Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO: Thank you for your note. I will try out the link. It seemed to have given you one of those ‘spontaneously peaceful and perceptive moments’ that you mentioned in your letter. As I already wrote to Alan, I have been busy being a computer ‘mechanic’ and fiddling again with the website, besides doing some paid work that came in as well. Here, for contrast, I found some spiritual recipes in the town’s latest magazine yesterday, offering:
How about ‘breathing through your feet’ and everything will be all right?
Or a workshop with Tantra master Margo Anand who promises that for $ 2000 you can learn in one week how ‘a great lover can travel beyond the momentary Big O to lasting ecstasy’, maybe this time through another way of breathing? Another contemporary guru’s teaching was satirically classified as learning how to have ‘heaps of sex without any fun’ which I found a perfect description of the ancient art of Tantra. Why not sacrifice fun if one can save one’s imaginary immortal soul?
The trouble is that everyone is dead serious about their business and deliriously believing in the true effectiveness of their particular solution. And all that those snake oil sellers are offering is the exchange of one passionate imagination for another. For most people Potshot’s rule No. 2276 applies:
For you it may rather be Potshot’s rule No. 2248:
RESPONDENT: On a different issue: I just saw some commentary on the issue of ‘Crop Circles’ – a statement of a crop circle hoaxer who said ‘You could say what we’re doing is propagating belief systems’. It shows how deeply rooted is this urge in us to propagate belief systems, even these that we know are bogus.
VINEETO: Talking about ‘propagating beliefs’, I watched a television program called ‘Touched By An Angel’ for a while and found it to have great educational value. In the program God’s all-knowing angels patrol the world, plying God’s will to be done, offering hope and consolation with amazingly simplistic explanations about God’s messy creation, while their only response to the malice and sorrow in the world is that ‘God loves you very much’ . Banalities such as ‘God is as angry as you are that you have cancer but he will be with you all the way’ or ‘God is fair but life is not’ are offered as truths and are eagerly lapped up for want of a sensible explanation for the situation human beings find themselves in.
I always find it amazing that such convoluted fairy-tales have such a grip on the human race. But then again, the market for beliefs, be they old, newly propagated or recently recycled, is inexhaustible and people will seemingly do anything but give up hope – hope that somehow, somewhere, Somebody loves you, is in charge and has things under control.
It is such fun nowadays to know that I don’t have the need, or even the interest, to buy into any belief whatsoever, because the actual world I live in is so much more magical and magnificent than any fantasy can ever be.
RESPONDENT: Sheer intent is essential.
VINEETO: Just out of curiosity – I wonder if you would mind describing what is fuelling your intent to become free from the human condition? Was there a particular motivation that twigged your curiosity about actualism and/or a passion that keeps you going?
RESPONDENT: Over the past decade or so, I’ve slowly become aware of my own programs, how I react in situations, etc. This was through a combination of basic self-observation and contemplation of some reading materials, aided occasionally by professional counselling. I had arrived at a point where I saw that so much of what I did, how I related to others was playing the same sad programs over and over again. This was a wonderful piece of knowledge, and I knew I didn’t want to continue doing the same old same old. I was stuck at that point however, feeling somewhat lost in the existential swamps, and also a bit lazy about actually doing real work... or maybe uninspired – all the spiritual paths I looked into smelled kind of funny, and the disciples didn’t appear to be any happier than myself.
I was sort of intrigued by U.G. who appeared to be somewhat a-spiritual, and came across the AF link somewhere in the U.G.-net (my recollection may be inaccurate here though). The AF site presented a statement of the human condition that mapped nicely onto what I had learned myself, and provided a method to do something about it. The utter simplicity of the premise appealed to me also, as it has always seemed to me that most religions take some very simple concepts (be happy, harm no one), and add dogma and ceremony onto it so deeply that it is suffocated. Also, there was a refreshing absence of guru-ship on display. So here is an appealing model and method, all I have to is get on with it. That point was made clear to me in many of the writings – there was absolutely no alternative to getting off my butt and applying myself 24/7. None, period, full stop. This, coupled with a growing awareness that my time on the planet is not infinite, has motivated me to get serious. So, that alone kept me going initially, and now I am starting to reap some more ‘tangible’ benefits, which really aids the old inspiration. Nothing like results to motivate.
VINEETO: An excellent report. It reminds me of what Gary wrote in his introduction to the actual freedom list:
Today someone told me that he believes in astrology – the power of super-natural influences – because by doing so he doesn’t have to feel guilty for not being happy. He said that whenever he is particularly knocked about by strong emotions he would call his astrologer and ask for a ‘star’-appraisal. Of course, the astrologer always finds the right explanation in the stars and confirms that his feelings are just as they should be because ‘his Jupiter is being overshadowed by his Uranus’ and that things will soon change. So in order to assuage his social-spiritual conditioning of feeling guilty for being sad and grumpy he takes refuge in the ancient superstition of astrology and as such he passes the buck to Someone/ Something else. Who would dare to be so arrogant to overrule the Heavenly forces and be happy despite the mighty influence of planetary constellations? … As you said – ‘Sheer intent is essential’.
RESPONDENT: I should like to draw your attention to the Superstition section of this site. You have taken from the ‘guru gossip’ web site a quote about a new book which is being released. ‘The healing of alien abduction through shamanistic healing.’ I should like to point out that this book has never been published and doesn’t even exist in manuscript form.
VINEETO: I take it that you refer to this particular correspondence –
The announcement of the supposed new release which I quoted was a parody on New Age practices from the ‘guru gossip’ web site. However, when I went to Dr. Rossetti’s web site to look for the origin of the above parody I found the following:
Mrs. Rossetti further details some of the ‘ancient traditions’ and ‘paranormal aspects of the human psyche’ and the nature of her healings – she offers equally paranormal methods for healing psychic ailments.
