Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: I do have some questions regarding my current activities. I know you once worked two years with drug addicts and saw that you couldn’t help them. Would you go back to working with them now – if you had the chance?
VINEETO: When I left social work because I realized that had nothing to offer, I went to the East and immersed myself in spiritual therapy groups in order to find some answers. I then worked for about three years as a helper and administrator with group leaders and came to observe that therapists didn’t have an answer to their own problems in life, let alone for others. As an instance, the person who lead the most popular relationship groups had more trouble with his personal relationships than most other people I knew.
I also learnt a lot about power, reverence, subserviency and dependency, both front stage and back stage, as it operates in the therapist-client business. When I came across actualism, this was invaluable experience as it made immediate sense that anybody who wants to change themselves can only do so out of their own intent, by themselves and for themselves. Only when I change myself out of my own intent can I be autonomous.
RESPONDENT: I ask this because I am teaching people who are bordering on poverty and some basically see life as something terrible, even the young ones, and this fuels their malice and so consequently there are victims … well you know how it goes.
VINEETO: You put your finger on the nub of the issue. The strange thing is that most people who have enough money to live comfortably also ‘see life as something terrible’. The feeling of resentment as in ‘I didn’t ask to be born’ and ‘I don’t want to be here’ is something that is common to the human condition – whatever class, race or nation people are coming from and whatever age-group they are in. The persistent stranglehold that religious and spiritual pursuits and teachings have over humankind – all of which are predicated on the promise of some kind of an afterlife – is potent evidence of the basic resentment that human beings feel at having to be here.
RESPONDENT: All this is really helping me to understand the human condition, and wanting to be completely free from it, but I see no solution I can offer to ameliorate their present condition … one thing I have noticed though is that they are taken aback at my refusal to get angry and blame them when they become mischievous.
RESPONDENT: They don’t yet know what to make of me ... but I do wish I could teach them something more than just English.
VINEETO: Yes, I can understand your wish very well. When I meet clients for bookkeeping I sometimes drop a few sentences of common sense into the conversation when they tell me about the big and little problems of their lives, but irregardless of whether they agree with the common sense or not, there is little sign of them wanting to actually change to ameliorate their situation.
You are already offering them the best there is – an ongoing genuine demonstration that one can be happy and harmless in the world-as-it-is with people-as-they-are and live in peace and harmony with one’s fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: Well that’s it for now. Feeling happy and harmless,
VINEETO: It is a pleasure to hear from you. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and your humour, namely when you said – ‘Ha! Try bonding with an Actualist.’ Isn’t it so much more gratifying to stand on one’s own two feet?
RESPONDENT: Thanks – Your responses help immensely. The other night I was laying in bed realizing how much less reactive I’ve been in recent weeks. It’s funny because for so long my therapeutic Gods were in Primal Therapy, Reichian and bodywork. No matter how deep you went there was intrauterine feelings, past life, whatever, that needed to be explored + resolved to overcome the blocks in your body-mind dynamic. The works purpose was to get through traumas so that you could be fully present with all resources at your disposal in the present. The cornerstone was to get to your true ‘feeling self’. This was the truest essence of what you intuitively knew to be the right course of action to take. I did become aware of my feelings and opted to express rather than repress but rarely just felt them.
VINEETO: Yes, I know those ‘cornerstones’ of therapy well, I have studied psychology and social work at university and later taken part in a great many variety of therapies in order to fix up my ‘self’. The Rajneesh Ashram in Poona used to be the Mecca of therapy and every latest fashion in Western therapy was on offer. For years I threw myself into therapies in order to become a better ‘me’ but only became more sophisticated in verbalizing and emotionally expressing my emotional problems. Only after many years of failure did it dawn on me that I was not the only one who failed to resolve my primigenial problems and that maybe it was therapy itself that was at fault. (...)
RESPONDENT: When you’re horny you need a partner. When I’m bored or angry at work I need to find something of interest. This is the argument that I (my current thinking/ feeling) identity makes. That the question is helpful but that I’m wanting. I’m not sure what I’m experiencing. Any comments appreciated.
VINEETO: As an instinctually-programmed identity you have the continual impulse to act on your feelings of being horny, bored or annoyed. As an actualist, whenever you feel horny, bored or angry, you have something to look at and something to investigate.
When you read more of the correspondence about ‘How to Become Free from the Human Condition’ in The Actual Freedom Trust Library, you will find that ‘the question’ is not merely designed to bring your attention to your senses – the main thrust at the beginning of the process is to investigate every feeling that prevents you from sensuously enjoying this moment of being alive. You dig into the beliefs behind your emotion, you discover your moral and ethical values that prevent you from finding out more about your feelings and by doing so you eventually run up against the instinctual passions, as Gary put it recently.
