On Mailing List ‘A’ with Respondent No. 15
RICHARD to No. 4: Unless, of course, all of the Enlightened Beings that have ever existed are wrong in saying that their state (Enlightenment) is won only when it is permanent ... Enlightenment is reached only when one has dissolved the ego permanently.
RESPONDENT: Richard. I’m not taking sides or anything, but ... the way I read his post he did not dispute a state of permanence, simply gave it a different label – Perfection I think it was.
RICHARD: The accepted use of the term ‘Enlightenment’ throughout the world refers to an Altered State Of Consciousness wherein the ego has permanently dissolved ... what is known as ‘ego-death’ or ‘death of the ego’. No. 4 claims that he is enlightened. However, by his own words, his ego has not dissolved – it ‘rears its ugly head’ . Therefore, he is not enlightened.
In order to get around this blatant misrepresentation he shifts the goal-posts and rewrites definitions to suit himself. Enlightenment then becomes for him, and anyone else he can fool, a ‘temporary version of perfection’ . As every single human being on this planet has had, at some stage in their life, a ‘temporary version of perfection’ – ‘glimpses’ or ‘flashes’ of perfection known in the west as ‘peak experiences’ – then by his definition, every person on earth is enlightened ... which makes nonsense of a terminology referring to a permanent state of ego-lessness.
This way he can include his favourite heroes – like Mr. Soren Kierkegaard and Mr. Otto Weininger – in his list of enlightened persons. They, however, did not claim enlightenment for themselves and carried their egos to their graves.
RICHARD to No. 4: By your own words you can not be justified in using the word ‘enlightenment’ to describe your attainment ‘because it tallies with the traditional use of the term’, as you have just stated that: ‘Labels clearly have no inherent meaning to them’.
RESPONDENT: Either I’m missing your point, or you’re grabbing at straws .
RICHARD: You must be missing the point because I am not ‘grabbing at straws’ . No. 4 says that he values logic and reason. The internal logic of his own post is inconsistent – which is what I was pointing out. When he does not like being pinned down by a definition he dismisses it by several methods, one of which is calling it a ‘label’. Yet when it suits him to stick with an accepted usage of a word it mysteriously ceases being a ‘label’ and becomes a ‘definition’ ... and a ‘traditional use of the term’ into the bargain!
I was merely being logical and reasonable.
RESPONDENT No. 4: What I call enlightenment involves a tremendous breakthrough in consciousness in which one’s intellectual understanding of Reality reaches perfection, leading one to directly experience Reality itself. In this moment, the nature of the spiritual path is grasped, the scriptures are understood, the Zen Koans are solved, and one passes beyond all doubts, there being nowhere further to go. If the word ‘enlightenment’ is to have any meaning at all, it can only mean this.
RICHARD: Precisely. There is ‘no further to go’ . If, however, as you wrote about yourself ‘the ego rears its ugly head’ again, then you do have further to go.
RESPONDENT: What I think he means here is during that specific encounter with reality that you peak, and not that you remain there (he’s already informed us he calls that Perfection.)
RICHARD: I know that he calls ‘remaining there’ Perfection. He is the only one to do so ... all other people I have read categorise ‘remaining there’ as one of being in a permanently Altered State Of Consciousness called ‘Enlightenment’. And they are a rare few. Look, as far as I am concerned he can call ‘remaining there’ whatever he likes, that is not the issue. The issue is that in order to claim Enlightenment one has to fit certain established criteria ... the main one being a permanent absence of ego.
RESPONDENT No. 4: This is what I call perfection. Unfortunately, this is not something which can be successfully accomplished overnight. In other words, it is simply not possible for us to suddenly eliminate the whole of our egos in one foul swoop. The ego is essentially a conglomeration of deeply ingrained false habits which have formed since the day of our birth, and possibly even earlier in the womb.
RICHARD: Strange indeed that all of the Enlightened Masters that I have read about, in their own words, point to a single edifying moment wherein their ego ‘dies’.
RESPONDENT: Like I said, he agrees with the Enlightened Masters, but he calls them Perfected Masters. What’s in a name anyway!
RICHARD: There is a lot in a name when its misuse confuses people – and he is so confused that he thinks he is something he is not. He does not agree with the ‘Enlightened Masters’ or the ‘Perfected Masters’ because he wishes to be acknowledged as being one of them by cunningly by-passing the requirements.
RICHARD to No. 4: I would venture to say that your response to my post is demonstrating who is the fool. You claim to be Enlightened yet all the while your ‘ego rears its ugly head (as it invariably does)’ . You are digging yourself deeper and deeper into a mire of your own making ... and on your own list, too!