Therefore Mrs. Rossetti’s work clearly falls into the category of superstition as defined by the Oxford Dictionary:
RESPONDENT: Dr. Rossetti has written a book under the title of ‘Psycho Regression’ which has been translated into a number of languages and which is published by Piatkus books. It adds that the cost of therapy is £130 for three hours.
I happen to have benefited from this therapy and know that it is not anywhere in the realms of superstition, nor is it expensive in comparison with any other alternative therapy, bearing in mind that each session is about two hours long.
Dr Rossetti is extremely dedicated and not a flake nor an air-head. Many people have been enormously helped by this therapy. Perhaps someone on your site should check it out, put the information in a more appropriate section and thereby help a whole lot more people to benefit.
VINEETO: Only four years ago I was deeply entrenched in spiritual belief and devotion and, as a fully paid-up member of the whole spiritual New Age movement, believed in all kinds of ancient traditions, superstitions, shamanistic healing, alternative medicine, karma, past lives, parallel lives and life-after-death. Not only was it fashionable, it also suited me well in that I never had to feel responsible for my feelings, moods and actions – it was always someone else’s influence, some karma from some other life, some psychic vibe in the air, some deep wound from my childhood or simply the particular astrological predisposition or the specific constellation of the day. Needless to say, believing that some paranormal forces or other-wordly energies were the cause of my roller coaster moods did nothing to eliminate my misery and my malice towards others ... and believing they were the cause only served to remove me further from the possibility of doing something about it.
When I came across actualism a whole new world opened up. By reading about Richard’s experiences I learnt – and soon confirmed it by my own experiences – that it is possible to change myself (all by myself) in order to become increasingly free from malice and sorrow and to experience peace-on-earth.
This change towards becoming happy and harmless does not happen through shamanistic healing or the psychic help of a powerful Master or through devoted meditation – this change happens by methodically and radically investigating all spiritual beliefs and emotions that cause me to act maliciously or to feel miserable. By asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ and then investigating the down-to-earth practical causes of why I am not feeling good right now, I have succeeded in removing 99% of my beliefs and emotion-backed thoughts that used to make me feel sad and angry, grumpy and fearful, greedy and needy, anxious and pining, inferior and arrogant, silly and gullible. In short, the method that Richard devised is not only simple, it also works.
The method works for those who are ready to look behind the curtains of religious and spiritual belief to find out what really causes human beings to fight and kill each other, what really is the underlying cause of corruption and starvation, depression and domestic violence, rape and murder, suicide and genocide.
When I dug deep into my own psyche to find the causes for my own destructive emotions and passionate actions, the superficial explanatory beliefs of past-life karma, childhood hurts, astrological predispositions and mythical spiritual forces were simply unsatisfactory. I wanted to know the origin of fear, the source of aggression, the underlying reason for the continuous need for love, the root cause for my desire for power and control.
I found that the source for all this misery and mayhem lies much, much deeper than the commonly accepted reasons – social conditioning, ‘wrong’ beliefs, psychic wounds or good and evil forces. The source of all my misery and mayhem is ‘me’, ‘who I think and feel I am’ at the very core of my being. The core of my ‘being’, this alien entity inhabiting my flesh-and-blood body, is relentlessly driven by the instinctual animal survival passions, programmed to survive at any cost.
You might by now begin to understand that Actual Freedom is freedom from all beliefs, be they ancient or modern, Western or Eastern, tribal or universal. An actualist does not replace a ‘bad’ belief with a ‘good’ and soothing belief à la Oprah Winfrey – an actualist investigates and incrementally eliminates all beliefs and relies solely on facts and sensibility. Initiating such a change may be a bit scary, particularly at the start, but as you read on in the extensive correspondence of our website you might find that the benefits of both Virtual Freedom and Actual Freedom far exceed the temporary relief gained by following the fashionable fantasies of the spiritual way of life.
‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ – until you discover the actual world that lies beyond any fervent belief and passionate imagination. This actual world is magical, delightful, easy, sensuous, wondrous, scintillating, sparkling, pure and perfect. All of our writing is but an invitation to find out for yourself.
VINEETO: Hi Gary,
Welcome to the mailing list. I enjoyed your honest introduction and with so much gas in the tank you can surely enjoy a thrilling adventure.
ALAN to No 7: ‘Exploring the basic instinct of fear is not only fascinating, it is probably an essential step on the way to an actual freedom, so I would not wish to discourage your investigation. However, it is not without its dangers. I reached a stage, not long ago, where proceeding further would, I am fairly certain, have resulted in my physical demise.’
GARY to Alan: If you would be willing to share this, I would be interested in knowing more about what happened to you of an adverse nature in your investigation into fear. My interest is also not only regarding the dangers of deeply investigating fear but also, along with it, there is the relation of physical health and virtual or actual freedom.
VINEETO: I like your question. I can tell you a bit about my experiences with my health in the process of the last three years compared to my beliefs about health in my spiritual years.
Although my general health was always good, I had a variety of discomforts mainly arising from stress, tension, anxiety and a poor and unhygienic diet in my years in India. In addition, being a strict vegetarian for ethical and spiritual reasons most likely caused some dietary imbalances that added to minor symptoms such as fatigue, general weakness of the immune system, digestion problems and food cravings.