In therapy you may well have made acquaintance with your feelings, in actualism it is a matter of accurately discriminating and identifying your feelings as and when they are happening in daily life, of tracing them back to their instinctual source and as such eliminating the associated identity step by step.
VINEETO: ‘Being mothered’ is clearly an expression for not only a physical taking care but also a close emotional relationship. Mother-child is the most primary relationship for a human being when starting life. A mother – or a substitute mother – is essential for the baby to physically survive and in later years – together with the father – essential for the child to learn the basic functions and rules in the world. From the parents one gets one’s first and strongest imprint and conditioning, and scientist say that in the first seven years one’s character is basically formed. In a physical sense it may well be that one ‘no longer need[s] to be mothered’ from the time one leaves home, but the roots of one’s identity are shaped by mother or father and the positive and negative feelings for mother or father usually play a considerable part in one’s life – unless one leaves home emotionally and physically.
Although I had done various primal therapy groups to investigate my emotional ties with my parents, there was still a lot to do and to investigate when I came across actualism. Psychology gives great credence and value to one’s memories of childhood feelings, be it anger, resentment, love, dependency or trauma and works to reconcile the now-adult with the past feelings of childhood – while actualism aims to find the root of a particular emotional hang-up, to understand the cause and eliminate it as part of one’s identity, as a son or daughter. For instance, when the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ brings up a feeling of guilt connected to the values instilled by my mother, I would contemplate about guilt in the Human Condition as one of the moral functions that keep the social and religious system in place. With this understanding guilt is no longer a personal issue between two individuals, but an issue of the Human Condition instilled in me.
With enough courage and the firm intent born out of a PCE I can then step out of that part of my social identity and leave the values of being a ‘good daughter’ behind. The same procedure applies for any other issue connected with the mother-daughter, mother-son relationship, like loneliness, authority, fear and security, duty, peer pressure, etc. One needs not delve into the unreliable memories of childhood hurts but only investigate the feeling that is arising now as it applies to one now and as one is experiencing it now. Understanding is only needed in order that one can take action to be free of the feeling in any future moments where a similar situation may trigger a similar feeling. Be wary of trolling past memories for if one lifts the lid, the garbage bin will forever fill itself up again. Psychological and psychic therapy that focuses on childhood issues has failed for this very reason.
RESPONDENT: This is the Second Edition of the Sexuality and Tantra Update.
VINEETO: From your advertisement I deduct that you have misunderstood or misinterpreted the purpose of this Actual Freedom Mailing List so far. This mailing list is a non-spiritual mailing list, set up for the purpose of investigating an actual freedom from the Human Condition – the set of beliefs, conditionings and instincts that forms the habitual and neuro-biological program by which human beings currently operate and have done so, with few significant changes, ever since the first recorded civilizations.
‘Emotional Freedom’ is merely a feeling of freedom from certain moral values and social consideration that helps one to live by one’s emotions whereas actual freedom is a palpable, permanent freedom from one’s social identity and one’s instinctual passions, both from ‘who’ one thinks one is and ‘who’ one feels one is.
‘Non-’ in non-spiritual means
Whereas the workshop you are advertising offers purely spiritual principles –
VINEETO: The Humaniversity has been set up and is run by Mr. Veeresh, a devoted and highly honoured disciple of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh, and his programs are firmly based on the spiritual and therapeutical values purported by Mr. Rajneesh. As you have quoted yourself, these values include ‘love, friendship and meaning’, which are clearly affective and spiritual values. The methods used to achieve those values are a fashionable combination of emotional release therapy and feel-good spirituality –
RESPONDENT: ‘Expect clarity, emotional release, taking off the pressure, meditation, vibrating on a higher level of consciousness, lots of hugs, expressing and communicating inner thoughts and feelings. You will feel enabled to be more free to be who you are. There will be a high level of intimacy and closeness.’
The spiritual idea is that we are born innocent and then spoilt by society and conditioning – in Eastern terms called ‘the mind’. Therefore the remedy offered is to get rid of ‘the mind’ and ‘find your original face’, or ‘be who you really are’. The methods to become that are slightly varied but the basic teaching is firmly based in Eastern religion – enhancing the ‘good’ emotions and sublimate and disidentify from the ‘bad’ emotions. As Mr. Wolf says, he is using ‘ meditation, vibrating on a higher level of consciousness’. A little bit of feel good and some indulging in emotions and sexual instincts for a lot of money – but it won’t free you from your social identity, let alone from any instinctual passions.
So No. 12, what you are proposing is 180 degrees in the opposite direction to Actual Freedom. It is a mystery to me why you are advertising this so obviously utterly spiritual workshop on a mailing list that is questioning and debunking all spiritual beliefs and all traditional tried and failed solutions...
