Selected Correspondence Vineeto
The Third Alternative
RESPONDENT: I wonder though, if attempting to re-create these peak experiences isn’t a little bit like a kid who had an ice cream cone, and when it is gone, wants another one, and imagines she might have one all the time. How could one not want this? But the wanting itself seems to me to be a statement of the problem.
VINEETO: When I started my spiritual journey, my driving force was to get out of this miserable world I was living in. The promise was that I would be able to live in the land of bliss, once I am able to get rid of the ego – die as an ego. But then at the same time the rule was not to want anything, to surrender my will, and I ended up being dependent on the Master to tell me what to do and what to aim for. Also I ended up going round in circles because to get what I want I had to give up wanting to get it...
After meeting Richard and Peter it took me a few month and a mind-shattering peak-experience to understand that Actual Freedom is in fact something completely and diametrically opposite to the spiritual path. It is not even an expansion of the spiritual. It is slowly, slowly seeing through the immense web our psychic world is made of, understanding and seeing (getting) that ALL of the psychic world is nothing but an enormous collective passionate belief-system. And that there is an actual world beyond imaginary belief – the peak experience.
Living in a peak-experience everything is perfect, everything is obvious, already happening without me having to control or direct it, in fact it can only happen if ‘I’ am not there. This memory I take back when I become ‘normal’ again, this then works as the thread, the sincere intent to move further into scary enquiries.
So I know what I want and I need exactly this will and intent to overcome the fears and doubts which appear when I start cleaning myself up. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the only question I need to check out what is happening now. Nothing else counts. Half an hour ago or tomorrow don’t count. And if I am not happy now, then there is something to do, to find out, to clean up. Which doubt, which objection, which emotion is preventing me from being happy now. It look so simple one thinks there must be a catch. But this is all there is to it. This method is so devastatingly effective and that is the scary bit – it works!
And once you see that it works, you become more daring and question yet another threshold of a dearly held belief or ‘Truth’. You will discover that however dear and proven those ‘Truths’ seem, that they are never based on facts.
RESPONDENT: If the self cleans the self up, and mine is fairly presentable just now, perhaps a little sad, what is left, after all is said and done, is still a self, a ‘me,’ an ‘I.’ Just dressed up real nice.
VINEETO: You described it very well – this is as good as it gets within the Human Condition. The trouble is, in order to get rid of the ‘bad’ you have to throw the ‘good’ out first, which is created in the first place to keep the ‘bad’ under control. One only needs Love to counter-balance malice and sorrow, hate, jealousy, sadness, fear, greed... so something grand and good is aspired for to keep the lid on the ‘bad’, the animalistic instincts that are intrinsic in all of us.
Meditation and Eastern Spirituality attempt to transform those instinctual passions and their resulting emotions into love and compassion, and I have experienced how that works. It is quite a powerful experience, when fear and sorrow are transcended into bliss, ‘truth’ and compassion. It swamps the whole psyche: seductive, overwhelming, radiant, and one realization of ‘truth’ follows another in an endless continuum of supposed insights. Very, very seductive indeed. One is easily taken in that this is the answer to everything.
But this is not the emotionless pure clarity that I have experienced in the PCEs. This is not the solution, it hasn’t been for 5000 years of enlightenment’s history. Those instincts are never eliminated. Once you question bliss and discover the illusion it is, fear and dread pop up their ugly head again. What Richard discovered, and what Peter and I are now finding out for ourselves, is that there is the actual world once one has freed oneself of all beliefs, feelings and instinctual passion which the human psyche produces. This perception of the actual world is then bare of any emotions and feelings, both of ‘bad’ AND ‘good’, freed of any kind of imagination, freed of any distortion of the Human Psyche.
RESPONDENT: Let’s say I’ve seen this is true, as indeed I have, with a few definition differences here and there not of much importance ...
VINEETO: It is not merely ‘definition differences’ we are talking about. It is worlds apart. This is something nobody has ever dared to question before. Or have you found any kind of Guru or teacher who dared to question Love and Compassion, who dared to put his grand wonderful identity as ‘One-with-the-Whole’ at stake? Not a single one! All the Enlightened Ones keep their BEING in tact. They know WHO they are. So this conversation is not about definition differences. It is about a completely new understanding and approach to the human feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. It is about eradicating them, not merely transforming them. Actual Freedom is based on the acknowledgment that those feelings and passions are only software, not hardware – they can be deleted.
But to eradicate my beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions means that everything that I know I am ceases to exist, and everything anybody ever claimed to know or to be ceases to be of any reference. This includes my beliefs in an immortal soul, a life after death or before birth, a god-like energy of the universe and a belief in the meaning of life. I am not surprised that hardly anybody has dared to take up the inquiry. It is a ruthless operation. But also it is the very best I have ever done in my lifetime. And it works. That may be scary because one really watches oneself dying, having less and less substance and identity to fall back on for one’s definition and reference.
When I started to investigate Richard’s findings I had thought I was quite cleaned up, having been a moral girl and a spiritual seeker for years. So the first step on this new journey was to actually acknowledge the malice and sorrow I was still carrying – like everybody else. It was not easy to discover that I was as bad and as mad as everybody else, hanging on to my emotional identity, my feelings, my intuition, my beliefs.
After 17 years of meditation and watching intently I was still neither enlightened nor happy and harmless. So I really had nothing left to lose – except the very idea of who I was, instincts, beliefs, emotions, superiority, the whole lot.
RESPONDENT: I don’t have 21 or 17 years of experience with a spiritual journey or 11 years of ‘enlightenment’ (whatever that is, and I truly don’t know, but I suspect it isn’t real).
VINEETO: To judge ‘Tried and True’ as ‘Tried and Failed’ you don’t need 17 years of spiritual journey but common sense. When I heard Richard or Peter say for the first time, ‘why don’t you judge the religion – Eastern or Western – by the outcome’, it hit me like a brick. Never even once had I looked at the factual outcome of what I was aiming for – how people are living in India, how Indians, especially enlightened ones treat women, how religious wars are raging in many parts of the world – to judge the workings and sensibility of what I was trying to achieve. At that time I felt quite stupid, clumsy, thick and thought I had wasted my time. But then, there had been nobody pointing it out to me and it seemed the best solution on offer at the time for the misery and desperation I felt about life.
It does not take 20 years of spiritual experience to look, for a change, at the facts of the particular belief-system instead of the promised solutions that it never delivers. So you are not missing any ‘time done’ here. Everyone who dares to look further than the herd can find out the facts for him/herself. Maybe the frustration of having had so little success after so many years of effort helped me to get over my pride and fear so that I started looking in another direction.
RESPONDENT: I don’t normally forward news items, but this was kind of interesting. Besides, if No 23 can do it....
From Mark Morford, SFGate.com ....
VINEETO: Mark Morford has certainly written an enthusiastic speech and his call to ‘turn but inward’ and search the ‘peace from within’ reminded me of my own experience two years after I finished university. I had checked out various aspects and/or paths of living in the ‘normal’ world, such as liberal and left-wind politics, marriage, feminism, therapy and a career as a social worker with drug addicts, and had them all found wanting. The newly-starting fashion for Eastern Mysticism seemed just the right solution, and so I decided to ‘turn inward’, change myself and search for ‘peace within’.
I had been brought up in post-war Germany with its explicit education about the devastating results of Nazism and patriotism and for years I had great trouble understanding how the previous generation could have done – or have silently tolerated – such horrendous acts of terrorism. Yet in 1985, when the terror acts of Rajneesh’s administration crew in Oregon came to light, I painfully realized the fact that I, as a Rajneeshee, had been doing the same thing as the generation of Germans before me. I had blindly pledged my loyalty to a charismatic leader who promised peace and glory, only to generate a communal passionate righteousness that resulted in crimes against innocent citizens. See http://www.empnet.com/imageworks/Raj1.htm and following pages
After that I could easily understand how the ‘Third Reich’ had come about – I had, in fact, discovered the blind loyal follower and the passionate believer in me.
However, such is the power of belief and hope that it took me many more years, and many more eye-opening events, to finally admit that I was on every account as mad and as bad as everyone else. This acknowledgement was the prerequisite for stopping blaming others and beginning to sincerely ‘looking within’ – and what I found ‘within’ was anger and aggression, fear and imagination, hope and sorrow. When you look within sincerely, bereft of spiritual hope and imagination, there is no peace ‘within’ – there is a social-instinctual ‘self’ within. A lost, lonely frightened and very cunning parasitical entity, to use Richard’s description. This social-instinctual ‘self’ is the very reason that the already always existing peace on earth cannot prevail.
SF Gate columnist Mark Morford certainly uses catchy words when he urges everyone else to ‘really get down and dirty with the self’ – but he himself has not even rolled up his sleeves, let alone started to look at ‘the hatred and terrorism we have inside us’. How could he be looking within when he continues to point the finger at ‘our increasingly paranoid and secretive and invasive government’ – not only to blame but wanting to ‘infuriate’ this government and thus start the hatred all over again.
