Please note that Vineeto’s writings below were written by the feeling-being ‘Vineeto’ while ‘she’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom.

Vineeto ~ Selected Writings

How to Investigate Feelings


Richard: ‘Before applying the actualism method – the ongoing enjoyment and appreciation of this moment of being alive – it is essential for success to grasp the fact that this very moment which is happening now is your only moment of being alive. The past, although it did happen, is not actual now. The future, though it will happen, is not actual now. Only now is actual. Yesterday’s happiness and harmlessness does not mean a thing if one is miserable and malicious now and a hoped-for happiness and harmlessness tomorrow is to but waste this moment of being alive in waiting. All one gets by waiting is more waiting. Thus any ‘change’ can only happen now. The jumping in point is always here; it is at this moment in time and this place in space. Thus, if one misses it this time around, hey presto, one has another chance immediately. Life is excellent at providing opportunities like this.

What ‘I’ did, all those years ago, was to devise a remarkably effective way to be able to enjoy and appreciate this moment of being alive each moment again (I know that methods are to be actively discouraged, in some people’s eyes, but this one worked). It does take some doing to start off with but, as success after success starts to multiply exponentially, it becomes progressively easier to enjoy and appreciate being here each moment again. One begins by asking, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’?

Note: asking how one is experiencing this moment of being alive is not the actualism method; consistently enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive is what the actualism method is. And this is because the actualism method is all about consciously and knowingly imitating life in the actual world. Also, by virtue of proceeding in this manner the means to the end – an ongoing enjoyment and appreciation – are no different to the end itself.

This perpetual enjoyment and appreciation is facilitated by feeling as happy and as harmless as is humanly possible. And this (affective) felicity/ innocuity is potently enabled via minimisation of both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ feelings. An affective awareness is the key to maximising felicity and innocuity over all those alternate feelings inasmuch the slightest diminishment of enjoyment and appreciation automatically activates attentiveness.

Attentiveness to the cause of diminished enjoyment and appreciation restores felicity and innocuity. The habituation of actualistic awareness and attentiveness requires a persistent initialisation; persistent initialisation segues into a wordless approach, a non-verbal attitude towards life. It delivers the goods just here, right now, and not off into some indeterminate future. Plus the successes are repeatable – virtually on demand – and thus satisfy the ‘scientific method’.

So, ‘I’ asked myself, each moment again: ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’?

As one knows from the pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s), which are moments of perfection everybody has at some stage in their life, that it is possible to experience this moment in time and this place in space as perfection personified, ‘I’ set the minimum standard of experience for myself: feeling good. If ‘I’ am not feeling good then ‘I’ have something to look at to find out why. What has happened, between the last time ‘I’ felt good and now? When did ‘I’ feel good last? Five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous feelings? Ahh ... yes: ‘He said that and I ...’. Or: ‘She didn’t do this and I ...’. Or: ‘What I wanted was ...’. Or: ‘I didn’t do ...’. And so on and so on ... one does not have to trace back into one’s childhood ... usually no more than yesterday afternoon at the most (‘feeling good’ is an unambiguous term – it is a general sense of well-being – and if anyone wants to argue about what feeling good means ... then do not even bother trying to do this at all).

Once the specific moment of ceasing to feel good is pin-pointed, and the silliness of having such an incident as that (no matter what it is) take away one’s enjoyment and appreciation of this only moment of being alive is seen for what it is – usually some habitual reactive response – one is once more feeling good ... but with a pin-pointed cue to watch out for next time so as to not have that trigger off yet another bout of the same-old same-old. This is called nipping it in the bud before it gets out of hand ... with application and diligence and patience and perseverance one soon gets the knack of this and more and more time is spent enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive. And, of course, once one does get the knack of this, one up-levels ‘feeling good’, as a bottom line each moment again, to ‘feeling happy and harmless’ ... and after that to ‘feeling perfect’.

The more one enjoys and appreciates being just here right now – to the point of excellence being the norm – the greater the likelihood of a PCE happening ... a grim and/or glum person has no chance whatsoever of allowing the magical event, which indubitably shows where everyone has being going awry, to occur. Plus any analysing and/or psychologising and/or philosophising whilst one is in the grip of debilitating feelings usually does not achieve much (other than spiralling around and around in varying degrees of despair and despondency or whatever) anyway.

The wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is marked by enjoyment and appreciation – the sheer delight of being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’ – and the slightest diminishment of such felicity/ innocuity is a warning signal (a flashing red light as it were) that one has inadvertently wandered off the way.

One is thus soon back on track ... and all because of everyday events. Richard, Articles, This Moment of Being Alive

*

RESPONDENT: As I know nobody has become actual free by using this method?