Actualism, the game that is played on this mailing list, is iconoclastic and completely down-to-earth. Once you experience in a pure consciousness experience the superiority of being without emotions and without an alien entity in operation, be it even for a short period of time, you might understand why I abandoned the spiritual path and can never ever again settle for second best.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for expressing yourself in relation to my posting, Ms Vineeto. I read some of what you wrote, and may read some more later. If you change your mind and want to come to the workshop; I will give you a discount.
VINEETO: You didn’t get it, did you? Maybe it is due to not reading the whole of the message. I will post the last paragraph for you:
I am experiencing life right now is as perfect, with delicious sensate perfect sex whenever I want, living with Peter in perfect peace and harmony for 24 hrs, every day and with days that are an ongoing delight simply to be alive for 99% of the time. Why then, tell me, should I spend Aus$ 375 + GST to experience a workshop that offers ‘meditation, hugs, emotional release, vibrating on higher levels of consciousness’ when there is something immeasurably better on offer. Why should I choose second best?
The other question I would put to you is – why do write on a mailing list which is set up to discuss how to become actually free from the Human Condition, when you don’t even have the interest, or the time, to read what is replied to you? Do you think this list is a mere bulletin board?
By the way, you can call me Vineeto without the ‘Ms’. I don’t believe in a formal politeness that doesn’t even include reading to the end of my letter.
And now for something completely different. You may be wondering how actualism works in daily practice – how one can, as a third alternative, deal with sexual issues so as to eliminate the problems that prevent the continuing free enjoyment of sex instead of repressing or expressing, compromising or dis-identifying from the symptoms of social taboos and the instinctual drive. I’ll post a description of what I wrote at the time when I sorted out my gender issues and sexual problems in the first three months of my relationship with Peter –
So in case you have read this far, you may understand a bit more the difference between the therapeutic / spiritual approach to sex and the actualism approach. By tracing back my sexual inhibitions, moral taboos and instinctual passion I was able to get rid of the whole package altogether. Now I am neither driven nor fearful, neither needy nor moralistic – I can simply enjoy the sensuous sensate exquisite experience that sexual play is. I can appreciate the fun to share that sensate experience with a fellow human being who himself has as much pleasure as I do. The actual intimacy that originates in enjoying each other’s company without the hindering obstacles of gender battle, moral and ethical inhibitions and social role-play is so exquisitely delicious, each time again, that it has no comparison. It surely beats the emasculation of Tantra by a country mile.
RESPONDENT: I read your first paragraph again – and your repeat of your previous last paragraph – and again found that I know where you are coming from just that amount of your writing. I am sure that you can understand how that is possible because you clearly know where I am coming from by reading just a little of my writing ... or wish to give that impression ... so you know it is possible.
VINEETO: As for ‘you clearly know where I am coming from by reading just a little of my writing’ –
What I said about you was –
I did respond to your advertisement on the Actual Freedom mailing list of the Tantra workshops from Ms. Margo Anand and Mr. Hellmut Wolf (‘Mr.’ is merely a social etiquette, because I don’t know him personally nor do I talk to him directly). As you said yourself, Mr. Wolf was trained by Mr. Veeresh in the Humaniversity in Holland. As I have been a disciple of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh for years myself, I happen to know that Mr. Veeresh used to be a well-known and highly honoured disciple of Mr. Rajneesh and his therapy approach was also well known and frequently practiced in Poona. Therefore I know by my very own experience what kind of therapy a Humaniversity-trained therapist is offering.
Mr. Rajneesh considered and declared himself to be the enlightened Master of Masters, the Blessed One, the Bhagwan (which literally translates as God), a vessel for Buddha Maitreya (for a few weeks), and considered himself in the lineage of all the other enlightened founders of religions that have walked on earth. Therefore Rajneeshism is clearly an Eastern religion, and a therapy that has its psychic roots in Rajneeshism is clearly spiritual. The methods announced for Mr. Wolf’s workshop are used by many Sannyas therapists all over the world –
So, from the ‘little of your writing’ I can well deduct that you are advertising spiritual therapy, which is 180 degrees opposite to actualism. (...)
RESPONDENT: I recall a few days ago you wrote about your unhappiness...
VINEETO: (...) As for ‘a few days ago you wrote about your unhappiness’ – you can only be referring to my writing to Alan a month ago –
What I described to Alan was an accurate account of how I deal with an emotion that occurs. As long as there is some trace of an instinctual self remaining, there are occasionally emotions happening, because emotions are the very substance of the instinctual self. However, having learnt how to investigate and deal with my emotions and being no longer blinkered and fettered by the torturous restrictions of my moral, ethical and spiritual conditioning, any exploration into an emotional issue is a thrilling adventure. This is in marked contrast to my spiritual years when my fruitless inquiries into problems through therapy and meditation were never able to remove the ongoing underlying unhappiness and dissatisfaction. With the actualism method I can explore the emotion to its very root, investigate the facts and resolve the issue – like I did in the paragraph described above.