His call to ‘perhaps follow’ the teachings of ‘the Dalai Lama and other great spiritual leaders’ is nothing new for the West – Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta have been preached and practiced for many years in the West and its long tradition of failure in the East is blatantly obvious for those who are ready to investigate it. Mark Morford wants to change the world by telling everyone else to change – his way.
To really get down and dirty one would question one’s own beliefs, not the doings of one’s government. One would investigate one’s identity as an American, a Christian, a believer in Eastern Mysticism, a liberal, a democrat, a man, a woman, a father, a son, a patriot, a rebel, a cynic, a journalist. One would examine one’s own feelings of righteousness, anger, hostility, blame, sorrow, guilt, compassion, pride and loyalty and discover the source of those feelings – the alien passionate social-instinctual identity inside this flesh-and-blood body.
Mark Morford is doing nought but preaching the traditional spiritual path of finding peace within – a path that involves turning even further away from the actual world. Actualism on the other hand is non-spiritual to its bootstraps, unapologetically atheistic at core. Actualism is totally down-to-earth in that it acknowledges that the much sought-after peace on earth is to be found in the sensate-only experience of the already always existing peace on earth – that which every human being has briefly experienced in a pure consciousness experience.
It’s a great challenge and it is utterly rewarding.
RESPONDENT: I was wondering if you’re aware of the fact that many of the principles and ideas evoked by AF can be found in other practices, and when I say that I refer to fourth-way ideas. For me they are strikingly familiar.
VINEETO: Allow me to answer this question at the end of this post.
RESPONDENT: Apart from this, I cannot figure out how Richard managed to ‘escape’ from his real ‘I’ (here in the sense of God, Self, etc.), that is if he has had One (which is the equivalent of saying one’s enlightened). So if you please can explain. I had the experience of being enlightened, although for only three hours, and it seems to me to be Impossible to exist something beyond that, as this state contains all possibilities.
VINEETO: Yes, I know from my own experience that while feeling enlightened it does seem ‘to be Impossible to exist something beyond that, as this state contains all possibilities’ – but it only seems that way.
RESPONDENT: Another aspect of that experience was that the ‘I’ was not mine, but belonged to a person I very much loved; the identity called No 32 was not there during the period.
VINEETO: Could ‘a person I very much loved’ by chance be another name for God, the glorious ‘Being’ who replaced ‘the identity called No 32’? That would make you about God number 5872.
RESPONDENT: Was not this a PCE, as in my memory it has all + many more of the characteristics attributed by AF language for a PCE? I must say I don’t know which were the exact causes for that, maybe the collapse of my identity, or maybe the suffering involved, or maybe the love played an important part in the process.
VINEETO: The description of your ‘experience of being enlightened’ that it had ‘all + many more of the characteristics attributed by AF language for a PCE’ together with your comment that ‘‘I’ … belonged to a person I very much loved’ clearly point to an affective ‘Self’-loving experience whereas a pure consciousness experience is a non-affective ‘self’-less (and ‘Self’-less) experience. Your comments about feeling the collapse of ‘Suffering’ and the importance of ‘love’ are also words that describe an affective experience.
RESPONDENT: All I know is that it Happened and was real.
VINEETO: Such an experience seems very, very real while it is happening – all the good feelings come rushing in and seem to overpower the bad feelings … and these feelings are so much grander than ‘my’ normal experiencing that they are experienced as very real. However, Enlightenment, although experienced as very real, is a feeling and not actual. (see The Actual Freedom Trust Library for descriptions of fact and feeling, real and actual).
RESPONDENT: What I don’t understand about AF is why do you ignore the fact (for me) that when this identity collapses, someone else gradually takes the space, and that is our true Self.
VINEETO: The writings of actualism do not ‘ignore the fact … that when this identity collapses, someone else gradually takes the space, and that is our true Self.’ It’s just that a ‘Self’, by whatever name, is a delusion born out of an illusionary self – or to put it another way – the idea of God is nothing but a fairy tale and to imagine oneself to be a God is to live in a ‘self’-created dream-like state.
RESPONDENT: Why do you ignore the Self?
VINEETO: I have come to know the ‘Self’ in an extensive Altered State of Consciousness but I have also had numerous pure consciousness experiences when the ‘Self’ and the ‘self’ (the identity) is temporarily absent. An actualist does not ‘ignore the Self’ but knows by experience that there is a Third Alternative to being normal or being spiritual.
RESPONDENT: Before having that experience I knew nothing about religion or have anything in common with any spiritual practice. I’ve read your posts (and I fully agree with you) about some spiritual teachers, about their pretences, the lies and the hypocrisy involved as I was also part of a group. It must be made a clear difference about what each one of us understands by the term ‘enlightenment’, as this term has been widely used and may now signify many different things. The best description I can find is in the term ‘4th state of consciousness’ as described in fourth-way terminology. I would also like to ask Richard if he understands the same this as I do by ‘enlightenment’? (google, yahoo ::: ‘fourth way’, ‘4th state’).
VINEETO: ‘The 4th state of consciousness’ is another description for enlightenment. To search for the ‘true Self’ is spiritual, meta-physical practice because it involves the belief in something non-physical – the Self.
RESPONDENT: What I’ve found out was the truth that none of these present self-named, entitled enlightened beings are at present in such a state, at best in an altered state of consciousness.
VINEETO: Given that ‘self’-aggrandizement is the very core of enlightenment, it is common amongst enlightened people or wannabe enlightened people to dismiss all other enlightened beings as ‘not quite enlightened’. ‘My Truth’ is a highly affective experience, and a very competitive one at that.
RESPONDENT: What I want to say is that this so-called Self, Absolute, I, God really exists, it’s alive and kicking and that the state in which you discover him is not an altered state of consciousness but the ultimate state available for humans. To be or not to be a bee?
VINEETO: There is no doubt that according to ancient wisdom and common belief the experience of enlightenment is ‘the ultimate state available for humans’. Nevertheless, this ancient 5000-year-old experiment of achieving Higher Consciousness or God-consciousness is significantly flawed, i.e. it has failed to bring anything resembling peace on earth between human beings, and all the wars and murders and domestic violence and torture keep going on.
To recognize and admit to this long history of continual failure is to begin to initiate a change in one’s perception – a 180 degrees turn, away from all the ‘self’-aggrandizing spiritual beliefs and practices towards a down-to-earth investigation into one’s beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions that make ‘me’ tick.
VINEETO: Now in response to your first question –
RESPONDENT: I was wondering if you’re aware of the fact that many of the principles and ideas evoked by AF can be found in other practices, and when I say that I refer to fourth-way ideas. For me they are strikingly familiar.
VINEETO: Given that you said that ‘this so-called Self, Absolute, I, God really exists’ and that this is ‘the ultimate state available for humans’, it is understandable that you don’t consider a third alternative possible.
A third alternative to being normal or being spiritual only comes into view when one is deeply dissatisfied with either of the traditional ‘self’-centred and ‘self’-obsessed states of consciousness .
For those who are dissatisfied with their life as-it-is and who are suss of the spiritual world, the Actual Freedom website points to the fact that there is an actual world right here under our very noses, a world which can only be discovered when one leaves the self and the Self behind.
RESPONDENT to No 22: I am subscribing and reading some of the posts here. Most of the ideas expressed here are in my opinion worth reading and remembering. Other posts and also some of the basic ideas with actualism are for me impossible to grasp, or at least agree about.
Now, reading your response to No 16 makes me feel that some ‘low water’ level is reached. My first objection with actualism is on a scientific ground. Humans and human condition is not an easy thing to understand. With your post you are back, not to the middle ages but back to worms and insects, primitive living things.
Only humans have an ancestor such as Newton. He couldn’t grasp everything but he set the frontier for human thinking a little bit further. With your thinking you are totally refusing all knowledge and also the idea that humans even have a brain. Perhaps you may admit that humans have a brain, but then you are still not able to admit that this brain is useful in any aspect.
VINEETO: To head off confusion before it sprouts further misunderstandings – No 22 is not an actualist. On the contrary, he made it clear in many earlier posts that he considers himself to be GOD, omnipotent and infinitely responsible. Vis:
No 22 is our resident Godman on the actual freedom list. No 22 could well be on the actualist payroll, so well does he demonstrate the fact that spiritualism is diametrically opposite to actualism and portray the blatant nonsense that results from practicing dissociation. Just in case someone is tempted to return to practicing old time religion and spiritual ‘self’-inquiry with the aim of becoming ‘the Truth’, No 22 has devised a method of how to deceive yourself and achieve a pure solipsistic state –
In other words, No 22 has not reached ‘some ‘low water’ level’ in actualism – he lives with his head in the clouds and his views and beliefs are the very antithesis to what is actual.