RICHARD: The reason why this flesh and blood body is actually free from the human condition is because of the identity in residence all those years ago (1981-1992) utilising the approach ‘he’ devised – a course of action which has become known as the actualism method – to full effect.

RESPONDENT: Not even the inventor used the method of examining and questioning.

RICHARD: I would suggest obtaining your information from a reputable source – www.actualfreedom.com.au – and not from what some malcontent daubed on a lavatory wall.

RESPONDENT: To me it seems contradicting to use (and believe) thought to stop believing in thoughts.

RICHARD: Put simplistically (for maximum effect): the actualism method is about using thought to examine feelings. Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No. 98, 4 Aug 2005

VINEETO: When I started to look into actualism as an alternative to the spiritualism that I had practiced so long with unsatisfying results, the mind-boggling radicality of the 180 degrees opposite statements often caused my mind to gridlock. From whatever angle I looked at certain issues, I simply could not understand what Richard was saying. However, I had the burning desire to find out all there is to know about this third alternative because I had already experienced for myself that something was greatly amiss in the venerated teachings and practice of spiritualism.

In those situations when I couldn’t think my way out of my mental block, a condition which I later discovered to be cognitive dissonance, I used to ask myself what it was that was preventing me from understanding. Rather than accusing Richard of being bone-headed, stubborn, silly or wrong, I instead chose to question why I was so bone-headed that I could not understand what he had discovered and what emotional investment ‘I’ had in maintaining ‘my’ status quo by not understanding what he presented as his ongoing delectable experience of the actual world.

These were some of the questions I used to ask myself –

  • What feelings prevent me from seeing this one particular fact?

  • What fears do I have that prevent me from coming to a new understanding?

  • What consequence will this understanding possibly have for ‘me’ and ‘my’ worldview if what Richard is saying is right?

  • What consequence will it have for ‘my’ lifestyle, my friendships, my working situation if what Richard is saying is right?

To ask these questions was to sharpen my attentiveness as to how I felt, what I felt and why I felt it when I contemplated the issues that caused a mental block and this attentiveness also showed me how to move past those affective feelings that prevented a clearer understanding of those issues. In other words, attentiveness counteracts the instinctive ‘self’-centredness that is more or less happening all the time unless I become aware of it. Attentiveness combined with contemplation does wonders when one wants to penetrate ‘my’ automatically ongoing affective reactive-ness to emotionally charged topics.

Eventually my burning desire and my persistence not to settle for anything less than indisputable facts won over my fears of questioning what I believed to be absolutely right and true and, to make a long story short, one day something had to give – ‘my’ worldview collapsed in one fell swoop and I had my first pure consciousness experience which lasted for a night and the better half of the next day. I was with Peter at the time and experienced for the first time what it is to be with a fellow human being without having ‘self’-oriented expectations, fears and preconceptions. In fact I only noticed that those ‘self’-centred expectations, fears and preconceptions towards others were a constant feature of ‘me’ when they temporarily ceased.

The next day Peter and I went to the local market and I experienced first hand how everyone was not only selling their goods but with those goods their beliefs and convictions, their worldviews and ethics and everyone was absolutely convinced that he or she had the right truth. In the following days the memory of this direct experience made a big dent into all of my beliefs and truths but it took many more such break-throughs to question one ‘truth’ after the other and with each crumbled belief my understanding of the human condition expanded and the nature of actuality became more and more clear.

One of those break-throughs happened when I mused about the nature of the universe and my beliefs in a mystical, metaphysical or super-natural energy permeating it. The longer I contemplated the more it became clear that both a beginning to and an edge of the universe do not make sense because this theory raises far more questions than it solves, whereas an infinite and eternal universe does away with any and all the theorizing about the how, when and by whom or by what mysterious force the universe was created and what it is that it supposedly expands into. At this point it also dawned on me that in a universe without boundaries there is no physical space for any mystical Force to be ruling the world and the very meaning of actuality – matter devoid of spirit but in constant change – became stunningly clear, not just intellectually but experientially. The very simplicity of my intellectual understanding and the resultant immediate experiencing of this very understanding made the nature of the universe self-evidently obvious.

I acknowledge that it requires great daring, intent and stubborn determination to leave one’s safe haven of being an agnostic about the nature of the universe in order to recognize and experientially discover the facts about the nature of the universe as opposed to remaining ‘open’ to any and all theories about the universe. To leave the non-committal position of not-knowing behind and commit oneself to finding out the facts, whatever the cost, is a truly life-changing process as one’s whole personal worldview will fall apart and disappear. Naturally in the face of this threat, the survival instincts kick in, causing ‘me’ to opt for the safety of the status quo.