This procedure is 180 degrees opposite to spiritual therapy, which I have tried and applied extensively for years. In spiritual therapy one is encouraged to express the emotion, indulge in imagination and venting and then shift from feeling the bad emotions to feeling the good emotions – moving from anger to compassion, from hate to love and from fear to bliss and Oneness. Despite years of spiritual therapy – and Mr. Rajneesh boasted of having the best therapists in his Ashram – I did not resolve my issues of relationship, jealousy, comparison, greed, lust, fear, anger, power, authority, neediness, inadequacy, pride or loneliness. All those issues have now disappeared by thorough investigation and understanding, by slowly, slowly getting rid of my precious adopted spiritual identity, my instilled social identity and by experientially understanding the makings and substance of the Human Condition.
Sure, I am not actually free yet, but that is only a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. One of these days, I will experientially understand the last of the illusionary ingredients of my instinctual identity and simply be what I have always been – this flesh and blood body, brimming with sense organs, experiencing the vastness of the infinite universe as a sensate and reflective human being. And I can be so sure because numerous pure consciousness experiences have shown me the direction, have given me glimpses of the freedom that lies beyond self-immolation.
RESPONDENT: It is great you have made it as far as virtual freedom and all I am suggesting – as my contribution to this discussion about Actual Freedom (the state you do not find yourself in as yet) that you may wish to do some work and play with Hellmut Wolf who offers a way for you to find the freedom that exists beyond enchainment to your emotions...
VINEETO: I find it quite hilarious that you, who once introduced the term ‘actual reality’ as the summum bonum of your understanding of Actual Freedom are now suggesting how I can go beyond Virtual Freedom. If I may remind you of the relevant conversation: < Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 12>
I don’t need to be taken ‘into emotions’, and, whenever emotions occur, which is quite rarely, I am quite capable of exploring them by myself. (...)
VINEETO: As for ‘the tiny trotting circuit that your mind currently runs in’ ...
When I look back on the circuits that I have run in my life, there have been quite a few tiny and large circles, that I have tried out on my search for freedom, peace and happiness. I have tried marriage and failed. I have tried communism and socialism to change the world politically and found it wanting badly. I have tried feminism and found it as malicious as macho-ism. I have tried humanistic therapy and found it going round in circles. Finally I ended up in Poona at the feet of a self-declared God to learn about the solution for a happy and harmless life – and that was quite a large circuit, round and round and round, endlessly listening to hypnotic religious philosophy, doing meditation, worship, spiritual therapy ... and after 17 years I was neither more happy nor more harmless than before, only more dissociated from the problems of the real world. (...)
VINEETO: You must be kidding. Just before you said –
... and now you talk about a ‘joyful playful weekend of moving closer’. Am I moving ‘further into an Actual Intimacy’ or am I stuck in ‘the tiny trotting circuit that (my) mind currently runs in’? It does appear as though your categorizations of me are somewhat confused and contradictory.
You have already indicated what you mean by ‘playful’ as in teasing, pulling one’s tail etc. I prefer the game of becoming happy and harmless – what we call the only game to play in town. How you come to the conclusion that a workshop, lead by a spiritual therapist who espouses ‘emotional freedom’, ‘authenticity, love, friendship and meaning’ has anything to do with what ‘we are discussing on this Actual Freedom list’ is a complete mystery to me. Maybe it would help your understanding to read some of the 1.5 million words on the Actual Freedom web site with both eyes open.
As for ‘the state we are discussing on this Actual Freedom list’ –
I know what *you* are discussing on this Actual Freedom list but I am talking about freeing myself from my social identity and my instinctual passions, in short, facilitating a final extinction of my ‘self’.
Tantra has nothing to do with an actual intimacy – Tantra does not questions god, or love, or emotions and has not even begun to acknowledge, let alone question, the instinctual passions as the underlying cause of human behaviour.
As for ‘the Actual Intimacy that you are clearly beginning to find in your life’ –
There are no capital letters in the actual intimacy that I am talking about, for there is no god, no love and no affective imagination in my intimacy with others as it is actual, tangible, palpable and not subject to the whims of emotions. I have found the actuality of such direct intimacy and I am enjoying it hour for hour, day after day, so much so that I take it for granted now. I even have trouble comprehending why everybody obviously has this need to quarrel and fight, when they are together.
