Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: (...) I am already here ... always. Sounds mad but it is very sane and wholesome and real and actual all at once ... because it is all at this moment in time. NOW. If this is or is not actual intimacy ... who cares? Love or love can no longer trap me, bind me, or contort me ... My life is filled with happy and harmless fun and effortless games. The opposites no longer apply because there is no-one to apply them. No-one inside controlling or being controlled ... Yes! I used to be a good communicator and writer but why bother ... now that I see the actual nothing seems to really matter except my immediate needs and wants ... and what a delight to satisfy these ... in ‘good’ time, (is there any other type), effortlessly and completely.
To endlessly condemn humanity for violence towards its self and ‘my’ fellows seems the only game worth playing ... but only as an ongoing extra ... an effortless incidental ... icing on the cake. The myth of teaching or helping others is definitely flawed, (because I can help no-one really) ... perhaps by example? The actual revolutions start here as a matter of course each time a new wonder manifests itself into consciousness or a physical sensation. I can only help myself each moment again. I can only partake of all that is on offer. What a life! This is Actual Freedom! Wooopppeee!
Keep enjoying the words you two ... but not reacting rebelling against the good or the bad, (unless you want to of course) ... freedom from the instincts, or Gods, or beliefs, or anything is not the only thing to do ... all is pure and petty, mind games and wars. The opposites no longer apply. There is a big picture and no big picture, many systems and no system, many methods and no method, many gurus or no guru, many religions or no religions ... I live well automatically, spontaneously, intelligently, sensibly but most of all I live now because it is all I have. ‘NOW’ all the time ... even memories and wonderment are now ... if time permits. Rejection and embrace of intellectual knots and ideas and investigations only leads to more rejection and more embrace of the same ... more knots and ideas and investigations, etc., etc. If we only have one life this moment of experiencing life let ‘me’ not make it a dress rehearsal ... by always becoming or always intelligently mindfully or habitually investigating what may be ... unless it is NOW. Yes! Every time ... NOW!
VINEETO: I remember my time of intense discovery when I had insights into the actual world but got off the track when, instead of staying with the actuality of the sensate-only experience, ‘I’ would grab the experience to go off at a spiritual-philosophical tangent – I called it being a ‘Truth production machine’. I have written about it in my correspondence with Alan, where I described in detail my various adventures into my psyche and the discoveries of ‘my’ cunningness. Descriptions of my ‘Explorations of Death and Altered States of Consciousness’ might also be relevant or interesting to you.
For me, the guiding light has always been the Pure Consciousness Experience where there is clearly no ‘self’ in action, which means that there are neither feelings nor imagination happening. The moment I started to notice an affective feeling or emotion about what I was sensately experiencing or thinking, I knew that I was not having a PCE. My inner alarm-bell would ring and I started to investigate the emotion.
At first imagination was a bit more difficult to detect. To distinguish imagination from observation I needed to diligently explore the facts of the situation, read and re-read Richard’s numerous descriptions of the actual world and discuss my perceptions with Peter. In short, anything that cannot be sensately experienced is not actual.
When one starts to investigate the psychic world, one’s ‘self’-centred reality and facts are so cunningly intermingled that it is absolutely essential to stick with verifiable facts in order to uncover and eliminate passionate imagination. Having been spiritually trained for years to dis-identify from thoughts and enhance the ‘good feelings’ I had to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction – from ‘go easy and follow your feelings’ to ‘what are the facts of the situation?’
RESPONDENT: I feel that struggle is not about freedom at all, it is just the nature of ‘me’ to struggle. Of course, action of some sort is required to change the status quo. This is where the ongoing question comes in. Now what is beyond questioning? Or to put it another way, what is being withheld from the light of awareness?
VINEETO: That ‘struggle is not about freedom at all’ is a feeling, or, to be more precise, an idea. The nature of ‘me’ is lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning – and, as such, resists the effort to be eliminated.
But it is not just your idea. It is the core of Eastern teaching. ‘Just become aware that you are already ‘It’, and that’s all you need to do’. It is part of identifying with the ‘watcher’, the so-called aware identity, and ‘all will be well’. That method might make you enlightened but it will never get you an inch closer to Actual Freedom.
To become free, one has to want freedom with all one’s might and passion. One has to put all one’s eggs in one basket. And in order to eliminate emotions one will first have to experience them, feel them. One has to play the drama on stage (experience one’s emotions with neither expressing nor repressing them) in order to know all the actors involved. One has to ‘get down and get dirty’. Peter described really well in one of his letters:
RESPONDENT: Many of his close associates seem to got him so wrong. Osho and many other eastern philosophies have stressed so many times on being happy ‘here and now’. There may be many methods how to achieve it.
VINEETO: I don’t think us disciples got him wrong there. Commitment and surrender were not only a big issue during ranch-time, but ‘totality’, as it was called later, was the main ingredient on the path to enlightenment. The story of digging only one hole and not 50 different ones to produce a well the stressing the point to not listen to other masters as to not get confused.
‘Being happy here and now’ only sounds like the same as living this moment here, now. The spiritual ‘here and now’ does not jell with the teaching of reincarnation, enlightenment being the ending of the wheel of birth and death and the teaching of meditation – closing your eyes and go somewhere else inside – to one day maybe become enlightened. Yes, when after all this effort you become enlightened, then you can laugh and say you were always ‘here and now’. But that is a different ‘here’ and ‘now’ than the here and now of normal mortals who were considered asleep and had to do dynamic meditation and other exercises to ‘wake up’.
The other obvious difference between the spiritual ‘here and now’ and the actual ‘here and now’ is how Osho and eastern philosophers regard the body and everything physical. The spiritual concept is that the world is ‘maya’, an illusion. Once you ‘get it’, you can be happy in the spiritual realm of ‘here and now’. But you have to identify as the ‘watcher’, not as the body, you have to be detached from the body and from your senses in order to rise to your ‘true nature’. That ‘true nature’ is your consciousness, so they say, best to be achieved through meditation, which is in its purest form sitting motionless with closed eyes for hours on end. Then the identity shifts to ‘being the watcher’, to being Consciousness – and one day, one realizes that one is ‘One with All’, ‘That’, ‘Universal Love’, etc. The delusion is complete. One loses one’s ego on the way, but the soul, the feeling part of the instinctual being stays not only fully intact, but is aggrandized to the extent that one considers oneself to be God or the Universe itself.
Compared to this illusory scenario, the actual ‘here and now’ is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway. To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe. Coming from no-where and having no-where to go we find ourselves here in this moment in time in this place in space. To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Being here now is to ‘be doing what is happening’ with no sense of ‘I’ or feelings of ‘me’. To be fully here, now without a fearful ‘self ‘or a ‘Grand Self’ is to be innocent, perfect and pure, fully engaged in this only moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: According to Richard all seem to have failed because there is no peace still on Earth. But I don’t understand what makes Richard so confident that his method will work. The statement ‘I am under no illusion that global peace and tranquility will eventuate before I am on my death-bed; I do not suffer from the delusion that I can effect a sweeping change to the lot of all human beings; ‘looks like another messiah-iatric chore. And then who is to decide what the universe should be like? The entire thinking is based on the argument that in spite so many Enlightened persons in last thousands of years, there is something wrong with the humankind.
VINEETO: It may look strange from your – spiritual – way of looking (which I can remember quite clearly from myself 18 months ago). When in a peak-experience, when experiencing this moment without the filter of the ‘self’ and of the Human Condition, one is experiencing the world-as-is in its perfection, magnificence, purity and delight. The actuality of what-is then is utterly obvious because there is no identity interpreting, distorting and editing what you see, hear, touch and smell. Most people have had such a PCE in their lives although it is not easy to recall as there are no emotions happening that could be remembered. You can find one of the many description of a pure consciousness experience in Richard’s or Peter’s writings by running the search function through; there also has been a good discussion about the difference of PCE and ASC between Richard and Alan just lately on the list – you can look it up in the archives of this mailing list. Such descriptions are very helpful to induce or remember a PCE for oneself. From that experience you will see for yourself that the actual world is already here, has always been. It is only our psychological and psychic entity that stands in the road of experiencing the purity and perfection of the actual world. Then, everything is blindingly obvious.
RESPONDENT: Because I am exposed mostly only to eastern wisdom, I conclude that it should be because of that. However I don’t want to waste too much time and efforts to argue over whether it is new or not. Even if it is not new, it appeals to me and I would like to give it a try.
VINEETO: When I took Sannyas I had been raised and conditioned as a catholic middle-class German. In order to understand Rajneesh I had to at least question those conditionings. But then I was ready to question the old, because life wasn’t all that wonderful, burdened as I was with those primary conditionings. I attempted to leave ‘normal’ behind and became ‘spiritual’.
On the path to Actual Freedom a second de-conditioning took place, a spiritual de-conditioning. And again, I was ready for it, because after all those years of sincere effort my search did not show the outcome I was hoping for. This second de-conditioning went much, much deeper than the first, it eliminated ‘all of me’, ego and soul, emotions and beliefs, instincts and ‘spiritual achievements’. It leaves me as this physical body and its senses, free to delight in this perfect infinite universe as a sensate human being. Nothing more, nothing less.