The first thing to counteract this automatic instinctual reaction is to become aware of it so that one can then make an informed decision in which direction one wants to proceed. The actualism method itself is very simple – the consequences of applying it are enormous.

VINEETO: Many people have confused the method of actualism with the spiritual method of ‘self’-observation or ‘self’-awareness as it is used in Eastern Mysticism. ‘Self-observation is, in short, ‘self’ observing ‘self’, which can only lead to detachment and dissociation. In ‘self’-observation ‘I’ am making an assessment of how ‘I’ should Really be; one’s normal cultural values are only replaced by so-called higher values and these so-called higher values are by no means sensible as can be determined by observing that enlightenment and ‘self’-realization is anything but sensible.

When one acknowledges that it is the human condition in toto which is the culprit then ‘self’ observing and ‘self’-realization can be recognized as a merely rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic – the intransigent problem, ‘me’ as an instinctive passionate entity, remains the same.

In order to help make a clear distinction between ‘self’-observation and an undivided attentiveness to this moment of being alive, an attentiveness that is non-moral, non-ethical, non-spiritual, I recommend Richard’s article entitled Attentiveness, Sensuousness, Apperceptiveness.

Sitting by a quiet creek the other day, enjoying the play of light and shadow in the ever-moving water I thought about how to describe the method of actualism in different words. It was pleasing to the eye to observe the movement of the water, the colours reflected in the creek, the light twinkling on the ripples and it was very easy to do so without applying any emotional evaluation or indulging in imagination – this is then a purely sensate experience. During this sensate experience I can simultaneously be aware of the input stream of sensual data, and this is the brain’s awareness of the eyes’, ears’, skin’s sensate perception. It’s like saying – I am aware of the eyes seeing, the ears hearing and the skin sensing the warmth of the soft breeze.

The same non-evaluative, non-imagining awareness can also be applied to whatever goes on inside my head (as neurosis), my heart (as feelings) or my guts (as instinctual passions) at all times in daily life although it takes a good deal more practice and determination to get this type of attentiveness up and running.

Normally when a thought or an emotion kicks in there is an immediate reflex evaluation that the thought or feeling is good or bad, wanted or unwanted, right or wrong, suitable or unsuitable, appropriate to be expressed or needed to be repressed and so on. This almost constant evaluation one’s conscience in action if you like usually happens so quickly and automatically that one is not aware that it is happening or one only becomes aware after it has already happened or only after the resultant action has already happened.

In other words, the moment you become aware that you have thoughts and feelings there is an immediate evaluation that all of these thoughts and feelings are ‘irritating’, you don’t like it, this is bad, this is wrong, it should not be so. The result is that one is then either busy expressing, repressing, denying or dissociating from them or one is busy thinking about how to get rid of the thoughts and feelings.

I found that when I paid close attention to the thoughts that were running in my head most of the time, I eventually became aware that it was only the feeling-based thoughts that are causing the problem, as in causing me to feel malicious and feel sorrowful. I had been indoctrinated for many years with Eastern Mysticism and because of this I believed that thinking was the problem and I had to abandon this ‘truth’ in order to discover for myself, experientially, that it is in fact feelings that come first and it is feelings that cause the subsequent onslaught of neurotic, frantic, irritating thoughts.

The next stage was to make sense of my thoughts and feelings as I became aware of them. This meant I had to start to discern what was going on – not in the usual terms of right and wrong, good and bad, wanted and unwanted, but in more pragmatic down-to-earth terms of what exactly was the feeling I was feeling – am I feeling sad, am I feeling angry, am I feeling bored, am I feeling scared and so on. You might find that this is not an easy thing to do at first but persistence combined with intent will eventually enable you to acknowledge and label the feeling you are having while the feeling is running.

You have probably already noticed that whenever you are overwhelmed or consumed by feelings you cannot clearly think about them. Therefore in order to make any sense out of why you are having the feeling, you need to get back to feeling at least reasonably good again. To do that you recognize that what you are feeling or doing is silly for a very simply reason – one realizes that now is the only moment I can experience of being alive – and then it becomes obvious that it is silly to waste this moment of being alive by feeling grumpy, sad, fearful, frustrated, angry, irritated, bored, pining, stuck up and so on.

To reiterate, knowing that what one is doing is silly – wasting this moment – and realizing that at this moment you are being either unhappy or malevolent then helps you to stop indulging in any of those feelings, which in turn enables you to get back to feeling at least reasonably good again as quickly as possible. Sometimes I found that I had to do something physical such as go for a walk or work in the garden in order to break free of being consumed by a particular intensive feeling.