How about you? Has any of the workshops you are offering helped you to ‘move further into Actual Intimacy’? How is your relationship improving in practice by the ‘Art of Emotional Freedom’, taught by your friend Veeresh? After all, an offered solution to someone else can only be sincere and honest if one has tried it out for oneself and confirmed by one’s own experience that it works.
RESPONDENT: I wrote to you seeking to further investigate between us the elimination of belief, so as to enable the direct perception of the actual – <snip> Would you agree that that is the topic under discussion? Or could be? Or was? I detect from your email, that you perhaps are no longer one who needs much assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief from the ‘unexamined fortresses within your mind’. Is that so?
VINEETO: Actualism is not therapy where you give me ‘assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief’ that I have or you imagine I have. In actualism, I assess my own emotional situation, and mine only, by asking the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and then proceed to explore the beliefs, feelings, emotions and instinctual passions that keep me from enjoying this moment in its purity and perfection. If I feel insulted by someone else, I take the opportunity to investigate what deeper reason there is for me to feel insulted by someone else, no matter who they are. I do this for two reasons – firstly so as not to waste this moment of potential happiness by being lost in imagination or by wallowing in feelings and, even more importantly, so I will not get angry with or be malicious towards any of my fellow human beings.
It is always ‘me’, the identity, the alien entity, inside this actual flesh-and-blood body that takes umbrage, feels offended, grows resentful, becomes angry, seeks revenge, etc., and by understanding and becoming fully aware of this identity in action it gradually weakens and eventually dissolves. Nowadays, whatever anyone says I am not insulted because, after four years of intensive self-investigation, there is scarcely any identity remaining to take offence.
RESPONDENT: That is fine. I am not seeking any therapy. And it would be really, really nice if you begin to understand that.
VINEETO: I have pointed out quite distinctly that actualism is not therapy where you give me ‘assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief’ and I have never ever imagined that you are ‘seeking any therapy’. Although you have offered your friend’s Tantra therapy workshop to me a few month ago, you have nevertheless made it very clear on several occasions that you yourself are not seeking any kind of method to change the way you are. Vis:
It might have escaped your notice – unless you deliberately ignore it – that this mailing list is set up particularly to facilitate discussions about investigating the human condition in oneself in order to change oneself radically and irrevocably and to ultimately become free from the instinctual passions. Vis:
Despite the fact you claim to being interested in studying the human condition by saying –
– you also make it more than clear that you are not at all interested in investigating or changing yourself. A student of the human condition is someone who first and foremost is interested in exploring his own beliefs, feelings and emotions. Asking the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is clearly devised as a method for examining your own feelings, beliefs and instinctual passions as they arise – for yourself and by yourself. Actualism is not about questioning, examining, investigating or imagining about other people’s feelings or beliefs.
This questioning of the other’s feelings and beliefs is very fashionable in psychotherapy and spiritual therapy and is useless in bringing about permanent change as is obvious by the thousands of middle-aged spiritual seekers who still readily pay their fee to the group leader whenever an emotional crisis crosses their path. Nobody, but nobody, can bring about any change in your feelings or your beliefs and unless you yourself are willing to conduct an on-going investigation into your own psyche there will be no actual change in your feelings or your beliefs.
You, however, have made it quite clear how you choose to understand and apply the phrase ‘exploring into just what constitutes the Human Condition’ and this understanding is very common amongst followers of Western therapy and Eastern spiritualism –
Your agenda on this mailing list is clearly opposite to the very purpose of this mailing list because your stated agenda is to ‘explore’ what you imagine to be other people’s feelings and thoughts rather than your own feelings about what others say. Not only are you running your own agenda, you also make it quite clear that others should not make any comments on your agenda –
RESPONDENT: Please Vineeto, desist from your investigation of the entity known as No. 12. Such desistance will be in accord with your avowed intent and practice. Thank you. At such time as you are able to desist we will be able to investigate together into the actual freedom supposedly being discussed here.
Yes I have been finding such studies fascinating elsewhere. Here I find I am constantly being examined. And I don’t like that... then or now.
I chose to express my beliefs and imaginings and gripes about you, and begin to share again something about me on this list. What you do with it all is your business.
VINEETO: Despite your assertion that you are not interested in therapy you continue to ‘explore’ your imagination about my feelings and give your flippant comments to what I write. Vis:
Personally I see no use for silly schoolyard cheerleader comments that seem to be your therapy put into practice. But then again, as you just said to No 13, your writing is
As you do not seem to be willing to lift your game and enter into a sincere and genuine discussion about investigating the human condition in yourself, I chose to do something else with my time and decline from further feeding your therapeutical thaumaturgy. I gave up spiritual therapy years ago when I discovered what a wank it is.