To investigate my beliefs it took a lot of time to question, ask, discuss, read, turn them round and round, and look at them again from a different angle. It is not at all a waste of time. To be able to see a belief ‘from the outside’ in its complexity and functioning it needs time and investigation. This is exactly how you give it a try.
RESPONDENT: Were I not spiritually inclined I might not be interested in actual freedom web pages. I think spiritualism also promises the same thing (being happy and harmless) as actualism. Whether it delivers or not – I don’t know. But neither do I know if actualism does.
VINEETO: For me, it was my search for freedom, peace and happiness that made me enter the spiritual world in the first place and not the other way round, in that the spiritual teachings led me to be interested in achieving freedom. When this search for freedom, peace and happiness was not fulfilled with my shallow success of 17 years of meditation I then became interested in actualism. I think you are crediting the wrong account here.
RESPONDENT: I think there is some confusion in my usage of the term spiritualism.
In my mother tongue, the corresponding word is called ‘adhyatma’ which literally means coming to yourself. ‘Atma’ in adhyatma doesn’t mean soul or spirit, it means ‘I’. So for me when I am searching for who/what am I, it is adhyatma. And it is this search which brought me to actual freedom. Don’t you think actualism is also focussed on realising the true I and eliminating ‘I’. I understand that in actualism, the true I is realised as this physical body and nothing else.
VINEETO: Here is another example of using the trick of a superficial substitution. You say ‘who/what am I, it is adhyatma’. ‘Who’ points to ‘I’, the being, the passionately imagined identity, while ‘what’ is simply this flesh-and-blood-body without any identity whatsoever. Adhyatma is ‘coming to yourself’ or your ‘self’, who your believe yourself to be, feel yourself to be, want to be, hope to become and, lo and behold, you discover your Higher or True Self – God by any other name.
Actualism goes in the opposite direction. An actualist chisels away at the being, dismantles the being, takes it apart, exposes it for the mirage it is, investigates the emotions and instinctual passions that force one to desperately want to be somebody, a higher self, ‘me at the core of my being’, an advanced being, anything. Actual freedom is freedom from being any identity whatsoever. What remains is ‘what’ one is, this flesh-and-blood body only, not ‘who’.
It is all very simple. Whenever I have been hurt by something or someone, this was my ‘self’ being hurt. This ‘self’ is what we actualists investigate, dismantle, lay bare and eliminate. It includes investigating ALL emotions, including love, compassion and bliss. When you uncover and eliminate the underlying instincts, there won’t be anybody left feeling hurt or even peeved.
RESPONDENT: ‘I am not an expert on spiritualism. In fact I know very little of it compared to you.’
VINEETO: First I had to understand my own spiritualism, my own complex belief-structure that existed in my brain. First, I had to acknowledge that, yes, I am full of unquestioned beliefs, assumptions, vague feelings and intuitions. You see, nobody thinks he believes. Everybody is convinced that they ‘know’, that they ‘see the truth’. A passionate conviction, a belief fed into us with mother’s milk is never seen as a belief – it is conceived as being the very truth. Why would people kill for what they consider a mere belief, an idea – no, it is the bloody truth for them, and they are ready to defend it with their lives and kill for it. So, first of all, one needs to acknowledge that there is belief. And believing is being spirit-ual, non-factual, substantiating ideas with one’s spirit. Every idea, every assumption, every opinion is spirit-ual, produced in the head – or in the heart.
Once I understood that the word ‘spirit’ describes the passionate yet imaginary entity inside of me, I could also understand that Spirit-ualism – Eastern Religion – is merely aiming to enhance that entity into glorious grandeur. Actualism is to get rid of one’s ‘spirit’ in total in order to experience the actual world that is already here.
It’s a great journey discovering facts, facts verifiable by the senses, repeatable, explainable, describable, non-emotional, non-affective, simple and actual – facts. As Peter has already mentioned in his letter to Alan, in the library you will find a good detailed description of ‘fact’ by Richard.
VINEETO: However, if you are inspired by ‘people describing their PCEs’ and you would like to live a ‘self’-less PCE 24 hours a day, everyday, then you will need to change. You will need to make being harmless and happy priority number one in your life – the very top of your laundry list.
Being ‘reasonably happy’ can generally be achieved either by repressing one’s unwanted feelings, obeying the social-religious morals and ethics, or by detaching from one’s unwanted feelings, following the spiritual practice of dissociation. If you are interested in experiencing the dazzling splendour and peerless pristine excellence of the actual world then you would have to investigate why you would settle for feeling ‘reasonably happy’ – reasonably as in ‘moderately, modestly, cheaply, within one’s means, tolerably, passably, acceptable, average’. Oxford Thesaurus
RESPONDENT: You are absolutely right. I did some introspection and found that I have achieved this ‘reasonable happiness’ by detaching myself from my unwanted feelings. I have done this by philosophizing actualism mixed with my earlier spiritual understandings. I realize now that when I say I am reasonably happy I am talking of a general state of not getting effected by feelings. I achieved this because of my philosophy that nothing really matters in this real world because in any case it is all illusion and also there is no afterlife.
VINEETO: Isn’t it amazing how much one sincere introspection can reveal. You described the spiritual practice of detachment very precisely – ‘detaching myself from my unwanted feelings’. This practice is not actualism, because actualism is about feeling one’s feelings, becoming aware of one’s feelings and exploring the origin of one’s feelings with the aim of minimizing both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ feelings ‘so that one is free to feel good, feel happy and feel perfect for 99% of the time’ – as Richard says below in a correspondence he had with you –
RESPONDENT: However when I try to bring my attention to this moment – I find that I am trying to avoid being here and now. The reason looks to be that I do not really enjoy being here. Instead I enjoy more comforting myself in the thought that I am somewhat better off than most other people as I don’t get affected easily by feelings.
VINEETO: Yes, the avoidance of being here and now is the very purpose of practicing detachment and aloofness – spiritual people do not want to be here which is why they practice going ‘inside’. And it is an honest admission to say that you clearly recognize the cultivation of feelings of superiority over others that are an essential ingredient of all religious faith and spiritual practice. It is a great step towards regarding other people as what they are, fellow human beings. (...)
VINEETO: Actualism, being non-spiritual, non-philosophical and down-to-earth, is like any other pursuit in life. For example, if your aim is to win the Olympic gold medal in the 5000m marathon, then you will spend your days training and exercising until you are confident of reaching your goal – you will stream-line your whole life, putting all other desires aside, to make sure you reach your goal and you won’t let off until you have perfected your skills. But if you only want to do a little bit of jogging to see if you like it or not, then you won’t need to practice, you won’t need to change your life, you won’t need to perfect your running style.
RESPONDENT: As I have never made anything as my ‘aim in life’ even in my real world life, I don’t know how to motivate myself enough to make ‘enjoying this moment’ priority number 1 in my life.
VINEETO: Mr. Buddha’s Four Noble Truths come to mind –[quote]:
Is it that you do not have an ‘aim in life’ because you have learnt to believe that to have a passionate ‘aim in life’ is a desire – a desire that the mythical Mr. Buddha supposedly said will inevitably bring disappointment and frustration? Such teachings do indeed inflict a severe lack of motivation to improve anything here on earth.
The other aspect of this spiritual practice that you point to – ‘detaching myself from my unwanted feelings’ – not only means you are ‘not getting effected’ by unwanted feelings, it also locks you out from feeling motivated, feeling interested, feeling curious, feeling inquisitive, feeling enthusiastic, feeling excited and feeling determined. It therefore becomes apparent that you will have to abandon your current practice of ‘not getting effected by feelings’ in order ‘to motivate myself enough to make ‘enjoying this moment’ priority number 1 in my life’.
VINEETO: Of course, attentiveness is acquired like any other skill in life – you begin with the easy and graduate to the more difficult. First you begin being attentive as to how you experience this moment of being alive when brushing your teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, waiting for the bus, driving a car, standing in the elevator, cooking a meal, watching television, and so on. When your attentiveness increases through practice, you advance to the more involved and more emotionally charged occupations of your day. Again, it all depends on your intent – no interest, no effort, no result.
RESPONDENT: I realize that intent is lacking in me. Now I have to find out why is it so?
VINEETO: No 47’s recent response to No 44 can give you some food for thought regarding this question. Vis –
RESPONDENT No 47: I know that ‘affective felicity’ is the only type of ‘felicity’ ‘I’, the identity, can experience – ‘I’ being completely ‘affective’. However, as this is written, I am not currently experiencing a ‘PCE’ (a total absence of identity) yet do not experience this ‘felicity’ as ‘affective’ either. It is mostly caused by an awareness of the existence of actual time, this moment in time, and even though no real confidence in the ‘infinitude’ of the universe is experienced. Now, am I correct in saying that it is not ‘affective felicity’ which enables me to feel good at this moment, as opposed to the ‘affective felicity’ I used to utilize to feel good in my earlier years with actualism (it being the only type of ‘felicity’ I could then experience), but rather the diminishment of the identity which lets sensuousness – something totally unrelated to the ‘self’/’Self’ – operate gradually more and more?
Or is it possible that the ‘affective’ part of this ‘felicity’ is so diminished as to not be experienced as such, which is nonetheless ‘affective’?