Then when I am back to being able to think clearly, the real job begins, which is finding out what got me into this particular mess in the first place and how I can avoid falling into the same trap next time around.

Here are examples of the type of questions I used to ask myself when I got back to being able to think clearly about what had happened and why it happened –

  • What triggered the onslaught of neurotic thoughts? What is the dominant feeling behind these thoughts?

It is vital to make the distinction between thinking and feeling, lest you fall back into the usual trap of thinking that thinking is the problem and avoiding making the observation that it is feeling that is the problem. As a clue, whenever I am worried about something or irritated about something or annoyed at someone, these are feelings not thoughts and it is important to be able to recognize and label them as such. This can take a bit of doing because we have been trained as children to deny having bad feelings and we find out by trial and error that it is best to blame someone else or something else for causing bad thoughts/ feelings rather than acknowledge to myself that ‘I am angry’ or ‘I am pissed off’ or ‘I am feeling scared’.

  • What feeling was feeding the neurotic thoughts? Was it something he/she said or did or didn’t say or do? Did something trigger a memory of a recent event?

  • Why do I want to stop this inquiry as soon as I started it? What am I afraid to uncover if I pursue?

  • I find the feeling, and I name the feeling.

The non-felicitous feelings in question are both the ‘good’ feelings such as love, compassion, sympathy, belonging and the ‘bad’ feelings such as anger, fear, sadness, boredom, hate, loneliness etc. I found by experience that it is far easier to focus on dis-empowering the bad feelings first but soon it also became apparent that the so-called good feelings were in fact often the reason for my feeling bad. For instance love caused me to pine and feel lonely and feel dependant, compassion caused me to feel helpless and feel sad for others’ sake, belonging to a group caused me to worry if I did the ‘right’ thing according to the group-ethics, desire caused me to feel frustrated, competitive and anxious, and so on.

  • Why did I feel the way I did? Was what someone said going against one of my beliefs, one of my principles, or did I have an expectation that wasn’t met. Did something or someone knock one of my hopes or dreams? Did someone threaten the image I have of myself?

  • Why do I want to hold on to the feeling of upset, fear, worry, sadness, etc. although there is obviously no physical danger and physical pain for this body? What happens if I let go of my worry, fear, etc.?

  • What is the moral, ethical, spiritual value that I automatically apply to any of my thoughts and feelings? Why do I feel good when I do some things and bad when I do other things or when I don’t do some things? What is the particular belief, moral, ethics that I am defending? Why do I feel that some things are right and others are wrong? Why do I get upset about other people’s beliefs, morals and ethics? Why do other people have different moral, ethical and spiritual values than I do? Why is this the source of such conflict and confusion? Why do I consider certain thoughts and feelings as good, wanted, right or true and others as bad, unwanted, wrong or untrue? Where and when did I learn this or that particular rule? Does it still make sense to follow it?

Of course it only makes sense to let go of the moral and ethical rules I learnt if I am committed to be harmless.

  • Is there a dream, a hope, an ideal that lies at the bottom of my upset such as being perfect, being loved for who I am, finding Mr. or Ms. Right, being a perfect family member in the eyes of others or maybe the eyes of God, belonging to a certain group, becoming rich or famous, and so on. Why don’t I want to give up this dream, hope or ideal? What would happen if I did?

  • What is the particular reason why I don’t want to give up being unhappy and why do I want to continue being malevolent towards myself and others?

As I got better and better at this I was then able to do my investigations while the feeling was happening, which is even more revealing as one gets to feel the feeling as it is happening and I can get to know the physical sensations that accompany the feeling which is very useful in recognizing the onset of feelings and emotions the next time they occur.

This attentiveness of becoming aware of what I am feeling and the intent to investigate why I feel what I feel is very similar to the one I applied when watching the movement in the river – neither detached or dissociated (after all this is ‘me’ in action) nor applying one or other moral/ethical judgements. Such a discerning attentiveness is akin to conducting an empirical scientific inquiry into my own psyche in action – I am being attentive as to how ‘I’ tick and by doing so I experientially know what the human condition consists of and how it operates which in turn enables me to incrementally become free from it.

As I find out how ‘I’ tick, I am then able to make any choices I need to make according to what is silly and sensible and by doing so I no longer rely on the judgements of right and wrong according to my social identity, such as a code of honour, racial values, my upbringing as a woman, my belonging to a group or a family, and so on. An assessment of what is silly and what is sensible also bypasses the instinctual passions in that common sense is far better capable of making a decision.