I am reminded of an episode in the space-comedy ‘Red Dwarf’. The crew, Lister, Kryton and the Cat, encounter some difficult times travelling through ‘illusion bubbles’ and are experiencing one strange Unreality after another, when they suddenly find themselves in front of a huge video-game machine and their time of playing ‘Red Dwarf’ is up. Because they had played the space-game for several years, they all have great difficulty in remembering their former identities. They finally work out who they were before starting the game and each is shocked to find himself living in a grim, violent, corrupt and desperate Reality, which was the very reason why they had started playing the space-game in the first place. They all decide that it is better to shoot themselves and while attempting to make efficient use of the last bullet Lister has left in his pistol, they hear a faint female voice, the spaceship’s computer, trying to ‘make contact’ – ‘Hello, hello, can anyone hear me? You are in an illusion. Come back to the ship.’
So far there have been two options on offer to deal with life – stay in a societal illusion of a grim Reality or escape into the fantasy of a Greater Unreality. With the discovery of an actual freedom there is now a third alternative available – dismantling the internal software program that constitutes grim Reality without replacing it with the fantasy of a Greater Unreality. By diligently dismantling this software program that makes up your social identity and your instinctual identity you can evince a deletion of this redundant programming and ‘what’ you are will emerge – a flesh and blood human being, free of malice and sorrow and free of any metaphysical delusions whatsoever.
It made so much sense to me that I couldn’t resist trying it out and a pure consciousness experience soon confirmed that it is indeed possible to live without any social-instinctual identity whatsoever.
ALAN: And yet it is not a joke, for this is what I have been struggling with the last few days – ‘who is it who is knowing?’ – ‘who is it who is puzzling?’
VINEETO: I have always found the question ‘who’ would confuse me, distract me, re-create psychic dramas and keep imagination and feeling alive. While asking ‘what am I’ always brings me to my senses because ‘what’ I am can only be experienced by the senses. The actual world can only be experienced by the senses. Neither belief nor imagination nor feeling can answer ‘what I am’, but they can easily make up a lot of ‘who’s’.
I have found that by living in virtual freedom I have shifted my whole focus and emphasis from solving emotional problems and debunking beliefs to sensually and sensately enjoying ‘wee-things’ (as Billy Connolly said), the everyday things that life consists of – breakfast, rain, typing, coffee, walking, shopping, talking, sex, shower, watching TV and going to bed at night-time. And maybe half an hour of the day was spent pondering about ‘fear, death and deep matters’ of ‘me’. And thus the perspective changes, the focus changes from the imaginary to the actual, from the dramatic to the ordinary, from serious introspection to delightful hedonism – gay abandon, as Peter calls it. So it has been literally a turning away from giving importance to the ‘metaphysical’ to focussing on the actuality of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. And what a delight that is, each moment again, just to be alive, breathing and listening, tasting and seeing, smelling and touching. And then you get to do things on top of it – sheer delight.
RESPONDENT: I feel that struggle is not about freedom at all, it is just the nature of ‘me’ to struggle. Of course, action of some sort is required to change the status quo. This is where the ongoing question comes in. Now what is beyond questioning? Or to put it another way, what is being withheld from the light of awareness?
VINEETO: That ‘struggle is not about freedom at all’ is a feeling, or, to be more precise, an idea. The nature of ‘me’ is lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning – and, as such, resists the effort to be eliminated.
But it is not just your idea. It is the core of Eastern teaching. ‘Just become aware that you are already ‘It’, and that’s all you need to do’. It is part of identifying with the ‘watcher’, the so-called aware identity, and ‘all will be well’. That method might make you enlightened but it will never get you an inch closer to Actual Freedom.
To become free, one has to want freedom with all one’s might and passion. One has to put all one’s eggs in one basket. And in order to eliminate emotions one will first have to experience them, feel them. One has to play the drama on stage (experience one’s emotions with neither expressing nor repressing them) in order to know all the actors involved. One has to ‘get down and get dirty’. Peter described really well in one of his letters:
RESPONDENT: Many of his close associates seem to got him so wrong. Osho and many other eastern philosophies have stressed so many times on being happy ‘here and now’. There may be many methods how to achieve it.
VINEETO: I don’t think us disciples got him wrong there. Commitment and surrender were not only a big issue during ranch-time, but ‘totality’, as it was called later, was the main ingredient on the path to enlightenment. The story of digging only one hole and not 50 different ones to produce a well the stressing the point to not listen to other masters as to not get confused.
‘Being happy here and now’ only sounds like the same as living this moment here, now. The spiritual ‘here and now’ does not jell with the teaching of reincarnation, enlightenment being the ending of the wheel of birth and death and the teaching of meditation – closing your eyes and go somewhere else inside – to one day maybe become enlightened. Yes, when after all this effort you become enlightened, then you can laugh and say you were always ‘here and now’. But that is a different ‘here’ and ‘now’ than the here and now of normal mortals who were considered asleep and had to do dynamic meditation and other exercises to ‘wake up’.
The other obvious difference between the spiritual ‘here and now’ and the actual ‘here and now’ is how Osho and eastern philosophers regard the body and everything physical. The spiritual concept is that the world is ‘maya’, an illusion. Once you ‘get it’, you can be happy in the spiritual realm of ‘here and now’. But you have to identify as the ‘watcher’, not as the body, you have to be detached from the body and from your senses in order to rise to your ‘true nature’. That ‘true nature’ is your consciousness, so they say, best to be achieved through meditation, which is in its purest form sitting motionless with closed eyes for hours on end. Then the identity shifts to ‘being the watcher’, to being Consciousness – and one day, one realizes that one is ‘One with All’, ‘That’, ‘Universal Love’, etc. The delusion is complete. One loses one’s ego on the way, but the soul, the feeling part of the instinctual being stays not only fully intact, but is aggrandized to the extent that one considers oneself to be God or the Universe itself.
Compared to this illusory scenario, the actual ‘here and now’ is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway. To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe. Coming from no-where and having no-where to go we find ourselves here in this moment in time in this place in space. To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Being here now is to ‘be doing what is happening’ with no sense of ‘I’ or feelings of ‘me’. To be fully here, now without a fearful ‘self ‘or a ‘Grand Self’ is to be innocent, perfect and pure, fully engaged in this only moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: According to Richard all seem to have failed because there is no peace still on Earth. But I don’t understand what makes Richard so confident that his method will work. The statement ‘I am under no illusion that global peace and tranquility will eventuate before I am on my death-bed; I do not suffer from the delusion that I can effect a sweeping change to the lot of all human beings; ‘looks like another messiah-iatric chore. And then who is to decide what the universe should be like? The entire thinking is based on the argument that in spite so many Enlightened persons in last thousands of years, there is something wrong with the humankind.
VINEETO: It may look strange from your – spiritual – way of looking (which I can remember quite clearly from myself 18 months ago). When in a peak-experience, when experiencing this moment without the filter of the ‘self’ and of the Human Condition, one is experiencing the world-as-is in its perfection, magnificence, purity and delight. The actuality of what-is then is utterly obvious because there is no identity interpreting, distorting and editing what you see, hear, touch and smell. Most people have had such a PCE in their lives although it is not easy to recall as there are no emotions happening that could be remembered. You can find one of the many description of a pure consciousness experience in Richard’s or Peter’s writings by running the search function through; there also has been a good discussion about the difference of PCE and ASC between Richard and Alan just lately on the list – you can look it up in the archives of this mailing list. Such descriptions are very helpful to induce or remember a PCE for oneself. From that experience you will see for yourself that the actual world is already here, has always been. It is only our psychological and psychic entity that stands in the road of experiencing the purity and perfection of the actual world. Then, everything is blindingly obvious.
RESPONDENT: I don’t understand how can anything be wrong in this universe. According to Richard (in fact, according to many Enlightened ones, but Richard never accepts it), the world is so perfect that nothing can be wrong here. Then where is the question of bringing peace to earth. I must mention here that I am not against Richard or pro Eastern thinkers. This argument is just to understand the so called new thinking.
VINEETO: There is nothing wrong with the universe. But there is something fatally wrong with humanity, with every human being, in fact. We are born with the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by our social and religious conditioning and then have built our own so-called identity on top of it. We call it the Human Condition. This condition is responsible for all the wars, murders, rapes etc. on this planet, it is the source of sorrow and malice in each of us.
And it is deleteable.
The Eastern thinking talks about stopping thought, removing ‘the little man in the head’, the ‘thinker’ – but the identity only shifts to ‘the little man in the heart’, the ‘feeler’. Emotions and instincts (the soul and the ‘core of our being’) remain untouched and are operating in every meditator, in every enlightened one, better than ever. As Richard says, the ‘I’, the ego dies, but the ‘me’, the soul, becomes even more rampant.
