I am retired, on a pension, and the senescent progenitor of four adult off-spring (plus, by extension, over a dozen grandchildren and a great-grandchild) from my first marriage; all now scattered far and wide and living their own lives. These days I reside in a ready-made retreat – on the Richmond River in the Northern Rivers area of the eastern seaboard of Australia – where my days can be lived-out in a paradisaical sub-tropical obscurity. It could be described, albeit simplistically, as a two-roomed cabin (or three if a closet-size bathroom will qualify as a room) with a full-length sundeck and a small front veranda. My compact abode is somewhat removed from mainstream utilities in that there is no permanent internet connection (no telephone cable), thus necessitating a mobile phone to connect wirelessly, electric power comes primarily via photovoltaic cells (with a back-up portable generator), bottled liquid petroleum gas fuels the stove, and so on and so forth (low-power hand-held and notebook computers, minimal-power LED lighting, small twelve-volt TV sets, for instance).
The seaside village on the most easterly point of the continent, where I had been renting a brick-veneer duplex for nearly a decade, had become an ever-increasingly popular address and the house/land prices, and thus the rents, had escalated almost exponentially during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Hence it had been well-nigh inevitable that the day would come when, by being on a fixed-income, I would be priced-out of what had previously been a very, very inexpensive back-water on the first occasion I had stayed a while in the area (circa early 1980’s).
The notion of moving out of small-town suburbia had been around ever since I moved in (I had never been a suburbanite before and thoroughly enjoyed being umbilically connected, so to speak, to all manner of supplies and disposals) and the first nebulous inclination, in the late 1990’s, was to move north to this country’s tropical seaboard where coral abounds; but nothing ever came of it. The next was to move off-shore – to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, or to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, where there are also turquoise lagoons for fish to leap in – yet when the preliminary plans began to bear more and more resemblance to playful quirks, rather than to anything substantial, it all came to naught.
Besides which I was having too much fun at the keyboard – spending something like eight-ten hours a day, six-seven days a week, responding with millions of words in meticulous detail to all manner of queries and objections in thousands of emails (all archived freely on the internet for ready access) during those years – to prematurely relinquish the serendipitously available opportunity to build-up a wide-ranging body of writing. The main reason why I started writing to online forums, when I first went public on the internet in 1997 with a three-page website, other than to gain critical feedback from sections of ‘Richard’s Journal’ (the only publicly available words at the time), was to gather such material until it was of sufficient magnitude to put together in a book format at a later date and at my leisure.
I was well aware that if were I to have just sat down to write another book, only out of the blue this time around, it may not have been of sufficient relevance to my fellow human beings – without that valuable input from a diverse range of interests from peoples all around the globe – and that decade of experience has borne this out ... plus, as an added bonus, there is more than enough for several books.
So, the way I like to tell the story of how the timing came about to make this long-contemplated move, and it is as good a version as any other, is that I am one of those baby-boomers, of whom one hears about more-and-more these days as they approach/reach retirement age, who had not provided for their dotage. I neither owned a house or car (indeed I do not even have a driver’s licence) nor had any assets or money in the bank, so I bestirred myself from my indolence, several years earlier, and built up a credit rating (which I also lacked) by using a cedit card instead of saving, then using cash for major purchases and utility bills, thereby paying it off effortlessly and thus progressively being able to raise the credit-limit into the bargain, until my financial status was adjudged as being of sufficient standing to enable me to obtain a personal bank-loan so as to purchase a very modest residence on a five-year repayment plan (now fully paid-off).
My simple retreat, being readily relocatable (I do not own what it sits upon) can be lifted onto a suitably sized truck – a lorry in some parts of the world – without too much complication and transported to wherever I will if, or when, the whim occurs to do so; even to the coral coast, already mentioned, or anyplace else as might take my fancy. I actually have no plan to go anywhere, though, and may never do so. It is simply nice to have the option (for no particularly compelling reason other than the sheer enjoyment and appreciation of being able to change environments/ lifestyles and all which inheres from doing just that).
