Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: It seems more authentic for me to communicate with others what I am upset about if I am getting upset. This is not to put a demand upon them or tell them that their behaviour must change. It is to openly communicate where my buttons are – not an attempt to blame others for my feelings – while I continue to investigate and clean myself up.
VINEETO: I found that ‘me ’ being ‘authentic’ was just as ‘self’-serving as being hypocritical. Being authentic is the new-age version of letting everyone around have a piece of one’s feelings. If you look at today’s authenticity-gurus such as Oprah Winfrey then you can see that the core of their teaching is how to be authentically ‘me’. That’s what people have always done down through the ages – the only difference now is that it has the modern stamp of approval by calling it loving your ‘true self’ – a shoddy mixture of Eastern spiritualism and pop psychology.
What is the real purpose of being authentic? What is the underlying reason for wanting to air my feelings? Why do I want someone else to know where my ‘buttons’ are? Why do I want others to be sensitive towards ‘me’? Rather than being authentic towards others, I found it invaluable and imperative to be honest with myself, because without honesty and integrity I would have never found out ‘my’ tricks and cunning. ‘Me’ being honest and authentic with others invariably means that I am sharing my sad and grotty ‘self’ with others, which only serves to justify, maintain and perpetuate ‘me’.
The decision to clean oneself up is a unilateral decision – it involves no one else but me. As long as I expect respect, comfort, support, understanding or agreement from others in order to start the journey, I will be waiting forever. Actualism is a do it yourself and do it by yourself method. It is an immense freedom to realize that you are not beholden to anyone else to begin the actualism practoce but that you can become free at your own pace and do so in complete autonomy and anonymity.
RESPONDENT: What you say about the attempt to be ‘authentic’ rings mostly true. But what are we trying to do with the method of AF if not be more authentic to what is actual? Not ‘authentic’ in the sense of ‘feeling and expressing our emotions’ more accurately, but being authentic as in being actually present and truthful.
VINEETO: I think it is important not to confuse the issue here. You first used the word ‘authentic’ as it is commonly used nowadays meaning communicating your feelings as in ‘more authentic for me to communicate with others what I am upset about’. Now you have used the very same word to describe something completely different, a practice that only muddies the waters of communication and understanding. If we stick with your original use of the word then your statement ‘but being authentic as in being actually present’ is impossible because feelings are never actual – they may be felt as real but they are not actual as in palpable, tangible, tactile, corporeal, physical and material.
Actually present then means physically present, giving your full attention to the person or situation – you can never do that when you are emotional because then you are busy being emotional.
This may seem to you like nitpicking about the meaning of words but I have found it an immense help both in thinking things out for myself and in communication with others to be precise in labelling my thoughts and feelings and make a clear distinction between the two.
The word ‘truthful’ is similarly laden with either spiritual or emotional content – you may have noticed that the truth is different for everyone, it is ‘my truth’ against ‘your truth’ and this generally translates as ‘my feeling’ against ‘your feeling’ and ‘my belief’ against ‘your belief’. Therefore, as an actualist, I am not interested in truth but in facts because a fact is obvious for everyone, it is verifiable, objective actuality. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably factual.
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: When one’s dearest and nearest beliefs, worldviews and outlooks are being questioned, which is what inevitably happens when one inquires into actualism, instinctive emotional reactions are par for the course and some people are not backward in expressing such feelings on this mailing list. As Richard said recently to No 49,
There are, however, some people who have understood the fact that if one is sincere in wanting to become both happy and harmless then the only person one can change and indeed the only person who needs to change is oneself. Unless and until one fully takes on board this self-evident fact – and I do mean fully – one will forever remain locked into typical emotional cycles such as those of anger, blame, resentment and reprisal or guilt, resentment, appeasement and submissiveness.
RESPONDENT: This makes sense. However, I was living a near monastic life and was very religious as of April 1st. Still, being open minded and seeking only ‘truth’ (not sure of a better term) I can/will consider something oh so radical from my former ways.
VINEETO: It was only when I met Richard, who had been enlightened and managed to free himself from the massive delusion of this altered state of consciousness, and sat down and listened to his insider-information report that I began to understand that the search for truth will always lead to either a feeling of union with an imaginary God or to an altered state of consciousness. I then began to grasp that truth, more precisely the ‘Truth’, and the facts of the matter of exactly what it is to be a human being are mutually exclusive and I realized that I had to change my search for freedom into a straightforward and pragmatic inquiry and this shift was a shift from feeling what is the truth to sensibly assessing what is factual and sensately discovering what is actual.
RESPONDENT: Coming from my direct experience, I cannot agree with your ridiculous conclusion that ‘her method is purely ‘self’-serving and utterly useless for bringing about peace-on-earth’. How the hell would you know anyway, given your lack of direct experience with the Work?
VINEETO: As I said, I have ample experience with the practice of acquiring ‘self’-knowledge’ from years of spiritual therapy which included methods like Byron Katie’s ‘look inside rather than outside’. I also have the contrasting experience of a PCE when one is not being a ‘self’ and I have my experience of years of living in virtual freedom from malice and sorrow. By this comparison I know that any self investigation without the explicit aim of becoming harmless and happy is inevitably ‘self’-empowering and ‘self’-aggrandizing although I would not have understood, let alone admitted to it, in my spiritual years.
Maybe it is easier to understand when I say that in spiritual practice one’s ego-self might receive some bashing but one’s soul-self will always emerge closer to God or to the ‘divine nature’ and thus grander than ever.
RESPONDENT: I can already hear your predictable reply. Go ahead and assert your your self-perceived monopoly on the truth...
VINEETO: When you imagine what I am going to say and then ridicule your own assumption you have very little chance of hearing what I am actually saying let alone learn something new. In this case you would be better off shifting this conversation to your shaving mirror – it would save me having to make predictable replies, you could make them up yourself. Incidentally there is no such thing as a ‘self-perceived monopoly on the truth’ because truth is always subjective – everyone has his or her personal truth or Truth – whereas when I write I draw on my experience and present factual evidence and common sense.
RESPONDENT: I was able to discard the concept of God long back in my early twenties, because of Osho’s teachings but then I was able not to replace it with Osho (as Vineeto did), again because of Osho’s teachings. So I am really surprised how Vineeto – being so close to Osho – missed the whole point. I think that is where Osho seemed to have failed.
VINEETO: As long as I was a sannyasin, and specially as long as Osho was alive I did not think I had God in my bonnet. Osho was simple the wise man I followed, he was the guide for my life, his words were Truth and his directions were Right. Whatever he said about life, meditation, relationship and the Universe was law for me, and I tried to live my life accordingly. I don’t see anything strange in this, taken that I had burnt my bridges to ‘being normal’ when I took sannyas, and taken that this was called ‘commitment’ – a necessary requirement for enlightenment or spiritual success. Instead of god, priests, teachers or philosophers he was now the authority in my life, followed without caution or restraint.
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: The reason that you felt so much relief and freedom after you could break away from your earlier beliefs both at the time of meeting Osho and Richard, was perhaps you had very strong beliefs both the times. So the contrast made it so surprising (180 degrees opposite). But I don’t find such a contrast, because I don’t have such strong beliefs. I am always in doubt whether my beliefs are true. And I owe this attitude to Osho and my eastern background and that is why I feel gratitude towards them.
VINEETO: Are you saying you feel gratitude to Rajneesh because he taught you to doubt? Or did you have the tendency to doubt already before you met Rajneesh? And is doubt enough for you to be happy?