Due to the overall superstitious atmosphere in the spiritual community and my own gullibility, I believed in and tried out many alternative healing practices such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Indian Aryuvedic medicine, pulse diagnosis, iridology, colour healings, kirlian photography, aura cleanings, kinesiology, chakra healing, homeopathy, energy readings, colonics, cranio-sacral massages, Aura Soma’s coloured waters, Bach-flower remedies, etc., etc. ‘Health experts’ were popping up weekly and whoever I booked a session with to check me out found a different thing wrong with me that needed fixing – blocked kidney meridian, feeble liver flow, weakened chi, overworked gall-bladder, food allergies, dirty charkas, subtly locked or twisted spine, weak intestines, black spot in the aura – you name it. As the diagnosed ailments varied with each practitioner, I became quite worried about my alleged health-problems. Most of these alternative practitioners professed to detect the potential for the ‘disease’ before it manifests as obvious physical symptoms and therefore there was no need to have any symptoms other than ‘low energy’ to be a potential patient who needed therapy and (natural!) medicine.
Well, when I came across actualism and decided to investigate my beliefs and emotions, the superstitions about alleged health deficiencies were the first to go, together with my belief in vegetarianism and being a health food freak. It was such a delight to hoe into a good piece of steak, fish, chicken or bacon, to enjoy the superb taste of fresh-brewed coffee without any guilt, to drop all the vitamin supplements that I had taken out of faith and fear, and to simply consider myself healthy unless there were demonstrable symptoms that indicated otherwise.
This story is not to be taken as a general statement against alternative medicine, which may well work for some people, it is merely a personal report about the benefits that I experienced when I replaced my beliefs and superstitions with an assessment based on what is silly and what is sensible.
The other major improvement of my well-being, both physical and emotional, was due to investigating my social identity and all the ensuing emotions, tensions and fears. Sure, sometimes while investigating a particularly fearful topic, I would have a stomach pain, a head ache or tense shoulders, but the more I got rid of ‘who I think and feel I am’, the more I also rid myself of the strain that the beliefs, feelings and emotions had on this flesh-and-blood body. With increased awareness and common sense I can now easily figure out which of the physical symptoms are psychosomatic, due to temporary emotional stress, and which symptoms need (scientifically proved) medical treatment. Further, I have learned that to be sick and then being fearful, upset, resentful or miserable about being sick would only make matters worse. Overall, I can say that the best I could do for my health was to get rid of my beliefs, superstitions, peer-pressure, societal influence, moods and feelings.
GARY: The investigation into the basic instinct of fear, which I have experienced as ‘nerve-wracking’, to say the least, must have inevitable physiological concomitants.
VINEETO: As Peter has laid out in his introduction to Actual Freedom and the actualist’s map, on the path to Actual Freedom it is vital to investigate and eliminate one’s social identity first, in order to be able to tackle the basic instincts of fear, aggressions, nurture and desire. Trying to investigate one’s basic instinct of fear without a thorough exploration and abolition of one’s moral and ethical values, one’s pride, virtue, shame, guilt and social and spiritual restrictions and superstitions is an exercise that can only lead to frustration, failure and more fear.
Further, one only needs to investigate feelings, emotions and deep-seated passions as they occur and arise in the process of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ If one tackles the immediate issues that arise, the topics to be investigated and the discoveries to be made naturally occur in perfect order – the outer layers first and then one dives deeper and deeper, as more of ‘me’ is revealed. The next thing to look at always comes by itself, in perfect time, when ‘I’ am ready. This way, fuelled by my sincere intent, the unfolding of the process happens by itself rather than ‘me’ trying to control the process to suit ‘me’. The path to freedom abounds with serendipitous events such that the next issue, the next situation always occurs in time, on time.
RESPONDENT: One thing I have discovered through investigating my beliefs is that those who perpetuate (and create) the beliefs are those who will profit from it. One example is Astrologers. They make their money by predicting people’s futures for money. Most thinking people would regard astrologers’ claims to foresight as nonsense, yet who cannot resist to ‘check their stars’ in the local rag? :-) I for one used to do this, probably in the vain hope that my future would be rosy, and I didn’t have to do anything to ensure it but to maintain my survival. Fortunately I now have the methods to investigate those beliefs which repress happiness and harmlessness.
VINEETO: I was one of those gullible people too. What a hoot when one can see through the sham and cut the tie to another one of those beliefs that the Human Condition is made. Why should the rocks that are flying through space, named after Greek or Roman Gods, determine that April to August 2001, I will be sad and angry...? Believing astrologers only means that I wanted to blame something else (supposedly more powerful than me) as a reason why I wasn’t happy or harmless.
RESPONDENT: I would say that I am doing ok which is a relative term. I wouldn’t call it good but I would call it ok. When I look at my total situation it seems that I ‘have it made’ except for the problem with my mother. I realize that the real issue is the instincts because if this problem didn’t exist then I am sure that other issues would most likely arise.
VINEETO: People’s automatic response is always to see their own fear, aggression, sadness or misery as being caused by the other person or the particular circumstances. I considered it a great step in my exploration when I could see that, whatever the ‘problem’, it had to do with me. And you are absolutely spot on – ‘that other issues would most likely arise’ – so best to examine the one that is so readily presenting itself...
Whenever I had an issue that bothered me and that I wanted to get rid of, I would dig into the cause of the disturbance layer by layer with the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ The first response was usually a superficial one like: ‘I don’t want to do what the other wants me to do’ or ‘I don’t like what the other just said’ or a similar resentment. Prodding further I’d come across stronger emotions such as anger, guilt, duty, shame, authority, pride or fear – or a mix of several ones. Each such emotion was worth a deeper inquiry as to the underlying rules, beliefs, morals and ethics that triggered and constituted those emotions and distorted my relationship to the particular person. It was often scary but always a great adventure to question my fixed perception and behaviour and explore a solution 180 degrees in the other direction to my familiar reactions. By being suspicious about my automatic belief of what is ‘true’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, I was then able to start assessing the facts of the situation rather than indulging in, or fighting against, my emotional reactions to what was happening.
Facts are what is actual, tangible, discernable, provable, practical, and by knowing the facts one can consider what will be the best for everybody involved. Emotions, by their very nature, are always ‘self’-centred and always non-factual – however, the physical symptoms that often accompany the appearance of the emotions make them very real, and it needs great attentiveness and persistent observation to disentangle oneself from their convincing instinctual grip.