The advantage of making choices on the basis of what is silly and what is sensible is that such an assessment is not based on what ‘I’ want, what ‘I’ need, what ‘I’ have to have happen, what ‘I’ need to do at all costs – it is not ‘self’-centred, ‘self’-oriented, ‘self’-ish. Such an uncommon common sense takes into consideration the benefit of all people involved in each particular situation and genuine harmony only happens when I am harmless.

Peter wrote a guide for practicing actualists in which he described the various stages that one can encounter on the way to a virtual freedom. Thinning of the ‘self’ happens only when you notice that you have become less ‘self’-centred, more considerate of others, more harmless, less aggressive and less defensive. Putting ‘on the brakes’ can happen at any time in the process of actualism whenever you encounter a particularly dear belief or a cherished dream, something you hold as an inviolable truth or a sacrosanct moral, or when you suddenly realize the enormity of the enterprise of leaving both your ‘self’ and humanity behind. However, I found I could never leave my foot on the brakes for long when I contemplated the benefit of an actual freedom not only for this body but for the peace on earth that is available to everyone.

VINEETO: This is how I use the method of actualism (as prescribed) with excellent outcome –

In order to investigate a feeling when it is occurring, the first thing I have to do is to stop trying to make it go away or stop trying to hang on to it as we have been socially or spiritually conditioned to do. As long as I object to having the (bad) feeling or desperately want to cling to the (good) feeling, I cannot examine what exactly is going on. The first thing to become aware of and understand was my automatic reaction of suppression or expression in order to be able to experience the feeling fully that I am then able to label and examine.

I began to notice that when I stopped fighting having the feeling or stopped feeding the feeling, its intensity was immediately reduced significantly and then I was be able to take a closer look of what has caused this particular feeling to appear in the first place. When feelings are really intense such that they have taken me over, any investigation at such a time is useless. I had to get back to at least feeling good, if not happy, again in order to be able to sensibly delve deeper into the reasons that got me upset or enraptured in the first place.

Then I could go about examining the feeling that I had just experienced – when did the feeling first start, what was the event or situation that caused the affective reaction, why did I feel insulted, self-righteous, misunderstood, rejected, sad, angry, worried, pissed off, etc., which of my cherished beliefs, truth, views, values, etc. is being questioned, in what way is this linked to my identity, is there a fear underneath the initial feeling, what is this fear about, and so on ...?

In this way I am conducting an empirical systematic inquiry into my own affective experience and I am in fact examining my own psyche in action – I don’t make the feeling go away, on the contrary, I allow it to come entirely to the surface so that I can feel the feeling so that I can conduct an extensive experiential examination into all its aspects. Once I overcame the initial moral and ethical objection to having undesirable and unpleasant feelings in the first place, a keen interest and fascination developed that came from being able to be aware of my own feelings and emotions while they were happening as well as being able to understand why they operate, how they operate and what is their root cause. I was becoming keenly interested in each detail and every opportunity that might give me a clue to the way I tick – and everyday life is rich with such opportunities.

The investigation into one’s feelings has to be experiential if it is to bring any tangible results – thinking about feelings and emotions removed from down-to-earth personal experience will only keep one at a surface level and will prevent one from penetrating into the very nature of one’s psyche. So the first thing for me to learn was to stop fighting my feelings and to stop feeding my feelings and allow myself to experience my feelings … all the while making sure that I kept my mouth shut and my hands in my pockets, in order that I wouldn’t do or say something I’d have to regret or feel remorseful about later on.

As long as I continue to have silent accusations, grudges, irritation, suspicions, defensiveness, anger, fear, etc. against someone, I always know that there is an unresolved belief, a hidden truth, a firm conviction, a dearly-held principle, a personal moral or value at stake that the other – usually inadvertently – has uncovered or questioned or opposed. In order to get back to being happy and, more importantly harmless, I then need to take this belief apart, as I call it. That means I look where and when I acquired it, why I believe it to be so, why I react emotionally when it is opposed and by doing so inevitably I discover the aspect of my identity associated with this belief – in other words, it is ‘my’ belief and to give it up will mean I have to give up some part of ‘me’. Only my intent to be happy and harmless will cause ‘me’ to give up something ‘I’ hold so dear.

This is the very reason why actualism is a do-it-yourself method because nobody can expose your own beliefs and truths but you.

VINEETO: For me, abandoning my beliefs was the conscious and deliberate determination to peel away all the conditioning I had taken on board in my life that prevents me from experiencing the magic and perfection that I had experienced in my first major pure consciousness experience.

In order to peel away the layers of ‘me’, the social and instinctual identity I had clearly seen as standing in the way of experiencing the magic of this actual physical universe, I found that it wasn’t enough merely to question my beliefs (or the beliefs of others) for questioning sake, as I had done before. Also, it wasn’t sufficient to question what I considered to be beliefs, mine or other’s – I had to dig into what I felt to be unquestionably true and what I was sure to be right in order to determine whether they were fact and whether they worked in practice.