The wee small hours have been my favourite time for writing; I would most often wake up at two or three o’clock in the morning and write until the first kookaburras started their laughing-like call from some trees nearby. Then, as now, I like to sit back and sip an early morning coffee, with my feet up, and be with the first blue-grey light coming into the room ... through to the first glow of pre-dawn ... and then the sunrise itself. I have an affinity for the remote lifestyle as I was born and raised on a dairy farm in the south-west of this country (by pioneering parents carving a living through cutting down forestlands, by hand with axes and crosscut saws, and sowing grasslands for animal husbandry and other agricultural purposes). In that context I had a normal birth and upbringing; went to a standard state school; took a typical job at fifteen; volunteered for a six-year stint in the military at seventeen; served my time in an overseas war at nineteen; went into a commonplace marriage upon my return, and had a regular family, just as most peoples do.
By being born and raised in the West I was not steeped in the mystical religious tradition of the East and was thus able to escape the trap of centuries of eastern spiritual conditioning by going beyond Spiritual Enlightenment – which turned out to be an Altered State Of Consciousness (ASC) – into the actuality of being here on earth and now in time as this flesh and blood body. For many years I sought genuine exploration and discovery of what it means to live a fully human life, and in October 1992 I discovered, once and for all, what I was looking for. Since then I have been consistently living an incomparable condition which I choose to call actual freedom – and I use the word ‘actual’ because this freedom is located here in this very physical world, this actual world of the senses. It is not an affective, cerebral or psychic state of being; it is a physical condition that ensues when one goes beyond Spiritual Enlightenment. My questioning of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being had all started in a war-torn country in June 1966 at age nineteen – when there was an identity inhabiting this body complete with a full suite of feelings – and a Buddhist monk killed himself in a most gruesome way. There was I, a callow youth dressed in a jungle-green uniform and with a loaded rifle in my hand, representing the secular way to peace. There was a fellow human being, dressed in religious robes dowsed with petrol and with a cigarette lighter in hand, representing the spiritual way to peace.
I was aghast at what we were both doing ... and I sought to find a third alternative to being either ‘human’ or ‘divine’.
This was to be the turning point of my life, for up until then, I was a typical western youth, raised to believe in God, Queen and Country. Humanity’s inhumanity to humanity – society’s treatment of its subject citizens – was driven home to me, there and then, in a way that left me appalled, horrified, terrified and repulsed to the core of my being with a sick revulsion. I saw that no one knew what was going on and – most importantly – that no one was ‘in charge’ of the world. There was nobody to ‘save’ the human race ... all gods were but a figment of a feverish imagination. Out of a despairing desperation, that was collectively shared by my fellow humans, I saw and understood that I was as ‘guilty’ as any one else. For in me – as is in everyone – was both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ... it was that some people were better than others at controlling their ‘dark side’. However, in a war, there is no way anyone can consistently control any longer ... ‘evil’ ran rampant. I saw that animal instincts such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire ruled the world ... and that these were instincts one was born with. Thus started my search for freedom from the Human Condition ... and my attitude, all those years ago was this: I was only interested in changing myself fundamentally, radically, completely and utterly.
In September 1981 I underwent a monumental transformation into an Altered State Of Consciousness (ASC) which can only be described as ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’. I became enlightened as the result of an earnest and intense process which commenced in the January of that year. At approximately six o’clock on the morning of Sunday 6th September 1981, my ‘ego’ disappeared entirely in an edifying moment of awakening to an Absolute Reality. I called this ASC an ‘Absolute Freedom’ because there was definitely a metaphysical Absolute in all this – as distinct from the temporal and spatial and material – that was ever-present, and this State Of Being immediately imbued me with Love Agapé and Universal Compassion for all sentient beings. I seemed to be driven by some force to spread The Word and that had never been my intention when I first had what is known as a pure consciousness experience (PCE) in 1980. My intent back then had been to cleanse myself of all that is detrimental to personal happiness and interpersonal harmony ... in other words: peace on earth in our life-time. Instead of that rather simple ambition, I found myself impelled on an odyssey to be the latest Saviour of Humankind in a long list of Enlightened Beings bringing Truth and Love to a suffering humanity ... and that imposition did not sit well with me, as they had all failed in their Divine Work.