VINEETO to No 47: I’d give you a ‘very likely’ on the last one as I can well relate to it myself. In my experience my happiness changed from a conditional happiness – happiness about certain meetings with people, certain fulfilled expectations, purchase of particular goods or achievement of particular goals – to a more and more unconditional happiness and delight of being alive which prevails when malice and sorrow are greatly diminished or completely absent.
RESPONDENT: This absence of conditional happiness, presence of unconditional happiness and sheer delight of being alive never happened during your spiritual days? Strange days that must have been, indeed.
VINEETO: No, unconditional happiness didn’t happen in my spiritual days. In my spiritual days my happiness was dependant on a fair amount of ongoing dissociation from the world-as-it-is, dependant on the feeling of belonging to a club of the chosen few, dependant on fuelling my feelings of love for the master and receiving his hypnotic suggestions on a daily basis, dependant on succeeding in transforming my anger towards my fellow seekers and my sadness into love and compassion (which quite often failed), dependant on physically retreating from the world into a bubble of meditation that was usually so fragile and conditional that it was easily broken by trivial events such as someone cutting in at the food queue or seeing my boyfriend flirting with another woman. It was also dependant on having enough cash to remain living in India and not having to go back to the West because that meant leaving the safe haven of the spiritual commune and once again competing in the dog-eat-dog world for survival.
As for unconditional harmlessness – that wasn’t even on the agenda. Any outburst of anger could always either be justified as being ‘right’ as in righteous.
In hindsight, they were strange days indeed.
RESPONDENT: The early Peter wrote:
First I want to say that I agree with this. Is this still valid now for you?
VINEETO: Since becoming an actualist I have found it useful to qualify my use of the word atheist as most people tend to be very selective in the meaning they ascribe to the word. Some people restrict the word atheist to mean someone who has been raised in a society that doesn’t worship a personal God à la Christianity or Judaism, or as someone who is a follower of a spiritual teacher who rejects the belief in a personal God. As such many followers of spiritual teachers such as Buddha, a Jain Teerthankara, Mohan Rajneesh, Jiddu Krishnamurti or UG Krishnamurti blithely imagine themselves to be atheists. Similarly many people who are pantheists, believe in astrology, homeopathy, the Wholeness of Mother Earth, the healing power of psychic forces, the Higher Intelligence of the Universe, a disembodied Energy that holds the universe together also call themselves atheists, all of which serves to make the common usage of the word atheist almost meaningless.
For this reason both Peter and I have since replaced the term ‘atheist’ with the more descriptive expression of ‘thorough-going atheist’ whilst Richard uses the term ‘thorough-going atheist through-and-through’. A thorough-going atheist to me is someone who has stopped wondering if there is a Divine Force or a life after death, who is no longer prone to being seduced by the latest spiritual fad, who has no doubt at all that any and all spiritual, metaphysical and mystical endeavour is a waste of time and who does so because he or she knows experientially that God, gods, goddesses, spirits, ghosts and fairies have no existence in the actual world.
Richard is no longer the only thorough-going atheist – there are a handful of people, myself included, who know without a smidgen of a doubt that any God, any spirit and any metaphysical belief is a fiction of passionate human imagination.
RESPONDENT: And if yes, are actualists the only ones worthy to be called atheists?
VINEETO: As I said above, because of the current trend to water-down or deliberately distort the meaning of the word atheist, it is more accurate to call actualists thorough-going atheists. And the reason for this is very clear. Only the actualism method provides the rigorous examination that is necessary if one is to rid oneself of the apparent, as well as the not so apparent, insidious beliefs in divine intervention, mysterious energies, mystifying metaphysical phenomena, psychic energies and forces and the many other fairy tales that continue to enthral instinctual human beings.
In the light of the current discussions about atheism on the mailing list it is pertinent to remember that atheism is not synonymous with actualism – i.e. they are not the same thing at all. To throw out one’s belief in God or gods is only the beginning of the journey on the wondrous path of uncovering that which is actual.
RESPONDENT: Are there no materialists dead or alive that deserve the name atheists? I ask this as in materialism (for what I understand) is implicit that there is no God, that he is merely a human invention.
VINEETO: Some materialists are indeed atheists given the current loose usage of the word.
RESPONDENT: They believe that there is no God in the same way as the 99.9999 percent of spiritualists believe that there is one. They don’t speak from their own personal experience, so they can always switch sides (as any belief creates doubts).
VINEETO: Exactly. You would know this yourself because although you were apparently born and raised in an atheistic society you nevertheless were seduced by your altered state of consciousness and attracted by the promises of Gurdjieff’s spiritual teachings.
For me, once I had a pure consciousness experience and fully understood and took on board its implications – that ‘I’ am but a passionate phantom and so are ‘my’ passionate creations such as God, Divine Energy and such like – I could no longer maintain the belief that God or the Supernatural exist as actualities. Nevertheless, it took me several months to fully digest and get accustomed to the implications of no longer believing in a Higher Power – I had to tackle my feelings of loyalty to my Guru and my spiritual friends and my pride in having been sucked into an elaborate fairy-tale, my security in belonging to a group of like-minded and similarly-feeling people, my fear arising from the obvious gap that would be left if I abandoned my precious spiritual identity.
It was disorienting and scary at the start but hey, I’m glad I didn’t let my feelings stand in the way of enjoying the current freedom I now enjoy – it’s so grand to be free of all of one’s spiritual beliefs.
RESPONDENT: So my question goes like this: can someone who hasn’t experienced that state of Being, may call himself an atheist (a definitive stand, with no potential to switch sides)?
VINEETO: From my own experience I can’t determine if someone else can become a thorough-going atheist without having personally experienced an altered state of consciousness because I did have a few ASCs which helped me to experientially understand spiritualism. I think just as PCEs are going to inevitably occur once one begins to sincerely peel away one’s layers of identity, so are altered states of some kind or other – ASCs are a natural defence mechanism of ‘me’ wanting to stay in existence and will inevitably occur when ‘I’ feel deeply threatened. For a thorough-going atheist they are the ultimate fire-test.
RESPONDENT: I would say no, because if he says so, that would be only a belief based on his shallow exploration of the psyche. If he goes deeper, enjoys an ecstasy or two, he will have a definite chance to become an ‘authentic’ spiritualist.
VINEETO: I take it you are talking of your own experience. I take it that what you are saying is that there is a vast difference between believing something to be fact or fiction and knowing by direct experience that something is indeed fact or fiction, i.e. an atheist does not believe in God or gods, whereas a thorough-going atheist knows from his or her own pure consciousness experience that God and gods are but a figment of human imagination. And, from your comment, you would say that a spiritualist regards or interprets things from a spiritual point of view whereas an ‘‘authentic’ spiritualist’ is someone who has had an altered state of consciousness experience of the delusionary state of spiritual realization. Personally I would not use the term authentic in this case as the term ‘an authentic delusion’ is somewhat of an oxymoron.
RESPONDENT: As for me, I’ve managed to break-free from the spiritual dreams and schemes and now they are of zero interest.
VINEETO: I remember I was immensely relieved when the full implications sank in that there is no omnipotent omniscient God, no Divine Judge, no mysterious Power running the show and consequently no Life after Death to plan for. It was as if I got my life back, I could finally live now instead of worrying about my mythical non-physical life and the ‘health’ and virtue of my spirit and my soul. A huge burden fell off me and with it my fear of divine punishment disappeared which in turn freed me from my fear of human authorities – everyone became just like me, a fellow human being, living their life for the first and only time just like me. It’s not that I abandoned the belief in a Greater reality and fell back into grim reality because I had set my course on becoming unconditionally happy and harmless – the best possible thing I could do for my fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: That’s a definitive gain, if it were not for this alternative I would have remained a spiritual student-expert for the rest of my life. This would have happened as there would have been no alternative for the answer/solution provided by the altered states of consciousness that could fully interest me.
VINEETO: Yes, I can relate to this one. In my early twenties I had dismissed the notion that the pursuits of materialism would bring fulfilment and soon after I found spiritualism. Although I became more and more disillusioned with the results of spiritual practice there was nothing better on offer until I met Richard who introduced me to the possibility of an actual freedom from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: The spiritual world seems hilarious now, an aberration, but I remember it hasn’t always been like that.
VINEETO: Yes, if it wasn’t for the fact that people are either killing, maiming and dying for their beliefs or turning away and retreating ‘inside’ it would all be a comic entertainment. What I find most hilarious is that some people really believe that they can gain freedom by redefining the meaning of the word freedom, for example ‘I am already free, I only need to stop searching’. Another popular fallacy is the idea that one can become free from one’s spiritual beliefs by merely redefining the word spiritual or that one can become happy by watering down the meaning of the word happiness.
RESPONDENT: Many of my former spiritual friends are still entangled in the intricate psychic web of deceit, fear and power waived and sustained both by themselves and by those seeking all sorts of benefits from them.
