Selected Correspondence Vineeto
GARY: However, I am not angry at religion or the God-men, and I am not angry at myself for believing them. I am, rather, incredulous at my own gullibility, my own susceptibility to the influence of others. The goods that they had to offer me – immortality, Truth, Timelessness – no longer tantalize.
VINEETO: I always say, spirituality was the best on offer at the time. The longer these God-men promote their wisdom and lifestyle in the West, the more they are coming under observation and scrutiny, and reports of their deeds are spreading with the help of modern communication. Soon there won’t be much left that is not known about a life of a God-man. The mystery and mystique of enlightenment, so important in maintaining reverence and faith, is more and more being examined in the light of how, or indeed if, the holy men are living their own teachings. The lies and confusion that enlightened people are promoting and acting out, in the name of God’s will, are now public knowledge, and the internet is one of the best tools to make this knowledge known to whoever wants to know.
Ramesh Balesekar’s callous fatalism, Adi Da’s extensive sexual orgies, St. John de Ruiter’s message from God to take two more wives into his existing family, Ma Anmachi’s disciplinarian cruelty, M. Rajneesh’s criminal scandals in Oregon, J. Krishnamurti’s secret love affair with his best friend’s wife, Barry Longs’ philosophy of the golden rod that transmits divine grace, Ishwara Maitreya’s mad utterings of God’s latest wisdom, the Actual Supreme Being who deeply apologizes 13 times on one single page for the mess he created in the world ... once one starts looking with the clear eyes of a non-believer, there is plenty of dirt and insanity to discover, masquerading in the name of Love and Compassion. There are no good gurus and bad gurus, as some people, who only find fault with one and not the other, are trying to point out – the very institution of enlightenment is rotten to the core.
In my process of disentangling myself from being a disciple I discovered two components to religious belief – one, as you said was the lure of ‘immortality, Truth, Timelessness’, aspiring to achieve an imaginary perfection in enlightenment, and the other was love, my affective belief in the master’s ultimate authority and my inferiority.
For me, questioning authority itself and tracing it back to my belief in God, by whatever name, was the first step out of the spiritual world, and questioning the authority of the master was the second step. When my belief in and need for authority disappeared, love and loyalty for the master successively disappeared as well. I was then able to watch video tapes of his discourses without the soothing veil of love and trust, and I squirmed in disbelief at the lies, inanities, half-truths, power games and outright ancient mumble jumble that was suddenly revealed. Before I had used the discourses as hypnotic devices to be lulled into ‘silencing the mind’, feeling good and love for all – however, this time, without the affective cloak the great words of Wisdom looked shockingly bare. Of course, for some time I tried to find excuses for Rajneesh as well as the other god-men, but eventually that turned out to be an impossible task the more I could admit to having been conned through and through by one who was a master of his trade. God-men are nothing but con-men, sucking and luring admiring disciples into their scheme of self-aggrandizement, and most of the time they seem to be convinced of their own delusion. But they are bound to have times of doubt or even clarity, when the delusion is less thick – that’s why Richard says the enlightened ones have ‘feet of clay’. Nobody except Richard, particularly no enlightened master, has dared to ask the obvious question – why, with all that all-encompassing Love and Compassion is there no improvement upon peace on earth after 3,500 years of enlightened history? They claim to have all the knowledge and yet they are leading everyone into the land of fantasy and fervent imagination.
VINEETO: It is fascinating to read your ‘It was so self-evidently self-aggrandizing’ – such a simple statement about a simple fact. Everyone else I am corresponding with at present is frantically defending Love, Beauty, Supreme Intelligence, Compassion, the Unknown, universal Consciousness and whatever other names they have invented for their God. To acknowledge the fact that god is a mere figment of passionate imagination is more than most will bear.
GARY: No, I am not into defending these ideals and I will not. It was hard for me, looking back at it in retrospect, to admit of my former hero’s (Krishnamurti’s) debauches with his friend’s wife. At the time, I did not see the relevance of inquiring into what he did or didn’t do. But I am looking at that differently now. I think the critical thing is to be harmless. What an enormous hypocrisy to say things out of one side of your mouth while practising something differently in your personal life. I will not be disingenuous.
VINEETO: Before I met Peter and later Richard, I had not consciously questioned how and if the spiritual teachings were lived by the gurus themselves. It is one of their useful tricks, that the master is always exempt from his own teaching. He has already ‘got it’ and you, the disciple, have to practice humility, austerity, discipline, meditation, listening, etc. etc.
A whole new world opened up when I started questioning what was the practical outcome of the spiritual teachings in the master’s life, for his disciples and for the people who had lived the teachings of his lineage – in my case the Indian people. Had anything improved because of the teachings? Had my own life improved? Had my relationships to others become more loving, peaceful, happy? When enlightened, would I be living like the master? Did I like his lifestyle? How was he with women? How did he use power? Was it possible for everyone of his supposed 10,000 disciples to live like he did, all at the same time? Who would serve whom? Who would earn a living? Who would clean, cook and build the houses?
I started to put all the master’s seductive and soothing words to the test of common sense and was astounded that nothing added up. Not only was his teaching full of deliberate contradictions, but also it completely disregarded common sense. When I started to search for facts, there were more gaps than coherence. The teachings and the cult was only held together by the love, devotion and desire for enlightenment of his disciples. The further I investigated, the more I found dis-ingenuity combined with corruption, lies, extreme egotism, power games of the highest order, denial, greed, blaming the disciples and malicious competition with other gurus. Once I questioned and removed the overriding moral rule that you should never ever think for yourself and determine what is fact and what is belief, a whole Pandora box of rotten revelations followed.
As an aside – the latest guru gossip has it that John de Ruiter, the new kid on the block, was told by Truth to invite two female disciples into his household and it was Truth that told him to lie to his wife about the nature of his relationship to them. The Truth told him to lie, cute eh? Nothing stays hidden in the bright daylight of the internet.
VINEETO to Gary: The second event that shed some light on how I relate to other people happened when I met a former acquaintance from my spiritual era. In the course of our conversation she asked what I have been doing with my life and, knowing she was a fervent spiritual believer, I first attempted to warn her by saying that because I have become a heretic and a traitor I am very cautious nowadays about telling my story so as to not disturb other people’s dearly held beliefs. Nevertheless she insisted, so I told a bit of my story of how I got involved with actualism. As I began to describe my first major PCE, the woman quickly said she knew what I am talking about – this was enlightenment. When I tried to explain the difference between a spiritual experience and a pure consciousness experience I was soon at a loss for words because whatever words I used to describe the quality of a PCE, she insisted that this was exactly how she experienced the world in her outstanding moments of being at one with the Whole, filled with Emptiness and experiencing the Consciousness that connects everything.
As I was familiar with this spiritual ‘take over’ from other conversations, her claiming my descriptions of the actual world as being the same as her spiritual experience came as no surprise to me. What somehow surprised me, however, was that I was completely unruffled by this closing of the door to the possibility of something new as I had sometimes been in the past. In fact I enjoyed our discussion immensely. Not only did I know it was not my choice of words that caused her ‘misunderstanding’ but I was also certain about the fact that, despite all her assertions that our differences were only a matter of semantics, we were talking about two diametrically opposite worlds. I was talking about the experience of being what I am, this flesh-and-blood body devoid of ‘me’ as experienced in a PCE, while she was talking about who she felt herself to truly be – a passionate Being, feeling blissful Unity and Oneness.
As you have experienced yourself in a PCE, once one knows the actual world by direct experience, the lovey-dovey bliss of spiritual Unity with an imaginary Source holds no attraction at all. This conversation also confirmed that unless someone is sufficiently discontent with their life as it is, their interpretation of what is on offer in actualism will always be inhibited by the framework of their familiar spiritual teachings.
VINEETO: The more I unravelled my social identity – the spiritual part being the most tenacious to take apart and leave behind – the more the underlying instinctual feelings that were the source of my emotions and attitudes towards other people became apparent.
GARY: My own experience was that the entire rotten edifice pretty much came tumbling down like a house of cards in short order once I made the decisive step, which for me was to abandon the Krishnamurti-esque façade of belief, throw in the towel on [Mailing List B], and commence to make the most earnest inquiries into Actualism. I think for quite a time I had done my share of fence-sitting and questioning my beliefs, as well as outspokenly questioning the beliefs of other spiritual adherents (undoubtedly always easier to do than question your own beliefs). All this fence-sitting was but a preliminary step to falling right off the cliff and abandoning all forms of spiritual belief and embracing the eminent sensibility of Actualism.