The ‘new thinking’ is not ‘so called’, it is that both, ‘I’ and ‘me’, ego and soul, ‘self’ and ‘Self’, have to die in order to experience the world-as-is, radiant, perfect, alive, pure and benevolent. This is peace-on-earth. It can only be achieved by each individual becoming free of their respective psychological and psychic entities.
RESPONDENT: Because I am exposed mostly only to eastern wisdom, I conclude that it should be because of that. However I don’t want to waste too much time and efforts to argue over whether it is new or not. Even if it is not new, it appeals to me and I would like to give it a try.
VINEETO: When I took Sannyas I had been raised and conditioned as a catholic middle-class German. In order to understand Rajneesh I had to at least question those conditionings. But then I was ready to question the old, because life wasn’t all that wonderful, burdened as I was with those primary conditionings. I attempted to leave ‘normal’ behind and became ‘spiritual’.
On the path to Actual Freedom a second de-conditioning took place, a spiritual de-conditioning. And again, I was ready for it, because after all those years of sincere effort my search did not show the outcome I was hoping for. This second de-conditioning went much, much deeper than the first, it eliminated ‘all of me’, ego and soul, emotions and beliefs, instincts and ‘spiritual achievements’. It leaves me as this physical body and its senses, free to delight in this perfect infinite universe as a sensate human being. Nothing more, nothing less.
To investigate my beliefs it took a lot of time to question, ask, discuss, read, turn them round and round, and look at them again from a different angle. It is not at all a waste of time. To be able to see a belief ‘from the outside’ in its complexity and functioning it needs time and investigation. This is exactly how you give it a try.
RESPONDENT: I will give you one example. Osho said ‘Don’t let your doubt die. You should doubt every concept, every belief till it becomes your own experience’ So I doubted Osho himself, to the extent that sometimes I even thought that this man is just an intelligent orator who is making fool of so many people. That is why I didn’t become a sannyasin. And that is why I was free to read other Gurus and Scripture and am open to any new way of life.
VINEETO: Yes, Rajneesh said, ‘don’t let doubt die’ and he said ‘you have to learn to trust me completely’. I never heard him encourage us to doubt him as the master as the ultimate authority. ‘Doubting every concept’ was to doubt your old conditioning and believe in your ‘Buddha Nature’, your soul, your inner light, the Truth, which shall be revealed... Since Rajneesh himself lived and worked within the system of Eastern Teaching, he had never himself doubted the existence of a soul, or the Divinity of Existence, or Divine Grace (God will be coming towards you if you only try hard enough). That’s why he could speak of it so convincingly.
Your doubting Rajneesh and considering him ‘just an intelligent orator’ is what Rajneesh himself would have called ‘not surrendered’, ‘stuck in the mind’ or ‘Westerners don’t know the wonderful and blessed master-disciple relationship of the East’. I have heard several discourses on that topic.
You say, you didn’t become a Sannyasin, and you read other Gurus. Have you found with Rajneesh or other Gurus what you were looking for? And what in particular were you looking for? What are you looking for when you read about Actual Freedom? What is the intention behind your search?
I am asking these specific question, because they have helped me to distinguish between the teachings and promises on one side and the results, both personal and global, on the other side. Upon close investigation I had to admit that promises and results did not reconcile. Neither did I become enlightened nor did enlightenment result in a solution to the world’s problems. I had the choice to forever blame myself and keep hoping – or to try something new and radical.
The new and radical was to questions the soul, the feelings, the emotions (including love) and to learn that instincts are deleteable. The new and radical is to look at facts instead of trusting any master, to only rely on what can be evidenced by the physical senses. In short, to throw everything meta-physical out the window. Actual Freedom definitely is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of all spiritual beliefs.
RESPONDENT: Once I came to know what you and Peter were so excited about, Richard’s technique, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, I was mad with you. Because there is nothing new in the technique. I have been doing it more rigorously for a year and, in my opinion, a lot of people who are not in any spiritual search do it in their life too. In my case, it just happened to me that I started doing this technique after 6 months of dynamic and 6 months of Kundalini. It was a simple outcome of cleaning up performed by dynamic and Kundalini.
VINEETO: Maybe you could describe how you use this technique. I don’t understand how you can do it in the way Richard describes it and still be mad at me, or us. For me, using this ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ has helped me to get rid of all my emotions, feelings, beliefs and underlying instincts. I simply understood that it is not worth blaming anybody for my feelings, since they are my feelings, they arise in me. And I can see now that everybody is stricken with the same Human Condition that I have been so shackled with. As the easiest and most effective way I decided to clean myself up instead of blaming or trying to change other people. It was especially helpful and obviously effective in my relationship with Peter, but it is applicable in the same way for all my interactions with people, even with things like the weather and events.
Whenever anything would get me upset, I looked in myself for the cause. It was my anger, after all, or my upset, my fear, my worry, my sadness, that I wanted to get rid of. And it worked, miraculously so. After 12 months of intense investigation I am free of emotions, beliefs and most of my instinctual reactions, apart from an occasional little stirring, which gets investigated and cleaned out whenever it occurs.
RESPONDENT: What surprised me, however, was that you and Peter went in so much lengths to trash Osho in particular and eastern religions in general. And for what, a simple technique which perhaps everyone knows, at least, I believe, everyone on the sannyas list does.
VINEETO: Doing the ‘technique’ has helped me to get rid of my issues with ‘authority’ – wanting and needing someone, for instance Mr. Rajneesh, to tell me what is right and wrong – or rebelling against a supposed authority. I am free now and fully capable to judge silly and sensible for myself.
Questioning and eliminating the emotion and the belief in love and Love was another consequence of applying this method sincerely and diligently. This grand and to much praised emotion could no longer hold its credibility in the light of honest investigation and awareness, it is, after all, just the cover-up and band-aid for the instincts and ‘bad’ emotions that trouble everyone so much.
But in order to ‘trash’ a master of 17 years, one needs to be ready to look afresh, to question every dearly-held belief and dare to stand alone on one’s own feet, without a group or a master. Without the ‘support’ of my belief in authority and my need for love and the hope for Divine Love I was then able to really check out what Osho what proposing, offering and delivering. And I found it very wanting and intentionally confusing, to say the least.
As Richard said to you, when you start ‘seeing without sannyas eyes’ you will discover the full benefit and life-changing consequence of this question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ and you will find out that what you and supposedly everyone on the sannyas list does is something completely different.
It is not just noticing or ‘watching’ feelings and thus creating a new identity – the watcher. With the ‘watcher’ you transcend feelings, usually for the time being. They are not eliminated, they return. With a ‘watcher’ you can pretend this body installed with the Human Condition is not really ‘it’, but you are ‘Consciousness, eternal and pure’. You detach yourself from the body and its imminent emotions, feelings and thought and live as this new identity, the ‘watcher’ or ‘Consciousness’. If successfully applied one ends in the delusion or an Altered State of Consciousness aka enlightenment.
Richard’s method, on the other hand, is designed to question and eliminate every single emotion, belief and instinct in order to be completely free of ego and soul, ‘self’ and ‘Self’. Then one can live in this actual physical world and delight in its infinitude, magnificence, perfection and purity. Then one can be ‘the universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being’ – not a small outcome.
RESPONDENT: I have had a struggle on the Sannyas list about the religious issues (and in Pune also) for a long long time. I am so often on the ‘wrong’ side of the track as you may have noticed there. So I was very happy when Peter and Vineeto came on the list. It was so enlivening to examine these things! As far as having the guts to ruthlessly examine, well yes. What choice is there – to be blind to myself? and unhappy? furious or mute? No.
VINEETO: To rebel against religions and religious authorities is one thing, but up to now there hasn’t been much of a choice, hasn’t it? Exchanging Christianity for Eastern Religion, a 2000 year old Jesus against a living ‘Buddha’ has been all very fascinating in its time – but, as I said before, so many things didn’t work out.
Now we have a third alternative – to live here in this actual physical world and eliminate the sorrow and malice brought on by the Human Condition. One of the first issues on this path to freedom has been to examine and eliminate by ‘authority complex’. I have written about it in our journal (search: dependence on male authority). What a delight now to stand on my own feet, unafraid to examine the Ancient Wisdom of hundreds of revered authorities, and discovering that they all did not have the solution to being happy and harmless here on this planet.
VINEETO: (...) I take it that you are no different to those escapists, Konrad, as becomes obvious in the following quote!
There we come to the second subject I want to respond to.
KONRAD: Well, let me tell you something else. In my eyes, what you describe, sorry to say, is peanuts when I compare it with what I had to go through when the process started in me. In the early years this ‘process’ was so severe, and was so painful in my head, that it took me no less than 1 1/2 years, in the first year meditating for 8 hours a day, and the 1/2 year after that 5 hours a day, to let my body adapt to the immense pressure that penetrated my skull, and to be able to perform the most basic tasks of daily life. In this period of time I had very frequent and very severe cramp-like attacks, much like epilepsy, with its severity. And even during the 8 years following these years, wherein I continued to meditate for at least 2 hours a day, these attacks persisted. My body had to adapt to an energy that was of such an extremity as only somebody like Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti and the likes can imagine. In fact, Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s passing out at the most odd moments because of the severity of this energy was a very known phenomenon to all of the people close to them. It happens that my constitution is much stronger than that of Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, and therefore I have never passed out. Still, every time such an attack emerged it was a very intense ‘discharge’, causing me to be totally out of breath.