In other words, I made a deliberate decision to uncover my beliefs in order to abandon them, beliefs that were disguised as truths, held by me as well as my peer group to be valid and right, good and fair. What made them appear to be right and true were not only my own passionate feelings but the fact that others around me also felt them to be true.

Given that beliefs are nothing other than emotion-backed thoughts the task to uncover my beliefs was fairly easy in principle – whenever I got upset about what someone said I could then reasonably assume that one of my dearly held beliefs or values was challenged. In practice, however, it was often not so easy because each belief I uncovered in fact challenged the very person I felt myself to be.

So, the answer to your question ‘what’s left when all beliefs and ideas including the spiritual is abandoned?in my experience was that what is left is the feeler. Consequently I then began to investigate the feelings that do not necessarily have beliefs attached to them but that nevertheless stand in the way of me being unconditionally happy and harmless – the necessary prerequisite to becoming free from one’s ‘self’ altogether.

RESPONDENT: How did you investigate those feelings and link the identity to them?

VINEETO: How to link the identity to my feelings? That’s easy – the pure consciousness experience makes it undeniably clear that ‘I’, the social and instinctual identity, am a feeling identity … therefore any affective feeling is always an articulation of one’s identity in action. Even if one does not have a clear memory of having had a PCE, the simple act of being attentive experientially reveals that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.

When I began to pay exclusive attention to this moment of being alive I soon became aware that my social and instinctual identity thrives on gloomy and antagonistic feelings as well as loving and compassionate feelings whereas feeling happy and delighted deprives the identity of its nourishment. Hence Richard’s method to minimize both the good and the bad feelings while activating and enhancing the felicitous feelings made imminent sense.

This method is not to be confused with the spiritual method of not identifying or not associating with one’s feelings and thoughts – as in the Buddhist practice of detachment – as this practice only serves to create a new pseudo identity, an identity who actively dis-identifies from unwanted aspects of one’s old identity. In actualism I readily acknowledge that ‘I’ in toto am the problem and then proceed to facilitate ‘my’ demise.

As for ‘how did you investigate those feelings’, i.e. those feelings that don’t necessarily have beliefs attached to them – I found that there was no need to make a distinction between feelings with beliefs and feelings without beliefs. Given that my aim is to eliminate ‘me’ the identity in toto, any feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless is acknowledged, felt and labelled as it arises, neither expressed nor suppressed but attentively observed, in order that I can then either nip it in the bud or, if need be, explore and understand it fully so as to then be able to abandon them.

Feelings connected with beliefs inevitably surfaced whenever the particular belief was challenged. The only way to completely disempower the feelings is to abandon the belief – no belief, no need to feel defensive, feel aggrieved, feel the need to attack and so on. Even when I thought I had eliminated my major beliefs, such as my religious and spiritual beliefs, I would nevertheless discover yet more beliefs that I had inadvertently taken on board and these beliefs made themselves apparent by the fact that I got upset or sad or irritated about what someone said or did.

Undertaking an exploration of one’s own feelings when and as they are occurring – becoming fascinated with the business of being alive – is the means to developing apperceptive awareness, a prerequisite to becoming free of the human condition itself.

RESPONDENT: When an emotion has been fully investigated and there is nothing new to be learned from it, what can be done about it? I don’t think I really understand the difference between nipping it in the bud and repressing it. Many emotions recur automatically unless I take action to either dismiss them or redirect my attention elsewhere. I am not comfortable with this because it seems akin to repression, but I don’t know any other way to dispense with the feelings. Any tips would be appreciated.

VINEETO: In my experience with the actualism method, I didn’t nip many emotions in the bud until I was certain that the whole issue that brought on the emotion had been examined and clearly understood.

By neither repressing nor expressing an emotion I have opportunity to ask some investigative questions, either in the situation, if I am not too upset, or some time afterwards when the worst of the storm has passed. My questions go something like this – what brought on the emotional reaction, what is the underlying cause, what is the reoccurring theme, what is the belief behind it, what is it I particularly hold dear that caused my getting upset, what part of my identity feels insulted, threatened, annoyed, etc., what action do I possibly need to take in order to prevent a reoccurring of my upset, and finally, what part of ‘me’ do I need to let go of in order to permanently become free from this particular emotional reaction?

Some emotional reactions I could easily dismiss as being plain silly such as complaints about the weather, about obstacles in the traffic, about people being late, and so on. These situations merely needed a change of attitude, some attentiveness to stop the old habit and then the emotion would not occur again by my sheer determination not to let such trivia bug me. For those issues that needed no further inquiry, nipping any upcoming emotional reaction in the bud was the perfect and only sensible solution.