After something like five thousand years of recorded history, ‘humanity’ is nowhere nearer to Peace On Earth than before. Indeed, because of the much-touted Love and Compassion, much Hatred and Bloodshed has followed in their wake. This abysmal fate is something I wished to avoid repeating, whatever the personal cost in terms of losing the much-prized State Of Being. My diagnosis was simple: If I am driven by some force – no matter how Good that force be – then I am not actually free. I travelled the country – and overseas to India – meeting with people from all walks of life in an attempt to discover why Spiritual Enlightenment, which has been within the human experience for thousands of years, had not delivered the Peace On Earth it seemed to promise. As the process of becoming Enlightened is an extreme test of one’s mettle, requiring nerves of steel, it seemed that only a rare few humans were destined to become Self-Realised ... only 0.0000001 of the population, in a recent estimate. The question that commanded my attention was why this was so. I was looking beyond the superficial and questioning even the most closely held ideas and beliefs. Was there something more to discover ... something that lay beyond Enlightenment that would usher in the beginning of a genuine possibility of peace for all? Some Masters hinted at and alluded to ‘Going Beyond Enlightenment’ ... yet their Teachings remained exactly the same. Some disciplines suggested that such a condition existed after physical death: when the soul ‘quit the body’. The Hindu Mahasamadhi and Buddhist Parinirvana are two examples of this kind of thought.
Over the eleven years I had numerous experiences of a condition that seemed so extreme that one must surely die to attain to it. To go beyond Enlightenment seemed to be an impossibility whilst still alive and breathing. Then at midday on Friday the 30th October 1992 a curious event occurred, due to my intense conviction that it was imperative that someone evince a final and complete condition that would ‘deliver the goods’ so longed for by humanity for millennia. Just like my ego had dissolved, back in 1981, my ‘soul’ disappeared. I was no longer a ‘Self’ existing for all Eternity and transcending Time and Space. I no longer had a feeling of ‘being’ – nor ‘Being’ – and I could no longer detect the presence of The Absolute. There was no ‘Presence’ at all. Since that date I have continued to live in a condition of complete emancipation and utter autonomy ... the condition is both permanent and actual. I lived in the Enlightened State for eleven years, so I have an intimate understanding of the marked difference between spiritual freedom and actual freedom ... it is different in that it is most definitely substantial: there is no longer a transcendence, for I have neither sorrow nor malice anywhere at all to rise above. They have vanished entirely, leaving me both blithesome and benign – carefree and harmless – which leads to a most remarkable state of affairs. The chief characteristics of Enlightenment – Union with the Divine, Universal Compassion, Love Agapé, Ineffable Bliss, Divine Rapture, The Truth, Timelessness, Spacelessness, Immortality, Aloneness, Oneness, Pacifism, Surrender, Trust, Beauty, and Goodness – being redundant in this totally new condition, are no longer extant. Herein lies the unmistakable distinction between this condition, which I call actual freedom, and the Enlightened State: I am no longer driven by a Divine Sense Of Mission to bring The Truth, Universal Love and Divine Compassion to the world. I am free to speak with whomsoever is genuinely interested in solving the ‘Mystery of Life’ and becoming totally free of the Human Condition.