VINEETO: Ah, fence sitting is certainly not the most comfortable of positions to be in. It took an active decision on my part to stop holding onto the cliff before I ‘was falling right off’ one fine evening.
GARY: At first, I thought that Richard’s holding of the great spiritual teachers of history responsible for all the murder and mayhem that had occurred for thousands of years was going a bit too far, for I thought that surely there must be some good in these belief systems by virtue of the fact that so many people routinely signed-on to these spiritual and religious forms. It took me awhile, then, to completely demolish every last vestige of spiritual belief. But once the decisive steps were taken, the rest fell into place very quickly. At this point in time, it is difficult to fathom that I once was so deluded.
VINEETO: One of my clients has recently become a devoted disciple of a spiritual teacher and has remodelled her company according to her teacher’s every whim and wish, i.e. she has abandoned any semblance of common sense and follows her Master’s spiritual intuition and guidance. I find it rather hilarious that five years ago I left Eastern Mysticism and spiritual communities behind and now I see others becoming involved in yet another version of a spiritual commune. The difference is that I now observe with bemusement the delusion in which I was once a willing participant. The otherworldly drama that is displayed before my very eyes clearly reveals the mayhem and misery that spiritual teachers create and perpetuate sucking gullible disciples into the vortex of their own personal power and glory.
VINEETO: The actualism method is all about disempowering one’s cynical, acrimonious and sorrowful feelings via the potent combination of attentiveness, pure intent, integrity and common sense, whilst simultaneously encouraging activating one’s naiveté and fostering felicitous/ innocuous feelings – happiness, delight, joie de vivre, bonhomie, friendliness, joyfulness, and so on. In this process it’s important to understand that one cannot deactivate only one’s bad feelings (‘violent emotions’) – you have to investigate and deactivate the antidotal ‘good’ feelings (the tender passions) as well if you genuinely aspire to become free of the human condition, in toto.
RESPONDENT: Ok, this help a lot. I’m ‘getting it’. For one I see there is ATTACHMENT in the ‘tender passions’ and there is none in the FELICITOUS FEELINGS. Attachment leads to or even is suffering. This is great fun.
VINEETO: No. The idea that one is merely ‘attached’ to one’s emotions is an invention of Eastern spiritualism and a particularly persistent and popular one at that. This theory is integral to the notion that the way to become ‘free’ is to become detached from one’s unwanted feelings (as well as from the corporeal body and the physical world). Becoming detached from one’s unwanted or undesirable feelings inevitably leads to dissociation – the prerequisite to delusionary states such as enlightenment.
This is not what actualism is about – it is impossible to be attentive to the operation of feelings emotions and passions that one is busily being detached from or feeling dissociated from.
Actualism clearly recognizes that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’, which is ‘me’ at the core of my ‘being’ and one’s own attentiveness will reveal that this is so. Whenever I am feeling annoyed, it is ‘me’ that is feeling annoyed – ‘I’ am the feeling of annoyance and the feeling of annoyance is ‘me’ in operation as it were. Whenever I am feeling sad, it is ‘me’ that is feeling sad – ‘I’ am the feeling of sadness and the feeling of sadness is ‘me’ in operation as it were … and so on.
RESPONDENT: In another method (one of the few others which correctly identifies emotions and not thoughts as the central cause of suffering) they have a interesting insight. It is the experience of the method’s founder that all or nearly all of the main suffering emotions (AGFLAP – anger, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride) have behind them a ‘want’. Specifically, the want for approval, control, and security/ survival/ safety (there is another want, which I think is an extension of this third want, the want to be separate, but I’m not as clear about this one). I often can see one of these wants behind my emotions as well. Perhaps someone on the board might find this helpful or not. I am curious how this jells with others experience. Interestingly, in this method the non-suffering feelings are CAP – courageousness, acceptance, and peace. The ultimate goal is imperturbability. Apparently, this man achieved this by paying constant attention to his feelings and releasing them all (the basic method can be summed up as 1) become aware of the feeling, 2)feel the feeling, 3)identify the feeling, 4)relax into the feeling, 5)until the feeling releases). I found it interesting where he wrote that after living in bliss for some time continually, he saw that was still ‘imperfect’ and he dissolved that to a even deeper (and more restful) peace.
VINEETO: Ah, No. 66, yet again attracted to the age-old spiritual methods, even though disguised in a new frock?
RESPONDENT: I’m not going to deny that their sometimes is a ‘attraction’ towards emotional releasing /clearing/ integrating methods. I find some of them interesting and I am open to learning whatever I can from other people and their discoveries.
VINEETO: Personally, I had to spend quite some time investigating and reflecting in order to fully understand the radicality of an actual freedom from the human condition as opposed to the imagined spiritual freedom I had pursued before. Once I did understand however, that an actual freedom is down-to-earth, factual and pertains to this actual tangible world and is indeed a freedom for this flesh-and-blood body while a spiritual freedom is achieved by and for the imaginary spirit ‘being’ occupying this flesh-and-blood body, it was blindingly obvious that nothing short of totally freeing this flesh-and-blood body from the imaginary spirit ‘being’ would do. I knew then once and for all that there is simply no point in fiddling with the imaginary spirit ‘being’ in order for the imaginary spirit ‘being’ to have a feeling of freedom whilst the actual flesh-and-blood body remains in the same clasp of the imaginary spirit ‘being’ as ever.
As such the methods I had learnt before and the techniques offered within the human condition no longer held any attraction as I clearly recognized them as moving deckchairs on the Titanic, so to speak, while leaving the core problem, ‘me’, untouched.
VINEETO: When I typed ‘AGFLAP’ into Google and the it came up with the label for the method you described – the ‘Sedona Method’ – I had to laugh. Sedona is the spiritual Mecca of New Mexico and amongst other things is/has been the residence for a large group of Rajneesh’s ‘Inner Circle’ from where they have been holding court teaching their ‘privileged’ version of going in and letting go, a technique which was in many aspects identical to the above described method.
RESPONDENT: Rajneesh was a ‘master’ of promoting a wide selection of methods so that is not too surprising.
VINEETO: If you are suggesting that Rajneesh promoted a wide selection of both spiritual and non-spiritual methods then it may clarify the issue to contemplate if he would have promoted the actualism method without alteration.
Fact is that Rajneesh took whatever method he came across, such as emotional release therapy and human growth movements and turned them into tools for dissociation (such as ‘I am not my feelings, I am not my body’) as the sole method towards enlightenment. I remember my admiration for this mastery of adaptation at the time when I participated in those emotional release and awareness groups and as I listened to him talking about Western therapy as a tool for becoming enlightened.
VINEETO: But one does not need to know all this to find out that the ‘Sedona Method’ is spiritual through and through – just look at this explanation of ‘How It Works’ from their site –
RESPONDENT: I do remember reading that sometime and of course it did remind me of how ‘The Release Technique’ is different from actualism.
VINEETO: Not just different – 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
VINEETO: Whereas in actualism I acknowledge that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’ and only when ‘I’ am gone in my totality can the always already existing peace of the actual world become apparent.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I do understand that.
VINEETO: If you understand that then why the attraction to ‘the Release Technique’ which states that ‘we are misidentifying that we are the feeling’?
VINEETO: This is how the ‘Sedona Method’ is advertised –
RESPONDENT: I see the key word ‘master’ here. However, from literature I have read, it seems to suggest that ‘Lester Levinson’ was continually at peace, which does sound more than mere ‘mastery’. It should be kept in mind that the presentation of the Sedona method for everyday folk/business people and the ‘end goal’ of what Lester pointed too are somewhat different.
VINEETO: Do you realize how much information you have to ignore/ put aside/ interpret in order to still consider ‘the Release Technique’ a non-spiritual method? As for ‘the ‘end goal’ of what Lester pointed too are somewhat different’, this is how you introduced the method –
VINEETO: Whereas in actualism I incrementally abandon both the good *and* the bad feelings in order that I can be what I am – a flesh-and-blood body only.
VINEETO: Do you also understand that by ‘paying constant attention to his feelings and releasing them all’ Lester Levinson focuses towards the core of his ‘being’ which is ‘empty, silent, and at peace’, something which is markedly different to an actual freedom from the empty, silent, and peaceful ‘being’ itself?