I was a strong believer, already as a Christian girl. I believed in authority and replaced one authority with another. The change for me was radical – and obvious. But as long as you have beliefs, you will have doubts. The very presence of doubt points to a belief. Peter wrote a definition of ‘doubt’ and of ‘intent’ in his glossary.
Only facts can make you confident and certain, they are evidenced by the physical senses, they are actual. Actual Freedom is to replace beliefs by the actual experience of the physical senses and common sense.
Most part of my investigation has been to find where I believed – once I could see a belief as a belief, it was already dissolving. But most beliefs are disguised as truths, so-called facts, gut-feelings, intuition and trust. One has to remove that blanket first to discover underneath that it is just a belief.
RESPONDENT: If I look back at last 6 months, since when I become interested in actualism, it looks like that it has generated more unhappiness than happiness. I was living a cool life with ordinary happiness. May be a bit dull but still happy most of the time. But when I read about actualism, I understood that I was living only on beliefs and not on facts. This disturbed me. Of course it presented another challenge and promised that something beyond this ordinary happiness exists – but now I realise that this is another belief I got into.
VINEETO: I told you my story of the first few months of actual freedom to make it clear that without the intense search to solve my paradoxical situation of having two beliefs – the spiritual conviction and the then-belief of actualism – I would not been able to prepare the ground for, and thus facilitate, my first major peak experience. As I see it from hindsight, my pure consciousness experience only occurred because of my intense questioning and investigation into the nature of my spiritual beliefs. The word ‘PCE’ contains the word ‘pure’, a purity from one’s beliefs and feelings for this particular time, a purity from the very substance of ‘self’. It is well documented that a PCE often occurs after a particular shocking or dis-orienting experience, and I had actively caused that situation in myself by questioning beliefs and daring to look at facts squarely in the eye!
I was at a point where I was willing to question ALL my beliefs, whatever the outcome, because I had understood that this was the only way out of my dilemma, hanging between two opposing choices as to what to do with my life. I had no way to figure out the ‘right’ thing to do, because there was no authority that could point out the direction for me. There was no moral, ethical or ultimate spiritual value that I considered ‘true’ enough to rely on for a decision. I figured that ‘truth’, as I called it then, could not be something that one has to support by believing it or trusting it. It has to be something so obvious, so evident and reproducible that it can stand for itself.
The intensity of wanting to find that which could withstand all questioning, made me ready for the eye-opening break-through, tearing open and dissolving the curtain of my passionate beliefs that had blinkered my perception, obscured my clarity and prevented me from seeing the actual.
The PCE did not appear out of the blue by the grace of ‘Existence’ to be leisurely compared to my ancient spiritual beliefs – it was born out of my intent to find a way out of the need to believe and to find a solution to my failure to be happy and free. There was already a rip in the curtain, so to speak, of my nicely settled, second-rate existence, and that rip widened dangerously with every questioned emotion, belief or ‘truth’. It got so big that it became un-patchable and then, despite my fears, I thought: ‘Well, let it rip, I can’t hold it together anymore’ ... You’ll find the continuation of the story in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’ on our website.
RESPONDENT: This topic of actualism versus spiritualism is becoming more and more important for me. I remember, in the very beginning you warned me that unless I understand this difference, it will be useless to proceed. At that time I brushed aside your advice, thinking that it was not important as long as I experiment with the method. Now, I realise that it is important to settle this issue before any other thing.
To be honest, I consider, actualism as another spiritual path which
Of course, there are certain differences that it doesn’t believe in re-incarnation and maintain that the death of the body is the final end.
But then there are always differences of approaches among different paths. Being brought up in a liberal Hindu culture, I deeply believe that all paths are right and all lead to the same goal.
I think it is important to be honest, so that I can start from where I am.
VINEETO: Yes, I think ‘it is important to be honest’ and to ‘start from where you are’ and then move on. It looks like all you have done up to now is substituting a few words from actualism into your spiritual language, and you have listed them very honestly and clearly:
And a ‘liberal Hindu culture’ is the perfect fertile climate to simply integrate another ‘Guru’s teaching’ into the ‘vegetable soup’ of Hindu Pantheism. If you are happy with the ‘liberal Hindu culture’, and you want to spend your life ‘deeply believing that all paths are right and lead to the same goal’, then there is no reason why you should question your concept of spiritualizing everything and everybody.
There is a Christian saying that ‘all paths lead to Rome’ and if you want to go to Rome, then that is great advice. All spiritual beliefs may lead to ‘Truth’, but there is only one way to experience the actual world – through the physical senses without an obstructing self, Self or Being. If you want to experience the actuality of life, the delight of the unfiltered senses and the perfection of the actual world, then simply substituting a few terms is nothing other than cheating yourself.
I suggest you read what No 8 wrote on ‘beliefs and facts’; the difference between belief and fact is worth an extensive study for a ‘deep believer’.
As for your 5 points –
But these are only a few point of the 180 degree difference between the actual world of the senses and the spiritual world of beliefs and passionate imaginations. Why not, for a change, look for the differences rather than the believed similarities, otherwise you will never get out of the sticky Pantheistic viewpoint ‘that all paths are right and all lead to the same goal.’
RESPONDENT: ‘I am not an expert on spiritualism. In fact I know very little of it compared to you.’
VINEETO: First I had to understand my own spiritualism, my own complex belief-structure that existed in my brain. First, I had to acknowledge that, yes, I am full of unquestioned beliefs, assumptions, vague feelings and intuitions. You see, nobody thinks he believes. Everybody is convinced that they ‘know’, that they ‘see the truth’. A passionate conviction, a belief fed into us with mother’s milk is never seen as a belief – it is conceived as being the very truth. Why would people kill for what they consider a mere belief, an idea – no, it is the bloody truth for them, and they are ready to defend it with their lives and kill for it. So, first of all, one needs to acknowledge that there is belief. And believing is being spirit-ual, non-factual, substantiating ideas with one’s spirit. Every idea, every assumption, every opinion is spirit-ual, produced in the head – or in the heart.
Once I understood that the word ‘spirit’ describes the passionate yet imaginary entity inside of me, I could also understand that Spirit-ualism – Eastern Religion – is merely aiming to enhance that entity into glorious grandeur. Actualism is to get rid of one’s ‘spirit’ in total in order to experience the actual world that is already here.
It’s a great journey discovering facts, facts verifiable by the senses, repeatable, explainable, describable, non-emotional, non-affective, simple and actual – facts. As Peter has already mentioned in his letter to Alan, in the library you will find a good detailed description of ‘fact’ by Richard.
RESPONDENT: I have taken to actual freedom like a duck to water. I relate to it very well. I had a PCE from what Richard said about living as the senses and this got my interest in actual freedom. I have since taken Richard’s suggestion to live with the question: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and it is producing remarkable results.
VINEETO: Welcome to the Actual Freedom List. It is great to see a ‘duck taking to water’, as you say. As you go along you will find that the method is not only devastatingly simple, but also ruthlessly effective. I have been ‘at it’ for nearly 3 years now and I can recognize neither the old Vineeto nor the life that I used to live compared to what I am enjoying now.
Neither beliefs nor instinctual passions disappear on their own, if they would, every body would be free today. For me, when beliefs and emotions surfaced and became obvious in the light of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ I dealt with them as they appeared. Lots of my beliefs had been disguised as truths and firm convictions, of course. It has been amazing to see one ‘Empire State Building’ of sturdy conviction tumble after the other, and then to discover each time again – after recovery from the shock – that the actual world is a safe and delightful place. So it will be that the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ not only has ‘an amazing quietening effect on the mind’, as you said to No. 3, but will also be an effective tool for identity-shaking and identity-blowing discoveries and insights into the nature of the Human Condition. This is all par for the course of becoming free from the Human Condition, from ‘who’ we think and feel we are.