IRENE: ... Richard’s ‘proof of being free’ [is] namely his inability to recognise and express any feelings at all. As you know this is a well-known neurological or psychiatric disorder, called alexithymia.
VINEETO: Nevertheless, it seems to me that what psychiatrists call alexithymia is an incapability of someone to cope with certain or all his/her emotions and therefore he/she has a neurological reaction in the nervous system that shuts up the feeling faculty altogether. I would put that into the category of extreme repression, beyond the reach of consciousness. While Richard says about his condition:
Actual freedom for me means that I investigate and in this way eliminate the cause and the source of emotions – be they personal, self-centred or universal – and after removing the cause they simply don’t occur any more. For instance insult: it was one of the first things I learned when meeting you and Richard, that one can choose to become un-insult-able. This possibility appealed very much to me from the very beginning. What an awful hindrance for communications it has always been for me when I would get insulted by what someone said, and then I could not continue talking to that person. Then I was the one who was suffering because of feeling insulted, resentful and lonely on top of it.
Irene, there is no hidden agenda in my story. I simply want to explain why I began to consider it a good idea to get rid of emotional reactions. Feeling insulted is only one example of all the disturbing emotions that not only made a peaceful life with men and women difficult and in the long run impossible. First, of course, I only considered to get rid of the bad emotions, later I saw that they all hang together in one piece. ‘Getting rid of’ for me means that whenever I came across a hiccup – in the beginning it was mostly triggered by Peter – I would try and find out the hidden agenda of this particular emotion. Maybe this is all old chocolate for you, but this ‘getting rid of’ has so often been misunderstood as repression. I am definitely not a proposer of repressing any emotions, I have done that long enough and achieved no peace whatsoever by it. All the feelings pop up one day anyway.
In sannyas I have experimented with expressing emotions. Lots of therapy-groups, seven times I was a helper in the ‘Anti-Fischer-Hoffman-Process’, an intense de-conditioning for childhood issues. I went into the group again and again, fascinated by the tantamount and variety of emotion that each participant was capable of producing. Therapy works for a while, it produces great highs, you certainly know similar highs from groups you have done. But observing over a longer period of time I could see that one trigger for emotions was thrown out but soon, on that seemingly empty ground, there grew some other emotions, maybe they got dressed up with a different story because the root cause had not been removed.
Especially after the first AFH-group (Anti-Fisher-Hoffman, a very intense primal group) this was very obvious for me. After a process of ten days expressing first hate and fear, then love and forgivingness, I was left rather confusingly empty of applicable behaviour how to relate. But that changed quickly within a week or two. I had not questioned or removed the beliefs of who I thought and felt I was. I had only changed some fears related to my parents. But, for instance, all other authority-issues had remained. It never occurred to me then that I could question the very act of believing itself!
I know what you mean when you talk about the vividness of a strong emotion, high voltage and an intense feeling of being more alive than ever. But I also remember experiencing the painful clamp of being possessed when in raging anger, the gnawing tortured need in jealousy, and desperation and hopelessness in deep grief. I prefer to be fully alive without this kind of intensity. How is it for you?
Well, as you may know, my edifice of associated beliefs tumbled, the further and deeper I was digging into my psyche. It left me with an easy access to the actual world, here, fresh, intimate, and bubbling with aliveness – and less and less hiccups (2nd time! Peter just used the word, I like it too). Of course, with each step away from what I had learned and used all my life there was fear but also adventure, thrill, curiosity and the continuous joy of discovery. It eventually turns out to have its own momentum... no place to go back to. How could I ever believe in a life after death again or in enlightenment! Could you?
VINEETO to No 5: 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: They say there is something I haven’t dealt with. Something that stops me from being honest.
VINEETO: A lot of New Age-spiritual-therapy behaviour is only thinly disguised malice, revenge or spite. ‘I have to be honest with you’ or ‘honestly, I have to tell you that …’ or ‘I’d just like to share with you … ’ are usually the opening lines of someone telling you something demeaning or nasty so as to cut you down to size.
In my endeavour to become as happy and as harmless as humanly possible I did not see any point at all in sharing my moody thoughts or resentful feelings with anyone else because that only serves to contaminate the possibility of a pleasant and peaceful interaction with my fellow human beings. Because I understood that I am the only one responsible for my thoughts and feelings, which means that I am the only person that I can change and need to change, I decided to do the only thing I can do to practically contribute to peace on earth – clean myself up. Now I can gaily be myself and there is scant danger of ever contaminating a get-together with resentful feelings or sad stories.
However, it is obvious in the process of investigating and examining myself that being sincere and honest with myself is of vital importance because fooling myself or being dishonest with myself would just be a waste of time.