VINEETO: The testimony of a happy customer finally confirms that the ‘Sedona Method’ is nothing but the plain old dissociation technique –
RESPONDENT: Indeed, though they try to ‘minimize’ the spiritual aspect of the method, it is still there. Since, at its basic level it is a method of ‘releasing’ emotions, a more secular person may take it just as that: an emotional release method.
VINEETO: Did you know that the word ‘gullible’ is not found in any of the common dictionaries?
VINEETO: Seeing that you recommend this method as being possibly ‘helpful’ for ‘someone on the board’, …
RESPONDENT: No, that is not what I meant. I was only referring to the insight about the ‘three wants’ (Which you have oddly failed to address at all. This is all the more strange considering I even labelled ‘wants’ as the subject header.
VINEETO: The reason I did not address ‘the three wants’ themselves is because in order to understand the nature of an insight one needs to look at where it is coming from and what it is aiming for, which I did.
RESPONDENT: Is it any wonder at all to you why someone-anyone-could come across with the impression that you, Peter, and Richard sometimes answer questions in a way that appears underhanded/ cunning/ manipulative?).
Addendum: To halt any misunderstanding. I’m not making an accusation here. Just a question. Also, please disregard Richard’s and Peter’s name being put in there. I will just stick to the present post (not willing to go through old posts).
VINEETO: To stick to the present post – what you call ‘underhanded/ cunning/ manipulative’ is me filling in the information that you had (cunningly?) left out – the label and origin of the method, the message behind it from its founder, its final aim and a report of someone practicing the method (‘I am a watcher’) and then I pointed out how the Sedona method radically differs from the actualism method. How else can you assess the effects and results of a method/an insight unless you look at it in its entirety?
RESPONDENT: I thought the insight about most of our emotions coming from the want/ desire for approval, control, or security/ safety, to be possibly helpful to someone’s self-understanding.
VINEETO: Ha, I can agree insofar that to understand how one’s ‘want/ desire’ for ‘imperturbability’ can easily lead to accepting a dissociation-technique as being non-spiritual is vitally important in order to avoid the Rock of Enlightenment.
VINEETO: … I wonder what it is that motivates you to recommend a dissociation technique on this actual freedom board …
RESPONDENT: LOL! What!? I specifically did not even mention the name of this method (and gave no links either)
VINEETO: Look, just removing the street sign ‘Honolulu’ is not going to change that the road is actually going to Honolulu and not mentioning the name of this method is equally not going to change where this method is heading to – denial, detachment, dissociation and ultimately delusion. In other words, when you are ‘open to learning whatever I can from other people and their discoveries’, as you say above, while blithely ignoring the context of their discoveries – where they are coming from and where they are heading to and why – then you will only end up more confused than before.
RESPONDENT: [I specifically did not even mention the name of this method (and gave no links either)] just so this flaming cowpie of an accusation would not be drummed up. I almost just wrote about the ‘wants’, but I thought everyone would understand what I was writing better if I can the ‘context’ of the method.
VINEETO: I did not accuse you of anything, I was merely calling a spade by its proper name with the intention to inform you of the whole picture and possibly warn you and/or others of the trap of dissociation that is the basis of so many fashionable new-age techniques.
As for how ‘most of our emotions coming from the want/ desire for approval, control, or security/ safety’ – you might be curious as to which ‘want’ was responsible for interpreting my post as a ‘flaming cowpie of an accusation’.
To put in a practical plug for the actualism method, once I discover/recognize what causes my upset about what somebody said or did, be it want/desire or fear, irritability or an urge to defend a pet belief or self-image, I can simply drop those feelings because I see the silliness of something, anything, spoiling this moment of being alive – as opposed to, as Mr. Levinson makes us believe, because ‘at the core you are empty, silent and at peace’.
VINEETO: … – and why you yourself search for ‘imperturbability’ and ‘a even deeper (and more restful) peace’ at the core of your ‘being’ instead of endeavouring to live in the actual world of the senses is a mystery to me.
RESPONDENT: As well it should, since nowhere, and I do mean ‘nowhere’ do I mention that I’m searching for any of the above.
VINEETO: So you saying ‘the ultimate goal is imperturbability’ did not reflect your own goal? Why then did you mention as a matter of interest (‘interestingly’), in detail, how another man achieved this ultimate goal?
RESPONDENT: What is a mystery to me, is how on earth you could jump from reading me describe a method (and singling out one aspect of it that seemed insightful) to imagining that I’m a practitioner of it.
VINEETO: I imagined nothing, I said –
If your goal is not ‘imperturbability’ and ‘a even deeper (and more restful) peace’ why mention as a matter of interest (‘interestingly’), in detail, how another man achieved this ultimate goal?
The problem with ‘singling out one aspect of it that seemed insightful’ is that you have to deny and ignore the context of this insight, in this case that ‘at the core you are empty, silent and at peace’. As such, the insight of Mr. Levinson ‘that all or nearly all of the main suffering emotions (AGFLAP – anger, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride) have behind them a ‘want’’ is nothing but a rehash of the four Noble Truths, the essence of Buddhism –
Whereas actualism acknowledges the fact that all feelings and emotions are the result of the instinctual animal survival passions which form themselves into a feeling ‘being’ and recognizes the fact that unless this ‘being’ voluntarily dies, emotions and feelings will continue to arise.
RESPONDENT: My goal is still a virtual freedom. That all being said, is it possible that ‘I’m’ wasting time thinking about things like the Sedona method. Absolutely. The journey continues …
VINEETO: Does this possibility become more distinct and obvious when you put the Sedona Method in its rightful context?
Personally, in order to become free from the lure of spiritual beliefs I had to learn how to recognize and thus avoid the traps of spiritualism in its myriad forms and deceptive disguises … and believe you me, spiritualists are everywhere, even under the bed! … that is, until you drag them out and pop them like helium balloons.
RESPONDENT: Actualism is a shock to the core and I keep wondering how I got here.
This weird one has never known boredom or loneliness and the rarest depression, swanning through life, free of family responsibilities and material wants. All I know is that when others have told me they wanted to become more spiritual, I just yearned to manifest more, to enter this incredible life more fully, to experience it absolutely.
So In 1976, fresh out of my teens, I found myself in Bombay, buying a train ticket to Poona, but something came over me and I couldn’t bring myself to go, so I gave the ticket away to a backpacker crossing the street. Suddenly all those orange people wandering the streets with a dreamy look on their faces and a picture of Rajneesh around their necks, seemed absurd to me, just like my girlfriends screaming for the Beatles had. Something about idolizing felt ridiculous to me, so I hung around the Bombay opium dens instead (not nearly as dangerous, LOL :) and danced away the New Year in pagan Goa. What a joy.
But the need to find out whether one can become ‘completely’ free from the human condition never left me.
VINEETO: I have heard many people say that they are not interested in the spiritual or have given up the spiritual search. I have been talking to people over the last two years and reflecting about my own change in order to understand the ‘spiritual’ part of the Human Condition –
When I met Peter and later Richard I was still firmly settled in being a devoted and loyal disciple of Rajneesh, although he had already been dead for 9 years. From the viewpoint of a Sannyasin, ‘spiritual’ had a particular flavour – for me, it meant aspiring to be ‘good’, to become more and more enlightened until one was completely enlightened and thus redeemed from earthly suffering. According to the teaching this was the best and only thing one could do with one’s life. My idea of redemption was a strange potpourri of remnant Christian, even Jewish, ideas of the original sin, collections of Rajneesh’s fairytales of Ancient Wisdom of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Zen, as well as some outstanding personal spiritual experiences. To put it in one sentence – the spiritual search for enlightenment was chasing a dream of permanently feeling free of the world as it is and people as they are.
Once I discovered actualism, and I knew what I was looking for, I found out that I also had had some pure consciousness experiences during my spiritual years that added to my image of what the highest goal for a spiritual seeker was supposed to be and I therefore assumed that this was part of being enlightened. Yet, whenever I tried to think logically or sensibly about what this enlightenment really was, I was stopped short by the many contradictions and inconsistencies I found, both in the theory and in the living of it.
So to keep it simple, ‘spiritual’ for me meant ‘being good’, having a goal and a meaning in life, and aspiring to be the best I can be.