In your investigations you might come across ancient scary tales, collective superstitions, nonsense disguised as ancient wisdom, hoary psittacisms, moralistic no-no’s, ethical taboos, fear of ostracism, weird inner psychic horror movies ... With all those possible ‘ghosts’ emerging from the depth of one’s psyche it is important to clearly distinguish between fact and feeling. Facts are tangible, constant, reliable, whereas feelings will invariable fade if one stops feeding them.
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. It was, however, essential that I gained this insight experientially in order to replace the emotion with contemplation and sensibility rather than merely suppressing it. Suppressing emotion is sheer postponement and a sure way to accumulate problems until they become unbearable. Once I had extracted every bit of necessary information by experiencing the emotions I could then make sensible judgements and appropriate changes in my behaviour such that I could resume being happy and harmless again.
In the glossary of The Actual Freedom Trust Library you can find annotations and related correspondence on affection, aggression, desire, doubt, fear, feeling, emotion, instinct, nurture, pride, sorrow as well as their antidotes – actual, apperception, contemplation, fact, happy, harmless, sensuousness, judgement and common sense. Reading and re-reading I found to be an excellent tool to make myself familiar with, and accustomed to, the radical and iconoclastic way of actualism and to rewire my brain into the new way of thinking and acting.
VINEETO: Good to hear from you, and that you are having fun.
Yeah, so good that I ‘restored’ the good old brain out of the shed after years of attempted ‘no-mind’, to de-rust it and oil it, and have one exploration after the other. After all this groping in the dark for the ‘inner world’ which ‘cannot be spoken off in words’, I had finally a reliable tool to sort out for myself what is silly and what is sensible. It was a bit of a bummer for my pride to find out that most things I had done were silly, or even really silly, but then I delighted in the possibility and freedom become more and more sensible.
RESPONDENT: Yes it is good to encourage oneself to think again after being told that thoughts were the problem with my existence. I am glad I go back to uni in a few weeks. I did quite well last year even though most of my time was spent reading books on Osho and Buddhism. Now I can concentrate on my studies, and delight in it too!
It will also be good to get away from the idiot box. If I see Oprah Winfrey trying to get America to ‘remember your spirit’ one more time!! Heh heh. It is quite funny to see the superstars become more spiritual as the Y2000 comes around. I wonder if Oprah will eventually become disillusioned with the results of the spiritual efforts, oh well, it is none of my business anyway! I am making my life more happier and harmless and that is all I can do :-) I think I should go for a walk in the sunshine :-)
VINEETO: It was great fun for me to de-rust my brain and train it so I could work out my emotions, beliefs and finally the instincts. The brain is the only tool we have to re-wire our brain, as strange as it may sound. One only needs a few ingredients, as Peter wrote the other day –
With a switched on brain, TV can become a useful tool to study the Human Condition, not only in me, but in its workings in everybody. Oprah Winfrey is a goldmine of information, and her all-round spirituality, that includes everyone’s superstitions, is quite revealing. You are making your own observations – but for me, I always used them back on me, to check my fears, my superstitions, my hypocrisy. And it helps immensely to remember that they are the Human Condition, in all of us, and not a personal quirk. I don’t find TV to be an idiot box at all. One doesn’t need to switch one’s brain off when watching... quite the contrary, it can be a fascinating source of valuable information for exploring the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: If you start to think that everything is an illusion, you give away your control over your life. I got the feeling I have. In Richard’s journal he tells something similar, he had to fight to get his will back working. And then I found you guys. Well, to come short, I’ve ‘practised’ with the method of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ for about a month now. It’s to short to say if there is ‘something happening.’ If you have something to recommend please do. I’m determined to go on, that’s for sure. Sorry I talk so much about myself but that’s the only way to give an image of my ‘reality’. You know what’s the worst one can do: to say that you can be happy all the time and then lead people on a road to nowhere by talking Chinese. As if happiness is only for the ‘wise and intelligent people.’ I’m not stupid but I don’t understand Ramana Maharshi at all.
VINEETO: Your last sentence I enjoyed the most. Yes, it needs people to be bold enough to stand up to the gods and gurus and expose them for the frauds they are. Richard says they have feet of clay because they did not dare to go all the way and eliminate all of their identity instead of only getting rid of the ego. Consequently their identity shifts from ego to soul and is blown up into insane proportions.
It took me at least 6 months to question and take apart all my dearly held beliefs, reverence, love, devotion and hope that I had towards the Master (Rajneesh), because admitting that the master was wrong then made me a fool to have followed him. But what a liberation and relief when I understood the whole intricate net of the master-disciple-relationship, when I saw through the half-truths and mysteries, the fairy-stories and Eastern gobble-de-gook. What a freedom now to think for myself, to use my intelligence freed of fear and hope, and to walk upright for the first time in my life – beholden to no one.
RESPONDENT: Here are some questions that I have:
VINEETO: The main question, that works for all of the Human Condition is ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ We composed a whole page, called ‘How to Become Free of the Human Condition’ on the topic with many links of writing and correspondence of how to apply this ongoing question in your daily life.
I started with the understanding that it is only me who I can change, and that very understanding applies to everybody I meet, live with, work with and to the world at large. So, if anything in the day evoked an emotional reaction, I would start digging around and look for the cause in me, what belief, feeling and instinctual passion caused me to feel annoyed, fearful, angry, righteous, insecure, disgusted, loving, elusive, tired, etc.
The first beliefs that I had to investigate were about male and female conditioning, my female identity, the belief in the ‘right to be emotional’, the ‘truth’ of intuition etc. Along with gender-issues came the problem of believing or fighting a supposed authority, which had been an emotionally charged topic since my early years.