VINEETO: This is what I mean by escapist: sitting in a room with closed eyes for hours on end, retreating just into the head and pretending the rest of the world does not exist! I tell you, compared to your coco-nuts I do prefer my peanuts. At least there is no headache or epilepsy-like symptoms!
You compare yourself to J. Krishnamurti, thinking what a great achievement your process is (is this maybe called ego?). If you read Radha Rajagopal-Sloss’ book ‘Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti’ you can see for yourself that this man as a human being in his private life had no quality worth emulating. Your ideas of achievement go along the scales of suffering – Greatest He Who Suffers Most. But this will also be the solution that you are offering to other people: suffering. As if the world is not already full of it! Why add severe headaches to the trouble everyone already has?!
So, I do prefer peanuts, thank you. Because ‘following a confused soul’ as you put it, I examined and experimented successfully with Richard’s radical new method and ended up without beliefs, without sorrow and malice, experiencing the world as paradisical as it is, rich with pleasures and delights, enjoying their full impact on all my senses in this very actual physical world. To say: ‘You are still missing the point. Actuality is also just an idea’ is simply not understanding that ‘actual’ is the experience of the world as it is, after ideas have been stripped. Otherwise it would be call ‘idea-l’ not ‘actual’.
I had joined your conversation with Richard because I saw you were operating merely in the world of thought-constructs, ignorant or in denial of the body, the senses and the delights of being alive after all hindering emotions and beliefs are eliminated. You were and are still trying to find reasons and excuses not to come in contact with this actual world of the senses and of common sense. I admit that I have failed. It has been great pleasure and learning but I can’t see a point in continuing.
I had simply wanted to present to you – as does Richard – another way of living, happy and harmless, relying on and delighting in the senses, on intelligence and common sense. You prefer to compete with J. Krishnamurti in suffering, while trying to tell me off and saying I am just ‘following a confused soul’. Strangely enough, you are having miles of in-depth conversation with Richard, taking him very seriously there. This behaviour is illogical, hypocritical and looks plain silly.
I have come to the conclusion that you are not interested in becoming happy and harmless, you prefer your version of achievement and suffering. It is your choice, but know well that you are making a choice.
U.G. ADMINISTRATOR: Have you ever watched a child dying of starvation? Its weak cries and vacant eyes, as it lies awaiting death? Have you ever walked past derelicts lying on the sidewalks, the stench of their rotting bodies wafting through the air as pedestrians step over them? Have you ever been raped by a stranger with a knife at your throat? Or had your toenails torn out one by one by some mad religious fanatic?
And all this without a thought of beauty, horror, fear, terror, judgment???
I am glad you are concerned about the suffering of other people. 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone is sufficient evidence that something is terribly wrong with human beings. If you have a closer look, most of those wars were and are religious wars, people killing each other for their particular religious conviction and noble ideals. I know about the suffering both from experience of universal sorrow and from daily TV reports. Just the other day I saw ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’, a musical on World War I. 600,000 soldiers died on the English side alone, and at the end of the war they had gained no ground. The suffering of these soldiers was gut-wrenching, as they were living in trenches for no apparent reason but the questionable honour to die for the queen and country, in their sleepless nights listening to the cries of the wounded mates out in the fields. The survivors would even spare their wives and mothers about the horror-tales of war they had experienced.
But to have feelings of ‘beauty, horror, fear, terror’ about these facts doesn’t help anybody. ‘Horror, fear and terror’ is only an instinctual response that this might happen to me tomorrow. It won’t help me find and eliminate the cause of the violence and suffering. That you add ‘beauty’ to the list suggests the bittersweet feeling of compassion, which is just another word for ‘suffering together’ (common pathos). Compassion has been proclaimed the merciful solution to suffering but has only perpetuated it.
Mother Theresa is considered a great example of compassion, but all she did was feed and raise orphans to become a saint and be rewarded in heaven – while the pope is creating an unlimited supply of poor children with his prohibition of birth-control. I can see her compassion only as an extremely selfish behaviour. Or would you prefer the compassion of the Dalai Lama – his very title means ‘the Lord who looks down with compassion on the world of sentient beings’. In his ‘holy’ country the peasants starve while they work their butts off to pay for the dead Lamas to be replicated in gold – that is compassion! In Thailand and Vietnam, Buddhist monks have set themselves on fire for a compassionate cause, thus merely adding to the terror that was already happening.
No, ‘judgement’ is the only faculty I consider worth applying. Without the soothing veil of emotions I am experiencing the full impact of the horrendous amount of suffering that people create for each other every day. This very impact gives me the fuel and intent to stop being a contributor to both malice and sorrow, to become completely happy and harmless. And the only person I can change is myself. This means, not just applying the usual ethics from this or that religious conviction and be as good as one can repress oneself, or transcend oneself, but to extinguish the very entity inside that is the seat of our innate animalistic instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To extinguish not only the ‘one I think I am’, the ego, but also the ‘one I feel I am’, the soul, the Self.
It takes courage to step outside of all of humanity’s values and the ‘tried and failed’ solutions. Your particular solution suggests I should be feeling guilty for being happy, because other people are suffering. That would add yet another person to the already vast number of suffering people. Having spent 15 years on the spiritual path I have experienced the enormous impact those ‘solutions’ have on the continuation of suffering and confusion people are living in.
The reason for the confusion is that none of the spiritual teachers and enlightened beings have ever dared to question the soul or ‘being’. They all are content with exchanging the little ego with the grand ‘feeling one with the Universe’, exuding compassion for thousands of years, while every one of them teaches a different version of their particular way to bliss, redemption, paradise or enlightenment. The outcome has been poverty, religious wars and the generally accepted notion that the solution to the world’s suffering could only be found in afterlife or by turning away into the imaginary world of bliss beyond ego. To see the poverty, discrimination, disease, sexual repression and degradation of women in India alone tells enough about the impact and effect Eastern religions have on people’s lives.
That we are ‘feeling beings’ is held as the distinction between us and the rest of the animal world. This proud distinction unfortunately is founded on the instinctually produced feelings of malice and sorrow, for which we have invented antidotes of love and compassion. Our sorrow is based on a feeling of dread at its very core, and many people know only too well the spiral down from sorrow to despair to horror and finally dread. Suffering is accepted as an integral unchangeable part of the Human Condition and is even lauded as a noble trait. To suffer rightly or deeply is held in high esteem and often evokes a bitter-sweet feeling. Compassion or empathy is also held in high esteem. As humans we are subject to physical dangers, losses, ill-health, accidents, floods, fires, etc. which can cause pain. But to have and indulge in emotional suffering additional to the hardship is to compound the situation to such an extent that the feelings are usually far worse than dealing with the facts would be. Further, the feeling of sorrow usually leads to feelings of resentment, retribution, revenge or anger and this backlash is then maliciously directed at others who will then have to suffer, and they in turn feel ... and on, and on, and on, it has gone for centuries.
What I am talking about is the complete opposite, not feeling compassionate but eliminating the cause of suffering completely, not by trying to apply ‘no-thought’, but by ridding myself of the Human Condition, the emotions, beliefs and instincts. At last I can be without sorrow and malice, without authority and fear, without beliefs and imagination. This is not only tackling ‘the nature of thought’, as you say, but the nature of the animalistic instincts that every human being is born with. Now it is proven that it is possible to completely demolish the whole animal heritage, to rid oneself not only of ego but also of soul and instincts and become a happy and harmless human being for the first time in history.
Up until now everybody has tried in one way or another to wear the rose-coloured glasses of love, good and compassion over the grey-coloured glasses of hate, fear and sorrow. It has not worked. Fear, hate and sorrow are as much evident in the world and in everybody’s psyche as ever after three thousand years of spiritual practice. Why not, for a change, dare and remove both pairs of glasses and experience the physical world as the magical, fairy-tale and safe place it actually is. It is possible to rid oneself of the human qualities of ‘beauty, horror, fear, terror’, etc. and, without ego or soul, be completely innocent and harmless – one of 6 billion people on the planet, but not contributing to suffering and violence.
RESPONDENT: Have you been able to localize this self through your indoctrination into Peter/Richard’s way of looking at life? If so, where does it end and the ‘other’ begin?