VINEETO: As for eliminating instincts, I found that the method works as effectively for discovering, experiencing, investigating and eliminating instincts as it does for investigating the beliefs, morals, ethics and values that shape our social identity. Personally, I had to get rid of my moral, ethical and spiritual restrictions first, in order to be able to admit to, acknowledge and recognize the ‘gross’ instinctual passions that lie at the core of my ‘self’. First I had to question my ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, before I was able to recognize and investigate my own raw survival instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
RESPONDENT: My understanding of what you have said is to keep using the method and deal with issues as they come up. Although I have been working on beliefs and emotions for a long time this area of instincts is new to me so I don’t know exactly where I’m at with it. For instance, if I don’t name a feeling and stay with it there is an energy that seems to be in the area of the old brain. Is this an instinct that is producing this energy? How do I become intimate with the instincts?
VINEETO: Having been programmed first with the Christian and later with Eastern religious belief, the fact that humans are born with a set of instincts – and not born ‘innocent’ – has been quite a new discovery for me. Christians say that one is born with original sin because of Adam’s disobedience, and in a way they come close to the fact that without moral and ethical restraint, we humans behave no differently than wild animals, instinctually driven.
Slowly, slowly, after I removed the layers of moralistic and ethical values I could dare to acknowledge and experientially discover that ‘me’, at the very core, consists of nothing else but crude and cruel survival instincts – fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Discovering and seeing in action each of these instincts was an adventure by itself, thrilling, fascinating and very revealing into the human nature.
First one removes the ‘truths’, convictions, intuitions and feelings that were instilled in us to make us a fit member of society – a man, a woman, a wife, a husband, a scientist, a clerk, an American, a follower or a ‘true’ believer. And it is great fun to dismantle those identities and eventually become an anonymous nobody. Then, on honest investigation, you will be able to recognize these instinctual passions as ‘you’, all of ‘you’. It is not a matter of having an ‘ intimate ’ relationship with one’s instincts, but to acknowledge, feel and experience that ‘I’ am my instinctual passions, nothing else. ‘I’ am rotten to the very core.
That experiential acknowledgment that underlying one’s precious feelings are the animal instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, gives one the motivation and sincere intent to actively devote one’s life to irrevocably changing oneself.
RESPONDENT: I have a sense of abandoning humanity but I have no energy left for investigating. I have doubt like all of this investigating is what is bogging me down. <snip> I get the message loud and clear that my own survival instincts are the underlying cause but I feel helpless and hopeless to do anything about it. It even seems right now that the effort to do something about it is the cause of the problem.
The actual world of sensual delight seems like the memory of a fairy tale. I have lost it.
VINEETO: No 3 says it perfectly well: ‘Do these feelings really serve you in any real beneficial way, what are the practicalities of doing away with this, that says this is your limit you will not venture past this. The main thing is, if it is controlling you, then you are believing it. Let’s face it, emotion is truth but not fact, truth is not freedom, fact is, as can be directly perceived or deduced with reason.’ [endquote].
RESPONDENT: I’m up against the mother of all beliefs that I can’t do anything about it. I can’t change the instincts. This belief is so strong that it looks like a fact so what looks best to do is accept the fact that I am my instincts. This seems like the only possible relief.
VINEETO: Your reply shows that you are taking this ‘mother of all beliefs’ as a reality that you won’t question and therefore you accept that you cannot change. Fair enough, it is a deeply ingrained insidious belief, not only repeated for thousands of years by millions of people as the only wisdom but also deeply rooted in our genetic instinctual heritage. It needs sincere intent, courage and awareness to start questioning the ‘truth of our ancestors’.
The moment I questioned anything that I had believed all my life I was up against a whirlpool of fear, belief being the very substance of my identity. There are only two ways to respond to that fear – to go back to being miserable without possibility for change, or to stop running, face the fear and start investigating. The first was not a long-term option for me – knowing about Actual Freedom and not pursuing it meant that I would never be able to face myself in the mirror again with dignity.
VINEETO: I don’t know what ‘never-never land’ represents for you, but I am reminded of Peter Pan’s dreamland for children, where one is transported from the misery and dullness of the ‘real’ world into the unreal land of imagination, where one never has to become a grown-up.
RESPONDENT: Never-never land was not a good description to use because you have no way of knowing exactly what I meant. It did seem like an unreal land but it is more of a void or not-knowing. Kind of a disconnected feeling which is what I meant by a feeling of abandoning humanity.
VINEETO: ‘Abandoning humanity’ in Actual Freedom terms stands for gaily taking the pen-ultimate step before self-immolation. After one has removed one’s social identity of being a son or daughter, a man or woman, an American or Englishman, a seeker, a writer, a doctor, etc. and has become an utter non-identity, one is then able to investigate the collective psyche, the result of the instinctual passions that all human beings have in common. Applying attentiveness and awareness to the instinctual passions as they arise enables one to stop acting as per the instinctual software in the brain and thus one can slowly, slowly reduce the automated reactive and emotional impact that instincts have on our feelings, thoughts and behaviour. In doing so one not only becomes happy and harmless but also stops being part of the biggest fold of all, humanity itself. One is no longer a member of the species that ‘nourishes malice and sorrow in their bosom’ to quote Richard’s expression.
Whereas ‘a disconnected feeling’ is clearly an affective feeling, arising out of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To have a ‘a disconnected feeling’ has nothing at all to do with ‘abandoning humanity’; it is, on the contrary, common to all human beings and arises out of the Human Condition in each of us.
You see, in order to communicate about the possible advantage that Actual Freedom could have for your life, it is essential to not mix up the terms that we use with emotional or spiritual terms. For instance, ‘not-knowing’ is used by Buddhists and other Eastern religions as an expression for the highest achievable wisdom when one enters the ‘Unknowable’, synonymous for the ‘Truth’. Aspiring to or succeeding in achieving the ‘Truth’ and reaching a state of ‘not-knowing’ is well accepted in the ‘book of rules for humanity’. When achieving a state of ‘not-knowing’ one simply exchanges the illusion of the ‘self’ for the grand delusion of a higher ‘Self’.
VINEETO: In order to be able to say that Mr. Krishnamurti’s teachings to you are ‘about the actual’ you have to either ignore 90% of Krishnamurti’s teachings or twist the meaning of the word ‘actual’ into meaning spiritual and transcendental. ‘The key ingredient of [your] previous teachings is about having a direct experience’ of the divine, not the actual. Vis:
RESPONDENT: I was talking about the teachings themselves such as being aware of what I am actually doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment and you have added a quote from his early years and what he may or may not have meant by truth at that period of his life.
VINEETO: I find it interesting that you should object to the relevance of the above quote from J. Krishnamurti by saying that it was ‘from his early years’. This is one of the several stock standard responses that were used by several faithful followers of Krishnamurti when Richard introduced quotes on Mailing List B to prove a point he was making. Only in September last year Richard had a lengthy discussion with one correspondent about that very same argument ... ‘from his early years’ . You were also writing on the list at the same time but maybe you missed the exchange. I have copied the relevant correspondence at the end of this letter.