Usually under every emotional reaction I would find a firmly held belief in some ‘truth’ which I then, in due course, questioned and replaced with actual facts, investigated through reading, contemplating or talking with Peter and Richard, instead of simply taking on what others had told me to believe. It can sometimes be a fascinating and sometimes be a frightening adventure, after all, it is your very identity that you are taking apart, who you believe and feel yourself to be.
When one belief was seen in its complexity with all its implications on various areas in my life, when I understood it to be merely a passionate thought and not factual, this belief disappeared. It’s like the fairy story of Sinterclaas (or Father Christmas) – once you know that he is only the neighbour with a false beard, the whole myth falls to pieces and you are never able to believe it again. But each belief has to be investigated on its own ... there is not a mathematical magic formula that deletes them all at once. Eventually you see through the whole lot – and what a relief and liberation that is!
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in.
VINEETO: In my experience it is one thing to understand intellectually the personal facts and global consequences of believing in god and religion, and it is another step to actualize this understanding in my life. It is already a daring step to question the sensible-ness of all the religions, of the (imaginary) existence of God and the oh so holy belief in a ‘higher entity’ running the show and rewarding or punishing us for good or bad deeds. It is vital to gather your own information – facts and figures, so to speak – in order to make it blindingly obvious how much harm this belief in an absolute authority and an eternal soul has caused throughout human history. Once you have enough information for a ‘prima facie case’ then you can proceed with investigating what it is that still makes you want to believe in a Messiah, a Guru, Ancient Wisdom or Ancient Ethics.
In my own experience, a mere intellectual understanding was only the beginning of my investigation and it proved insufficient to get rid of guilt, fear, insecurity, taboos or the psychological need to rely on an ultimate authority. To eliminate the belief itself, in my case the belief in the superiority of an enlightened master, I had to dig deep into my psyche, examine the admiration, love and need to belong, investigate the source of the emotions and find the underlying passionate conviction. A great part of this conviction was made up of cultural conditioning (Christianity and Western ethics) as well as later acquired beliefs, such as the bundle of Eastern mystical beliefs. In questioning the validity and sensibility of all these morals and rules, beliefs and superstitions, I discovered an even deeper layer – my need to belong to a group, a religion, a tribe. I discovered the need to have a personal idol who I admired, worshipped, sought advice from (in books, Osho’s discourses or imagined conversations), who gave me reassurance and a feeling of ‘doing the right thing’. I knew ‘somehow’ that all this didn’t work very well – it produced neither personal happiness nor peace at large – but I was too scared not to have the guidance from those ‘authority’ figures.
RESPONDENT: But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it?
VINEETO: This is ‘where a figure like Jesus does fit in’. He, exactly like all the other Gurus and Messiahs, provides us with a set of messy guidelines to live your life by. These guidelines, enforced by the greed for heaven and fear of hell, are meant to protect us from the consequences of our innate animal instincts. They do keep a lid on things, but when push comes to shove, those guidelines always fail. Covering up loneliness with love, sorrow with compassion and anger with worship is, when you take stock, a messy job. But once you apply ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ rather than ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ you will notice that it works, that you can rely on your observation and intelligence rather than on the atavistic belief system of ancient fools and Dead White Men. The trick is to get rid of the problem, the whole ‘self’, instead of attempting to repress or transcend the instinctual passions.
Jesus was, after all, just a Jewish carpenter with a mental aberration, thinking he was the only begotten Son of God. The collected myths around Jesus make so little sense that one should be surprised they have survived this long. A virgin birth and walking on water – how more non-actual can one get! If you like, you can look at an in-depth research that someone has undertaken to prove that all the mystical features attributed to Jesus are the same for Krishna and fourteen other major saviours of Mankind. It is a big document, but in skimming through you might get picture that Jesus was a mystical character and not an actual person, born at year zero. The myth about him is nothing but an expression of the collective need for a certified saviour, and one can find his type mirrored in every major religion of the world.
This need is part and parcel of our instinctual heritage of fear and aggression, nurture and desire, and harks back to the time when early humans worshipped to appease the powerful forces of nature and the planet-gods in the sky. In order to dismantle this instinctual heritage we actualists investigate our beliefs, feelings, emotions and instincts. And none of the ‘saviours’ and ‘wise men’ has even mentioned the possibility of getting rid of this instinctual self. They all got stuck in the grand and glorious ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ of being one with god, one with everything and having love for all. That this love for all and feeling one with everything hasn’t produced the solution to eliminating malice and sorrow is blindingly obvious when one dares to acknowledge the facts of history and one’s personal fleeting and fickle happiness and harmlessness.
RESPONDENT: I mean is there nothing practical to get from.
VINEETO: Is there anything practical that you get from the bible? Does it give you something that works in your life, something that makes you happy and harmless, reliably, all the time, in every situation? Are the stories and rules sensible or are they silly? Are they applicable? Have they brought peace for humankind, or at least for Christians?
For me, where it starts is that all these mystical tales require believing – an imaginary god-father, a miracle-working ancient prophet, an ascension to heaven, etc., etc. And then it begs the question why do I feel the need to believe something? What hinders me from acknowledging the facts and living my life accordingly? What makes me hold on to something that I consider silly? Then the investigation becomes really interesting...
RESPONDENT: It is an individual’s responsibility to do the work and individual’s fault if one does not remain alert to look into oneself. It can happen anywhere. I could do the same on this list and be greedy for ‘Actual Freedom’ without working for it.
In addition, my interest at present is: to see what love does to me.