Being introduced to actualism gave the whole idea of what is ‘spiritual’ a big shake. My, and the Sannyas tribe’s, view of spiritual was obviously an interpretation gleaned from the master and had nothing to do with what ‘spiritual’ means, both in dictionary terms and in practical terms. However, it took several months of reading Richard’s Journal and passionate discussions with Peter, until one evening it suddenly dawned on me that ‘spiritual’ – when seen with non-spiritual eyes – is a whole psychic world in itself. In that glimpse of a pure consciousness experience I could suddenly understand that the idea of ‘spiritual’ consists of ideas, concepts, beliefs, values and favourite images of perfection, in short all fervent opinions made up in my head and heart – and also that everybody has a different idea of what his or her spirituality includes – or does not include.
Peter said it well in his List B correspondence with an awakened teacher, who claimed to be non-spiritual yet reported experiences where by mere telepathic command, objects were jumping off the wall –
When I first began to dig into the idea of what being spiritual means, I was being tormented for a few weeks as to which was the right path and which was the wrong path and what I was to be believe and follow and what was heresy. Finally I popped my head outside of the world of beliefs and spiritual concepts – the first crack in the door. The psychic world, this intricate net woven in our heads and hearts from both personal and atavistic feelings and beliefs is so dense that it seems to be the only world there is. Here is a bit what I wrote at the time –
Therefore, from my own experience and from the many, many conversations I had in the last years, it is clear that merely by living within the Human Condition one is inevitably spiritual.
For some people spiritual values are more religious values, or Eastern religious values, for other people it is saving animals and the planet, for others it is the belief in fairies and earth-spirits or other parallel universes. As I see it, all beliefs and values we are fighting about – or being touchy about – are spiritual beliefs and values, there is no other belief or value than a spiritual belief or value. Our very identity is spiritual, simply by the fact that it is non-actual as in not tangible, palpable, tactile, material or verifiable. All believing is happening in the head and the heart, not as a physical actuality.
And once I found out that I was trapped by my beliefs, ideas, concepts and convictions, that I was producing and continuously reproducing my-‘self’, I also knew that they were part of the bondage and could never be part of the solution. Therefore it was not a question of which belief is the right belief and which spirituality is the right spirituality, but it was a matter of getting out of all beliefs solely because they are non-factual.
I don’t know if my tale makes sense to you because for me it took me months of reading and talking to come to an outsider’s understanding of what ‘spiritual’ really means. It is as if you have to see the planet from outer space in order to ascertain that it is not as flat as one believes it to be from down here. Similarly, it needed a lot of questioning and moving away from my own viewpoint and that of my peers and teachers, to come to a different and comprehensive understanding of what the spiritual psychic world really looks like.
VINEETO: You really seem to be digging into many different areas of the Human Condition. I am reminded of the first few months after I came across actualism and was attracted by the enjoyment of life-on-earth and the common sense approach that I could immediately perceive in Richard’s discovery, which stood in stark contrast to all that I had encountered on the spiritual path. In spiritualism one feels rather guilty for enjoying oneself and for occasionally applying common sense – they were considered a no-no for spiritual growth!
RESPONDENT: *LOL* Then I was never a spiritualist. Not for one moment have I felt guilty about either, but I was often berated on mailing lists for enjoying myself too much and for asking common sense questions about their lofty sutras.
VINEETO: Oh, but guilt and poor common sense are not the only attributes of a spiritualist. Spirituality is not merely confined to Eastern religious beliefs like Hare Krishna, Zen, Buddhism, Rajneeshism or Krishnamurti-teachings. Spiritualism means believing in something that is not actual as in patently palpable, observably tangible, manifestly obvious, always apparent, clearly evident, repeatedly demonstrable, tactile, corporeal, physical and material.
Believing in Santa Claus, God’s mysterious ways, Mother Nature, the Intelligence of the Universe, the wisdom of disembodied entities, the Mother Goddess, the psychic influence of planetary constellations, the existence of parallel universes and such like is to be a spiritualist as much as somebody praying to a divine force or living according to the alleged laws of dharma and karma. According to the Oxford Dictionary Thesaurus ‘spiritual’ is the antonym to ‘sensual’ – the opposite of sensately perceptible.
But if you prefer to call your reverence for Seth’s Ancient Wisdom non-spiritual, that’s entirely your privilege. It’s just that unless you stop believing in the wisdom of bodiless spirits you can never discover the actual world. This is simply the way it is.
ALAN: Your mention of Rajneesh reminded me of Peter’s recent exchanges with No. 14. Fortunately, surrendering to a master never appealed to me, though I never met one in the flesh. I read a few books and even wrote to a few (with only one reply!). I much enjoyed Peter’s mail, even though he is giving away the secrets of the inner circle – I mean, how can we stay the ‘inner circle’, if we no longer have any secrets? So long as he does not tell everyone how to enjoy every second of every day or how to discover an absolute fun and delight in every action – from writing e-mails to cleaning up dog shit. Anyway, back to the subject. While I discovered some things of interest in the writings of these ‘masters’, there was always something which did not quite gel, or did not seem ‘right’. Now it is so, so, obvious – all one has to do is look at the facts, without beliefs getting in the way.
VINEETO: Yes, the actual and the spiritual...
It is only in the last few months that I have started to experientially understand the basic difference between ‘actual’ and ‘spiritual’. I now understand that EVERYTHING one usually experiences as real is filtered, edited, produced and coloured by the ‘spirit’, ie. by ideas, beliefs, emotions or passionate thoughts and is therefore spiritual. Usually there is not even a chance to experience the actual world directly because one is completely immersed in a spiritual world, created by instincts, emotions, feelings, beliefs and imagination. Thus a Christian is as ‘spirit’-ual as a New Age seeker, a Voodoo follower is as ‘spirit’-ual as a convinced believer in Atheism. In that context it makes no difference if one surrenders to a master or ‘only’ believes in a God, an afterlife, the Grace of Existence, Universal Love or a god of one’s own making – everyone is removed from the actual world.
In recognizing and acknowledging this essential difference between the spiritual and the actual it becomes more and more irrelevant ‘what’ one believes or ‘what’ one feels, rather it is the very act of believing and feeling itself – no matter ‘what’ it is. The layers of belief seem more and more subtle until one finally reaches the core-belief, the belief that ‘I’ have to exist. So, I figured, I will be only 100% non-spiritual when this ‘self’ is completely demolished. This self is the ‘spirit’ and its world is the spiritual world, a world of spirits, imaginations, beliefs, ideals – anything but factual, anything but actual, anything but sensate, tangible, palpable, sensual and tactile.
ALAN: So, I would say to No. 14 (and any others contemplating following a ‘guru’):
Vineeto, I have digressed from your mail, for which I make no apology at all – ain’t it great not to feel obliged to apologise for being alive!
VINEETO: In my experience it was not a matter of ‘contemplating’ following a guru, it had been my very life. Nothing else had mattered for years. The whole meaning of life was concentrated on that one master, and on that one teaching. In that state of love and devotion there is not much rational contemplation or application of common sense possible! But after all those years on the spiritual path I had come to a point where I wondered what this search for enlightenment had given me – sitting in the corner with my eyes closed, being more and more afraid of and isolated from ‘normal’ people, and none of the glorious glimpses had improved my day-to-day life. I was still run by my feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. Further, I longed for a peaceful and harmonious relationship with a man, and none of the Eastern Wisdom had brought that goal an inch closer. That’s where Peter’s offer proved to be my ‘crack in the door’ – and then I began to investigate into something new and radically different.
I am telling you this because thinking about people’s reactions to Actual Freedom still leaves me puzzled as to what makes one actually start investigating into something new and radical. I think that a certain disillusionment, disappointment, longing and desperation is essential for considering further enquiries into the iconoclastic realms of the non-spiritual, as well as a stubborn refusal to settle for second best. After all, the spiritual viewpoint is all we know, and all we have ever learned as a solution to tackle life’s ‘problems’.
VINEETO to Alan: Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a devoted meditator of my former tribe (Sannyas) which I found interesting in many aspects. First of all I was both happy and astounded at how well and easy the discussion went – I didn’t have to struggle with any of the vagueness, psychic confusion, doubts or fears that I knew so well from earlier discussions with spiritual people. In the conversation I could easily state that with Actual Freedom I know now where I stand, what I want and how I go about reaching that goal, while he maintained that to reach enlightenment you are supposed to give up the desire and certainty of ever attaining it! The perspective and understanding of the actual world is all so easy and simple, so obvious and transparent that the hazy, mysterious hocus-pocus of ‘Truth’, ‘That’, the ‘Grace of God’ or ‘Existence’ seem nothing but passionate and silly childish fairytales.