I had posted this particular quote because I know from my thorough investigation into my years of spiritual dependency that you cannot separate the teachings from the teacher and just pick out a some advice that seem worth applying in your life and ignore the rest. The above quote shows clearly, as do many others from his later years, that J. Krishnamurti was a through and through spiritual person – ‘God-intoxicated’ – and his declared purpose was to teach people how to achieve this experience for themselves. Vis.:
Therefore, following his method can, at the most, lead you to what he achieved – becoming yet another spiritual teacher immersed in ‘that which is eternal’ – and not knowing anything about a ‘direct experience with the actual’.
RESPONDENT: I have been spiritual in my life but I am not spiritual now. Truth to me is what I am actually doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. I’m sorry if I have wasted your time. I will continue to look and see if I have any spirituality.
VINEETO: Personally, I was never attracted to J. Krishnamurti or his teachings as I considered them too dry and theoretical at the time of my spiritual involvement. Instead, I got sucked into the emotional indulgence and the escalating esoteric extravagance of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh. Yet the relationship that I had to him as my master differs not from the relationship that other followers have to their particular master – is it invariably epitomized by unquestioning adoration, deep felt loyalty, a love that excuses and defends the master’s every word or deed and the pride of being a disciple of such rare outstanding and powerful personality. Krishnamurti’s claim that he did not want to be a master nor want his followers to be devotees only created an apparent intellectual coolness but it never altered the fervent emotional ties that each of his followers had, and still has, with him. If you take the time and read through some of Richard’s correspondence with mailing list B you will quickly understand what I mean.
Before I could learn, explore or even consider that there was any new approach to life I had to question this highly emotional relationship to the one teacher that I had considered to be the only authority and fountain of wisdom. My worldview was coloured and measured against the authority of his words and teachings. If others stated similar views and ‘wisdoms’, I considered them right, if not, they were wrong. My judgements had nothing to do with my personal investigation of facts at all; it was solely a ‘feeling right’ decision according to my preconceived convictions solely derived from the master’s viewpoint – and the fact that he had been dead for 10 years did not change my emotional dependency on his authority at all.
An honest and in-depth investigation of the facts of the situation was only possible after I ‘tore Rajneesh out of my heart’, became a traitor to his message and his ‘sangha’ and thus became independent of his imagined approval or condemnation. Only then was I able to listen to his discourses and judge with my newly freed intelligence instead of ‘my heart’ and to discover his mindless twaddle and ‘compassionate lies’, his manipulation and deceit, his outright distortions and underlying ancient rotten Indian belief-system. Now I could start the long and fascinating journey of unravelling the intricate web of the psychic world – the Eastern spiritual fears of endless karma, the hope for transcendence, the reverence for intuition, love, compassion, bliss and enlightenment. Once one starts to see the psychic world and how it functions, the word ‘spiritual’ is revealed in its fuller and more comprehensive meaning.
You felt moved to defend your teacher the moment I quoted him in order to prove that he is concerned only with the spiritual and the divine and not with the actual. This reaction indicates where to look when you want to ‘see if [you] have any spirituality’. So in order to ‘continue to look and see if [you] have any spirituality’, you will first and foremost have to consider and investigate your affective relationship to your ‘previous’ teacher and teachings. Otherwise any factual discussion about what Krishnamurti said or meant will be distorted by the emotions that are instigating automatic instinctual (or, as LeDoux calls them, ‘quick and dirty’) reactions rather than considered intelligent responses.
VINEETO: This pure consciousness experience became my reference point for what I wanted to achieve. It was also an essential reference point to understand what Richard was saying and writing. After all, this actual world is the very world he is living in all the time, and my PCE had just demonstrated how this world is usually tucked away behind the normal/ spiritual worldview.
When you wrote to Richard on mailing list B, you related an experience of the actual –
The remembrance of this ‘self’-less perfection is the starting point to the dismantling of the ‘self’, first the outer layers of one’s social identity and then the core of one’s being, the instinctual passions. From the reference point of a PCE one is able to distinguish the actual from normal or spiritual, facts from beliefs and sensuous experience from affective feelings. One starts from an experience of the actual and daringly questions every truth, belief, faith, hope, trust and feeling. The clarity of a PCE is vital to distinguish facts from ‘truths’, and the PCE reveals feelings of fear and pride as unnecessary stumbling blocks and exposes the ‘self’ in action that is spoiling the already always-existing perfection.
VINEETO: In order to compare notes, I reported my own experience that not all sorrow stems from fear but that sorrow can have various causes at different times, such as greed, desire, loss, separation, loneliness, fear, aggression turned inwards, unrequited love, disappointment, etc. Those feelings represent the full range of the instinctual passions, not just fear. Gary and Peter reported similar findings from their own experience. However, you chose to resolve your query differently –
You ‘moved on’ and decided to seek Richard’s views on another mailing list. However, when you asked him, you changed the nature of the question. It was not ‘does sorrow come from fear’ but now sorrow completely disappeared from the query –
If you had asked Richard ‘does sorrow come from fear’ then there would have been a different response. For example as in this correspondence –
When Richard answered that ‘at root fear is the most basic of all the instinctual passions’ you have somehow concluded that your theory of ‘sorrow comes from fear’ was now a fact for you and everyone else. But your theory is still a theory built upon Richard’s answer that ‘at root fear is the most basic of all the instinctual survival passions’.
One cannot turn a theory or presumption into a fact solely by relying on the statements of others – for to do so is to remain a believer. The words of an expert can only provide you with a prima facie case at best, at best an enticement to begin your own investigation in order to find out the facts for yourself. The way you used Richard’s knowledge was to turn your theory into a truth – a truth based on faith and belief in someone you take to be an authority. Contrary to spiritual belief, however, truth can never set you free, it only leaves you beholden to believing in a higher authority – it is facts and one’s own experiential understanding that set one free from the habit of believing.
Spiritualism uses belief and feeling to turn the theories of others into a one’s own personal truth.
VINEETO: I remember my time of intense discovery when I had insights into the actual world but got off the track when, instead of staying with the actuality of the sensate-only experience, ‘I’ would grab the experience to go off at a spiritual-philosophical tangent – I called it being a ‘Truth production machine’.
RESPONDENT: Yes... when ‘I’ write, or talk, ‘I’ use ideas, ‘truths’, if you like, they are not the experience.
The sensate-only experience is personal and as such is difficult to remember and share. Its truth, if you like, is only within a context ... ‘my’ context of 46 years of experiences.
VINEETO: The sensate-only experience is not ‘personal’ at all because there is no ‘self’ in operation to claim it as personal. It is, however, ‘difficult to remember’ because of the non-emotional context of the experience. The sensate-only ‘self’-less experience, a pure consciousness experience, has nothing to do with any ‘truth’. When I write, I write about my day-to-day experiences of the actual world and about investigations into beliefs, feelings and passionate convictions. I never write about a truth or a belief that I have because I don’t have any.
Truth consists, exactly as you say, of the personal ‘context of 46 years of experiences’ as well as ‘ideas, truths’ that have been passed down for centuries. ‘Truths’ are what everyone believes to be their personal truths – they are nothing but spiritually upgraded feelings and, as such, are neither factual nor direct experiences of the actual. Truth is nothing other than a fervently believed, and passionately defended, mixture of hope, faith and trust – fertile fodder for one’s ‘soul’ that everyone is so contumaciously proud of. Truth is the paint and polish for the car with a stuffed engine, a nice-looking, nice-feeling cover-up for the malice and sorrow inside.