Other issues took more inquisitiveness, attentiveness, guts and intent to look at the uncomfortable dark side of ‘me’ in order to get to the bottom of reoccurring emotional reactions. For instance, when I first met Peter I had a lot of male-female issues that caused me to get upset which could only be resolved by me finding out the facts of the matter and then letting go of my various idea, opinions, beliefs and feelings around being a woman, i.e. my social identity of being a woman.

Another area that needed extensive exploration had to do with my feelings of love and loyalty for my former spiritual teacher. I began to inch my way into slowly questioning the sensibility of being loyal in the face of blatant contradictions between his teachings and his behaviour and his promises and the actual outcome of practicing his teachings, but for a while each time someone else said something against him I flared up, so much so that for the first 3 months Peter and I agreed to not talk about ‘the war’. It was clear for me that this could only be a temporary measure and I steadily proceeded with finding out the facts of the matter despite my reoccurring feelings of fear, doubt, suspicion, defensiveness, treachery and abandonment that this course of action could sometimes create. Those feelings only permanently disappeared when I managed to irrevocably let go of my identity of being a follower, a member of the clan, a worshipper and lover of a Godman, a New-Age goody-two-shoes and a spiritual seeker and believer.

From those two examples you can see that the actualism method is not a superficial tool to make bad feeling go away – it is, when used correctly, a powerful instrument for radical, i.e. eradicating, change. It’s my identity I willingly let go of when I apply attentiveness and understanding and as a consequence the feelings that were produced and maintained by the respective parts of my identity also disappear.

As an analogy, you could say that the good and bad feelings are only the tip of the iceberg, the tangible aspect of one’s identity. As such, when I pay increasing attention as to how I experience this moment of being alive, increasing parts of the iceberg, ‘me’, come to the surface – and this is a necessary process if one is to bring one’s ‘self’ to the light for progressive dissolution.

RESPONDENT: Could you share your ‘how am I experiencing this moment...’ It seem more relevant than digging up memories. So ‘how am I ...’, Hmm having difficulty coming up with suitable descriptive words. I am not feeling great though... pain in the head front and back, stomach discomfort and through this there is a mild sense of clarity. There is also the sense of ‘me’ trying to hang on and keep control.

VINEETO: (...) I have tried to convey in the last mail how I am using the question to discover whatever emotions were going on at the time, using the example of authority. I’ll post it again, this time broken into the different steps, in case you did not recognize the method. This is not just digging old memories, as you say, but a detailed description of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’

To get rid, permanently, of a certain emotion, what I did was –

  1. investigate the underlying reasons –
  2. why do I have this fear,
  3. what is the belief that supports it? In this case I found that wanting approval – or pretending to reject it – was, for me, based on the belief in authority. I believed that I was not authority enough to judge my actions or in-actions, or judge certain behaviour as silly or sensible.
    As a woman I had this issue especially with men and this had spoiled all my relationships with men.
  4. It took quite a bit of digging into the causes of why I believed everybody else more competent to judge what is right and wrong for me.
  5. One thing is, authority is a strong part of everyone’s upbringing.
  6. But underneath that conditioning I found an immense fear to stand on my own feet, alone, by myself – the survival instinct of
    a. belonging to a group,
    b. or a strong person.
  7. I was continuously looking for an authority to
    a. protect me,
    b. guide me,
    c. love me,
    d. to be part of a group around those authority figures.
  8. The struggle looks silly to me now, but at the time it produced immense fear-attacks, days of wanting to hide, to run away, a nightmare to decide between Richard/Peter as the supposed authority figures or Rajneesh and his disciples as the guiding principle.
  9. To dissolve the nightmare I decided to not stop until I had found the root cause.
  10. And the root cause was, strangely enough, a belief in God. I had thought I had dismissed God years ago, when I went to Poona and left Christianity behind.
    But then the Christian God was just replaced by Rajneesh.
  11. Questioning and understanding my fear as the belief in and the fear of a judging and punishing God made it all very clear.
  12. Finally I could step out of the circle of
    a. creating and consequently
    b. fighting human authorities (God’s representatives) and
  13. simply decide for myself, with my own intelligence and common sense, what I wanted to do with my life, in each particular moment, in each situation.

I have done this process of tracing with every single irritation, emotion and belief that I found lurking inside ‘my soul’ and in this way have reduced ‘my soul’ to a very small percentage of its original size. With it my troubles, worries, fears and irritations have also been reduced to a very small percentage of their original appearance. It works, immediately – and that, for many, is the scary bit. One actually diminishes and eliminates one’s soul and one’s identity.