RESPONDENT: Last night I was asking myself why and what could this possibly be?! I know I have sorted many things but to think more may be hidden under the surface had me querying. ‘I have no anger toward...’ ‘I am doing what I want....’ ‘I feel pleasure with life’...or is this not so??
VINEETO: The pivotal question for me to answer when I came across actualism was ‘what it is that I want to do with my life?’ After many years of pursuing various self-centred goals in both the real world and the spiritual world, which resulted in a hollow dis-satisfaction, I found out that what I want most in my life is to be genuinely happy. And it was very obvious that the only way to be genuinely happy is to also be harmless because any happiness gained at other people’s expense or dependant on other people’s compliance is an undignifying, foul tasting and sick affair.
In the course of practicing actualism I have found many, many things ‘hidden under the surface’ and I deliberately brought them to the surface – into the bright light of awareness – where my beliefs and values could be examined and my feelings and instinctual passions could be experienced, when and as they occurred, and their utterly ‘self’-centred nature could be experientially understood.
RESPONDENT: Sure enough, some thoughts or scenarios that I have always remembered came flashing back to mind. One of when I was perhaps 3 or 4 years old. My father had finished painting some shelves green. I cried and cried, clinging on to my mother as if something awful had happened. My father yelled at me, what I don’t recall, but clearly I wasn’t pleased the colour wasn’t correct. How would I at that age know what would be correct. The theme that begins to arise is disappointment. So I can associate many things to being disappointed. Not enough time to achieve my goal for the day. I set myself up for the disappointment. And of course until now not realised the internal struggle that I have dealt with and perhaps impose unconsciously on those around me.
VINEETO: You seem to be confusing the methods of spiritual-type therapy – seeking to lay blame on others for one’s own feelings of malice or sorrow in order to maintain one’s innate feelings of self-righteousness – and the actualism method of becoming aware of the instinctual ‘self’-propelled nature of your own feelings of malice and sorrow in order to become free of the human condition.
If your aim is to become a ‘good’, ‘honest’, socially adjusted, morally uptight and spiritually valuable person, then you follow therapy and spiritual advice.
If your aim is to become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they are, then the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’, when applied with persistence and sincere intent, is sufficient to uncover whatever feeling is currently preventing you from experiencing the already existing peace of the actual world.
Take the example of the feeling of disappointment that you mentioned. As an actualist I know that I am the only one responsible for my feeling disappointment. As such I stopped any of my former habitual efforts of finding the external culprit and began exploring the source in me that caused me to feel disappointed. Inevitably I discovered that the cause of my disappointment were the demands, expectations and hopes that I had either unwittingly taken on board from others or that had been instilled in me by blind nature. As I experientially explored these ‘self’-centred demands, expectations and hopes, I found deeper layers of feelings and instinctual passions that feed those debilitating demands and hopes – feelings such as inadequacy, loneliness, anxiety, the need to belong and, at the core, ‘my’ instinctual fear of survival.
These feelings are the direct result of the genetically inherited animal-instinctual survival passions and not, as believed by therapists and spiritualists, learnt reactive behaviour resulting from ‘bad’ childhood events. Because of this lack of understanding – or failure to face facts – any and all such therapies are but scraping the surface of one’s conditioning, analogous to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Emotions and feelings are part and parcel of the genetically encoded instinctual package that every human being is endowed with at birth and if you don’t just want to rearrange it superficially, but want to become actually happy and harmless, then the whole package needs to go, all of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: I would like to hear what you say on this matter. I couldn’t find much on the web site.
VINEETO: I am not surprised that you ‘couldn’t find much on the web site’, because actualism is non-spiritual and non-therapeutical. Actualism tackles the root of the problem – the psychological and psychic identity within this flesh-and-blood-body, ‘he’ or ‘she’ who continually spoils the peace, perfection and delight of being alive right here, right now.
RESPONDENT: I am perfectly clear that ‘me’ is at the core of it. When one is clear that this instinctual ‘me’ is at the core of it then are you saying that the only way to diminish it is through experiential understanding?
VINEETO: From my personal experience and from what others are reporting, only experiential understanding and deliberate action can diminish and eradicate ‘me’, because each single aspect of ‘me’ has to be brought to light, investigated and made redundant. The first thing for me was to decide to stop being malicious, whatever happens. For that I had to investigate the causes of my malicious feelings, whenever they occurred – otherwise stopping malice would have only resulted in repressing the feeling. The urge to feel and act malicious most often occurs when ‘I’, the identity, feel threatened, attacked, ignored, denigrated, misunderstood, etc. The social identity is nothing but an emotion-based image of ‘me’, learnt and developed since childhood which overlays the animal instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: I understand this and realize that it may have nothing to do with you at all. The ‘old brain’ may be reacting to you who it perceives as a threat because of a childhood memory of an authority figure such as a parent.