So you must have misunderstood my use of the term ‘Truth-Production-machine’ when in your letter to Peter you say:
Well, you obviously have not read my correspondence with Alan or ‘Explorations of Death and Altered States of Consciousness’ that I mentioned in my last letter. Pure intent definitely does not lead to ‘Vineeto’s Truth Machine status’ but ensures that one goes beyond it, detecting and dismantling the ‘truth’, replacing it meticulously with verifiable facts and sensate experience.
Becoming aware of ‘truth’ being passionately produced over and over again and daring to stop the dreaming of this ‘truth’ gave my ‘self’ a considerable blow. After that experience and realization, satoris and enlightenment and their ensuing Grand Wisdom lost their lure and grip over me – and thus I had removed another rock from the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom – I will never run aground again on the insidious ‘Rock of Enlightenment’.
RESPONDENT: ...‘few ‘want’ to understand because they have a vested interest in ‘being’’.
VINEETO: This brings me to the next point that is absolutely essential if one ever wants to make a step on the path to Actual Freedom – pure intent. Without pure intent, and without the understanding that the only solution to the Human Condition in oneself is ‘self’-immolation, every attempt to catch a bit of happiness will remain polluted by one’s lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity.
For me, before I even considered to convey anything to anyone about actualism I dug deep inside myself, investigating every mood, feeling, emotion and passion that became apparent in my interaction with people, things and events. I examined every truth, belief, moral conviction and ethical certainty until I discovered the self-evident facts for myself and eventually got rid of the very act of believing itself. I questioned love, intuition, female conditioning and instinctual behaviour, my relationship to my peer group, my spiritual beliefs, my attitudes and feelings about authority, my old and new religious principles, my ideas about environmentalism, about politics, about right and wrong. My whole inner world was taken apart and eventually thrown out and often times it was not only an exciting and rewarding but also a scary and terrifying enterprise. But I had the honest intention to stop at nothing less than the undeniable actuality – I simply had had enough of all the beliefs, lies and self-deceptions that failed to make me both happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: If the self cleans the self up, and mine is fairly presentable just now, perhaps a little sad, what is left, after all is said and done, is still a self, a ‘me,’ an ‘I.’ Just dressed up real nice.
VINEETO: You described it very well – this is as good as it gets within the Human Condition. The trouble is, in order to get rid of the ‘bad’ you have to throw the ‘good’ out first, which is created in the first place to keep the ‘bad’ under control. One only needs Love to counter-balance malice and sorrow, hate, jealousy, sadness, fear, greed... so something grand and good is aspired for to keep the lid on the ‘bad’, the animalistic instincts that are intrinsic in all of us.
Meditation and Eastern Spirituality attempt to transform those instinctual passions and their resulting emotions into love and compassion, and I have experienced how that works. It is quite a powerful experience, when fear and sorrow are transcended into bliss, ‘truth’ and compassion. It swamps the whole psyche: seductive, overwhelming, radiant, and one realization of ‘truth’ follows another in an endless continuum of supposed insights. Very, very seductive indeed. One is easily taken in that this is the answer to everything.
But this is not the emotionless pure clarity that I have experienced in the PCEs. This is not the solution, it hasn’t been for 5000 years of enlightenment’s history. Those instincts are never eliminated. Once you question bliss and discover the illusion it is, fear and dread pop up their ugly head again. What Richard discovered, and what Peter and I are now finding out for ourselves, is that there is the actual world once one has freed oneself of all beliefs, feelings and instinctual passion which the human psyche produces. This perception of the actual world is then bare of any emotions and feelings, both of ‘bad’ AND ‘good’, freed of any kind of imagination, freed of any distortion of the Human Psyche.
RESPONDENT: Let’s say I’ve seen this is true, as indeed I have, with a few definition differences here and there not of much importance ...
VINEETO: It is not merely ‘definition differences’ we are talking about. It is worlds apart. This is something nobody has ever dared to question before. Or have you found any kind of Guru or teacher who dared to question Love and Compassion, who dared to put his grand wonderful identity as ‘One-with-the-Whole’ at stake? Not a single one! All the Enlightened Ones keep their BEING in tact. They know WHO they are. So this conversation is not about definition differences. It is about a completely new understanding and approach to the human feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. It is about eradicating them, not merely transforming them. Actual Freedom is based on the acknowledgment that those feelings and passions are only software, not hardware – they can be deleted.
But to eradicate my beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions means that everything that I know I am ceases to exist, and everything anybody ever claimed to know or to be ceases to be of any reference. This includes my beliefs in an immortal soul, a life after death or before birth, a god-like energy of the universe and a belief in the meaning of life. I am not surprised that hardly anybody has dared to take up the inquiry. It is a ruthless operation. But also it is the very best I have ever done in my lifetime. And it works. That may be scary because one really watches oneself dying, having less and less substance and identity to fall back on for one’s definition and reference.
When I started to investigate Richard’s findings I had thought I was quite cleaned up, having been a morally ‘good’ girl and a spiritual seeker for years. So the first step on this new journey was to actually acknowledge the malice and sorrow that I was still carrying – like everybody else. It was not easy to acknowledge 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, pride, superiority, the whole lot.
ALAN: In the light of my current discussion with Richard, it would be interesting to hear of any enlightenment experiences you had.
VINEETO: I had only one, which lasted for about three days, because I really wanted to investigate all its implications. It was an experience first of great love and compassion for all, together with the Great Wisdom that I wanted to spread to all those ‘poor’ beings whom I considered needed my advice. (oops, I knew then, that I really had to keep my mouth shut and my hands in my pocket. I did not want to do or say anything I would have to regret later or feel embarrassed about!)
With the grandeur came a great satisfaction of finally standing on the same podium that I had put Rajneesh on – now I knew from my own experience from which inner space he was talking and how he had been taking us all for a ride. I felt the power and authority and the wonderful tempting glory of it all. What a grand world it is – you know it all, you feel it all, you can help them all and you are superior to them all. Love pours out of every thought, grandeur is your nature and you swan in timelessness and eternity, forever relieved from the pain and sorrow of the personal little world of the poor mortals you left behind.
It was bloody good to have Peter as a landmark for common sense and Richard’s story and warnings as the blinking light-house and so it came that I did not ground on that wonderfully glimmering, seductively promising ‘Rock of Enlightenment’.
It took a lot of effort and re-starting my intelligence and common sense to dismantle the glory of Truth and the seduction of Power. I had to use all doubt and scepticism available to be able to discover the Truth-production machine in my head. The next thing to deal with was the attraction to power and glory. But without being able to rely on Truth, which was now impossible, how much power can you keep up? ( full description)
But it was not all over yet. The sense of love and warmth that had resided in the heart moved further down into the belly, what Japanese call the Hara. I found it to be the seat of ‘being’, of bliss. It was a less fiery passion, more of a calm prevailing blissful state of eternal ‘being here’, as opposed to the actual being ‘here’. I don’t remember much of it except for the seductive invitation to stay there, ‘you have now found your destiny, this is what they are all talking about, this is your ‘ground of being’, you have arrived’.
I knew it was time to gather all my intent and my common sense and get out of this elusive, imaginary state of swanning in imaginary bliss and ‘being’. It was time to leave the wonder-full magician-castle in the clouds and enter the actual world of senses, sex and coffee.(...)
ALAN: Since that time, with the realisation that none of what was occurring was ‘actual’, though very, very ‘real’ and simply a product of ‘my’ imagination, I have not again experienced such dread. This is not to say ‘I’ may not be a ‘prima donna’ again and I shall certainly recount any similar experiences.