It was interesting that in the discussion we constantly needed to define the words we used. He had different connotations about ‘instinct’ as only meaning the physical startling response or the change of breath or heartbeat at imminent danger. So he could easily hold on to his belief that without instincts one would die, not be able to breathe, or maintain one’s heartbeat. When I asked him what he would call our instinctual reactions of anger, fear, sex or rage, he had no appropriate word at all. Similarly we had to different definitions of the word ‘emotion’. Emotion to him only meant a very strong feeling, easily noticeable as emotional outbursts like screaming, crying, fighting or being shocked. When I asked what he would call emotions like hope, trust, attraction or apprehension, those feelings did not seem to exist at all and had no specific name, but were definitely not emotions. Thus he could maintain that he hardly had any emotions and that they are not the problem with human beings, since they only happen ‘once in a while’.
For him the problem lies in the mind, in thoughts, which start, trigger and continue emotions. Out of this reasoning he had to deny that children have any emotions at all before they develop the ability to think. They only suffer physical pain, but no emotional pain. I was simply astounded by such ignorance and stubborn denial. Even monkeys have been observed to suffer when their mother dies to the extent that they grieve to death, even at an age where they could easily survive by themselves.
From the premise that thought is the source of all evil it was only logical to conclude that meditation is the right method to stop the inner dialogue. By persistently watching the mind, the mind is supposed to disappear on its own accord. As with all spiritual believers, he was of the firm conviction that once one succeeded in stopping one’s thoughts there will be perennial peace of mind, no-mind as in dead mind. When I reported that I had succeeded in eliminating 95% of my inner dialogue by investigating emotions as the source and breeding ground for my ‘troublesome’ thoughts he exclaimed: ‘But I don’t want to investigate. Investigation is an activity of the mind and I don’t want to strengthen the mind .’
This statement made it clear to me again why so few spiritual people are willing to investigate their beliefs, feelings and emotions. The very word ‘investigate’ is evil, the very action of contemplation is considered the ultimate no-no. And one doesn’t even have to bother to change one’s malicious or sorrowful behaviour, because that is only one’s ‘personality’, which won’t interfere with the ‘higher self’ of enlightenment – so why investigate one’s personality or want to change it in the first place?
This conversation reminded me of an advertisement that I found in a woman’s magazine for meditation. It said:
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.
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 PCE’s, 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’d like a personal view from you over these matters. It is all a little bit dark for me right now. I haven’t got a kind of a structure in my investigations and my questions. I hope that will change along the way.
VINEETO: Peter has written to No 3 a good description of how to start the investigation. But it is inevitable, when you say ‘it is all a bit dark for [you] right now.’ Actual Freedom lies, in fact, 180 degrees in the opposite direction to everything that we have been programmed to believe as true for decades. And not only our generation but human beings for millennia have been programmed with the Human Condition – and therefore it takes a fair amount of reading to slowly get a grip and an understanding of what Actual Freedom is all about.
The whole journey to Actual Freedom basically consists of reading, contemplating, talking about one’s queries and discoveries, experimenting for oneself, digging into one’s psyche, reading again, comparing notes, having a realisation, reading again and so on. It is purely an individual’s search for an actual (not imaginary or theoretical) freedom that each of us does on our own, some passing on log-books for people who come after us.
I remember when I understood the word ‘spirit-ual’ for the first time. I had been with Peter for about 2 month and he had continuously questioned the spiritual teachers, the spiritual approach, the spiritual world. At the time I was still a convinced disciple of Rajneesh and could not understand his ‘obsession’, as I thought of it then, against the spiritual. Suddenly, one evening, I ‘got’ it – ‘spiritual’ means invented by the spirit, ie a fantasy, a imagination, a feeling, but not experienced by the physical senses. Up until then, for me, ‘spiritual’ had simply meant aspiring for the highest value, the ‘good’, enlightenment, Moksha. But that evening I understood its spirit-ual nature, non-actual by its very definition. It was one of my first break-throughs from the ‘dark’ confusion and widened the crack in the door to investigate further, overcoming my ‘spiritual’ objections.
The Actual World is the world of people, things and events, experienced as a sensate and reflective physical body and brain.
Because of the Human Condition we experience this actual world as overlaid and distorted by feelings, emotions, beliefs, intuition, imagination and theories – a world that we regard as ‘real’ but that is not actual.
The ‘real’ world and the actual world are two completely different worlds.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for the REF ... Ms. Vineeto
Just so you know ... I am already living in a state of ACTUAL FUCKIN' FREEDOM...
Love to you sweetie ... enjoy your feelings today.
VINEETO: Thank you for the clarification. I take it then that you don’t have any use for, or interest in, any further discussion about how to become actually free from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: It is a difficult one, Vineeto ... as long as one is learning and teaching one is not free...
I see no possibility of profitably discussing with you how you, Vineeto, could be actually free as your friend Richard is.
But I see immense possibility of continuing this discussion.
All I know; Actual Freedom is.
It is great you are developing this new religion. We need religions in order to get together and discuss things so that we begin to understand each other.
It is a pity that all of the received wisdom of the eastern and western worlds up till now – including the new religion known as actualism – is imperatively and actually wrong, as it does not work.
One is Actually Free.
VINEETO: May I ask, have you considered listing with the venerated 502 awakened beings that are, for the first time in history, appearing under one ‘roof’ on the world wide web (http://www.wideopenwin.com/alphaover.html)? Being able to expound such profound truths and wisdom you will surely be welcome as equal amongst equals. Further you will be able to offer your own original teaching of AFF (Actual Fuckin’ Freedom), a situation that will give you a unique position amongst all the teachers and masters. Along with ‘Actual Reality’, ‘Actual Intimacy’ and ‘Creative Apperception’ there are many more phrases that can be coined to flesh out this deep and meaningful truth of yours – a vast field of creativity lies ahead.
Here are some possible descriptive phrases that I have picked up so far –
VINEETO: I am always astounded how deeply spiritual people are, and in particular how much humans have been trained to dissociate themselves from the uncomfortable situations they find themselves in, or from the undesirable feelings they experience. This afternoon I talked to a woman who said feelings and emotions come and go but they don’t disturb her wellbeing. Because I was curious, I asked her how she felt when she was feeling sad. She said she could feel wellbeing while being sad because sadness is transient, it comes and goes and does not affect the core of her wellbeing. She said feelings were only at the periphery whereas inside she felt ‘wellbeing’ and real ‘presence’.
By following this practice of considering her emotions as peripheral, she is in fact distancing herself from what she is feeling in the moment in order to maintain the idea that her inner wellbeing remains untouched. When I observed and examined my spiritual beliefs and practices, I found that distancing or dis-associating myself from what went on in my head or heart only produced a new, imagined and thus spirit-ual identity – a true ‘self’, a higher ‘self; a more desirable ‘me’. I discovered that the very act of distancing oneself from anything one is thinking, feeling or doing is a spiritual act, as in ‘I believe that I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my body’.
As an actualist, I acknowledge that everything I feel, think or do is ‘me’, the passionate identity, in action, and the only thing ‘I’ can do to weaken this identity is not only to take full responsibility for all of my thoughts, feelings and actions but also to bring them into the full light of awareness. Actualism is all about ceasing the habit of dis-association, luring the identity out of hiding and convincing ‘me’ to exit the stage for the benefit of this body, that body and every body.
RESPONDENT: I’m new to actualism. My questions are of a more prosaic and personal dimensionality, and I would appreciate any assistance or commentary. When I pose the question, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive, some of what’s been elicited at less than flattering moments, has been that a lot of my motivation in this realm has been based on anger, malice, disgust at living on ‘planet of the apes’. It’s been to find a way to not be affected and remain happy and financial to support myself in a world of ‘scoundrels’.
VINEETO: Like you I had tried for years to ‘not be affected and remain happy’ ‘in a world of ‘scoundrels’’. In my spiritual years I had hidden away in an Indian Ashram, refused to read newspapers, watch television or even to pursue a career. I had lived in the sheltered oasis of a spiritual commune, had tried desperately to stay unaffected by the starving and fighting world ‘outside’ and sat every night in meditation, closing my eyes in order to build a dream world ‘inside’ to replace the awful world ‘outside’. It was not easy then for me to admit that such prolonged and extensive effort to find peace and happiness had failed but when I was honest with myself I could not deny that it had not worked. The fact that I still experienced ‘anger, malice, disgust’ proved all too well that seventeen years of devoted practice of Eastern Mysticism had done nothing to make me a better person.