VINEETO: Sure, it is the individual’s responsibility to look into themselves. But you can only effectively look into yourself without the guidelines of those gurus, teachers, Enlightened Beings, ‘Mr. Wise Guys’ and Masters who tell you to look into yourself according to their particular ‘Truth’ or belief-system. As long as you are lead astray on a path of fairy-tale and fantasy, glory and immortality, good feelings and bliss, how can you clearly and honestly look into your ‘self’? You will only be moving deck-chairs on the Titanic again, rearranging feelings – good ones to the right and bad ones to the left – and then end up with a polished, but same old identity of No 5.
To investigate thoroughly and sincerely into your ‘self’ you will need to investigate into those who have programmed you – parents and peers, teachers and Masters, and you will have to question all of their passed-down values. For Actual Freedom you will have to investigate into your spiritual identity as much as into your moral or ethical identity – the whole lot. There is no other way to clean up the Human Condition in oneself other than to first question those whose authority one holds in high esteem. Otherwise you will simply remain a believer.
VINEETO: Thank you for your response. I am enjoying our discussion about investigating emotions.
I can say that I am quite an expert on experiential therapy, since I have done many New Age therapies, beginning in 1978. I started with Arthur Janov’s primal scream groups and later continued therapy in Poona doing all there was on offer – encounter, Tantra, Reichian bio-energetics, Hypnosis and the Fischer-Hoffmann-process. I not only participated in the last mentioned group, called the ‘AFH’ in Poona, but repeated it as an assistant six times. It is an intense kind of primal group, focussing on negative feelings from childhood, however far back one can extract or concoct a memory, acting out any ‘anger’ and ‘past hurts’ to the point of exhaustion and then forgiving one’s ‘poor ignorant’ parents.
Nobody seemed to be bothered that this group, like all therapy, is purely staged in the imaginary world of past emotional memories, where facts don’t really matter, as long as ‘valuable’ emotions are expressed – ‘vented’ – and then transformed into love and forgiveness. There is neither concern if these events really happened nor is there evidence that those supposedly transformed emotions are improving one’s everyday life. Consequently, after the group-high wanes, one is back to the troubles of daily life and is left yearning for another emoting experience. One is, in fact, often enticed into even more expressing or emoting in order to feel alive and to feel the calm and ‘peacefulness’ afterwards.
The aim of those primal therapies is to make the individual feel better, temporarily relieved from the excess of accumulated emotions. The aim is not to permanently get rid of anger, sadness, fear and malice or how to live in peace with one’s fellow human beings.
I certainly learned how to notice and/or create emotions, sometimes shifting them from feeling sad to feeling angry, to feeling loving, to feeling lonely – whatever I unconsciously believed appropriate in the moment. But this apparent ‘control’ did not enable me to live my life peacefully, it did not eliminate hate, jealousy, loneliness, anger, resentment, neediness, despair and depression. On the contrary, because I had spent so much of my time in a therapy-environment, a big part of my identity thrived on having emotions, thinking about them, feeling them, expressing them and justifying them with all kinds of NDA-beliefs like astrology, chakras, the ‘mood of the day’, numerology and such nonsense. Looking back on what practical improvement therapy has contributed to my life, I see that it has been nothing but moving furniture on the Titanic, i.e. fiddling with bits while the main problem, the ‘self’, stayed alive and kicking. In fact, the ‘self’ gets even more strengthened by boosting one’s emotional identity.
VINEETO: When you say you must be doing something wrong because you are ‘stuck’, it might also be that you did something ‘right’ and then hit a major issue which might generate fear.
RESPONDENT: You have got this one right, Vineeto. There is an undercurrent of fear/sadness still there. I am going against it head on two ways: first, going to the daily life situations in which I would have dreaded to go into, 3-5 years ago, and apprehensive of going for them about 1-2 years ago. Second, keeping my eyes open to look for causes which brought this fear in the first place.
This one is a difficult one as, to best of knowledge, I cleaned myself of fears arising from the incidents from the age of 3 years-now. But I remember I had this undercurrent of fear/sadness at the age of ~4 years too. So, the causes for this fear/sadness must have their origins before the age of 3 years. The best I can think of is that my mother might have beaten the crap out of me before the age of 3, but I cannot have any memory of that. I am not sure how to go about it but I am working on it.
VINEETO: In my spiritual years I believed that I was ‘cleaning myself of fears’ by doing lots of Dynamic Meditation and lots of therapy but I gradually noticed that fear had only shifted to other issues, but it never disappeared or even diminished. I would not be afraid of one particular situation, but nevertheless apprehensive of another, fearful of change, of being alone, of being raped, of not getting what I desired or of not being appreciated by others. Yet, knowing no other alternative at the time, I kept going.
So, from my experience, I can say that digging into the past will never wipe out the causes of fear. Only when I met Richard was I able to understand the reason for it. It is a common belief that human beings are born innocent, ‘tabula rasa’, a clean slate, without any malice and sorrow, and that all evil – fear, anger, sadness – is only created by bad treatment in our childhood years – or maybe by ‘repressed memories’ of bad past lives. The very premise of that belief is wrong.
Human beings are born with certain distinguishing instincts, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. These instincts are blind Nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to give one a start in life and to ensure the survival of the species. So despite our good intentions and moral codes, we are relentlessly driven to act instinctually in each and every situation in our lives and this is the base cause of all our angst, suffering and confusion. We, as human beings, also have a highly developed sense of self, overlaid with a social identity, consisting of the beliefs that had been instilled in us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’, or punished for ‘bad’, behaviour. This identity includes the morals, values and ethics that ensure that we are a fit member of the particular society into which we are born. We then take on these beliefs and develop them as our ‘own’ identity. This innate sense of self, reinforced by our social identity, is the very ‘guardian at the gate’, sabotaging any well-meaning, but inevitably futile, attempts at fundamentally and radically changing the Human Condition of malice and sorrow within us.