VINEETO: One never knows how many actors are still waiting behind stage until they had their appearance. It is fascinating, when I think about it. The moment I discovered the ‘drama queen’, it lost its conviction. The moment I discovered ‘me’, the Truth-producing faculty of Enlightenment, it became impossible to believe in the ‘truth’ that I had just produced. The moment I discovered the ‘believer’, the mechanism of believing I could not believe anymore – the mechanism was switched off and disappeared. I had to investigate the facts. One piece after the other fell off ‘me’, while at the same time taking the veil off my physical senses. The colours are now more vivid, the sounds multi-layered, the skin awakes to sense the air in temperature and consistency, the little hair on my forearm being touched by the soft breeze when I walk into town.
VINEETO: And recently, somebody on the Sannyas-list asked me about the so-called Akashic Records, I experienced that bliss-state’ again for about an hour, the state Mrs. Roberts seems to talk about. I finally got a grip on it – I could experience it and describe from the ‘outside’ what was happening. It seems an unemotional state, no love or compassion is felt in the heart, everything is a cool ‘oneness’. One feels all-pervading, ‘I am everything and everything is me and everything is divine’.
ALAN: When I experienced this there was a huge feeling of Love and Compassion, so it is interesting you say it was an ‘unemotional state, no love or compassion is felt in the heart’. I recognize the ‘I am everything and everything is me and everything is divine’, though.
VINEETO: Yes, I remember this ‘huge feeling of Love and Compassion’, it filled my whole chest and heart with this warmth that wanted to be spread to all of Humanity. When I dismantled it as the feeling component in the heart of the ‘Truth-Production-Machine’ in the head, it disappeared with a loud thump and I crashed on my bum for a day. Later something similar reappeared in the belly or Hara, a cool pervading bliss, a bit like stoned, all pervading and ‘I feel so wonderfully one with it all’, like touching the heights of human atavistic imagination. I remember Rajneesh talking about a hot and a later cool stage of enlightenment, so I cannot vouch for genuine invention of this story. The come-back is another thump, sitting out the dullness until the senses adjusted to the actual world after the ‘glitter’ of insanity.
VINEETO to Alan: The other thing that went through my mind was my story about me being a ‘Truth-Production-Machine’. I wrote about it at the time, having an enlightenment experience:
As I see it today, there was an experience of ‘getting it’, understanding the Power and Glory of the heartfelt, chest filling experience of Enlightenment and I then stepped out of that drama of the ‘Self’, I abandoned this particular belief / imagination / emotion. But in the frantic and desperate attempt to survive the ‘self’ jumped to the next possible identity: ‘I’ had seen through this immense illusion, ‘I’ have greatly understood, ‘I’ am the hero again. And with the ‘I’ claiming the honour of the realization for its identity, a Pandora box of new imaginations, fears and identities is given full reign.
ALAN: The quote from Peter was helpful, though I seem to have stopped questioning who, or what, is doing the doing – for the moment, at least. I understand, and agree, intellectually with what you said, Peter. You state that ‘in hindsight it was apperceptive awareness’. Is this now a ‘knowing’, or just an intellectual understanding? And what did you think at the time?
VINEETO: I can’t answer for what Peter thought at the time, but I want to make a remark to your question of ‘is this now a ‘knowing’, or just an intellectual understanding?’ What do you mean by ‘knowing’? It sounds suspiciously close to ‘I know the Truth’ kind of knowing, where an emotional experience is interpreted as knowing the unwavering truth.
But maybe I do know what you mean. The process of Actual Freedom is such new territory and for each of us it is the first time that we are doing it, that we often have to tell the story in hindsight. And, as such, it is just a story, maybe evidenced by people doing it after us or with us, made more accurate with each reported experience. But there won’t be any ‘knowing’ because there won’t be any ‘absolute truth’. There will only be a certain amount of making sense during and after the event, collecting story by story and experience after experience. This is, after all, the first time that we are approaching Actual Freedom via Virtual Freedom and not via Enlightenment.
ALAN: No, I did not mean ‘I know the truth’ by ‘knowing’. I meant a ‘getting it’ – an experiential (as opposed to intellectual) understanding that this is correct, obviously so, factually evident, blindingly obvious. I think this is the same as Peter was talking about with ‘serendipitous discoveries’ – one does not seek the discovery. There is just a sudden ‘click’, an ‘of course, how interesting and obvious’.
VINEETO: There was a time when I would miss not having those blindingly obvious ‘getting its’ and stunning insights, which were so diametrically opposite to everything else I had believed at the time – and I would measure the ‘truth’ of the insight according to the degree of surprise, newness and stunning-ness of my first startling insights. Then I noticed that the more my life got easier, less emotional and more perfect each day, that and similarly the peak experiences themselves became something almost ordinary, utterly simple, adding a tinge more clarity and intensity to the experience of the tangible actual-ness of every day life. The extreme experiences were disappearing out of my life, and at first that left me with an uncertainty as to not knowing if I had gone back to being normal.
But then I only had to compare my life with how I had been before, with the problems I observe in other people around me or with what is presented on TV, to know that I have actually and clearly improved my quality of life to such a degree that I forget what ‘normal’ looks or feels like. In interaction with others I forget that they could get offended, insulted, or be self-condemning for little mistakes, and only by their behaviour I deduct that an emotion must be surfacing in them – then a faint memory comes back to how it has been for myself not so long ago.
Now, as I see it, putting a retrospective story together of what the brain was doing with all this wiring, programming and reprogramming, is not a matter of sudden insight like the spiritual insights, where one taps into the collective ‘Knowledge’ (read imagination). Further, making sense in hindsight is not a matter of replacing a belief one has cherished before and acknowledging an obvious fact for the first time – for instance, seeing that this universe is infinite and that there is physically no ‘outside’ for a god to sit, pulling the strings. Putting together a story in hindsight of how the human brain functions is collecting the data that are available about scientific research – which is not much as far as actual facts are concerned – and comparing them to one’s own experience of how the process has been. It leaves room for speculation and for more accurate adjustments when more data are collected, both by us actualists and by practical scientists. It is a continuous collection of and an investigation into facts rather than a blindingly obvious insight replacing a former belief. Those insights are more an insight into the falseness of a belief or ‘truth’, a disappearance of a dearly held conviction, be they religious, spiritual or pseudo-scientific. Like your report when you said that you ‘got it’ that there is no life after death, 100% sure.
Does that make sense to you?
In a PCE I can see the world as it is, people as they are, my emotions and beliefs and my ‘self’ for what it is – a passionate illusion – and thus I can easily discriminate facts from ‘truths’, beliefs, convictions, instincts and fears. I will only know what I have investigated so far, there is no magical all-knowing or all-understanding, no god-like wisdom. But because during a PCE the brain has no ‘sand’ ie emotions, beliefs and instincts in the system, it can function smoothly and I can see the facts for what they are. Old synapses have been severed, so the neurons can engage in free-flowing brainstorming. Mark described this kind of brainstorming really well in his last two letters.
VINEETO to Alan: Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a devoted meditator of my former tribe (Sannyas) which I found interesting in many aspects. First of all I was both happy and astounded at how well and easy the discussion went – I didn’t have to struggle with any of the vagueness, psychic confusion, doubts or fears that I knew so well from earlier discussions with spiritual people. In the conversation I could easily state that with Actual Freedom I know now where I stand, what I want and how I go about reaching that goal, while he maintained that to reach enlightenment you are supposed to give up the desire and certainty of ever attaining it! The perspective and understanding of the actual world is all so easy and simple, so obvious and transparent that the hazy, mysterious hocus-pocus of ‘Truth’, ‘That’, the ‘Grace of God’ or ‘Existence’ seem nothing but passionate and silly childish fairytales.