VINEETO: Yes, the difference between how I experienced the world then and how I experience it now is quite astounding. At some point I described the process of investigating my beliefs and their resulting feelings as finding and removing ‘invisible hooks’ which psychically linked me to others who shared the same feelings and beliefs – the more I recognized and uncovered my beliefs the less I was exposed to the psychic web of humanity. Interestingly enough, when the connection of shared beliefs ceased, the friendship also ceased. I simply had no beliefs in common with my former spiritual friends – the benefit being that I no longer had like-believing friends and non-believing foes which then allowed me to experience an intimacy with all of my fellow human beings, not as an ideal but as an actuality.
RESPONDENT: Or perhaps check in with Vineeto’s and hence become a supporter of condemnation of all Spiritual institutions (that includes also the so-called kind-hearted spiritualists for any info about that check in with No 30). Based on the assumption that all of them are rotten to the core. Iow. charged with corruption.
That surely is not a small thing and it has a bit of a taste of rhetorical innuendo least to speak. Now considering that this implies that every spiritualist is corrupt.
VINEETO: You have taken my statement, put your personal spin on it and then run with it. This was my original statement –
You then take ‘the whole institution of enlightenment’ to mean ‘every spiritualist’ and bingo, yet another falsehood is fabricated, in this case that ‘every spiritualist’ is ‘charged with corruption’.
Before you take your misconception any further in your ‘lets-see-if-we-can-nail-[an actualist]-or-give him-a beat-up-game’, here is the reason why I said that the whole institution of enlightenment is ‘rotten to the core’ – something that a little bit of research on the Actual Freedom website would have easily revealed –
My personal experience with Godmen, and Mohan Rajneesh in particular, confirms Richard’s statement. Once I saw through and freed myself from my feelings of master-disciple loyalty the sickness of the institution of enlightenment became more and more obvious. Living in Rajneesh’s ashram I have experienced the corruption and deceit of the institution of enlightenment first hand, heard the promises of freedom and equality that never came true, witnessed the narcissism masquerading as Divine Love and diligently tried to live the unliveable teachings. I have seen his girlfriend become driven to desperation and depression, I have known the many women who felt honoured to fellate him while he publicly denied that it happened and pretended to be beyond it all. I have seen the power play amongst his followers in order to curry his favour and seen the richest disciples rise to the top of the favour list first.
VINEETO: Your letter intrigued me such that I decided to disregard your suggestion and write a reply.
RESPONDENT: Firstly, may I thank you for an excellent site, which I have found extremely useful, especially the information on PCEs and the method set forth – HAIETMOBA. However, there has been something bothering me about your position which I haven’t been able to put my finger on until now. There seems to be a war going on here between Spiritualists and Actualists. There’s never smoke without fire.
VINEETO: Ha, this is quite an astounding picture you are creating here. There are almost 6 billion people who believe in some spiritual being, in some God or Goddess or in a whole range of gods and goddesses, in good and evil spirits, in some Divine Force … and here is the actualism mailing list explicitly stating right-up-front that it is not only non-spiritual but that it is dedicated to discussing matters that are down-to-earth, i.e. non-spiritual. And do you know what happens? Spiritualists come here, sometimes in twos, threes and fours, to challenge and attack, question and complain that how can actualists be so preposterous as to suggest that you can get rid of all your spiritual beliefs and become utterly happy and harmless.
For you to propose that a small group of practicing actualists are somehow conducting a war against spiritualists when all that is on offer here is a third alternative to being normal or being spiritual does seem to be somewhat missing the point.
RESPONDENT: In this actual Actual world, in its wondrous, and infinite subtlety, there is no need whatsoever to destroy/eradicate anything at all, including, may I add, the Evil Spiritualism.
VINEETO: What ‘actual Actual world’ are you talking about? The actual world described on the Actual Freedom Trust website is invisible to anyone harbouring spiritual beliefs because beliefs are feeling-fed thoughts which are a substantive part of ‘my’ identity. ‘I’ can only experience ‘my’ affectively tainted ‘self’-centred world and ‘I’ am forever locked out of the pure and magical actuality.
Spiritualism is not ‘Evil’, as you try to make it out – there is no Good and Evil in actuality. But for those interested in becoming unconditionally happy and unconditionally harmless, spiritualism is the first of the blindfolds that needs to be questioned and removed in order to experience the splendour of the paradisiacal actuality that is right here under our very noses.
RESPONDENT: Everything, and I do mean everything, is seen to be perfect just as it is, including the Human Condition you so desperately want to be free of.
VINEETO: Well, if everything is as ‘perfect just as it is, including the Human Condition’, then why are you subscribed to a mailing list that offers a way of becoming free of the human condition? Why do you even bother to write to this list complaining that there is ‘a war going on here between Spiritualists and Actualists’?
For me, the human condition is not perfect at all, for me there is something utterly wrong with the way human beings have been arguing and fighting, killing and torturing, suffering and agonizing for millennia – that’s why I took up the offer to radically (at root) change the only person I can change. And the first thing I had to change was my being a loyal spiritual believer.
RESPONDENT: Before you rush to your computer, itchy mouse fingers at the ready to cut and paste me into oblivion, I suggest you take an even closer look at your intentions behind the destruction of Spiritualism from this wonderful, multi-facetted, infinitely subtle world we live in. ‘tis only a suggestion mind.
VINEETO: I don’t need to ‘take an even closer look at [my] intentions behind the destruction of Spiritualism’ because I abandoned my spiritual beliefs one by one, never to have them return. Actualism is not about destroying spiritualism, actualism is an alternative to spiritualism, which is quite a different matter.
As for ‘this wonderful, multi-facetted, infinitely subtle world we live in’ I can only suggest you sit down and take a clear-eyed look at this ‘multi-facetted’ world by watching some evening news, some real-life stories, some historical contemporary reports of tribes and nations in order to gain a clearer picture of the fact that nowhere do human beings of different gender, family, race, tribe, nation, religion and political conviction live together in peace and harmony. Rather human beings are continually arguing and bickering with each other and many are even killing, maiming, torturing and persecuting other human beings for being a different ‘facet’ than themselves. Take a candid look at how human beings are relentlessly driven to ensure their survival through fearing and attacking, bonding and accumulating. The passionate world of human interaction is quite horrendous and not ‘infinitely subtle’ at all. Human beings are neither happy most of the time nor are they harmless most of the time and most people don’t even like to be here.
‘This wonderful, multi-facetted, infinitely subtle world we live in’ is a world up in the clouds, a dream world to where spiritualists retreat in order not to be confronted with the pain and suffering and misery and mayhem of the dreadful, impassioned world of instinctual ‘self’-survival. I know because I had escaped into this dream world for many, many years – but in the end I had to admit that it didn’t work, that I could never shut out reality completely – it kept creeping in, be it through a fight with the boyfriend, a death in the family, a picture of a starving African tribe or the need to go back into the ‘marketplace’ to earn a living.
Now I don’t have to escape, now I can live with a companion in utter peace and harmony, I can be in the world-as-it-is and live in peace with my fellow human beings, I can earn a living and be happy while I am doing it, I can do nothing and be happy doing nothing, now I enjoy being here – and it all started when I began to investigate my spiritual beliefs, all of them.
VINEETO to No 47: When I disentangled myself from the spiritual practice of dissociation I began to allow myself once again to become sensitive to my own undesired feelings as well as to the perversities and horrors of the human condition. In short I allowed myself to feel the full range of my emotions in order to examine them and trace them back to ‘me’, the affective identity inside this flesh-and-blood body. When a reaction to a certain situation kept creeping up again and again, avoiding giving it ‘credence’ was not enough. I had to feel the feeling, label it, sort it out, understand it in the context of my social identity and figure out which part of ‘me’ was responsible for my emotional reaction in order to become free from it. Then I could go back to feeling excellent again and, as a result of this rooting around, was less prone to be disturbed by a similar situation. Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Mailing List, No 47, 4.11.2003
RESPONDENT: Thanks for the very lucid and succinct description of the actualism method; I would like to just add my observations to what you said (I have divided your description into three parts):
I think a) is extremely important. If not done diligently, it leads to denial of the feeling and also distortion of steps b) and c). If I don’t fully feel and acknowledge the feeling/ emotional reaction, it means that I have not fully come to terms with the whole of the feeling; I still have some vested interests in continuing to feel that way and I would trick myself to lie in the surface if I don’t take a good look at the whole of the feeling. It seems to be so difficult to stay with the feeling. (...)
In fact some of the spiritual practices seem to point to this step (observe the feeling, don’t run away, escape as is done normally) – but I think either deliberately or inadvertently end up inducing dissociation. And since it is painful to stay with some feelings, dissociation seems to come naturally.
VINEETO: All spiritual practices I have come across and have been taught suggest to ‘observe the feeling’, or rather ‘observe the thought’ that supposedly is the cause of one’s feelings and then disengage, distance and dissociate oneself from the thoughts in order to retreat back inside and get back to feeling ‘who you really are’.
As for ‘deliberately or inadvertently’, as a generalization, ‘normal’ people inadvertently dissociate from being here, spiritualists do it deliberately as part of the teachings. After all, people embark on the spiritual path in order to disengage or dissociate from the world because they are discontent with or appalled by the world as it is and people as they are.
RESPONDENT: And the watching/observing of the feelings can go on endlessly as it is not coupled with b) and c) – in fact the practices actively discourage b) and funnily even c) – as the aim does not seem to be ‘happy and harmless’ but only ‘observing/ watching/ attention’ etc. – so the continued suffering is not questioned and considered okay as long as one ‘watches/ observes/ attends to’ and is seen to be the best one can do!