I like communicating, sharing experience, comparing notes as to what sense we have made out of being alive ... about being here on this planet earth as a human being. Spiritual Enlightenment has been around for some thousands of years ... and there is still no peace on earth. Nowadays I know, experientially, why Enlightenment does not deliver the goods ... and, of course, I now know what does. I am not an ‘Enlightened Master’ sitting in an exalted position ... and what a relief that is. I am a fellow human being, who happens to live in a condition of perfection and purity, offering my experience to whomsoever is interested because we are all fellow human beings who find ourselves here in the world as it was when we were born. We find war, murder, torture, rape, domestic violence and corruption to be endemic ... we notice that it is intrinsic to the human condition ... we set out to discover why this is so. We find sadness, loneliness, sorrow, grief, depression and suicide to be a global incidence – we gather that it is also inherent to the human condition – and we want to know why. We all report to each other as to the nature of our discoveries for we are all well-meaning and seek to find a way out of this mess that we have landed in. Whether one believes in re-incarnation or not, we are all living this particular life for the very first time, and we wish to make sense of it. It is a challenge and the adventure of a life-time to enquire and to uncover, to seek and to find, to explore and to discover. All this being alive business is actually happening and we are totally involved in living it out ... whether we take the back seat or not, we are all still doing it.
It is the most stimulating adventure of a lifetime to embark upon a voyage into one’s own psyche. Discovering the source of the Nile or climbing Mount Everest – or whatever physical venture – pales into insignificance when compared to the thrill of finding out about life, the universe, and what it is to be a human being. I am having so much fun ... those middle-aged or elderly people who bemoan their ‘lost youth’ leave me astonished. Back then I was – basically – lost, lonely, frightened and confused. Accordingly, I set out on what was to become the most marvellous escapade possible. As soon as I understood that there was nobody stopping me but myself, I had the autonomy to inquire, to seek, to investigate and to explore. As soon as I realised nobody was standing in the way but myself, that realisation became an actualisation and I was free to encounter, to uncover, to discover and to find the ‘secret to life’ or the ‘meaning of life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’, or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever one’s quest may be called. To dare to be me – to be what-I-am as an actuality – rather than the who ‘I’ was or the who ‘I’ am or the who ‘I’ will be, calls for an audacity unparalleled in the annals of history ... or one’s personal history, at least.
Nevertheless, despite of the fact that every single human being has had at least one pure consciousness experience (PCE) – and usually more – in their lifetime, they somehow can not differentiate between that peak experience of apperception (wherein ‘I’ and ‘me’, the thought and felt ‘being’, temporarily quits the scene and the actual world becomes apparent) and their pre-conceived notions that everyday reality is an illusion disguising some metaphysical ‘Greater Reality’. The Glamour and the Glory and the Glitz of the Altered State Of Consciousness has a tenacious grip upon the minds and hearts of a benighted humanity. It is indeed strange, to the point of being bizarre, that so many persons will turn their backs on the purity of the perfection of being here – of being fully alive – at this moment in time. Here in this actual world, which is where this flesh and blood body is living anyway, is the peace that everyone says they are searching for. All that is required is that one comes to one’s senses – both literally and metaphorically – and spend the rest of one’s life without malice and sorrow. One will then be blithe and benign, gay and carefree.
It is, of course, a bold step to forsake lofty thoughts, profound feelings and psychic adumbrations and enter into the actuality of life as a sensate experience. It requires a startling audacity to devote oneself to the task of causing a mutation of consciousness to occur. To have the requisite determination to apply oneself, with the diligence and perseverance born out of pure intent, to the patient dismantling of one’s accrued social identity indicates a strength of purpose unequalled in the annals of history. It is no little thing that one does ... and it has enormous consequences, not only for one’s own well-being, but for humankind as a whole. With an actualism spread like a chain-letter, in the due course of time, global freedom would revolutionise the concept of humanity. It would be a free association of peoples world-wide; a utopian-like loose-knit affiliation of like-minded individuals. One would be a citizen of the world, not of a sovereign state. Countries, with their artificial borders would vanish along with the need for the military. As nationalism would expire, so too would patriotism with all its heroic evils. No police force would be needed anywhere on earth; no locks on the doors, no bars on the windows. Gaols, judges and juries would become a thing of the dreadful past ... terror would stalk its prey no more. People would live together in peace and harmony, happiness and delight. Pollution and its cause – over-population – would be set to rights without effort, as competition would be replaced by cooperation. It would be the stuff of all the pipe-dreams come true.