It was interesting that in the discussion we constantly needed to define the words we used. He had different connotations about ‘instinct’ as only meaning the physical startling response or the change of breath or heartbeat at imminent danger. So he could easily hold on to his belief that without instincts one would die, not be able to breathe, or maintain one’s heartbeat. When I asked him what he would call our instinctual reactions of anger, fear, sex or rage, he had no appropriate word at all. Similarly we had to different definitions of the word ‘emotion’. Emotion to him only meant a very strong feeling, easily noticeable as emotional outbursts like screaming, crying, fighting or being shocked. When I asked what he would call emotions like hope, trust, attraction or apprehension, those feelings did not seem to exist at all and had no specific name, but were definitely not emotions. Thus he could maintain that he hardly had any emotions and that they are not the problem with human beings, since they only happen ‘once in a while’.
For him the problem lies in the mind, in thoughts, which start, trigger and continue emotions. Out of this reasoning he had to deny that children have any emotions at all before they develop the ability to think. They only suffer physical pain, but no emotional pain. I was simply astounded by such ignorance and stubborn denial. Even monkeys have been observed to suffer when their mother dies to the extent that they grieve to death, even at an age where they could easily survive by themselves.
From the premise that thought is the source of all evil it was only logical to conclude that meditation is the right method to stop the inner dialogue. By persistently watching the mind, the mind is supposed to disappear on its own accord. As with all spiritual believers, he was of the firm conviction that once one succeeded in stopping one’s thoughts there will be perennial peace of mind, no-mind as in dead mind. When I reported that I had succeeded in eliminating 95% of my inner dialogue by investigating emotions as the source and breeding ground for my ‘troublesome’ thoughts he exclaimed: ‘But I don’t want to investigate. Investigation is an activity of the mind and I don’t want to strengthen the mind .’
This statement made it clear to me again why so few spiritual people are willing to investigate their beliefs, feelings and emotions. The very word ‘investigate’ is evil, the very action of contemplation is considered the ultimate no-no. And one doesn’t even have to bother to change one’s malicious or sorrowful behaviour, because that is only one’s ‘personality’, which won’t interfere with the ‘higher self’ of enlightenment – so why investigate one’s personality or want to change it in the first place?
This conversation reminded me of an advertisement that I found in a woman’s magazine for meditation. It said:
RESPONDENT: It is an individual’s responsibility to do the work and individual’s fault if one does not remain alert to look into oneself. It can happen anywhere. I could do the same on this list and be greedy for ‘Actual Freedom’ without working for it.
In addition, my interest at present is: to see what love does to me.
VINEETO: Sure, it is the individual’s responsibility to look into themselves. But you can only effectively look into yourself without the guidelines of those gurus, teachers, Enlightened Beings, ‘Mr. Wise Guys’ and Masters who tell you to look into yourself according to their particular ‘Truth’ or belief-system. As long as you are lead astray on a path of fairy-tale and fantasy, glory and immortality, good feelings and bliss, how can you clearly and honestly look into your ‘self’? You will only be moving deck-chairs on the Titanic again, rearranging feelings – good ones to the right and bad ones to the left – and then end up with a polished, but same old identity of No 5.
To investigate thoroughly and sincerely into your ‘self’ you will need to investigate into those who have programmed you – parents and peers, teachers and Masters, and you will have to question all of their passed-down values. For Actual Freedom you will have to investigate into your spiritual identity as much as into your moral or ethical identity – the whole lot. There is no other way to clean up the Human Condition in oneself other than to first question those whose authority one holds in high esteem. Otherwise you will simply remain a believer.
RESPONDENT: Here are some questions that I have:
VINEETO: The main question, that works for all of the Human Condition is ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ We composed a whole page, called ‘How to Become Free of the Human Condition’ on the topic with many links of writing and correspondence of how to apply this ongoing question in your daily life.
I started with the understanding that it is only me who I can change, and that very understanding applies to everybody I meet, live with, work with and to the world at large. So, if anything in the day evoked an emotional reaction, I would start digging around and look for the cause in me, what belief, feeling and instinctual passion caused me to feel annoyed, fearful, angry, righteous, insecure, disgusted, loving, elusive, tired, etc.
The first beliefs that I had to investigate were about male and female conditioning, my female identity, the belief in the ‘right to be emotional’, the ‘truth’ of intuition etc. Along with gender-issues came the problem of believing or fighting a supposed authority, which had been an emotionally charged topic since my early years.
Usually under every emotional reaction I would find a firmly held belief in some ‘truth’ which I then, in due course, questioned and replaced with actual facts, investigated through reading, contemplating or talking with Peter and Richard, instead of simply taking on what others had told me to believe. It can sometimes be a fascinating and sometimes be a frightening adventure, after all, it is your very identity that you are taking apart, who you believe and feel yourself to be.
When one belief was seen in its complexity with all its implications on various areas in my life, when I understood it to be merely a passionate thought and not factual, this belief disappeared. It’s like the fairy story of Sinterclaas (or Father Christmas) – once you know that he is only the neighbour with a false beard, the whole myth falls to pieces and you are never able to believe it again. But each belief has to be investigated on its own ... there is not a mathematical magic formula that deletes them all at once. Eventually you see through the whole lot – and what a relief and liberation that is!
VINEETO to No 7: Nevertheless, work has been a good test for my Virtual Freedom and, apart from one or two little emotional twigs, I have passed the test to my satisfaction and enjoyment. It is such good fun being with people as they are – sometimes I even get a chance to infiltrate some common sense into the conversation, but to talk about freedom is generally a no-no. I just stopped to ask them about their feelings. The response is such an emotional mess and nobody wants to change anything about this mess anyway. I found that my happiness doesn’t depend on other people’s opinion or approval, and then, I also enjoy working by myself.
One woman who inquired what my non-spiritual lifestyle was all about got noticeably upset when I did not agree with her that ‘we are all looking for the same thing’. She insisted that everybody deep down looks for the same truth, and how come I dare say that she was not on the same ‘Path’ as I was? I explained that I am questioning emotions in order not to create ripples in people’s lives, and she then affirmed that she liked her emotions and wanted to keep them. She would just watch them come and go in the usual ‘spiritual’ fashion. Two days later she returned only to tell me that I had tried to make her feel wrong. I had merely stated that I am not on the spiritual path and why it was not the same thing that she pursued. I explained that I did not want to create ripples in my life with my own sorrow and my snide remarks or expressions of malice and that’s why I had started to question the value of emotions as such. She was obviously happy with her emotions, yet felt attacked the moment I said I wasn’t on the same spiritual path.
Another interesting conversation happened with a very old friend who also insisted that ‘deep down I know that you and I are searching for the same thing. There is only one truth, I feel,’ he said. This statement was somewhat a surprise as he had read the whole of Peter’s book! We had quite an animated discussion where I explained in detail that I am neither looking for truth nor that we are ‘deep down’ looking for the same thing. He is searching for love, bliss, enlightenment, freedom from the misery of ‘having a body’ and admitted that he wants to escape from the world. Whereas I am questioning my emotions, beliefs and instincts and consequently can live happily in the world as it is with people as they are. After 30 minutes, being somewhat challenged by the presented facts, he said, ‘you haven’t changed at all, you are still a missionary!’ Well, that arrow completely missed its target since I had no emotional investment as to the outcome of our conversation. It won’t influence my state of well-being whether he gets interested in actual freedom or stays on his torturous search for the ultimate escape. His outlook reminded me of the last guy in the diagram which I sent to the list last week: ‘from the Dark Age to the New Dark Age’. How is it that people think that worshipping a passionately imagined ‘Truth’ or God is going to make them suddenly free and happy when it has not worked for thousands of years?
