percentage of their original appearance. It works, immediately – and that, for many, is the scary bit. One actually diminishes and eliminates one’s soul and one’s identity.
But unless one investigates one’s emotions, one’s beliefs and at last one’s instincts at the root of a physical unpleasantness, tension or sensation, there is no way to get to the bottom of the matter. It will stay a sorry-go-round of ‘noticing’ and disappearing, reappearing and ‘noticing’ again ad nauseam.
RESPONDENT: The pleasant surprise is on my side, when I found out that I am not alone being working to rid me from the human conditioning. In my case: I am long time aware that I am the creator of my own reality and that it is thinking itself which is the link to that reality. In time, like a detective, I figured that not only the negative feelings but also the positive feelings are my own creation and for that can be dropped.
Through a very intense experience of annihilation I scratched the bottom of all belief systems concerning family, friendship, love etc... and although painful it was a most ecstatic experience, like shedding off a second skin and in the same time expanding, stretching and breathing better in a more natural way.
Well, that’s how I also found your web site and I am supported by your sharing your insight’s. Cool.
VINEETO: You might find, when you read more into Peter’s and Richard’s Journal and our correspondence, that Actual Freedom is not only about ridding oneself of the Human Conditioning, which I understand to be the socialisation and beliefs one accumulates in the course of one’s life, but also the elimination of feelings, emotions and instincts, the whole of the Human Condition.
Only at first sight it might look similar to the spiritual approach – spirituality talks of ego and mind as the problem but it leaves the soul, being, watcher and Consciousness intact. It never questions the identity of who one ‘feels’ one is. Spirituality believes in the ‘spirit’, in an inner world of feelings, love, compassion, with an inner identity, ‘the watcher’. What is usually completely overlooked is that there is not only an ‘ego’ controlling our thoughts, but also a ‘soul’ producing our emotions. They both have to be eliminated in order to experience actual freedom. Only without the constructs of instincts, emotions and beliefs can the magnificent perfection of actuality be experienced, and then it is self-evident and obvious. No devastating truth or a mystery to be lost in – just this abundant life in this infinite universe, experienced through the physical senses.
When both, the ego and the soul, the ‘self’ and the ‘Self’ (as in Love, Bliss, Consciousness, Compassion, Oneness) are eliminated, one is only this flesh and blood body, being the eyes seeing and the ears hearing, being the universe experiencing itself as a human being.
RESPONDENT: If you start to think that everything is an illusion, you give away your control over your life. I got the feeling I have. In Richard’s journal he tells something similar, he had to fight to get his will back working. And then I found you guys. Well, to come short, I’ve ‘practised’ with the method of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ for about a month now. It’s to short to say if there is ‘something happening.’ If you have something to recommend please do. I’m determined to go on, that’s for sure. Sorry I talk so much about myself but that’s the only way to give an image of my ‘reality’. You know what’s the worst one can do: to say that you can be happy all the time and then lead people on a road to nowhere by talking Chinese. As if happiness is only for the ‘wise and intelligent people.’ I’m not stupid but I don’t understand Ramana Maharshi at all.
VINEETO: Your last sentence I enjoyed the most. Yes, it needs people to be bold enough to stand up to the gods and gurus and expose them for the frauds they are. Richard says they have feet of clay because they did not dare to go all the way and eliminate all of their identity instead of only getting rid of the ego. Consequently their identity shifts from ego to soul and is blown up into insane proportions.
It took me at least 6 months to question and take apart all my dearly held beliefs, reverence, love, devotion and hope that I had towards the Master (Rajneesh), because admitting that the master was wrong then made me a fool to have followed him. But what a liberation and relief when I understood the whole intricate net of the master-disciple-relationship, when I saw through the half-truths and mysteries, the fairy-stories and Eastern gobble-de-gook. What a freedom now to think for myself, to use my intelligence freed of fear and hope, and to walk upright for the first time in my life – beholden to no one.
VINEETO: Only when I started to apply the method of actualism could I begin to dare to really acknowledge what was going on in my feeling department, because now I had the tools to investigate and eliminate the cause of my anxiety, my dependency, my sorrow, my anger, my insecurity and my loneliness. Neither suppressing nor expressing my emotions but becoming aware and investigating the cause of the feelings did the trick – it stopped me running away from my bad feelings and stopped me chasing the good feelings. The vividness and a magical splendour of actuality that becomes apparent when both bad and good feelings disappear, is far superior to any ‘feeling good’ that drugs, love, praise or Divine Love can every deliver.