VINEETO: Yes, in spiritual practice the ‘watching/observing of the feelings can go on endlessly’ until one succeeds to completely detach oneself from one’s imperfect ‘self’ such that the illusion of a new identity is created, an aggrandized impersonal ‘Self’, a disembodied watcher or observer. The purpose of all spiritual methods is to distance oneself from one’s bad feelings, believed to arise from conditioned thoughts, whereas good feelings such as love and compassion are greatly encouraged.
‘The continued suffering is not questioned’ because suffering is regarded as the very mud from which the lotus of Enlightenment will arise – without suffering there would be no need for dissociation. The feeling of suffering is aggrandized into a feeling of universal sorrow or divine compassion. (...)
RESPONDENT: And since one is used to the vagueness and ambiguity and the indescribables and the unknowables – never defining unambiguously – no wonder actualism looks the same as anything else – but this apparent similarity does not stand the scrutiny.
VINEETO: Yes, and this vagueness and ambiguity comes as no surprise given that spiritual freedom is only a feeling of freedom and not an actuality. Actuality can be described with precise words because it is tangible, apparent, lucid and obvious and as such two people can describe something with very definitive words and know that they are both talking about the same actuality. By contrast one can only be vague and ambiguous when describing an imagined and illusionary feeling state because no two people feel exactly the same about something intangible, spirit-like, ephemeral, ethereal and otherworldly. Once you begin to examine the descriptions of spiritual experiences, you discover that each guru and each disciple lives in their own private affective dream world, their own universe.
VINEETO: Going by my personal experience I am still surprised how people are so persistently suspicious because that is not how my own mind works. When I met Richard I was not particularly concerned that, or if, he was the first one to discover something that goes beyond enlightenment but I was more interested about the fact that he discovered something which I could confirm for myself as to whether or not it was utterly new and far better than spiritual enlightenment.
RESPONDENT: I am concerned by such claims because it’s a hallmark of many cults to claim their approaches are unique and the only way.
First you assume that actualism is a cult and then you raise concerns that it claims to be unique. As long as you read The Actual Freedom Trust website with a Zen Buddhist’s eyes, you will never find out how an actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual pursuits. 180 degrees opposite is not just a figure of speech – it points to the diametrical opposites between actualism and spiritualism. The diagram ‘180 degrees’ in The Actual Freedom Trust Library attempts to make this difference more clear.
I admit that in the beginning the difference can appear obscure as I remember having first to grasp the full meaning of the word ‘spiritual’ as in ‘of, pertaining to, or affecting the spirit or soul, pertaining to or consisting of spirit, immaterial’ Oxford Dictionary, in order to understand the full implications of the word ‘non-spiritual’. However, a vital requisite is that one has to want to find what the differences are, instead of assuming that actualism is yet another spiritual teaching replete with a resident Guru and wanting to find fault from the start.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I’ve done that. I’ve also seen similarities. I believe the differences are overblown.
VINEETO: Spirituality and actuality have nothing at all in common. In case you are interested in suspending your duty to doubt and really finding out the nature of Actual Freedom as compared to a spiritual freedom then the link I had provided in my last post lists twenty-five clear-cut examples as to how spirituality and actuality are diametrically opposite. The link to Richard’s correspondence on this topic at the same page contains answers to questions and objections that are very similar to yours. Reading it with both eyes open will save a lot of needless repetition in posts to the mailing list.
RESPONDENT: I’ve also seen claims from other sources that are very similar to Richard’s and I will post some quotes shortly. I see no conflict in questioning Richard about his self proclaimed unique status and using the methods on offer.
VINEETO: I read the sources you presented as being similar and Peter’s response might help you understand why they are 180 opposite to what actualism has to offer. As long as you continue to hold on to your suspicion of what you call Richard’s ‘self proclaimed unique status’ this difference, however, will remain obscure to you. That’s why I reported that I had to have a close look at my general attitude towards authority before I could crank up the naiveté necessary to consider that actualism might well be something new and unique in human history.
RESPONDENT: I do realise that Actualism is something I can investigate and possibly confirm.
RESPONDENT: It’s true to say I can’t confirm actualism at this stage but Richard assures me I can possibly confirm actualism. Sorry, just being linguistically picky.
VINEETO: The reason I said that you can’t ‘possibly confirm’ actualism at this stage is because you haven’t begun to try to understand what actualism is. To understand actualism you would have to recognize the vast difference to spiritualism. At the following link you will find a list of topics complete with related correspondences, and ‘actual’, ‘actual freedom’ and ‘actualism’ are an excellent start.
VINEETO: The final realisation that finished my problems with authority forever is recorded in Peter’s Journal –
RESPONDENT: Mine was dissolved over longer periods of time, intellectually at first, on an emotional/reflex level more slowly. Churches know how to condition their followers.
VINEETO: When the belief in the God of the Churches is dissolved, then one can begin to question the God by any other name, such as the autotheism of the Enlightened beings, the pantheism of Advaita and Jiddu Krishnamurti, the geotheism of modern environmentalism, the belief in an amorphous existence of an eternal all-pervading divinity, the belief in the wheel of Karma, the belief n Nirvana, Samadhi, Mahaparinirvana, etc., etc.
Most Westerners believe that by abandoning Christianity and taking on Eastern spirituality they have eliminated their belief in God whereas they have but moved from the frying pan into the fire, from a clear-cut belief into beliefs and teachings that are so amorphous and chameleon-like that any Tom, Dick or Martha can hang up a shingle and gather a crowd. Abandoning Christianity is merely scratching the surface of the over-arching human belief that Someone or Something has created and/or is running this physical universe.
God not only exists in people’s passionate imagination because of the conditioning of the priests – the belief in some kind of a protective and guiding higher power arises from a deep instinctual need in every human being for a Big Daddy or a Big Mummy to look after them. Some choose to be aloofly agnostic about the existence of god, but in order to root out from one’s guts this ultimate need to rely upon, or rebel against, a higher authority one also has to eradicate the archaic passionate belief that there is a soul, or non-physical life force, within each and every human body – a soul or spirit that desperately craves union and unity, meaning and purpose in a mythical spirit-ual world populated by spirits and Higher Beings. This might give you a hint as to what a down-to-earth non-spiritual freedom implies.
RESPONDENT: Coming from my direct experience, I cannot agree with your ridiculous conclusion that ‘her method is purely ‘self’-serving and utterly useless for bringing about peace-on-earth’. How the hell would you know anyway, given your lack of direct experience with the Work?
VINEETO: As I said, I have ample experience with the practice of acquiring ‘self’-knowledge’ from years of spiritual therapy which included methods like Byron Katie’s ‘look inside rather than outside’. I also have the contrasting experience of a PCE when one is not being a ‘self’ and I have my experience of years of living in virtual freedom from malice and sorrow. By this comparison I know that any self investigation without the explicit aim of becoming harmless and happy is inevitably ‘self’-empowering and ‘self’-aggrandizing although I would not have understood, let alone admitted to it, in my spiritual years.
Maybe it is easier to understand when I say that in spiritual practice one’s ego-self might receive some bashing but one’s soul-self will always emerge closer to God or to the ‘divine nature’ and thus grander than ever.
RESPONDENT: I can already hear your predictable reply. Go ahead and assert your your self-perceived monopoly on the truth...
VINEETO: When you imagine what I am going to say and then ridicule your own assumption you have very little chance of hearing what I am actually saying let alone learn something new. In this case you would be better off shifting this conversation to your shaving mirror – it would save me having to make predictable replies, you could make them up yourself. Incidentally there is no such thing as a ‘self-perceived monopoly on the truth’ because truth is always subjective – everyone has his or her personal truth or Truth – whereas when I write I draw on my experience and present factual evidence and common sense.
RESPONDENT: Despite the ‘spiritual’ scare tag placed on Byron Katie by the Actualists, she doesn’t tell you where your investigations should take you, she doesn’t tell you that you will end up being enlightened or ‘spiritual’. The agenda you blend with the Work is your business.
VINEETO: The other day an acquaintance told me that she was learning life-skills from Byron Katie and quoted an example of her newly acquired wisdom – ‘There are my things, there are your things and there are God’s things and one should always keep them apart.’ And you try to tell me that Byron Katie is not spiritual. Until you prove to me that God is physical matter I will continue to call Him/Her/It a non-physical spirit and any teaching that mentions God a teaching ‘pertaining to a spirit’, i.e. a spiritual teaching.
RESPONDENT: I don’t give a toss whether Byron Katie is spiritual.
VINEETO: If you ‘don’t give a toss’ then why do you make the comment that actualists are placing a ‘spiritual’ scare tag’ on Byron Katie? Either her teachings are spiritual or they are not. Which is it?
RESPONDENT: Are you deliberately misunderstanding again? Or are you dyslexic?
VINEETO: No I ma nto dsylexic. Why do you ask?
RESPONDENT: Where have I tried to assert that Byron Katie is not spiritual?