RESPONDENT: It amazes me how people want to know; be right about something so badly, they’ll invent all sorts of theories, beliefs, and methods. That need of permanence, as well as the beliefs themselves, is invented from the ego/self in order to guarantee its own survival. Thus, we have an entity of which is neither the ‘self’ nor the ‘soul’ nor the ‘instincts’ doing something, i.e. ‘finding’, ‘conducting,’, ‘eliminating,’, etc.
VINEETO: Well, I can say that I am amazed how few people do want to know when it comes to discovering what makes us humans tick in general and themselves in particular. I am amazed what outrageous dreams and superstitions I had been following in the past and how fiercely everyone seems to defend wisdom that originated in the mists of time when people were still living in caves or huts and were hunters and gatherers. It was those ancient ones who looked into the sky – thinking the earth was flat – and believed that the stars were gods and lived in ignorance and uncertainty of the forces of nature. And they believed that life was indeed a grim business of survival and that they needed to make sacrifices to appease that Force of Nature, by whatever name, in order not to evoke its wrath.
Technologically the world has moved on, although many bemoan the progress in health, safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure, conveniently ignoring the fact that life even a hundred years ago was a tough existence. We now know there never was a golden age, just as we now know there is no innocence in a newborn child. But despite all the scientific and technological advances the search for Truth is still based on the ‘deep feeling’ of those ancient convictions that you can ‘never know’ ...
It’s funny that all human beings continue to look for the solution in the past, whereas history clearly shows the failures of all past religious/philosophical solutions. Despite the sincere effort of millions of spiritual seekers and religious devotees, human beings are still driven by instinctual passions and the human condition is still epitomized by malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: There is no one thing we can do to bring on another dimension of living. It is just as you say, No. 2, it happens, and there is not even a flash. You are here and then you’re not. That is the unknown and the unexplainable. The key, however, does seem to lie in right living, listening, and non-attachment to any thing. Life comes unwarranted.
VINEETO: ‘It amazes me how people want to know; be right about something so badly, they’ll invent all sorts of theories, beliefs, and methods. That need of [keeping things unknown], as well as the beliefs themselves, is invented from the ego/self in order to guarantee its own survival.’
Did you ever think about, i.e. become aware of, how you determine what is true for you and what you call another’s belief? The only criteria I used to have for the Truth was if it ‘felt’ right, if it stirred my heart, if it made my soul sing, etc. Yet these same feelings are the very reason why people are ready to kill and die for the Truth, for what they feel is right and for what they passionately believe to be the only real Truth.
Now I rely on facts, provable, demonstrable, verifiable and workable facts. Facts exist without my support, actuality exists without me believing in it or you not believing in it – it doesn’t need any defence at all. A tree is a tree and no belief will change that, a fact is a fact and no belief will change that either. And the actuality that I experience when the ‘self’ is completely absent is so vibrant, so delicious, so pure, so magnificent that every glorious feeling about Truth, the Unknown, the Unknowable, etc. has faded into oblivion.
VINEETO: Now I rely on facts, provable, demonstrable, verifiable and workable facts. Facts exist without my support, actuality exists without me believing in it or you not believing in it – it doesn’t need any defence at all. A tree is a tree and no belief will change that, a fact is a fact and no belief will change that either. And the actuality that I experience when the ‘self’ is completely absent is so vibrant, so delicious, so pure, so magnificent that every glorious feeling about Truth, the Unknown, the Unknowable, etc. has faded into oblivion.
RESPONDENT: Vibrant, delicious, pure, and magnificent ARE glorious feelings about ‘what is’ when self is not, i.e. about Truth. Self faded into oblivion, means life just is.
VINEETO: No, I am not talking about feelings, let alone glorious feelings – I am describing the sensate-only experiencing of the world surrounding me as it becomes apparent in a PCE when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent. This is not the ‘Truth’ because the Truth is based on passionate affective ‘knowing’ where the soul-part of the ‘self’ is not only intact but gloriously aggrandized by the absence of the restrictive ego. For Truth to be, the ‘self’ does not have to become extinct, it is still alive and kicking, just not ‘falsely objectifying’. Vis:
In a PCE, as I have described, the ‘self’ is not a personal self ‘faded into oblivion’ but is when the total self is temporarily in abeyance – a PCE is but a glimpse to give one the experience of what is possible when the ‘self’, both ego and soul, becomes permanently extinct. When you say ‘self faded into oblivion, means life just is’, you are talking about Life, ‘Supreme Intelligence, Consciousness, etc., which is nothing but God by another name or you may be talking of No. 8’s fashionable spiritual fatalistic nihilism of ‘I am what I am, and life is what it is, so I might as well be grateful to whoever, or whatever, is running the show ... because that’s what everybody else is doing’.
VINEETO: And then I encountered fear – fear to leave the familiar fold – my peers, my sannyasin friends and acquaintances, the women’s club with their particular beliefs and feelings, family-sentiments, love-dreams. Most of all, I was fearful to question the authority of Osho, of God, of the divine plan behind it all, and the belief in authority as such. Suddenly I had to realize and acknowledge that I am alone, standing on my own two feet, nobody is there who knows ‘the truth’ and no all-caring and all-powerful ‘Existence’ is ‘taking care of me’.
RESPONDENT: So the truth can’t be reached then or hasn’t been reached yet. Up until now Richard, Peter and you have not discovered the truth either.
VINEETO: I don’t talk about ‘discovering the truth’. ‘Truth’ is simply just another belief, believed by many and experienced by some as emotional conviction. Truth is like love and bliss, a construct of our incredibly powerful fervent imagination. Once you step out of imagination, truth simply disappears, and you leave your ‘self’ behind and step into the actual world of perfection and magic, purity and delight. No truth needed. The actual world is already always here.
RESPONDENT: Really now, so what. That proves absolutely nothing, just that Richard has developed himself into another type of human being, and obviously one you admire. Again, so what is the big deal here. Enjoy it, revel in it, be it but don’t come up with just another belief system you are trying to convince others is TRUTH.
VINEETO: Truth has to be believed, facts can be verified. I have verified that it is possible to live with a man in utter peace, harmony and equity, and I have verified that one can clean oneself up to be happy and harmless. No believing needed. No truth found. Everyone can do the same if they wish to.
RESPONDENT: I’m just bored with the underlying assumption that your belief system is somehow superior to others. All belief systems are bogus, yours included.
VINEETO: You are bored with your own assumption.
As long as you want to believe, everything that anybody presents is seen as a belief system. You could also start investigating. You could, for instance, try and remember a pure consciousness experience – and almost everybody has had at least one in their lives. Then you can experience for yourself the facts of what Peter and I are talking about. In a pure consciousness experience, where the ‘self’ is in temporary abeyance, everything is self-evident and obvious, including the fact, that it is only the ‘self’ that is in the road of experiencing the perfection of the infinite universe.
The objection that most people have is that in the actual world, verifiable by the physical senses, there is neither love nor a soul nor divine energy.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.