GARY: Like yourself, I have come to see that ‘love’ comprises a whole constellation of moods, emotions, behaviours, and beliefs. At its most fundamental, there are the tender instincts of nurture and desire. These fundamental instincts are then further articulated and elaborated through the process of conditioning and learning into the whole complex constellation of human drives and emotions. I have found that it is impossible to refrain from love, which is a bit like trying to outrun my shadow – a patent impossibility. But I can investigate these various emotions, moods and passions, and it is a fascinating and engaging work indeed. Eventually ‘I’ am becoming a bit threadbare – the moods and emotions are not running my life, nor am I blindly careering about looking for love and acceptance. This ties in with autonomy – I am becoming more and more autonomous.
At an earlier point in my explorations, I naively thought that by expunging the word ‘love’ from my vocabulary, I would be eliminating the emotional hold these emotions have on me. I have not found that to be the case. The moods and feelings arise from time to time, but the difference is that they are noticed and there is this self-questioning process always going on. My partner still tells me, just about every morning, that she loves me. I do not say the words back, but neither do I cringe or recoil in embarrassment. She still evidently believes in the promise of love, from what I can tell, whereas I do not.
That doesn’t mean that we cannot enjoy each other’s company and continue to share our lives and our cosy little home together. But the curious thing is the surreptitious thrill of delight to hear the words spoken, something that many, if not most, people living in the Human Condition feel they cannot do without. Again, there is the recognition and awareness that these words ‘I love you’ are the soul’s balm. They are music to my soul’s ears: ‘I’ stand up and take notice emphatically when offered love and acceptance by others, whether employer, co-workers, partner, etc. But again, one asks oneself ‘why’? And at what cost?
VINEETO: I like it when you say
because this is exactly my experience. To not believe in the promise of love is one thing, but to actually investigate the feelings of love one has to keep the word ‘love’ in one’s vocabulary. I found love, and its big brother ‘compassion for all’, a much more sticky emotion than, for instance, anger. Love lets you belong – to a person, to a group, to a nation and to humanity as a whole. Investigating love and the tender instincts is all about examining the feeling of belonging and the fear of standing on my own feet.
Your expression ‘these words ‘I love you’ are the soul’s balm. They are music to my soul’s ears’ hit the nail on the head. My ‘soul’, this passionate imaginary ‘me’, needs continuous emotional affirmation from others or needs to feel connected to others in order to stay alive – for ‘I’ am non-actual, ‘I’ do not exist other than by feeling and imagination.
You might have noticed that when you accept people’s praise or love, you are at the same time susceptible to their critiques and condemnations as well – one cannot have one without the other. With nobody to love me or hate me, and with nobody to love or hate, my soul eventually withers away and I become anonymous.
RESPONDENT: From this awareness of being conscious NOW, there is acceptance and appropriate response to whatever presents itself and no need for attack or defence. I do not have a sense of ‘knowing’ anything and my desire to ‘figure it all out’ has fallen away, but in the quietness that remains there is deep peace. I have the distinct impression that there is nowhere to ‘go’ and nothing to ‘do’ to realize the Truth of Being.
VINEETO: Yep, to realize ‘the Truth of Being’ there is nowhere to go but in, because it is our very instinctual nature. As all the old wise men have said since millennia one has but to follow one’s feeling, stop thinking sensibly and be ‘who one has always been’ – which is nothing other than a human being genetically programmed with instinctual passions. Of course, the ancient wise men left the last essential bit out because nobody knew about instincts at the time. The only thing one has to do is to identify with the good instincts while transcending and sublimating the bad instincts – thus the feeling of ‘nowhere to go and nothing to do to realize the Truth of Being’.
It’s just that sublimating and transcending instinctual passions by emotionally disidentifying from the world is not the same as extinguishing them and with them one’s very being, in fact, it is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Unless fear and aggression, nurture and desire are completely eliminated, peace on earth in everyday life with people-as-they-are is not possible. When push comes to shove, all religious and spiritual people and their leaders have proven to have bleed-throughs and flair ups of ‘bad’ instinctual passions. Shifting to the good emotions has not stopped people from murdering, raping, blaming, controlling, grabbing, fighting, suiciding and torturing. Some chosen few have been mad enough to completely dissociate from their flesh-and-blood body, their perception of the corporeal world and their fellow human beings and have moved into a timeless spaceless silence. But that does not change the wars, murders and child abuses anywhere in the world, disagreements about whose belief is the ‘true’ belief and whose ‘Truth of Being’ is the right Truth, only gives their followers something to fight about. Peace on earth is not on the spiritual agenda and it has never been. The East, the cradle of spiritual teachings, is in no way a more peaceful place than the West.