The next question I had to ask myself was ‘why’ it failed. I, like everyone else, either blamed the commune leaders, the stupidity of other fellow meditators, the organization or I blamed myself – I had not been total enough, I had gone off the right track, I had too many bad thoughts, I had too many worldly desires, and so on.
It was not until I came across actualism that other alternative questions came into view – maybe the teacher was wrong, and, even more frightening, maybe the teachings were wrong. At first these options were unthinkable. How could the man I had worshipped as God on Earth be wrong? And how could such ancient teachings be wrong? How could all the followers, monks and Sannyasins who adhered to these teachings over 5000 years be wrong?
In the end my common sense got the upper hand. Either I remain miserable for the rest of my life because the spiritual teachings had obviously failed to make me happy, let alone harmless ... or Richard was right and there was indeed a third alternative to normal beliefs and spiritual beliefs, a world that was pure and perfect. The prospect of a third alternative was thrilling, to say the least, and I began to examine and study this alternative with the passionate urge to really understand what this actual world really was. It had to be better than my spiritual life, and not only better – it had to be the perfection I was seeking, because for less than perfect I was not willing to question the beliefs that had become my second skin.
When I applied the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and examined why I was not happy and harmless, I found eventually that I had to come off my spiritual high horse of self-righteous beliefs and look at what I had attempted to ignore or repress, the dark side of my soul. And then it was not too difficult to remember moments of pure rage, uninhibited jealousy, bitchy malice and mean gossip that happened all through my spiritual years. The acknowledgement that I was as mad and as bad as everyone else urged me to investigate the whole holier-than-thou business of Eastern mysticism in general and my spiritual beliefs in particular.
This action of prizing apart and eradicating my spiritual identity was for me the most difficult part of the journey. I was torn apart between the terror of leaving a familiar world and the fascination and common sense of actualism. The psychological tension of not knowing which was the ‘right thing’ to do became so strong that for a short period my normal-spiritual worldview gave way and I had a pure consciousness experience. I discovered the world that Richard had talked about; I discovered a world beyond my beliefs, anybody’s beliefs – the actual world.
The actual world is this physical material world when you see it with eyes untainted by feelings and beliefs, unpolluted by passionate ‘self’-centredness. It is vibrant and alive, magical and abundant, infinite and unblemished. This actual world is always here, always now and once you enter it you recognize it immediately as your destiny.
Your entry ticket to the actual world – question everything, particularly your own beliefs and passions, the human condition in action as yourself.
RESPONDENT No 39: I’m not an advocate of any spiritual teacher or practice! Since this is something unique here-to-fore unexperienced in the annals of humanity I have had some difficulties. When I first encountered the works of Rajneesh, either of the Krishnamurti’s etc. and so on I was initially very excited about the potentiality for myself. <snip>
RESPONDENT to No 39: I’m as sceptical as they come (except for a couple of embarrassing minor detours), and have to say that this bunch is about as ego-less as they come.
VINEETO: With reference to your expression ‘embarrassing minor detours’ I found that my initial embarrassment over discovering that I had been on the wrong track only served to prevent me from investigating further so as to find out exactly what had attracted me to the spiritual path. In order to proceed to examine the nature of my spiritual beliefs, I first had to have a good look at my feeling of embarrassment, which was based on ideas and feelings of what is right and wrong according to my moral and ethical codebook.
This codebook is what acts to prevent an in-depth investigation of spiritual beliefs because this very investigation itself is held to be a taboo under spiritual codes. On the spiritual path, ‘I’ wanted to be good, ‘I’ wanted to be right and ‘I’ wanted to be perfect, whereas in actualism ‘I’ learn how to get out of the way so that the already existing perfection can become apparent.
When embarrassment is understood for what it is, you might find that by investigating the ‘minor detours’ you will discover that they contain quite valuable information about how ‘you’ tick.
RESPONDENT to No 39: Consider...
Does this sound like a bunch of gurus? Not. There’s simply a wealth of information and a group of generous individuals. There seems to be some commonality between yours and mine (and many others) initial approach to this new subject, but hang with it a bit. The veils start to lift when the observed ‘I’ starts to quieten down.
VINEETO: Yes, you are right, there is a wealth of information – not theoretical knowledge but common sense and lived experience that anyone who wants to can take advantage of.
However, your last sentence caught my attention. Your expression of ‘the observed ‘I’ starts to quieten down’ reminds me of J. Krishnamurti’s ‘the observer becomes the observed’. The traditional Buddhist and Advaita teachings that so many of our generation follow, is to observe the ‘I’ and then disidentify from one’s feelings and thoughts in order to quieten and transcend the observed ‘I’ and strengthen and empower one’s higher self.
In actualism I do the opposite – I experience, label and then actively investigate each feeling as it occurs in order to find out where it comes from, how my moral and ethical beliefs conspire to feed my emotions until I am eventually able to experience the underlying bare instinctual passions. Every emotional upset is an excellent opportunity to gather information about my identity – and each part of the identity that is understood in its entirety will disappear without a trace. In this process it becomes apparent that a quietened ‘I’ cannot be investigated.
This difference between quieting down the ‘I’ and investigating each emotion and their respective beliefs is not a matter of semantics. It took me about a year of unrelenting examination to uncover layer upon layer of my spiritual beliefs such that I could clearly understand the difference between spiritualism and actualism. I found that even supposed ‘non-beliefs’ like agnosticism, indifference, detachment, acceptance, tolerance, dismissal or denial were manoeuvres within my belief system – they were strategies to prevent me from leaving my comfort zone and probing deeper into the core of my beliefs.
In short, I had to question everything that I did not know for a fact, i.e. that was obvious, tangible, a provable certainty. Actualism is a scientific moment-to-moment non-discriminatory investigation of one’s own psyche in action. It is not a matter of adopting a right-thinking, right-feeling, right-behaviour belief system such as Buddhism is.
VINEETO: I also remember thinking about the meeting with U.G. Krishnamurti afterwards and he did not appear to me as a man who enjoyed life, i.e. someone who had the desirable state of mind, or no-mind or not-no-mind, that I would want to live myself. Personally, he did not strike me as someone whose life was worth emulating – and he says so himself. His casual remarks about his daily life in the meeting gave the impression of someone waiting for his fate to run its course until he physically dies. I sat ‘in the presence’ of several spiritual masters in my 17 years of spiritual search and had felt bliss, inner peace and love but with U.G. Krishnamurti I only felt bewilderment. I was more disorientated and confused by the meeting and had certainly not found the answer I was looking for – what is the best possible way one can experience life? <snip>
I have found the quote where he fully described the experience of this ‘calamity’ that happened to him – <snipped>
I agree with him that nobody can liberate anybody but I have experienced glimpses of freedom from the Human Condition in pure consciousness experiences and it is certainly not a ‘godforsaken place’ nor is it ‘physical torture’. Therefore wherever he has reached is not the actual world. My personal theory is that he somehow got stuck on the way shortly before discovering that there is a cornucopia of delights to be experienced when one is fully free from one’s identity and one’s ‘being’. In actualism I have found a method that facilitates my becoming more and more free from the human condition, which is so successful that I am sometimes thrilled to bits as well as steeped in the sensuous delight of being alive.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your insights regarding UG. I am in agreement with you that UG does not seem to me like someone to emulate. I am unable to understand his ‘predicament.’ Yet fascinated at the same time. I plan on steering my current investigations more toward the method of actualism. I want to know the sensuous delight of being alive in this moment. I am most pleased to have found a method ‘that delivers the goods.’
VINEETO: Yes, U.G. Krishnamurti fascinated me for a while until I wondered what possible use his ‘mystery’ could have for my own life. Even if I was able to understand his ‘predicament’ , it was clearly not worth living it. But there is something of this ‘predicament’ that is useful to investigate. You said in your post to Richard –
No, it cannot be ‘easily assumed’ and my emphasis is on ‘easily’. For me, it has been of vital importance to understand, and I mean experientially understand, the complexity of the word ‘spiritual’ – for in life actual and spiritual exclude each other, just as sensate and spiritual exclude each other as an experience.