VINEETO: Here –
And here again –
I know you have acknowledged that ‘I’m a contrary guy at times’ but it would seem that your ‘vigorous response to actualists’ is based solely on maintaining a ‘vigorous response’, regardless of the facts of the matter. Perhaps somewhere in your next ‘vigorous response’ to me you could make it patently clear as to whether you are arguing that Byron Katie is spiritual or that she is not spiritual otherwise I am left with the impression that you are writing to me solely for the sake of disagreeing with me.
RESPONDENT: The Work is definitely not spiritual – it’s a method for self investigation.
VINEETO: Has it ever occurred to you that the method is only as good as the goal one wants to achieve with using the method? And you made it clear what you use Byron Katie’s method for –
In my spiritual years I thought that self-investigation was for the purpose of becoming more humble – the aim being to enhance my good emotions and sublimate and transcend my bad emotions. I believed that this work would diminish my ego so as to bring me closer to the Divine, and I strongly believed that if I could succeed in surrendering to the Divine I would solve the problems that my ego caused.
Only when I met Richard and learnt about an actual freedom from the human condition did I realize that I had been following the fashion of concentrating on only one aspect of the problem, my ego, yet completely ignoring the major aspect of the problem, my soul. By only investigating the unwanted parts of my self I had empowered the cherished parts of my self – and thus only aggravated the problem of being a ‘soul-self’, an instinctually driven identity.
In short, if the aim is not ‘self’-immolation it is inevitably ‘self’-aggrandizement and ‘Self’-empowerment.
RESPONDENT: The whole God concept is so loaded up with preconceptions.
VINEETO: Yes, ‘the whole God concept’ is pure fantasy, all of it, from beginning to end.
RESPONDENT: I prefer the term ‘nature’ or ‘universe’ in which case physical matter would be a significant subset contained within ‘God’.
VINEETO: ‘Physical matter … a significant subset contained within ‘God’’ is still a concept ‘pertaining to a spirit’, i.e. a spiritual, whereas actualism is utterly, completely, absolutely, totally, without exception non-spiritual. God by whatever name and by whatever preference is a spiritual fairytale invented and kept alive by passionate minds and contumacious souls. In other words there is no such thing as an actual physical God. To believe that the physical universe is Divine is subscribing to Pantheism –
This physical universe is experienced as far, far more extraordinary when stripped of the veneer of being relegated to ‘a significant subset contained within ‘God’’. (...)
RESPONDENT: So far my investigations have not led me to invalidate my misgivings about the anti-guru guru Richard’s self proclaimed status of being the one and only human being to have ever achieved an actual freedom from the human condition.
VINEETO: Given that you make no distinction between a spiritual freedom and an actual freedom your ‘misgivings’ are based on voluntary ignorance and as such irrelevant. You could just as well have ‘misgivings’ that Rome has no Eiffel Tower because you insist to ignore the many road signs that say that Rome is not Paris. You are driving by the wrong map.
RESPONDENT: Wrong map? Depends where you want to go.
VINEETO: Looks like you are still a few country miles away from understanding the difference between spiritual and non-spiritual. To understand the diametrical opposite requires a weariness of the empty promises and haloed wisdom of spiritual teachings, a non-antagonistic attitude from the reader, a suspense of his or her suspicion, cynicism, sarcasm, doubt and pride and a good dose of naiveté. But above all, in order to understand what actualism is on about, one needs the intent to do so – and this intent is none other than the intent to be harmless towards others in order that one can be happy.
RESPONDENT: I certainly don’t want to go to planet Vineeto where the mental ecology has been clear felled and replaced with a dogma.
VINEETO: It’s not the ‘mental ecology’ (whatever that is) that ‘has been clear felled’ but the whole fantasyland of spiritual ideas, sacrosanct concepts, dearly-held beliefs, sacred psittacisms, venerated truths, ancient superstitions and so-called wisdom. Of course, for someone who still holds the pantheistic notion that ‘physical matter’ is ‘a significant subset contained within ‘God’’ any description of a god-less physical universe appears like a ‘dogma’ or worse.
I remember that at some point in my investigations into my spiritual beliefs the world seemed terribly bland and bleak without the comforting assurance of the shared-by-all fantasy that a divine force is looking after things. But I soon came to realize that this was an image solely created by my fears and with the encouragement of Richard’s report that there is an actual world hidden by my beliefs and feelings I proceeded to question my cherished ideas and feelings and eventually discovered the vibrant splendour and the vivid abundance of actuality in a stunning PCE.
RESPONDENT: My first thought, after reading some of the material, was that I had come to terms with my current spiritual beliefs ... fundamentally that I had none. Was I ever wrong ... first, after reading I think Peter’s journal, and Peter coming to the conclusion that after death there was nothing ... this was a shocker ... and continues to be one (and I thought I had come to terms with death). This one hit me hard ... because in all my ‘spiritual’ wanderings ... I thought I had accepted the finality of death ... finally. But I discovered that even my initial interest in Western and Eastern mysticism was fuelled by my hope ... that something followed ... that I would be able to continue in some way ... some fashion. But I somehow, after reading other more enlightened material, thought I had come to terms with death being a kind of finish ... after all ... in these circles one needs to come to terms with this somehow.
VINEETO: The materialist’s motto is ‘life is a bitch and then you die’ while spiritual and religious people’s motto is ‘life’s a bitch but if you are a good enough person on earth you will be rewarded in heaven after death’. I always felt cheated by the Christian proposition that I should suffer life on earth for seventy-odd years for some spurious afterlife reward solely based on hearsay, make-believe and nonsensical fairy-tales. When I learnt that in Eastern mysticism you could experience paradise on earth by becoming enlightened, I gladly dropped my Christian belief in an after-death-reward in exchange for the promise of a here-on-earth reward.
However, the longer I pursued enlightenment the more unlikely it became that this could ever be the solution to all of my problems, let alone all the ills of humankind. Even the Enlightened Ones admitted that one’s real and true liberation will only be obtained in Parinirvana, i.e. after death. And the inner peace that I was supposed to gain from practicing meditation invariably waned when I opened my eyes and re-joined ‘the world’. None of the results of my persistent spiritual practice was good enough – I wanted a better deal for my efforts.
When I met Richard it soon became clear that he had discovered the unblemished valid-for-all solution to all the problems of humankind and he had a road-tested method whereby I could come to experience peace here-on-earth, in this moment, and 24 hours a day. I was inexorably drawn to investigate further – it was too good to refuse.
And I found that he is right – there is not a single flaw in actuality. There cannot be. This actual universe is perfect, pure and it is already always here – and I can experience it when ‘I’, in my totality, step out of the way.
RESPONDENT: But, after reading Peter, I was shocked that this had the effect that it did. One question that comes up: How does Richard or Vineeto or Peter know that death is the end. How do they actually know for sure?
VINEETO: How do I know for sure? First I acknowledged that a belief in an afterlife is only a belief – and as long as I have to believe in something in order for it to exist, it does not exist in its own right, it cannot be actual. I wanted more than a belief that depended on my passion in order for it to be true – I wanted to be absolutely sure. This intent to be absolutely sure led me to deliberately suspend believing wherever I discovered a belief and take a good long look at the facts of the matter. This intentional practice of questioning and investigating in due course caused sufficient disruption to my belief system and to my identity such that one day my beliefs imploded and my identity temporarily collapsed with the result that I had a pure consciousness experience.
In a PCE, when the ‘self’ is temporarily in abeyance, it becomes stunningly and undeniably apparent that the whole notion of God, any god, and consequently the existence of an afterlife is ‘self’-created and ‘self’-sustained. It is ‘me’, the instinctual-spiritual parasite-like entity inhabiting this physical body who craves for a body-less immortality. In a PCE when ‘I’ am in abeyance it is blatantly obvious that ‘I’ am nothing more than an impassioned being, a spirit-like phantasma. A PCE is the proof that there is nobody inside this physical body who survives its death for ‘I’ am but an illusion desperately searching for a meaning in ancient fairy tales in order to justify ‘my’ pathetic existence and assuage my instinctually fuelled fear of death.
RESPONDENT: I’ve concluded that I have buried some of my beliefs about death: I still hope that something continues ... and hopefully me ... through ascension or reincarnation or what ever ... that, even if the odds are against it ... that I will be one of the lucky ones ... one of the chosen few. This topic caused me to reflect on what other spiritual beliefs I still have ... (and again ... I thought they were all gone). One that comes to mind is ... that there is some kind of God and that eventually I will be rescued. That maybe with enough application, insight ... that I would somehow be chosen. So to entertain the idea ... that there is no big brother out there or in here to help me ... is somewhat shocking as well ... this is not something that is comfortable to deal with. I thought I had done away with this belief ... but it is still hanging around ... subtle but still present. Anyway ... that’s it for now.
VINEETO: Yes, I remember, questioning my spiritual beliefs was shocking at first, then thrilling and then incredibly liberating. One day I realized that for God to rule over an infinite and eternal universe he would have to be outside of it, which is a physical impossibility, and with this realization my whole supernatural ‘universe’ came crashing down.