VINEETO: I don’t know what you mean by ‘the other’. Once I am outside of the self, there is no ‘other’, just this body and brain functioning perfectly well and experiencing the world around me intimately, sensuously, fully alive and in appreciation of my surroundings. While I am writing to you, Peter is clicking away on his keyboard, the computer is humming quietly, the night still and magical with the full-moon high in the sky. My fingers find their way from typing letters to making words, my body still tingling from sex.
Life is wonderfully easy without the burden of the ‘self’. It was never the body or the senses or the brain that were the culprit, it has always been the ‘self’ that corrupts both thoughts and senses. This ‘self ’is responsible for all the misery on the planet, for all the wars, tortures, murders, rapes, poverty, greed, corruption and hypocrisy. By dismantling and extinguishing it bit by bit I am able to live here, now, in this actual physical and sensually experience-able world. I don’t need to escape into a fantasy-place where I imagine that the ‘self’ does not exist. I came to see the fantasy-world of enlightenment as a big, big fairy-land and quite some people have been deluded into it, although rarely anybody succeeds in staying permanently deluded. A Buddhist pundit calculated that 0.0001% of seekers ever reach their ultimate goal. But in the end enlightenment is only an Altered State of Consciousness, a construct of passionate imagination and a delusion of grandeur.
I did experience this enlightened ‘Self’ myself – it is called having a Satori, I guess – and can observe it in detail from an outsider’s standpoint – seeing the grand belief and the overwhelming emotions of ‘wisdom’ and Divine Compassion – and I know the qualitative difference when there is no self at all in operation. All Enlightened Ones still have an identity; it is called ‘I am God’ or ‘I am one with God’. It is nevertheless an identity, very grand and ‘holy’, universal in its feeling but still with one at its core who claims to be ‘one with the Divine’. The Enlightened Ones loose their ego but safely keep their soul, their identity merely shifts from the head to the heart, leaving all the animal-instincts unquestioned.
RESPONDENT: Also, I’d like to comment that having been a Sannyasin for some 18 years – in no way have I ever stopped thinking for myself and blindly accepted ‘all’ just because Osho said it – my understanding has always been to take what’s said and then let my discernment, my inner feeling to guide me – if it resonates within – there is truth – if it doesn’t it is discard-able – and I never heard Osho tell me to do otherwise ... as a matter of fact much of what he said was often contradictory – purposefully – yet that never denied the truth contained in what was said – Could it be that maybe, just maybe ... you missed the point?
VINEETO: According to you I missed the point – I can understand that. You let yourself be guided by inner feelings – and reach to an inner world that is made out of feelings. If you look around, it is feelings and passions that cause religious wars; people kill for their god, for their Master, for their belief. We were ready to do so on the Ranch. I know what you are hinting at, I have believed and experimented with it myself with all the intent and devotion in search for enlightenment. I know now that it failed because it did not make me a better human being. I retreated into meditation, into the ‘inner’ world, but I was still as angry, sad, vindictive, jealous, depressed and fearful as before, maybe more sophisticated, maybe more controlled. Still, anybody could set me off at times, merely driving a car was often enough to be irritated, disturbed, annoyed or pissed off..
When I came across the possibility that there may be another solution I was ready to investigate it thoroughly. Actual Freedom is radical and iconoclastic, I now question everything I have ever thought and felt I was, but it has two advantages – it makes sense and it works. It is based on facts rather than feelings and fantasies, and focuses on ‘silly and sensible’ rather than depending on morals and ethics that have failed to bring peace since millennia.
VINEETO: There is another option, though. You could put your objections – which are more than understandable – aside in order to investigate scientifically, rather than emotionally. With a more informed understanding your questions will be more to the point and have more the quality of questions instead of objections.
RESPONDENT: You say here that you don’t hear me. Ok, but why can’t you say so, instead of TELLING me what to do? Can’t I think for myself??
VINEETO: The trouble with thinking is that is goes round in circles, because humans have learned certain ‘truths’ that they take as facts. To question something that everybody believes to be the case – for instance that there is something like truth, or a life after death, or that Human Nature cannot be changed – is not something that would occur in normal thinking. At least, it did not occur in my thinking, trained by society and spiritual wisdom, and it did not occur in anybody else I have talked to. As long as thinking is edited and distorted by instincts, emotions and beliefs, our innate intelligence does not have much chance to operate.
Also, I am not telling you what to do, I am suggesting another option. From my own experience at the start I know quite well how the Human Condition reacts in most of us. But since you said you were only curious, not vitally interested in finding an alternative to Ancient Wisdom, I will stop wasting your time now.
VINEETO: Hi Everygbody,
With this insight that there is only now, that I live only now, and that there is no heaven to go to – I woke up into full awareness and aliveness. Postponement only brings more misery, hope is for the hesitant one who does not want to take the first step to freedom. This peak-experience lasted for several hours, and while everyone else was tired to the bone I bounced in refreshed aliveness. Later on the event got filed into the category of ‘group-highs’ and the memory of it soon faded away. But for those few hours I had lived in the actual world, here, now, without God, heaven, authority, love, hope and postponement. I had actually experienced that this moment is the only moment we have got, the only moment we can experience being alive, to be either miserable or happy, complaining or fully alive.
And this is where I see one of the main differences between the freedom, Peter and I talk about, and the teachings of the enlightened masters of all ages: the concept of life after death. ‘Eternity’ was a good attraction at the time, improving on the notion of the Christian heaven and hell. The idea was that the soul was eternal, and would live on forever and ever, evolving and in bliss, or, re-appearing in endless re-incarnations, sorting out one’s so-called karma. Enlightenment offered the dream of ‘me’ living on for ever – even after physical death ‘I’ would continue ... and this very dream lead to the most insidious postponement – everything will be fixed with enlightenment or otherwise in Nirvana after death... This belief in eternity comes in many forms and disguises, but if you take a closer look, you will always find that the Divine, the Melting with the Universe, the Dissolution into the Greater Whole – life after death – are an essential part of Eastern teaching.
The dream of the eternal, undying soul spoils the game of living now as the only moment of being alive. That’s where Richard shocked my out of my socks: He proposed that there is no life after death. You die when you die, full stop, basta, finito, extinct.
‘Well, yes, maybe’, I thought, ‘nobody knows, and it could be that he might be right. But I will only know when I die ..’ (one can see the postponement at work!). I did not want to let the fact come close enough to admit that I have only a very limited life-span left – I don’t know how long it will be.
When I asked Richard why he is so confidently positive about no life after death, he replied: ‘Because there is nobody and nothing in me that could live on, I am only this flesh and blood body, there is no soul, no entity inside this body which could live on.’ That statement really hit. Here was a man, without imagination, without emotions, living happily in everyday life, as ordinary as anybody, and he says there exists no entity in him which survives! For me, that meant, that everybody else, including me, imagines their soul, imagines an inner world, imagines life-after-death, imagines the Divine and keeps feelings alive by feeding them with imagination.
But if one single man can live happily and harmlessly outside of imagination, if he can live without love and emotion, then our emotions and soul are not facts but products of our fertile collective imagination and instinctual programming. Then, the concepts of ‘divine energy’, ‘eternal soul’, ‘Existence looking after us’, etc, are suddenly understood as concepts, built and refined over the centuries to keep the fear of death at bay, to reconcile us with the awareness of the terrifying fact of approaching death.
If a single man has rid himself of all beliefs, and of the very act of believing, those beliefs are exposed for what they are – non-factual.
Recognizing this fact was a shock and it was not easy to look the fear of death in the face, but it brought me here. Not knowing if I am alive tomorrow, I can only live this moment – there is, as a fact, no afterlife. If I don’t like life now, I am the only one who can change it. To say, as I often heard quoted, that ‘everything is perfect as it is’ or, ‘one gets on with life and life will take care’ are just more disguises for the same postponement.
VINEETO: What is usually completely overlooked is that there is not only an ‘ego’ controlling our thoughts, but also a ‘soul’ producing our emotions and that both are running on the fuel of our innate animal survival instincts. Both, ego and soul, have to be eliminated in order to experience an actual freedom from the Human Condition. Only without the intricate system of instincts, emotions and beliefs can the magnificent perfection of actuality be experienced, which is then it self-evident and obvious. Actual Freedom is neither a devastating truth nor a mystery to be lost in – but the continuous experience of this abundant life in this pure and infinite universe, experienced through the physical senses.
RESPONDENT: Nice try, but when you use words like eliminated, instead of awareness, you are revealing your repressing control trip. I have been speaking of awareness, in referring to 3 levels of consciousness, I refer to 3 levels of awareness.
VINEETO: I think you don’t know what ‘eliminated’ means, maybe you have never experienced the elimination of an emotion or an instinct. It means, this particular emotion and issue have disappeared, they doesn’t exist anymore. Take for instance jealousy. I have neither repressed it nor transcended it, it now simply does not occur, whatever the situation, because the one who would be insulted by jealousy or feel insecure by anyone’s behaviour has been eliminated. I have dug deep inside and found the ground my jealousy was feeding from and I have removed the very cause for jealousy to occur, the sense of ‘me’ that wants attention, security, identity and the notion of belonging. If jealousy was just repressed there would still be situations when, once in a while, the lid would invariably ‘fly off’ and reveal the underlying emotion of possessiveness, because one cannot repress for 24 h a day, 365 days a year.