When I first came across actualism I had a great reluctance to question my spiritual pursuit. At first, I did not quite understand how being spiritual could be considered a hindrance to being an actualist. I thought it over for days and weeks and it was a real nut to crack. Not only was being spiritual my main identity but I also had to wash my brain from 17 years of Rajneesh conditioning. Learning to think sensibly was like learning to walk after years of being bed-ridden because I had been focused on no-mind-feeling states rather than practical thought.
However, as more and more common sense began to prevail and living in the ‘outer’ – as opposed to my spiritual ‘inner’ – world started becoming more sensible and delightful, I also came to understand that the meaning of the word ‘spiritual’ included much more than I had assumed. I had used the specifically customized definition of the word from Rajneesh’s teachings – spiritual as opposed to religious, Godliness as opposed to a monotheistic God, Essence or Energy as opposed to a white bearded God sitting on a throne. I eagerly believed him when he said that living a spiritual life was far superior to pursuing a professional carrier or motherhood in the normal world.
I remember one day I suddenly said to Peter – ‘now I understand what you mean by spiritual!’ At that moment I could for the first time see that being spiritual means being ‘inside my head’, focused on my ideas, my ideals, my imagination and my feelings, chasing a chimera of an elusive inner state, not interested in what is going on right here, right now. In fact, being spiritual is the very pinnacle of being ‘self’-centred. This first break-through in understanding what I am doing when I am being spiritual was to open the door for a pure consciousness experience that followed soon after. (full description in A Bit of Vineeto)
In short, contemplating upon the discussion about U.G. Krishnamurti’s outlook on life may help you understand the variety of spiritual connotations that exist. However, if you are interested in actualism you will find yourself vitally interested in discovering your own spiritual-ness and all it entails, for becoming aware of one’s spirituality and its wide-ranging implications is the very key to removing what prevents you from directly experiencing ‘the sensuous delight of being alive’.
VINEETO: So far, in some 5000 years of written history, none of the revered spiritual teachings have succeeded in bringing anything remotely resembling peace on earth. Thousands upon thousands of teachers have expounded the Truth and millions upon millions of disciples have diligently applied the teachings of the Truth and still there is fighting and squabbling, murdering and raping, torturing and suiciding. Once one stops one’s cherished beliefs standing in the way of the facts, it becomes blindingly obvious that the Revered Teachings of the Enlightened Ones do stuff all for peace on earth, in fact they add even more passion to the religious and spiritual fervour that flames conflict and animosity, despair and denial, hostilities and persecution – as is made evident by the spiritual correspondents on this list.
But if you are still convinced that enlightenment will deliver the goods – whatever that means for you – then surely it is good to abandon the ‘real’ world and get on with the business of pursuing the subject of spiritual enlightenment rather than waste your time and spleen on this list. Get out of the real world and get right into the middle of the spiritual world and make your own observations and have your own experiences. This is exactly what I did and the view from the inside is not at all pretty.
For instance, none of the Enlightened Ones has ever been reported as living with a woman in peace and harmony, equity and parity – it is not even on their agenda. The girlfriend of Mohan Rajneesh was so depressed in the end that she committed suicide whereas he is known to have indulged in blow jobs from a number of female disciples, Franklin Jones aka Da Free John is notoriously famous for his sexual orgies that included under-aged young girls, Jiddu Krishnamurti is reported to have had a longstanding secret affair with his best friend’s wife, a globe trotting guru from the town where I live has just separated from his wife and two children because of too many domestics, married man John deRuiter is said to have invited two additional wives into his home because the Truth told him so ... The list of dysfunctional human relations in the master-disciple-world goes on and on, if one is at all ready to see with both eyes open what a rotten and corrupt profession the guru business really is.
This mailing list is set up for those who are genuinely interested in investigating exactly the nature of those passions that the Revered Masters of the East have not had the guts to look at in themselves – the blind instinctual passions of fear and aggression as well as nurture and desire.
As a woman I found it particularly revealing and revolting that none of the oh so wise gurus had tackled even the first step of peace in action – to live with one other person in utter peace and harmony. And as for their expounded wisdom – neither meditation nor therapy has offered any useful advice for a satisfying peaceful relationship and nobody can say that I haven’t tried hard enough. But after seventeen years I finally threw in the towel and admitted failure and started to question the revered teachings themselves.
Actualism has offered me the tool to achieve this life-long goal of living with a man in peace and harmony and I know from my own experience that it works, 100%. There is not a single bickering, no trace of resentment or even a compromise in my relationship with Peter. There is no dependency, no jealousy, no disappointments, no scoring points, no neediness and no fear of loneliness – living together is simply great fun, day after delicious day. Sex is an ever-fresh innocent sensual play whenever the opportunity arises, a physical-only sensational delight that leaves any wild fantasy for dead. Gone are the days when I was plagued by worry, fear, guilt, shame, expectation, complaint, dissatisfaction or the undignifying need for sex. I never think of sex during the day or the night, I never fantasize and I never miss it, I no longer look at men as desirable sexual objects or would-be predators – I simply see fellow human beings regardless of gender.
Why, if you are so convinced that spiritual enlightenment works for you, have you hung out for almost two years on a mailing list that is set up to facilitate investigating one’s spiritual beliefs along with one’s emotions and feelings – both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’? Are you a rebel without a cause just lurking about in the comfort of cyberspace with the other spiritualists, ever ready to leap out and cheer on the next God, Goddess or Wannabe who comes to strut their truth, as in –
... and tell us actualists where we have got it wrong?
There are hundreds, if not thousands of lists that are dedicated to the spiritual teachings of one, or other, or all of the spiritual teachers and enlightened beings with plenty of room to discuss siddhis and karma, afterlife and dharma, Buddha and Bodhidharma. Your choice of words (‘the actualism-bishops, the actualism-pope’) clearly shows that your myopic spiritual outlook on life keeps preventing you from seeing people as anything other than a spiritual agent in a spiritual hierarchy.
Why do you choose to come to the only mailing list that dares to question spiritual beliefs and then start deriding those who are prepared to sincerely and actively do something about their own malice and sorrow?
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.
VINEETO: For instance, none of the Enlightened Ones has ever been reported as living with a woman in peace and harmony, equity and parity – it is not even on their agenda. The girlfriend of Mohan Rajneesh was so depressed in the end that she committed suicide whereas he is known to have indulged in blow jobs from a number of female disciples, Franklin Jones aka Da Free John is notoriously famous for his sexual orgies that included under-aged young girls, Jiddu Krishnamurti is reported to have had a longstanding secret affair with his best friend’s wife, a globe trotting guru from the town where I live has just separated from his wife and two children because of too many domestics, married man John deRuiter is said to have invited two additional wives into his home because the Truth told him so ... The list of dysfunctional human relations in the master-disciple-world goes on and on, if one is at all ready to see with both eyes open what a rotten and corrupt profession the guru business really is.
To be able to say this with unwavering conviction one needs to have put one’s heart and soul with 100% commitment into a live, hands-on investigation of the spiritual principles, methods and directives – otherwise one only ends up questioning and doubting one’s effort instead of the teachings and the teacher.
With Richard’s encouragement to go all the way in questioning the Tried and obviously Failed, I not only questioned my own teacher Rajneesh but all the antiquated wisdom from which Rajneesh drew his religious eloquence. Upon extensive investigation I found there to be hardly any difference in principle between Advaita and Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, Sufism and Christianity – in the end it is always God, by whatever name, that one tries to please and that one relies on. Take the Metaphysical Caretaker out of the equation and every spiritual belief pops like a balloon – hot air and nothing to hold it together.
RESPONDENT: Like people judging the whole Christian civilization only from the Inquisition, the Opus Dei and the Borgia popes. I mention Ramana, Nisargadatta and Aurobindo and you reply with the ‘enlightened Ones Rajneesh, Da Free John and John deRuiter’. Please be honest enough to consider they don’t play in the same category. Please be honest to acknowledge you use caricatures.
VINEETO: Why do you think that Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Aurobindo Ghoose don’t play in the same category as Mohan Rajneesh, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Franklin Jones and John deRuiter’? Are they not all declaring themselves to be enlightened and are they not all offering their teaching as the solution to a suffering mankind? Do you think there is ‘good’ Enlightenment and ‘bad’ Enlightenment? Usually people have one or several pet gurus and a particular pet teaching, which is, of course, ‘better than everybody else’s belief’ in the typical competitive style common to all beliefs.