When I put away my pride and dared to question this emotional, therapy-enhanced, yet utterly useless and harmful identity, I had to acknowledge the reason why the concept of therapy had never worked. One never gets to permanently experience the ‘innocence’ of a baby after digging into one’s memories of birth- or childhood-traumas – because the baby has never been innocent and without fear in the first place! Geneticists are now finding neurological evidence of those innate instincts, yet nobody except Richard has devised a method to get rid of those insidious buggers.
RESPONDENT: In a self-conscious state there is no time, we become aware that the constant stream of change happens here and now in the present moment. According to the General Theory of Relativity, change happens in 4-dimensional space-time, where time represents the fourth dimension. When the roundness of space-time is increased, the speed of change gets slower and stops at the centre of black holes. Einstein’s understanding of time indicates that with clocks we do not measure time, we only measure duration, speed and the numerical order of irreversible changes of reality that happen here and now in gravitational field. Experiencing change indirectly through the mind creates time. Mind experiences change 1 as past, change 2 as present and change 3 as future. Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.
By watching the mind we become aware that scientific experience is also indirect. Our experience is through the rational part of our mind, which has a limited understanding of the universe. A significant example can be seen in our understanding of universal space. In the beginning, universal space was considered to be infinite, Euclid space. After the discovery of Riemman spherical geometry, universal space was also considered to be finite.
Therefore, the question arises: Is universal space finite or infinite? By becoming aware that our understanding of universal space depends on which geometry we use to describe it, we can also suppose that universal space is neither finite nor infinite, but something else. Three-dimensional logic allows us this speculation.
By presenting universal space as infinite Euclid space, it’s possible that the distance between two material objects in the universe is infinite. The term ‘infinite distance’ only functions in mathematics, in cosmology we do not know exactly what it means, because an infinite distance plus 100 miles is still an infinite distance. In the universe, we can only observe finite distances, so we can conclude that the universe is finite. To say that it is infinite makes no sense.
Do you the above logical?
VINEETO: I notice that you have directly quoted from an article entitled ‘Direct Experience of the Universe’, originally published as ‘Science of Consciousness for Planetary Civilisation’, by Dr. Amrit Sorli of Osho Miasto, Italy, (http://unesco-cairo.org/_disc1/00000006.htm). Dr. Sorli is, by his address, apparently a follower of the dead Indian guru Mr. Rajneesh, and has also published other articles such as ‘Non-dualistic Psychology’, ‘Watching the Mind as an Individual Research Method’, ‘Inner Science’, ‘Dark Energy Associated with Life?’ and ‘Watching the Mind as an Individual Healing Method’, all of which give an insight into his spiritual approach to science. (http://www.musarium.com/commentpages/cmts_matteroflife.html).
One of his articles entitled ‘Prana Has a Measurable Weight’, published on a website called ‘Living on Light’, particularly caught my attention. In this article Dr. Sorli reports that he measured 70grams of Californian worms both when live and 15 minutes after their death and reported an overall weight loss of 93.6 micrograms postulating that this was evidence of Prana energy leaving the living organisms upon death. He has presented his findings to James Randi claiming the one million dollar prize offered to those who can provide scientific proof of the existence of supernatural forces or paranormal events.
James Randi commented that ‘essentially, this is the same claim that has been made many times in the past by spiritualists who have attempted to weigh souls. It appears that to determine the average weight of a worm’s soul, Dr. Sorli only needs to divide 90 micrograms by the number of worms he murdered…’ James Randi goes on to explain why several of Dr. Sorli’s ‘scientific’ conclusions are in fact very unscientific. (http://www.randi.org/jr/011802.html, second half down the page).
Now that Dr. Sorli’s credentials and inclinations are established I will take a look at what he has to say about the nature of physical universe.
RESPONDENT: [Dr. Sorli]: ‘In a self-conscious state there is no time’ <snip> ‘Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.’
VINEETO: Dr. Sorli seems to suggest that time is completely dependent upon human consciousness, and that time can be altered by human consciousness. However it is a sensately observable fact that time passes – be it measured by the progress of sun’s passage across the sky, the daily cycle of night and day, sunrise and sunset, the monthly cycle of the moon’s orbit of the earth and the growth and decline life-cycle of individual human beings. This inexorable passing of time happens regardless of whether a human being is conscious and awake or is unconscious and asleep – or whether he or she has gone ‘somewhere else’ (as in meditating) or if she or he is sensately aware of actually being here in this the only moment of time that can be sensually experienced.
I find it quite amazing that Dr. Sorli proposes that time is a creation of human consciousness – [Dr. Sorli]: ‘experiencing change indirectly through the mind creates time’ and that [Dr. Sorli]: ‘Mind experiences change 1 as past, change 2 as present and change 3 as future. Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.’ [endquote].
Is this your experience? Does your mind experience past changes or does your mind hold a memory of a change that happened in the past? Does your mind experience a future change or do you anticipate, or imagine, a change that may, or may not, happen in the future. Is it your own experience that the whole past has happened in this present moment and that the whole future will happen in this present moment or, as you sit and watch the hands of the clock moving, do you notice that the time when you got out of bed this morning is not happening now and the time when you will go to bed tonight is not happening now?
RESPONDENT: This is the one thing about Richard and Peter I cannot understand, that is, why they smoke tobacco. I have put this query on the back-burner as there are so many more things to think about, as far as AF is concerned, which I am finding fascinating, and tough going sometimes, and what they do with their health is none of my business.
VINEETO: The dangers of smoking are, due to the human condition, greatly exaggerated and in fact very often imaginary, similar to many other health-scares such as the supposed danger of high cholesterol, overweight, diabetes II, HIV, not to mention the all-pervasive alleged dangers of global warming.