But unless one investigates one’s emotions, one’s beliefs and at last one’s instincts at the root of a physical unpleasantness, tension or sensation, there is no way to get to the bottom of the matter. It will stay a sorry-go-round of ‘noticing’ and disappearing, reappearing and ‘noticing’ again ad nauseam. Richard has described the method very well in an earlier correspondence with you:

Richard: Affectively, of course ... that is how you are experiencing this moment. Look, let us not unnecessarily complicate things here. The ‘how’ simply means ‘what feeling am I experiencing right now with’ ... which is: ‘Am I bored?’, ‘Am I resentful?’, ‘Am I at ease?’, ‘Am I glad?’, ‘Am I sad?’ and so on. You see, peace-on-earth is here right now – the perfection of the infinitude of this universe is happening at this moment – and you are missing out on it because you are feeling what it is like to be here instead of actually being here. Hence: ‘How am I experiencing this moment’ means ‘What feeling is preventing the on-going experiencing of peace-on-earth?’

Before applying the actualism method – the ongoing enjoyment and appreciation of this moment of being alive – it is essential for success to grasp the fact that this very moment which is happening now is your only moment of being alive. The past, although it did happen, is not actual now. The future, though it will happen, is not actual now. Only now is actual. Yesterday’s happiness and harmlessness does not mean a thing if one is miserable and malicious now and a hoped-for happiness and harmlessness tomorrow is to but waste this moment of being alive in waiting. All one gets by waiting is more waiting. Thus any ‘change’ can only happen now. The jumping in point is always here; it is at this moment in time and this place in space. Thus, if one misses it this time around, hey presto, one has another chance immediately. Life is excellent at providing opportunities like this. (...)

As one knows from the pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s), which are moments of perfection everybody has at some stage in their life, that it is possible to experience this moment in time and this place in space as perfection personified, ‘I’ set the minimum standard of experience for myself: feeling good. If ‘I’ am not feeling good then ‘I’ have something to look at to find out why. What has happened, between the last time ‘I’ felt good and now? When did ‘I’ feel good last? Five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous feelings? Ahh ... yes: ‘He said that and I ...’. Or: ‘She didn’t do this and I ...’. Or: ‘What I wanted was ...’. Or: ‘I didn’t do ...’. And so on and so on ... one does not have to trace back into one’s childhood ... usually no more than yesterday afternoon at the most (‘feeling good’ is an unambiguous term – it is a general sense of well-being – and if anyone wants to argue about what feeling good means ... then do not even bother trying to do this at all).

Thus, by asking ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ the reward is immediate; by finding out what triggered off the loss of feeling good, one commences another period of enjoying this moment of being alive. It is all about being here at this moment in time and this place in space ... and if you are not feeling good you have no chance whatsoever of being here in this actual world. (A grumpy person locks themselves out of the perfect purity of this moment and place). Of course, once you get the knack of this, one up-levels ‘feeling good’, as a bottom line each moment again, to ‘feeling happy’. And after that: ‘feeling perfect’. These are all feelings, this is not perfection personified yet ... but then again, feeling perfect for twenty three hours and fifty nine minutes a day is way beyond normal human expectations anyway. Also, it is a very tricky way of both getting men fully into their feelings for the first time in their life and getting women to examine their feelings one by one instead of being run by a basketful of them all at once. One starts to feel ‘alive’ for the first time in one’s life.

Being ‘alive’ is to be paying attention – exclusive attention – to this moment in time and this place in space. This attention becomes fascination ... and fascination leads to reflective contemplation. Then – and only then – apperception can occur. Richard, List B, No 26, 14.11.1998

Richard: (...) but it requires the 100% cooperation of the other. I cannot be more interested in another’s freedom than they are. Having had nigh on eighteen years experience of talking to recalcitrant egos I have no intention of inspiring, enthusing or exhilarating anyone. I am more than happy to participate in another’s enquiry until they ‘get it’ and begin their voyage of discovery into their psyche – which is the human psyche – but it is their energy that is needed to vitalise their search. Richard, List B, No 26, 7.11.1998

This 100%, boots and all-approach is my experience too. Until I had decided to give it a go, because I had to acknowledge that nothing else had worked in my life to my satisfaction, there was only miserable pondering, cerebral torture and emotional distress. Once I decided to dare to give it a try, things became easier, I became focused, clear and determined. It has been so ever since. Nothing can stop me becoming completely free in one of these moments. It is a great adventure!

 

Vineeto’s Selected Writings

Library – Affective Feelings and Emotions

Actualism Homepage

Vineeto’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer and Use Restrictions and Guarantee of Authenticity