However, in order to investigate what those teachings have practically contributed to peace on earth, one needs to step back and look at the whole guru business per se. Upon honest inquiry you will find that no spiritual master has ever lived in peace, harmony, equity and parity with a woman and no Goddess has ever lived in peace, harmony, equity and parity with a man because of the holier-than-thou nature of Enlightenment itself. The companion of a master, if He or She chooses to have one, will always be a devoted disciple and willing servant, humbling and belittling themselves to earn shares in good karma by serving and pleasing God’s latest representative or God’s latest incarnation.
I am not using particular ‘caricatures’ but well-known teachers – or do you consider Jiddu Krishnamurti being a caricature as opposed to ‘Beedi Baba’ as Nisagadatta used to be called? It seems to me that you are stretching your case a bit thin here. However, if you investigate the Holy Men’s and Women’s lives you will become shockingly aware that living in peace and harmony with a partner is not even on their spiritual agenda – it is not part of God’s message, it is part of the ‘Maya’ that has to be transcended. The very principle of Eastern spiritual teaching is rotten to the core – every enlightened teacher is a caricature of a mythical non-existent God as in ‘an exaggerated or debased imitation or version (of), naturally or unintentionally ludicrous’ Oxford Dictionary. To say that some are better than others is to defend the indefensible.
Of course, at first, it is an enormous blow to one’s pride to have bet on the wrong horse, but then again, to be spiritual has been the only alternative so far to being normal. Now that there is a third alternative available, anyone who is willing can put God and his/her mind-numbing devotion for God’s Go-Betweens into the dustbin where they belong and get on with the business of becoming free from malice and sorrow.
It is so good to be free from spiritual belief. Not just Rajneeshism, but free from all spiritual belief – all belief in any God by whatever name, in life after death, in good and evil spirits or in the supposedly theomorphic nature of our planet. This freedom from all spiritual belief gives one dignity for the first time in one’s life.
RESPONDENT: My concern is about how to understand concepts as, actual, real, spiritual and abstract. I can understand spiritual, as a concept for a false religious ‘reality’. An imaginary world created by holy masters and such.
VINEETO: First it is vital to understand that actualism is – despite No 22’s insistent misunderstanding – not a concept. Actual Freedom is the ongoing experience of living life without any identity whatsoever and actualism is putting into practice the method to become free of the Human Condition, namely ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’. Once you make a concept out of this method you will miss the gist, the fun and the success of actualism. A concept is according to Mr. Oxford:
Actualism means asking oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ and actualism is this practice of the tried and tested down-to-earth method to successively free oneself from malice and sorrow. The moment one conceptualises actualism, one turns a possible living experience of becoming free from the Human Condition into a spiritual and/or philosophical concept. The main reason for all the misunderstanding of actualism and Actual Freedom is that people prefer to conceptualize, philosophize and theorize about their idea of Actual Freedom instead of testing the method for themselves in practice. The longer I have practiced actualism the more I came to understand the meaning of the world spirit-ual and became aware of how much spiritualism pervades every human experience.
The other night I watched a program Greg Palmer had produced about ‘Life After Death’. The producer had done an in-depth research of many of the thousands beliefs that human beings have in the spirits of their ancestors, in their ancestral wisdom and legacy, in nature-spirits and in a spirit life after death. Greg Palmer commented that he had searched for a group that did not believe in any kind of life after death and he could not find a single one. His program made me understand even more to what degree our human lives are ruled by the beliefs in dead spirits, passed away relatives, dead fellow comrades, bodiless souls and protecting or punishing gods. People constantly live with an imagined cloud of either soothing and/or menacing spirits around them. The belief in bodiless spirits, angels and devils is deeply rooted in our instinctual fear of death and perpetuated by cultural tradition and religion, shamans, priests and gurus.
Gary put it really well the other day when he said in his letter to Peter:
Being spiritual is not just being religious, as in believing in the Christian or Jewish god or following one of the Eastern religions like Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism or Taoism. To live within the human condition is to be spiritual because ‘me’, the core of my being, is a spiritual, non-material and non-actual entity, given substance by the instinctual passions and given credence by our respective social conditioning.
As such, spiritualism is not merely an idea or a concept that one could discard by choice or decision, it is ingrained in each of us as our very soul, deeply felt and experienced as something ‘very very real’. When investigating my spirituality, I started to inquire into my most obvious and recent acquired loyalties and beliefs and, digging deeper, found layer upon layer of religious fears and ancient morals and ethics.
In a local spiritual magazine I came across a telling example how a Buddhist teacher ‘transforms’ the very real and horrifying experience of discovering a mass grave in Bosnia into the spiritual perception of God’s work. Using simple symbolism he invokes love, compassion and God, and his initial feeling of dread and horror is turned into worshipping the mysteriousness and grandeur of the Dharma.
Now there is a third alternative available – to step out of both the real world of malice and sorrow and the spiritual world of good and evil and come into the already-always-existing actual world of purity and delight. (...)
RESPONDENT: The concept of the abstract is not debated so much, perhaps because you all understand the concept better than I do. But anyhow, the question: In an actual perspective, where are the abstract. In the physical world, or just in our imagination? Is the abstract actual/ real or not? What do you say?
VINEETO: Abstract means: ‘Separated from matter, practice, or particular examples; not concrete; ideal’ Oxford Dictionary
Actualism is the very opposite to being ‘separated from matter’ – it is about discovering what lies underneath all our concepts, abstract ideas, passionate beliefs, affective feelings and fervent imagination that continuously separate us from experiencing the purity and perfection of the actual world.
The other night Peter and I went out for dinner and by chance met a couple we knew from our spiritual days. As we started discussing about life, the universe and what we have discovered in about being a human being, Peter talked about the difference between actualism, reality and spiritualism. The man responded that you could never really know what is actual. He touched the table we sat on and said ‘this is not a table – it is just the word ‘table’. For Australian Aborigines it would be a pile of firewood and not a table at all.’ Therefore, by his abstract thinking, he can never really know if what we call a table is really a table or in fact something completely different.
If you become totally abstract in your thinking and feeling you can even get to the stage where you really-truly believe that the table and everything else that is actual is only an illusion and only ‘you’ are real, or should I say ‘Real’.
This belief that one cannot know what is actual is only possible because he was removed from the direct sensate experience, his experience was totally coloured by his abstract thinking combined with his spiritual ideas. He didn’t acknowledge his sensate experience of the piece of furniture we were resting our elbows on. He preferred to question the actuality of the table rather than questioning his own ideas, beliefs and feelings. His stated position was that we cannot know anything as a certainty and he had made that into his prime spiritual belief. Thus he made the sensual concrete experience of a simple wooden table into a spiritual experience of ‘Not-Knowing’ – another word for connecting with the Divine Unknowable.
The conversation made it clear to me again that any belief, including the generalizing belief that you don’t know, casts a distorting veil over our senses and sensibility and thus prevents the direct experience of the actual.
I don’t know if these explanations make the difference between real, spiritual, abstract and actual any clearer to you.
For me, the process of understanding the difference happened by extensive reading, thinking and talking about actualism as well as finding out experientially – investigating my own emotions and questioning my spiritual beliefs. This more and more opened the door to a direct sensate experience of the people and world around me.
‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ always works to bring my attention to how I am in this moment and what feelings and beliefs are preventing me from experiencing this moment to the optimum, to becoming more happy and harmless.
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 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: I don’t have 21 or 17 years of experience with a spiritual journey or 11 years of ‘enlightenment’ (whatever that is, and I truly don’t know, but I suspect it isn’t real).
VINEETO: To judge ‘Tried and True’ as ‘Tried and Failed’ you don’t need 17 years of spiritual journey but common sense. When I heard Richard or Peter say for the first time, ‘why don’t you judge the religion – Eastern or Western – by the outcome’, it hit me like a brick. Never even once had I looked at the factual outcome of what I was aiming for – how people are living in India, how Indians, especially enlightened ones treat women, how religious wars are raging in many parts of the world – to judge the workings and sensibility of what I was trying to achieve. At that time I felt quite stupid, clumsy, thick and thought I had wasted my time. But then, there had been nobody pointing it out to me and it seemed the best solution on offer at the time for the misery and desperation I felt about life.
It does not take 20 years of spiritual experience to look, for a change, at the facts of the particular belief-system instead of the promised solutions that it never delivers. So you are not missing any ‘time done’ here. Everyone who dares to look further than the herd can find out the facts for him/herself. Maybe the frustration of having had so little success after so many years of effort helped me to get over my pride and fear so that I started looking in another direction.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.