VINEETO: What is usually completely overlooked is that there is not only an ‘ego’ controlling our thoughts, but also a ‘soul’ producing our emotions and that both are running on the fuel of our innate animal survival instincts. Both, ego and soul, have to be eliminated in order to experience an actual freedom from the Human Condition. Only without the intricate system of instincts, emotions and beliefs can the magnificent perfection of actuality be experienced, which is then it self-evident and obvious. Actual Freedom is neither a devastating truth nor a mystery to be lost in – but the continuous experience of this abundant life in this pure and infinite universe, experienced through the physical senses.
RESPONDENT: No amount of talking or typing will ever awaken anybody unless there is trust and surrender, such as what can exist in a master/disciple relationship. I say these words to add clarity where there might otherwise be frustration from not being heard.
VINEETO: Trust and surrender only lead to the confused lost-ness, that you describe your freedom to be, and to eternal dependency from the person one has chosen to be one’s master. You surrender your will to a higher authority. Not much of a freedom I would say!
Freedom is to be free of authority, free of one’s ‘self’, free of any psychic, mental and emotional construct, free of churning emotions and the sorrow of compassion. Freedom is to be free to be the universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being.
VINEETO: The eternal, undying soul spoils the game of living now as the only moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: Perhaps, but if it does, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the soul doesn’t exist. Concepts may spoil the only moment of being alive (and not even this is true, because it’s great fun to joke with concepts and joking is perhaps the very best way of being in the moment), but the fact that some people’s ideas about the soul makes them unhappy doesn’t necessarily imply that the soul doesn’t exist. It’s just that some people do not understand, that’s all.
VINEETO: Strange way to argue, I must say. Are you saying, the soul exists, and some people don’t understand it? You don’t say how you know that the soul exists. Yes, many, many people teach, believe and fervently hope that the soul exists. That does not make it a fact. No scientist has ever seen it or weighed it – and they have gone a great length to prove the existence of a physical thing they could call soul or spirit. And if it is not perceivable by the physical senses, it must be a concept, an imagination. What is your concept about the soul?
The soul is the part of the ‘self’ that everybody wants to keep and nurture, and that nobody has dared to question in its totality. Our identity is made up of ego and soul, the one who ‘we think we are’ and the one who ‘we feel we are’. In Eastern teaching the aim is to get rid of the ego, and one is then rewarded with ‘universal love’, the feeling of being ‘one with everything’ and eternal bliss. One’s identity simply shifts from the ego to the soul, from the head to the heart via sublimation of the bad emotions and enhancing of the good emotions. The core of the problem, emotions and instinctual passions are not given an ounce of consideration. (...)
VINEETO: When I asked Richard why he is so confidently positive about this statement, he replied: ‘Because there is nobody and nothing in me that lives on, I am only this flesh and blood body, there is no soul, no entity inside this body that could live on.’ ...
RESPONDENT: He is not the only one who said that man has no soul; again this is no proof that the soul is only imagination. If people pretend they have a soul when they haven’t then, of course, they imagine, but who knows, perhaps there are some people with a soul. It’s not that I hope there are some, mind you, it’s just impossible to state as a fact that a soul does not ever exist in a human being. The only fact here is that a lot of conceptualization exists in the world.
VINEETO: I actually don’t know what you mean by ‘soul’ which some people have and some don’t. I understand ‘soul’ as the sum of heart and feelings, human aspirations, the ‘thing’ that lives on after the death of the ego and after physical death. Since there is no physical evidence of a soul in the human body, that proves that it is a concept and imagination – a very powerful imagination as such. It is believed by all of Humanity, in some form or other. Most religions have a heaven to go to after death and others believe in their ancestors watching over them.
In the past have experienced glorious heartful moments and days which were filled with warmth and love-for-all. But living in the actual world now most of the time, without the ups and downs of those soulful feelings, life is fresh each moment, thrilling, wondrous, a dance and a delight.
Richard stated that there is nothing in him, neither ego nor soul, which would live on after his physical death. He had become enlightened (got rid of his ego) in 1981. But something was never quite right. So, in years of investigation he worked himself out of the immense delusion and imagination of the concept and feeling of being the ‘soul’ by questioning everything that was not experienced by the physical senses. It is not just a statement or a concept that there is no soul. It is his very ongoing experience. To make up your own mind you might want to read about Richard’s experience on his web-site: http://www.actualfreedom/richard/articles/abriefpersonalhistory.htm.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.