The spiritual practice of ‘awareness’ only shifts one’s identity to the ‘watcher’, a newly created spiritual identity. When those ‘transcended’ emotions and instincts return because the watcher wasn’t watchful enough, they are raging in full force. Instincts are not being eliminated by transcendence, not even reduced, they are only put aside through dis-identification.
Elimination gets rid of the cause, it severs the root of the particular belief, feeling or emotion. To eliminate an emotion, such as jealousy, I had to find the underlying cause, examine all the supporting beliefs and emotions, like love, possessiveness, fear, greed, insecurity etc. and understand them in their entirety. I have to see the instincts, the core of the ‘self’ in its operation. Only then is it possible to eliminate that particular emotion – a bit of the ‘self’ actually dies, never to return.
Richard says it very aptly:
RESPONDENT: No amount of talking or typing will ever awaken anybody unless there is trust and surrender, such as what can exist in a master/disciple relationship. I say these words to add clarity where there might otherwise be frustration from not being heard.
VINEETO: Trust and surrender only lead to the confused lost-ness, that you describe your freedom to be, and to eternal dependency from the person one has chosen to be one’s master. You surrender your will to a higher authority. Not much of a freedom I would say!
Freedom is to be free of authority, free of one’s ‘self’, free of any psychic, mental and emotional construct, free of churning emotions and the sorrow of compassion. Freedom is to be free to be the universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being.
RESPONDENT: I don’t wish to comment on each of your comments. I don’t feel you hear me. What I get back from you are the same tired projections ... your words about gurus, superiority etc. And ironically, you don’t seem to understand that people are at different levels of consciousness.
VINEETO: Of course, I do. People are at different stages in their lives and have become more or less aware of some of their behaviour.
I simply point out that with the creation of 3 levels of consciousness you put yourself on the top level and then feel wonderfully superior about it. Your 3 levels of consciousness seem to be
Unless you have eliminated all (conscious and unconscious) emotions, beliefs and instincts from your body, there will always be a ‘self’, a ‘being’ remaining that claims the achievement. Did you ever wonder ‘who’ is that entity that claims to be ‘conscious’, that claims the achievement of awareness, love, compassion?
That is exactly the new and radical about what I say: every ‘who’ is preventing you to experience the actuality of each moment, every ‘who’, however ‘advanced’ he claims to be, is still an entity, polluting the experience of the purity and perfection of the actual world. There is something more to discover and it is physical and sensate as opposed to meta-physical, cerebral and affective.
RESPONDENT: But, given that you are stuck in some belief trip, this is understandable, because humans can’t see up very much.
VINEETO: I am talking about experiencing the world as evidenced by the physical senses. It is, compared to the different spirit-ual convictions, not a belief but an actual, repeatable event – the very word ‘spiritual’ points to ‘spirit’, non-actual, non-material, as opposed to the flesh-and-blood body. In order to hear the sound of cicadas in the background or feel the fan blowing on my shoulders I don’t need any kind of belief. It is an actual, direct and delightful experience of the senses.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, you remained in the duality of good/bad emotions. And right/wrong beliefs. All, throughout 17 years of sannyas!!!
VINEETO: Are you saying, you didn’t? You write on your website:
Don’t you guide people out of their ‘bad’ emotions and out of their ‘wrong’ beliefs? If you don’t, then why would they come to you in the first place? Or do you prefer to call it ‘the wrong level of consciousness’? Don’t you guide them from bad feelings into good feelings, from the ‘normal’ world into the ‘spiritual’ world, from the secular into the Divine?
‘Going beyond duality’ in Eastern philosophy and in Osho’s teaching translates into ‘transcending the secular dualities of good and bad, loneliness and belonging to a group, greed and generosity, love and hate, etc’. One transcends this duality by the feeling of Bliss, Compassion and Divine Love, but duality is only transcended by creating another identity, the ‘watcher’.
I am talking about the third alternative – removing the root cause of the problem, ‘me’, the ‘self’, the instinctual programming, not just transcending it into ‘feeling’ one with the divine. Actual Freedom means eliminating not only the secular duality of good and bad, but also the spiritual duality of ‘the watcher’ and the ‘illusory world’, of soul and body. In the actual world there is no duality because there is no imaginary alien entity of ‘me’, the soul, the core of one’s being. In Actual Freedom this instinctual sourced being has been extinct.
RESPONDENT: So finally, with Peter’s or Richard’s saying it in a way you could understand, you woke up to witness your conditioned mind ... the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts.
VINEETO: No, not witness – eliminate, remove, extinguish. There is a big difference. Witnessing creates a new entity, the ‘watcher’. One is to identify with and become the ‘watcher’ and dismiss or transcend the rest as imaginary. Body-mind, emotion, thought and senses, as well as the physical world, are considered an illusion, while Consciousness is proclaimed to be one’s true nature.
Elimination happens through understanding the root cause of each particular problem, the human instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. By seeing when I was acting out of my instincts, ‘human nature’, I could also see that I have a choice. But in order to have that choice I have to questions all emotions, good and bad, and all beliefs (‘real’ and Divine), in fact, the very act of believing itself.
RESPONDENT: Wonderful, but now I see that you are again unconsciously believing. Believing there is no god, no love, no soul, no other lives, etc, etc, etc.
VINEETO: Not so. I don’t believe, either consciously or unconsciously. I only take my information about life from what I can see, hear, smell, touch and taste, the very physical substance. Everything that goes on in the head and the heart is belief and imagination – it is the very stuff the ‘self’ is made of. Once you stop believing in the soul you experientially understand that it does not exist outside of your belief. To believe that there is life after death needs the act of believing. It is not a proven fact. And it doesn’t make it more of a fact that millions of people have the same belief. Once you stop feeding that belief you will suddenly see the fact that this body dies when it dies and that there is nothing else left, no soul to live on for eternity. Once god, love, soul, other lives etc. are not supported, i.e. passionately believed in, by our psychic entity, they disappear. They have as much substance as a ghost – none whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: Seeing that most of the world is unconscious of their repressions which keep them stuck in their beliefs, you have formed a new belief that all of what the masses believe is wrong. I am not saying they are right. I am saying that if you re-awaken, see your current beliefs, AND NOT REPLACE THEM as Osho has said, you may find your heart and life as a mystery to be lived, not as a believing robot.
VINEETO: Once I experienced the actual world I could see there is no need to pollute it with any kind of ‘human produce’ – call it heart, love, mystery, divine consciousness. From the clear experience of a Pure Consciousness Experience I could see that all my feelings and beliefs are part of the Human Condition, a product of the basic survival instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. I understand that you would want to label my experience of the actual world according to your belief-structure and put it into the drawer of ‘another belief’ because all we have known up to now is consists of beliefs. In fact, belief, trust, hope and faith are held as the highest human values.
The moment you sincerely inquire into the activity of believing, you will find yourself nibbling away at the very substance of the ‘Self’. Very, very scary, but utterly thrilling and immensely rewarding.
Did you ever consider how do you determine if what you believe is actually the case? Well, if it is actually the case, it must therefore exists without the support of your belief – so believing is an unnecessary activity. My honest investigation into my acts of believing and one year of diligently applying the method of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ has led me to experiencing the world in its magnificent, sensuous and delightful actuality – unclouded and unfiltered by any emotions, feelings, beliefs or instincts.
RESPONDENT: But by rightly hearing Osho, one would see his whole effort is to destroy all beliefs.
VINEETO: He might have thought so himself, and yet it was a belief and not a fact that ‘he is not the body’, that ‘he only visited this planet’, that ‘his soul is immortal and dissolves into the Whole’, that ‘real life starts after death’ – that’s what’s the meaning of ‘Maha-Parinirvana’, the true and great Nirvana after death. You can find many, many words for what he taught to be the truth – still, it is just ancient Eastern beliefs. It needs trusting and believing, it needs surrender to the master’s wisdom in order to keep up this imaginary world. The moment you stop feeding the belief, for instance in an afterlife or immortality, it will gradually disappear and be revealed the mirage it is.
RESPONDENT: My insight into his messages is rather blunt. But I like it. I say all that he said boils down to two messages. One is ... everything that you believe is bullshit ...
VINEETO: Could it be that, for your convenience, you call ‘belief’ what you have thrown out, and label as ‘truth’, what you want to keep? If the very act of believing is ‘bullshit’, why do you believe in trust, in God, in surrender? As you say on your web-site:
– and to No 14 and to No 4 you said:
It simply requires no trust to be here in the actual world as this flesh and blood body.