But none of this matters much when one is already living freely in the actual world. In actual freedom, life is experienced as being perfect as-it-is here on earth. One knows that one is living in a beneficent and benevolent universe – and that is what actually counts. The self-imposed iniquities that ail the people who stubbornly wish to remain denizens of the real world, fail to impinge upon the blitheness and benignity of one who lives in the vast scheme of things. The universe does not force anyone to be happy and harmless, to live in peace and ease, to be free of sorrow and malice. It is a matter of personal choice as to which way one will travel. Human beings, being as they are, will probably continue to tread the ‘tried and true’ paths, little realising that they are the tried and failed ways. There is none so contumacious as a self-righteous soul who is convinced that they know the way to live as revealed in their ancient and revered scriptures ... or in their much-prized secular philosophies and psychologies. So be it.
I live in peace and tranquillity, beholden to none. With no loyalty to bind me, I have nothing to defend. With nothing to defend I have no need to attack. I have no sense of mission to ‘change the world’. I am not driven by mystical forces to evangelise, to proselytise, to convert. If anyone is genuinely interested in finding out what the reason for their existence is, I am only too happy to participate in their enquiry. I am retired and on a pension and I am currently pottering around the Internet instead of pottering around in the garden. Nevertheless, I can only help those who wish to be helped in the only way that I can help. I am free to be here in the world as-it-is. Unadorned and unencumbered, I can stand on my own two feet, owing allegiance to no-one and nothing at all. I am supremely content with life as-it-is, for perfection can be found in what others call imperfection ... and I have no desire to change anything. To be here, intimately here at this moment in time, where this actual world is such a marvellous place to be alive in, is a satisfaction and fulfilment unparalleled in the chronicles of antiquity.
Actual intimacy – being here now – does not come from love and compassion, for the affective states of being stem from separation. The illusion of intimacy that love and compassion produces is but a meagre imitation of the direct experience of the actual. In the actual world, ‘I’ as ego, the personality, and ‘me’ as soul, the ‘being’ – both subjectively experienced as one’s identity – have ceased to exist; whereas love and compassion accentuates, endorses and verifies ‘me’ as being real. And while ‘I’ am real, ‘I’ am relative to other similarly afflicted persons; vying for position and status in order to establish ‘my’ credentials ... to verify ‘my’ very existence. To be actually intimate is to be without the separative identity ... and therefore free from the need for love and compassion with their ever un-filled promise of Peace On Earth. There is an actual intimacy between me and everyone and everything ... actual intimacy is a direct experiencing of the other as-they-are. I am having a superb time ... and it is a well-earned superb time, too. Nothing has come without application – apart from serendipitous discoveries because of pure intent – and I am reaping the rewards which are plentiful and deliciously satisfying. Actual intimacy frees one up to a world of factual splendour, based firmly upon sensate and sensuous delight. The candid and unabashed sensorial enjoyment of being this body in the world around is such a luscious and immediate experience, that the tantalising but ever-elusive promise of the mystique of love and compassion has faded into the oblivion it deserves.
Thus the search for meaning amidst the debris of the much-vaunted human hopes and dreams and schemes has come to its timely end. With the end of both ‘I’ and ‘me’, the distance or separation between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs – and thus the external world – disappears. To be living as the senses is to live a clear and clean awareness – apperception – a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart) – to have sensations happen to them, I am the sensations. The entire affective faculty vanishes ... blind nature’s software package of instinctual passions is deleted. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not happening to an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another. To live life as these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and magic. Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful peace and tranquillity. Life is intrinsically purposeful, the reason for existence lies openly all around. Being in this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it; I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away – nor has it ever been away – it was just that ‘I’/‘me’ was standing in the way of the meaning of life being apparent. Life is not a vale of tears ... this is an actual freedom from the human condition: it is indeed possible to be actually free, here on earth, as this body, in this life-time.
To seek and to find; to explore and uncover; to investigate and discover ... these actions are the very stuff of life!
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust:1997-. All Rights Reserved.