When my belief in a controlling, punishing and rewarding God disappeared and the notion of God’s power to grant ‘me’ an my afterlife, also disappeared, all my worries about my bank account in heaven and all my hopes for a better life somewhere-else vanished. With no ‘Scottie’ to ‘beam me up’ out of here I was free to abandon the waiting game for heaven and focus my attention from wanting to be ‘there’ to being interested in being here, from waiting for ‘then’ to being fascinated with what is happening now.
The other thing that happened when I realized that there is neither a God and a Divine Power nor an afterlife, was that the absolute values of right and wrong, good and bad that are part and parcel of all religious and spiritual belief were all questionable and subject to scrutiny. This meant I was then free to make my own choice of what is silly and what is sensible instead of following the supposed rules of some all-powerful supernatural Force.
VINEETO: I won’t give a detailed response to your objections in your latest post because I can’t say things any clearer than I already said it before. As such I will limit my reply to one of your statements that I found particularly striking –
RESPONDENT: Lets begin again. What I see out there, is a soup of energy.
VINEETO: If I may interject. What one sees with one’s eyes is not ‘a soup of energy’, but forms, colours and movement of physical objects. To call the specific qualities of the matter of the physical universe ‘a soup of energy’ is an affective interpretation. This is readily evidenced by the fact that the ‘energy’ experienced varies according to a person’s particular belief system – some feel Jesus, some feel Love, some feel Existence, some feel Mother, some feel Consciousness, some feel Intelligence, some feel the Devil, and so on.
RESPONDENT: Sorry, what exist out there is a soup of energy, until I see it. Until it reaches my brain.
VINEETO: How can we have a sensible discussion about the nature of the universe when you presume to already ‘know’ what exists ‘out there’ before you even see it, before it even reaches your senses? If you are talking about the energy produced by, or associated with, the matter of the universe then this energy exists as an actuality independent of whether it is detected by the sensory receptors of the human brain.
If you are talking about unknowable energies that cannot be detected by the human brain or by any physical measuring device then you are talking of some form of meta-physical energy. The existence of meta-physical energies or supernatural forces are the very stuff of belief and fervent imagination and I have learnt from experience that when belief and imagination are the arbiter of a discussion, common sense is nowhere to be found.
You have made it clear in writing to this mailing list that your interest does not lay in questioning your own beliefs or in changing your present situation in order to become more happy and more harmless. Instead you seem to find entertainment in presenting the spiritual and philosophical theories of others (such as http://www.humantruth.org/holog19.htm) as proof of your own beliefs, whereas all this does is provide proof that spiritual belief is endemic within the human condition.
Of course, human beings have argued the case for their spiritual beliefs for thousands of years, sometimes with horrific results, but being a pragmatist I thought it be useful to examine in what way your views of the world are shaping your life in a practical, everyday way and how my understanding of the world is reflecting on the way I live my life. I translate insights into action – if that is not possible an insight is not worth its name.
For the sake of clarity and brevity I have taken only very few of the statements you made to possibly capture the gist of what you consider to be true, since repeating all of what you said would take too much space.
This is how I describe what is actual –
And this is how I experience life after I applied the actualism method for a couple of years –
When I met Richard and learnt about his discovery the choice was clear for me – I was drawn to what works, what actually makes me more happy and more harmonious with people.
What you choose to do with your life is entirely your business but it really escapes me why you put in such effort to convince me that I should change from practicing actualism in order to live by your philosophy – what would I have to gain?
Given that you keep re-presenting your stated position regardless of what I say, I don’t see any point in continuing to reply to your objections to actualism. By your own description of your life, your philosophies show no evidence of being effective in diminishing fear and malice, sorrow and resignation, let alone in producing a method to become entirely free from the instinctual passions that constitute the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: But if you look at your own behaviour, how you regard the whole world as less developed than yourself, less ‘free’, you would see how the word ‘proud’ is actually a self-description. It is too bad. You have such vital energy but you squander it, waste it on this vain mission to define and change the world. And you don’t see that you NEED this very world which you define as totally different from yourself. You need it because without it, you would have no identity at all. The world you reject with such force, is what fuels your mission in life.
What you reject so passionately is merely that which you ARE that you dislike.
VINEETO: You are putting words in my mouth again. I never said that I see ‘the whole world as less developed than [my]self’ – I said that everyone is genetically endowed with malice and sorrow and everyone looks for the solution 180 degrees in the wrong direction. The traditional spiritual solutions had at least 3,500 years to contribute to peace-on-earth and have failed miserably; to the contrary, they have only contributed to more wars, more diversions, more passions and more suffering. The churches have a well-known record of waging holy wars, persecuting non-believers and standing in the way of human progress.
In the field of human safety, comfort, health, leisure and pleasure, however, there has been much development and there have been many discoveries, many inventions and many, many improvements since the first humans roamed the earth. Similarly, a new discovery has now been made in the field of animal instinctual programming in humans that means it is now possible to have an actual peace-on-earth in this lifetime.
VINEETO: As you can see, I lost interest in the t’is / t’isn’t that our conversation has turned out to be. As I pondered about attentive, naïve and fascinated listening, I have come to see that the major impediment to such listening is the conviction and instinctual feeling of ‘we are all basically the same’. This worldview is prevalent without exception in all the Eastern religious pursuits that are on offer today and stops people from considering or desiring anything outside of the all-encompassing Human Condition. It plugs the receiver into the sender, so to speak.
When I say ‘explore’ I talk about me exploring the feeling experience of ‘we are all basically the same’ and at the same time being aware of what feelings, thoughts and sensations are happening in the brain and in the guts. I found that however seductive and soothing the overwhelming feeling of ‘we are all basically the same’ was, it was nevertheless a feeling and not a fact and as such observable in operation in me. This passionate belief of ‘we are all basically the same’ or ‘We Are All One’ acts as the very glue that holds the psychic web of humanity together – the fervent belief and passionate hope that we as humans are not lost, lonely frightened and very cunning, struggling for survival and desperately hoping that there is a Divine Intelligence, a caring Earth, and a nurturing existence that knows what It is doing.
When I lived in the Rajneesh Ashram in Poona, the feeling of ‘We Are All One’ was based on the love for and devotion to one single man – the director of the psychic orchestra, Rajneesh himself. During the day in the ashram there were so many factual proofs that we were not one at all, that all had different aims and desires, that we were continually engaged in a psychological and psychic battle fighting each other, resenting and complaining about each other. At night-time however, when the great psychic show, the evening discourse, started, we were blissfully back in the feeling that We Are All One. Today, ten years after the death of Rajneesh, his cult is a well-established New Dark Age religion with the usual religious squabbles and legal battles between numerous parties who claim to have the right interpretations or application of the teachings.
The experience of writing on this list has been valuable research for me into the legacy of spiritual teachings. I have learnt how the ‘Friends of J. Krishnamurti’ interact with each other, what they believe, cherish and fiercely defend, how they live their lives, how the Enlightened Ones on this list write, act and live and what solution they offer for malice and sorrow in the world. The solutions offered by various teachers and Gurus may vary at first glance and, as such, cause much dispute and fight amongst their respective followers, but I discovered that every Eastern spiritual advice, teaching and method is about stopping any sensible thoughts and changing how one feels oneself to be – ‘Realize who you Really are’.
Writing has also been a valuable experience about sticking my neck out and proposing something so unpopular as an actual, practical, down-to-earth freedom. It has certainly desensitised me as I discovered yet again that except verbal abuse there is nothing to fear about being a heretic.
Well, No. 8, in these last two months I have had yet another thorough examination of the seductive and, at times, overwhelming feeling of ‘We Are All One’, both as an experience in me and as an active observation of how that feeling manifests in others. It was also fascinating to observe how my fear of psychological and psychic death floods the brain with dopamine and other euphoriant chemicals that can readily bring on the oh so famous Altered State of Consciousness that can turn into a permanent state of Enlightenment. But as my intent lies in the actual, sensate and ‘self’-less experience only possible through ‘self’-immolation, I resisted succumbing to the feelings produced by the euphoriant chemicals and ancient seductive teachings and kept observing the workings of the grand Self in action.
Only by having this overview of spiritual passion in action can one eventually see the psychic web as a whole structure, with all the ongoing psychic interactions, bonds and power fights and collective longing for Love and Oneness. By being fully aware of all the ingredients of this emotional-spiritual psychic web I am now no longer part of it and all the emotional, psychological and psychic bonds with humanity ceased to exist and have no more effect on me. First I expected that the ‘connection’ would come back as it is quite bewildering to experience oneself outside of humanity’s woes and hopes, loves and hates, fears and bliss. My head is empty of feelings and neurotic thoughts and my brain often kicks into action only when I need it for work, shopping, driving or writing. The peace of mind that I had sought to attain through anti-thought meditations, has now eventuated through investigating and eliminating the beliefs, feelings, emotions and instinctual passions – the tentacles of the psychic web within humanity.
And now, being outside of the human psychic web, epitomized by the passionate belief of ‘We Are All One’ or ‘we are all basically the same’ , I can see that matter-of-factly, actually and physically, every human being is different, nobody is the same at all. Everyone is the product and combination of a different sperm and egg (except identical twins) and every human face is distinctively different. Everyone’s life is unique and completely different. It is only within the Human Condition that ‘we are all basically [programmed and conditioned] the same’ – driven by the same desires, the same fears, the same urges to nurture and the same aggression. Stepping out of the psychic web of instinctual passions one becomes an autonomous individual for the first time – able to be what you are rather than who society and blind nature fated you to think and feel you are.