In my ruthless and relentless investigations of what are my beliefs and what are facts, I found an amazing guideline: Everything that needs ‘my’ doing in any form, thinking, believing, feeling, intuiting, channelling etc. is not actual. Whatever is actual can be questioned and examined till the cows come home, it will stay actual and factual. You can doubt the existence of a tree, it will still be there as a growing plant with a trunk and branches and leaves. But if you question the soul, you’ll end up with nothing substantial. Applying this guideline to all my dearly held beliefs has been at times quite devastating – but now I can be certain and confident for the first time about the facts that I had uncovered under the layer of passionate beliefs. Anything that requires belief or feeling such as ‘trust’, ‘surrender’ or ‘hope’ is not actual – it is obvious and devastatingly simple.
Trust is believing or hoping that something exists (ie that Existence cares for us, that the Master knows what he is doing or talking about, that God is looking after His children). Confidence, on the other hand, is knowing the facts as evidenced by the physical senses.
RESPONDENT: There is much I could say here. However, since I don’t feel you will hear my answer, perhaps I’ll let your questions stand by themselves. Koans for you.
VINEETO: So, you are saving your ‘pearls of wisdom’ because you assume that I don’t appreciate them?
I am willing to learn anything that is new, but I am not interested in re-hashed old wisdom which is an obvious failure. If you can present me with something that is sound-proof and water-tight, meaning that it works such that it makes people happy and harmless, free from the ‘natural’ instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, I am more than ready to listen.
I have had all kinds of psychic experiences of ‘being the heart’, ‘knowing’, feeling compassionate for everyone and everything, at one with the Divine and the imaginary bliss of being one with the universe – they are all very nice for the experiencer, but none of them is a solution to both personal and global peace-on-earth. And none of those experiences are actual – they all happen in the head – affective imagination to the point of madness.
The other day I wrote to Alan about such an experience of this religious insanity:
It is such a relief that I am free of these eerie, seductive and imaginary experiences, which had completely removed me from the physical senses and any common sense. It is considered the pinnacle of religious achievement and yet the opposite of, and anathema to, living as a human being in this actual world. The objection to being here on the planet has created this insane paradise of spirit-ual imagining where one is not this flesh and blood body, but a spirit and feeling, waiting for the final redemption at the death of the body.
Now there is a third alternative – one can eliminate beliefs, emotions and instincts and be happy and harmless instead of feeling compassionate and swanning in an imaginary bliss. One can live in this actual, physical, magnificent universe without God but a magic that surpasses every possible imagination.
I am aware that this third alternative can only appeal to someone with a down-to-earth common sense and a burning discontent about the ‘tried and failed’, someone with guts and passion for the best.
RESPONDENT: All I know, within my experience and belief system is what my heart tells me ... but that is even questionable because I have to use my head to filter what my heart tells me. Like I said, until I am in that place where I can actually experience the feeling of no-mind I cannot tell...
VINEETO: I pondered for a while how to make you understand the difference between ‘being in the heart’, the ‘feeling of no-mind’ of the spiritual world and being the universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being.
When I met Peter and heard him talk about Actual Freedom, I thought, ‘well, it is maybe just a bit further than where I am already with my meditation...’ A few month later, I understood for the first time what the word ‘spirit-ual’ means: a world made by the spirit (my spirit), filled with spirits – it was non-actual and non-factual. It hit me like a hammer. Could that mean, all my efforts to reach this inner space of peace and bliss and silence meant that I was only creating a world of my own – according to the instructions of the spiritual guidance – a little playground where nobody could hurt me anymore? And everybody else was creating such a little playground in their heads too?
But, everything ‘created’ is not actual! It is a product of imagination!
On investigation I found it to be the case. I found I could alter this playground according to my imagination, make it fit any Scripture I had read or heard, be it Osho, be it Tibetan, be it Tantra, be it past-life fantasies. The great disadvantage of this playground was that I could only vaguely share it with others, and only with a chosen few of the same faith. Further, everybody seemed to have a slightly different version of this fantasy-land, everyone had their individual place of personal peace. Also, by dwelling in this ‘retreat’ I could not be at ease in the ‘marketplace’, and it did not alter my emotions like dependency, jealousy, anger, fear and sorrow. Yes, sometimes I had a distance to them, but I could not maintain that distance all the time.
That understanding initiated the turn-around. I wanted to be happy in this actual world, not just in a fantasy-land, which was non-compatible with other people (except a few close friends). I was actually afraid of the non-believers and the so-called outside world. I wanted to be able to experience actual changes in me, that would be reliably apparent in my interactions with the actual world of people, things and events as well, all the time, in every situation. I wanted to be happy and harmless, 24 hours a day.
The ‘feeling of no-mind’ is a feeling, as you so aptly say. To be ‘here’ means to questions and eliminate feelings, to step out of the ‘real’ world of feelings and into the actual world – leaving your ‘self’ completely behind.
RESPONDENT: I actually missed you from the sannyas list. I must admit that yours and Peter’s posts were interesting and educational. I still have a problem with negating the idea that there is a God ... to me all is God or Existence or All That Is ... whatever you want to call it. Negating that is really negating yourself.
VINEETO: (...) I can see the point that it is not easy to negate the idea that there is a God. Because negating the idea of God is negating your ‘self’.
For me, the idea of taking Sannyas in 1980 was to find a solution to the troubles I found in myself and in everyone around me. I had explored politics, women’s liberation and social work and found all of them lacking to provide a solution. Then Osho offered the solution to the problems both personal and global by dissolving the ego, becoming enlightened. I went for it full of enthusiasm and devotion, determined to find the answer. After 17 years I still had achieved no substantial improvement in my life, nor could I see it in other seekers.
When I met Peter (and Richard) and they talked about a new approach, to question all the beliefs and eliminate not only the ego, but the soul, I was very hesitant. Really? But, everybody believes, and everybody feels. What about life after death, what about the bliss forever and ever in enlightenment? I wanted eternal reward for my efforts, for my suffering, not just here-now. And I was very afraid to lose my ‘self’.
But then, I had already started to question my conditioning, my primary beliefs in sannyas, I had already started to doubt my behaviour as part of this insidious ‘self’ or ‘ego’. Could it be that my very limited success was due to that I had not done it totally, that I had not questioned the second part of me, the soul, the ‘Self’? To question not only the bad emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy or rage, but also the good emotions like love, friendship, intuition, unselfishness and compassion was a radical step.
But one thing I had already understood in sannyas, that everything that I create in my head – or heart – is part of me and not to be relied upon. So I gathered all my courage and stopped to believe the stories my head produced without interruption. The effect was enormous. I literally came ‘here’ for the first time that I can remember. ‘Here’ meaning, the filter of the ‘self’ was temporarily not functioning and I saw the world as it is, without the story we usually create out of what we see, hear, taste or smell. Everything just existed in its own right. Clear, perfect, magically alive, thriving, wondrous, pure, obvious and self-evidently here without needing any God or force or love to be able to exist. Just here. Just this. And I am conscious of it without being separated and without having any kind of connection with it either.
And I had come ‘here’ by stopping to believe anything, stopping to create anything. That’s what made the experience so pure. There was no ‘me’ polluting the perfection of it. Because anything that I create is only created by ‘me’, the ‘self’, produced by instincts and conditioning, emotions and beliefs. It is unreliable to give the actual picture of what is, it is filtered, distorted, interpreted, formed, mutated.
This experience gave me the courage to question everything I believed, including God. Because in that experience I knew, there is only this very physical universe, perceived through our physical senses and the consciousness of this physical experience. Everything else I could see as the outcome of a psychic construct, imagined and built by all of humanity since time memorial.
Having experienced the world, the actual world without me in the road, I knew what I had to do. I had to remove my ‘self’ with all its implications, with all its beliefs, with all of ‘me’. Because only ‘I’ am in the road of the perfection of the physical universe, ‘I’ and my beliefs in God, Love, All There Is, or whatever else idea we heap unto the vastness and purity of what is. And then there is no grandness, no bliss, no life after death and it is utterly unnecessary too. Because without the filter of instincts and conditioning, without the Human Condition, each moment is experienced as magical, utterly fulfilling, delightful and fulfilling. Without separation there is no need for God or Love to unite.
I had tried to get rid of the ‘bad’ emotions. But the trick is to free oneself of all that we continuously create in our heads and hearts – of the good and bad emotions, of the whole ‘soul’. Then, and only then – without the ‘self’ or ‘Self’ – can we experience this vast physical universe including ourselves in its magnificence and benevolence which is its very nature.
Does this explanation make it more understandable what I mean by living without God. It is not negating, it is stopping to produce Him or It in the first place. There never existed anything like God except in our fertile and collective imagination, created out of the fear of being alone in this world – and ancient people have had good reasons to perceive it as dangerous and threatening, it was dangerous then with all the wild animals, the scarcity of food and hostile neighbours.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.