VINEETO: Our memory is a curious thing. Scientists seem to have found out that the ‘old brain’ has its own separate memory of events, which are mainly emotional-only reactions of our psyche to factual events. Further, memory works in a way that we only recall the last time we remembered the event rather than remembering the original event and, as such, our memory is very unreliable. What I found when I cautiously asked my mother about certain events that I had remembered in a therapy session, my memory didn’t match with her report of the events. But because my memory was an emotionally valued memory, I held it to be true and refused to take on board her report of events.
I could probably say that for a few years I was a therapy-junkie, going through many groups in which I was emoting and expressing anger and sorrow, hitting imaginary parents in the form of pillows, only to start to feel love, forgiveness and compassion for them a few hours or days later. I could never work out why all this hard ‘transformational’ work never showed the desired result – to free me from my ongoing problems in relationships with people. I had maybe dented the authority of my parents but I had never questioned the reason for my need to divide other people into categories of higher and lower powers and then feeling and acting according to my categorization.
Only when I discovered Actual Freedom, and experienced that animal instinctual passions were at the core of my emotions, did I begin to understand why therapy didn’t work. Psychoanalysis is built on the false premise that our ‘unconscious’ emotional memories consist of repressed childhood memories. Analysts presume that by uncovering childhood memories all problems should be solved. Freud and his colleagues were completely unaware of the programming of the instinctual passions in every newborn baby which exist before parents and peers even begin to apply their influence and to add yet another layer – our moral and ethical values – to the program of the human psyche.
VINEETO: When I become aware of that identity by questioning the cause of my anger, resentment, bad mood, annoyance, etc., I can then become aware of the contents and program of this social identity – ‘me’ who I think and feel I am.
RESPONDENT: I am aware of this identity yet sometimes I still have no control over its automatic reactions.
VINEETO: Yes, control over automatic instinctual reactions through morals and ethics doesn’t work. Only eradication will do the trick.
VINEETO: Becoming aware of my multi-facetted identity bit by bit, combined with the clear intent to eradicate my malice and sorrow, allows me to diminish my feeling-fed social identity as each particular aspect is being explored and understood.
RESPONDENT: I understand the bit by bit part such as this incident with you. However, I am not sure about this approach, as it seems to be a never-ending process to explore each particular aspect of it.
VINEETO: My experience is that when I investigate a particular aspect of ‘me’ to the core the issue eventually disappears after a few months of thorough investigation – as happened in tracing my belief in authority back to the belief in some spurious ultimate protective and punitive universal ‘Energy’. I now stand on my own two feet and decide according to what is silly and what is sensible.
Linking an unwanted automatic behaviour or emotional reaction to a childhood memory is the traditional approach to looking at emotions but it doesn’t reveal the functioning of one’s instinctual program. But as you explore a particular emotional reaction and come to experientially understand how ‘you’ at your core is functioning in this particular aspect, then you will eventually see the switch to turn this function off.
For instance, once I know by experience that I am, like all human beings, instinctually programmed to automatically and instantly react in ‘self’-defence, then I can focus my awareness to this instant automatic reaction until ‘I get a foot in the door’, de-automatize my instinctual reaction, understand that it is silly to act that way, until it stops occurring by itself. But the exploration needs to be experiential – cognitive knowledge doesn’t scratch the surface.
VINEETO: Hi Everybody,
I was reminded of a particular outstanding experience during the Anti-Fisher-Hoffman-Process in Pune. It was my second time I did the group, the first time that I was a staff-member. The AFH, as we called it, is a 10-12 day process of looking at childhood issues and overcoming fear, resentment, anger, attachment with intense bio-dynamic methods. By the third day, with lots of ‘work’ and little sleep, everybody hit their limit. I dragged myself forward, fantasizing about the time when I could sleep again as long as I wanted, if I only made it through the next ‘hellish’ days. Suddenly it dawned on me that what I was doing was waiting. I was wasting my time for ‘redemption’. And I realised that there was no difference to ‘waiting for heaven’ or for enlightenment, or for the right man, or...
With this insight that there is only now, that I live only now, and that there is no heaven to go to – I woke up into full awareness and aliveness. Postponement only brings more misery, hope is for the hesitant one who does not want to take the first step to freedom. This peak-experience lasted for several hours, and while everyone else was tired to the bone I bounced in refreshed aliveness. Later on the event got filed into the category of ‘group-highs’ and the memory of it soon faded away. But for those few hours I had lived in the actual world, here, now, without God, heaven, authority, love, hope and postponement. I had experienced that this moment is the only moment we have got, the only moment we can experience being alive, to be either miserable or happy, complaining or fully alive.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.