I am not saying that smoking is good for you, and neither does Richard or Peter, but the diseases attributed to smoking have simply never been proven to have a direct cause-effect relationship. As far as I know, four types of cancer have been traced to be caused by bacteria/viruses and already cures/vaccines are being applied and tested. This indicates that other forms of cancer may have similar causes (viruses/bacteria) and are not, as is generally believed, caused by one’s environment, life-style or even a particular state of mind.
Human history shows that whenever people do not know the cause of a disease, such as typhoid until the 19th century, a plethora of superstition arose, quite understandably, as to what supposedly caused this life threatening affliction and more often than not unknown and/or untreatable diseases were considered punishment from one’s God for bad behaviour. Today is not much different. Fear produces the most fantastical deductions and correlations, not to mention the profit that can be made from channelling people’s fears into a certain direction.
If you are interested in finding out more about the facts of smoke, Richard has answered a few questions. In question No. 8 Richard also gives some URLs that may provide some food for thought on this issue and may even make you question the way statistics are gathered and interpreted as proof for certain pet beliefs and hypotheses.
RESPONDENT: Yes, scientists may work with facts because they are working with the visible, the material, the measurable. The definitions found in dictionaries refers to that and to the commonly relied upon as truths, those are formed by the way people have been living – commonly unconsciously. The definitions are not transferable to the inner world, the individual world.
VINEETO: Exactly, the definitions are not transferable to the inner world, because the inner world is a psychic construct, woven by the belief systems of millions of people, yet ‘felt’ differently by everybody. Everyone has their individual dream of their inner world – and it has nothing to do with facts. Millions of Catholics believe in Jesus, maybe half of them believe in Mother Mary’s immaculate conception, but it is still their collective belief built upon a romantic fantasy. Immaculate conception is a factual impossibility.
Before I applied scrutiny I did believe almost everything that people would tell me: life after death, reincarnation, the power of coloured waters, the workings of chakras, the magic of stars, mysterious and miraculous healings, karmic causes for disease, the truth of Tarot, the existence of channelled entities, you name it.
But most wars are fought over beliefs, not over food and plain physical survival. It is this inner individual world that causes fights and killing, famine and abuse. Just now the fundamental Hindus have decided to attack the Indian Christians – one man’s God is evil to another – a conviction that resides in their ‘inner individual world’.
RESPONDENT: I find it strange that you, talking from your clarity, need the support of the definitions from dictionaries. I have an instinctive mistrust to quotes, if you can’t speak for yourself, from yourself, don’t speak at all.
VINEETO: There is no other clarity in me than simply relying on facts, and not following beliefs. This clarity exists because no beliefs and emotions are clouding my head. The actual world consists of what already exists, without the interpretation or creation of anyone’s psychic effort.
Definitions from dictionaries are generally agreed on meanings of words. I am not making my own individual meaning of the words I use – otherwise communication becomes impossible, as it is quite apparent in the world of beliefs. Every religion has its own interpretation of ‘God’, ‘soul’, ‘good’, ‘bad’, etc., and people are ready to kill for those interpretations. What then is so bad about investigating generally agreed upon definitions and proven facts? Otherwise I would become yet another guru creating yet another religion by convincing others of my individual inner ‘Truth’.
Actual is what is left when all beliefs and emotional interpretations are taken away. Then a tree is a tree and a human being is a flesh and blood body with physical senses and awareness.
RESPONDENT: Because there is nothing as facts working when it comes to individual living. What is a fact to you, may not be so for me.
VINEETO: I would like to know which facts you are talking about. Could you give me an example how facts can be different for everybody? I still can’t see how ‘what is the case’ – the dictionary meaning for a fact – can be different for everybody. A car is a car, some people might have different preferences about cars but it does not change the actuality of the car.
VINEETO: Theme: [Respondent]: Meditation is to be of one mind. [endquote].
Now I found where the expression of ‘to be of one mind’ could have originated:
RESPONDENT: How did you find that in the Bible?
VINEETO: Easy, on the Web.
The web is like the human brain – on a collective scale. You can find anything there, a lot of rubbish and some sound information.
You can find sex, with humour or as perversion and the respective morals, you can find politics in all its appearances, you can find religions of any flavour at nauseam, listed from A to Z, you can find any kind of superstition you can imagine, channelling, 4th dimension, shamanism, Feng Shui, Astrology, UFO’s, Doomsday, etc, etc.
And you can find facts, scientific facts, history data, sound information and fascinating technology.
But one needs to apply one’s own common sense to sort the silly from the sensible and the rubbish from the useful. Only when I clean out the rubbish in my brain, can I freely use the common sense innate to the human brain. Before that clean-out 90% of my brain activity was involved in morals, feelings, beliefs, emotions and instincts.
When I apply common sense to the quote above, I can easily see that already the old Jews were trying to be ‘of one heart and one mind’, and have failed for 3000 years. Not only have they failed to live peace – being the ‘chosen people’ they have suffered over the centuries and now reeking revenge on others by torturing most Palestinians in custody. ‘Dwelling in righteousness’ always comes in the same package with the so-called ‘higher consciousness’ of ‘one heart and one mind’ – the preliminary for war.
VINEETO to No 1: The first thing I had to do after 17 years of spiritual conditioning was to switch my brain back on. I delighted in using my intelligence again, started doubting the old, used scrutiny and discrimination to slowly question everything that I had taken for granted wisdom. What a gullible person I had been, you could have told me any fairy-story of astrology and invisible energies, channelling and chakras, and I was ready to believe it all! Investigating and using my intelligence again, I felt like being back in High school or University, where intellect and intelligence are being trained, where it was o.k. to think, where I learned about facts – though even many of those so-called facts later turned out to be mere assumptions, disguised as scientific theories. I re-discovered the joy of discrimination, of relying on myself instead of authority, of using ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ instead of moralistic appraisals.
RESPONDENT: Now you’re ready to deny it all, which is the other extreme.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.