RESPONDENT: Dear Vineeto, in the following quote of you, I emphasized some important keywords. After the quote you find a little comment.
Let me gently disagree. I would disagree to ‘The feeling of Unity is but a short-lived feeling...’, according to your example of the ‘opening ceremony of the Olympic Games’. I would rather say, that there was not any ‘feeling of Unity’. And I would rather say, there was the feeling of a desperate hope ‘how can it be that we are not all one?’ as a result of a wanting to be all one.
What you and all the world was watching (and witnessing), was the extension of a method that dictatorial countries use to give sugar (beside bread) to their citizens. I would like you to bear in mind that these ‘simple methods’ have been used by the German-Nazis all around Hitler.
VINEETO: I wonder if you are watching the present news on television – or why would you have to draw an example from a leader who has been dead now since more than 50 years? Malice of human beings against other human beings is not confined to ‘the German-Nazis all around Hitler’ and it certainly did not die out with Hitler. Torture, murder, war and genocide is happening all over the world, every day, in Sierra Leone, in Rwanda, in Israel, in India, in Serbia, in Indonesia, in the Arab countries, in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in South America.
It was exactly my point that the methods to influence and guide the mood of a large group of people are still as effective as ever and the instinctual passions that are instilled in all humans are the reason that those ‘simple methods ... cast an effective spell on the collective human psyche’. The example of the feeling of unity at the Olympic Games was an example of the collective psyche in action, in this case for good rather than evil. This type of ceremonies is analogous to religious and spiritual mass gatherings and meetings whereby a feeling of ‘we are all one’ is indulged in despite ample evidence of humanity’s behaviour to the contrary.
RESPONDENT: Conformism, helplessness, boredom, escape from truth and hard inner work going through pain, and the more or less deep routed hope and longing for being Loved and Cared for, is in its deeper realms of course a result of a spiritual movement, but in the realm of collective entertainment and the realm of (all) countries’ interest (which can not cause anything more than it is, and what it is, is nothing but egoistic and national pride, competition and personal fame) the phenomenon of ‘cheers and tears’ is nothing but a psychological result of itself.
VINEETO: The same passions that drive people to strive to become the greatest and most powerful in sport, politics or business, drive other people to become kings of the psychic world, forever above and beyond the suffering of ‘ordinary’ mortals who ‘only’ want to ‘entertain’ themselves. You call it ‘nothing but egotistic and national pride’ and yet you completely overlook the megalomaniacal arrogance and blatant superiority of the spiritual competitive pursuit of personal fame, power and immortality in calling oneself God as in ‘I am the Creator’ or ‘We are the World’ or ‘I am the Universal Consciousness’. Every spiritual seeker deems himself or herself better, superior, wiser, purer than and far above so-called normal people – it is all part and parcel of being a passionately-driven seeker. There is nothing superior to being spiritual, one is merely one step further removed from the actual physical world of sparkling vibrant purity.
RESPONDENT: There is nothing spiritual in the ‘Olympic Games’. As long as there is competition (which is the very reason that the ‘Olympic Games’ exist at all – and can only exist at all) there is nothing spiritual to be found. Competition is the result of the psychological and natural need to survive. But the spiritual need is ... to d i e, my friend.
VINEETO: Are you suggesting that there is no competition amongst spiritual people? Are you suggesting that a spiritual person has surpassed ‘the psychological and natural need to survive’? Are you saying that you do not see a hacking and pecking order amongst groups of spiritual seekers and amongst the gurus and god-men? I don’t know what spiritual school you have been attending but the spiritual longing has been and always is to seek immortality. One seeks the death of the ego in exchange for immortality for one’s soul – this is not death, this is an impassioned psychic delusion.
The closing ceremony of the Games has only confirmed what I observed at the beginning, that the Olympic community is as much spiritually driven as any other religious and spiritual movement in the world. Did you not notice the Greek Goddesses, the keepers of the flame, the sacred flags treated with reverence, the stirring Olympic hymn? This was not a psychological event – this was a psychic and deeply affective event. Everyone believes in Love, Beauty, Compassion, Redemption, the Good and an immortal spirit-world.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me, that it can be a dangerous thing, to make a rough, superficial, much money supported event like the ‘opening ceremony of the’ Olympic games into a spiritual come-together.
VINEETO: Well, they certainly made it into a spiritual event. In case you hadn’t noticed, spiritualism is currently mainstream fashionable run-of-the-mill around the world. Being ‘money supported’ doesn’t make a gathering immune against spirituality.
RESPONDENT: When I said that Papaji and Gangaji have got a heart, which can be felt – a transmission, it has nothing to do with human feelings as you describe in your mail. It is the heart of their being which is perceived, the sweetness coming from the divine. I don’t sense this in yours or Peter’s or Richard’s words. On the contrary, I find your words to be very firm and closed to the fact you want to deliver, your words are not flexible or poetic, they stem from the very logical world of materialism and don’t offer any juice to the spirit.
VINEETO: Yes, this is exactly the difference. The enlightened ones talk about and experience the heart of their being, juice to the spirit, poetry, sweetness and flexibility , all of which are qualities of the affective nature of their experience. You rightly don’t sense this kind of transmission in Peter’s or Richard’s words, because it is not part of actual freedom. Actual freedom is to experience the physical world – only. To experience this physical world without the Human Condition, without fear, aggression, nurture and desire, without the overlaying ‘self’, without the delusion of ‘soul’, is pure delight. If you would take the trouble to read a bit deeper into the matter you would understand that Richard is indeed the very first person who discovered the perfection of the actuality that is usually obscured by any kind of emotion, instincts and imagination, be it ‘normal human’ feelings or divine feelings.
I notice that you first assume that actual freedom falls into the same category as Papaji’s or Gangaji’s enlightenment, and then you criticise that our words don’t describe the state of enlightenment. Of course not. Actual freedom is something completely different altogether, in fact 180 degrees in the opposite direction of enlightenment. It is impossible to imagine the actual world – a world without concepts – and that’s why it is so important to remember one’s peak-experience. But then, we are not talking about the same experience. I will explain further down.
Richard described it best in his introduction to his journal:
RESPONDENT: What you sense as emotional responses on the list are just plain human responses, emotions are alive in the human realm and can cause both pleasure and pain. One does never get rid of these unless one suppresses the human nature and seduces oneself into enlightenhood....
VINEETO: I am not talking about suppressing the Human Nature or the Human Condition, and I am not talking about ‘seduction’ into enlightenment. Richard discovered that it is possible to completely eliminate the Human Condition, instincts, emotions, the whole lot. Enlightenment happens when you get rid of the ego and become divine feeling – the Self one with God, while actual freedom is the state when every bit of identity, ego, soul, being, Self, That, Truth, Divine Love, Universe and God have altogether disappeared. What remains is just the body with its senses and its wonderfully functioning intelligence.
RESPONDENT: All I know, within my experience and belief system is what my heart tells me ... but that is even questionable because I have to use my head to filter what my heart tells me. Like I said, until I am in that place where I can actually experience the feeling of no-mind I cannot tell...
VINEETO: I pondered for a while how to make you understand the difference between ‘being in the heart’, the ‘feeling of no-mind’ of the spiritual world and being the universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being.
When I met Peter and heard him talk about Actual Freedom, I thought, ‘well, it is maybe just a bit further than where I am already with my meditation...’ A few month later, I understood for the first time what the word ‘spirit-ual’ means: a world made by the spirit (my spirit), filled with spirits – it was non-actual and non-factual. It hit me like a hammer. Could that mean, all my efforts to reach this inner space of peace and bliss and silence meant that I was only creating a world of my own – according to the instructions of the spiritual guidance – a little playground where nobody could hurt me anymore? And everybody else was creating such a little playground in their heads too?
But, everything ‘created’ is not actual! It is a product of imagination!
On investigation I found it to be the case. I found I could alter this playground according to my imagination, make it fit any Scripture I had read or heard, be it Osho, be it Tibetan, be it Tantra, be it past-life fantasies. The great disadvantage of this playground was that I could only vaguely share it with others, and only with a chosen few of the same faith. Further, everybody seemed to have a slightly different version of this fantasy-land, everyone had their individual place of personal peace. Also, by dwelling in this ‘retreat’ I could not be at ease in the ‘marketplace’, and it did not alter my emotions like dependency, jealousy, anger, fear and sorrow. Yes, sometimes I had a distance to them, but I could not maintain that distance all the time.
That understanding initiated the turn-around. I wanted to be happy in this actual world, not just in a fantasy-land, which was non-compatible with other people (except a few close friends). I was actually afraid of the non-believers and the so-called outside world. I wanted to be able to experience actual changes in me, that would be reliably apparent in my interactions with the actual world of people, things and events as well, all the time, in every situation. I wanted to be happy and harmless, 24 hours a day.
The ‘feeling of no-mind’ is a feeling, as you so aptly say. To be ‘here’ means to questions and eliminate feelings, to step out of the ‘real’ world of feelings and into the actual world – leaving your ‘self’ completely behind.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.