RESPONDENT: Goodness, how dramatic!
RICHARD: I am glad that you appreciate drama. It is so great to let loose with theatrical gestures ... is it not?
RICHARD: I am sure that anyone else who has read what I have written understands that this seeing is a goal to be achieved by eliminating both the ego and the soul – the ‘self’ and the ‘Self’.
RICHARD: Huh indeed ... after all, I did write: ‘Anybody else who has read what I have written understands’. Obviously you have not read it. That is okay, it is just that that subject is a different thread, that is all. Which explains why you wrote: [Respondent]: ‘In my opinion, the root cause is faithlessness, so all the effort we can muster is wasted energy’ in response to my post. Vis.: ‘I have written consistently about the intense level of patience, perseverance, application and diligence required in eliminating the root cause of all the wars, the murders, the tortures, the rapes, the domestic violence, the corruptions, the sadness, the loneliness, the sorrows, the depressions and the suicides ... ad infinitum’.
The root cause is not faithlessness because faith falls into the same category as trust, hope and belief.
I have had no use for faith at all: to have faith is to invite deception. It is the same with expectations ... to have expectations is to set yourself up for disappointment again and again. Etymologically, faith – loyalty to ‘The Truth’ – is in the same category as trust – a covenant with ‘The Truth’ – and both are aligned with belief. Belief means fervently wishing to be true. There is not much difference ... perhaps trust is used more in spiritual circles, whereas faith and belief are more aligned with the religious ... as a generalisation. Trust seems to have more solid connotations than faith – to the spiritual aspirant, who scorns religion and all its trappings – yet, essentially they amount to the same. They all give rise to hope. Hope, the antidote to despair, is what most people live on. Living in hope – having faith or trusting that ‘The Truth’ will bring release – is a poor substitute for the living purity of the perfection of the actual.
The mind is a fertile breeding ground for fantasies and hallucinations; if one backs it up with faith, trust, belief and hope then anything weird can eventuate. Instead, make full use of a confidence born out of the apperception that can occur in an unadulterated peak experience; the surety that comes from a solid knowing ... an irrefutable knowing, not a flight of fancy from some religious epiphany or spiritual vision or mystical revelation ... or any metaphysical occurrence.
RESPONDENT No. 27: I do not believe it is possible to be an objective judge of one’s own abilities or state of purity. As a student of human nature you must know how easily deluded we are, and I can’t imagine what sort of mechanism one would need to purge self-delusion.
RESPONDENT: Excellent point. I hope someone can follow up on this.
RICHARD: The mechanism does exist. It is called apperception.
RESPONDENT: I see very few list members (and I’m guilty of this) humbly admitting that they just don’t know or just aren’t sure. I’m impressed by the unknowingly wise man (or woman). I’d sooner believe a foolish-sounding humble soul than I would a full-of-him/herself self-proclaimed master of philosophy.
RICHARD: Goodness me – are you seriously suggesting that we all hobble ourselves by obeying the dictates of what is essentially a religious or spiritual value, are you? One of the chief attributes of a freedom from a ‘self’ or a ‘Self’ and from believing in a ‘God’ and a ‘Greater Reality’, is a completeness ... an absence of the need to control a wayward ‘I’ with moralistic injunctions. Personally I have no humility whatsoever and, of course, neither am I proud ... one needs to see the place pride and humility plays in one’s life.
Humility is merely the antidote to pride – and they feed off each other, continuously. For example, one can not but feel proud of one’s accomplishment of self-abasing humility ... it is in the nature of the ‘self’ to do so. A humbled self is still a self, nonetheless, leaving one proud of one’s performance. It is a popular misconception that one can do away with a ‘bad’ emotion whilst hanging on to the ‘good’ one. In actual freedom the third alternative always applies. Good and Bad, Right and Wrong, Virtue and Sin, Hope and Despair, Gratitude and Resentment, and so on, all disappear in the perfection of the purity of the actual.
When one realises how silly all this is; when one sees that the opposites are standing in the way of freedom from all self-centred activity, something astounding occurs. ‘I’, the ‘self’ vanish entirely. I am simply here where I have always been ... and pride, with its companion in arms, humility, have disappeared along with all the other feelings. 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.
RESPONDENT: I think we could benefit from being a bit more civil to each other, and permitting each other to say whatever we desire, and in the words of our choice.
RICHARD: Mostly people who join this list endeavour to be civil – friendly, polite, considerate, thoughtful – but No. 12 and No. 4 see everybody as sitting ducks and line up their entire range of artillery and let fire. I think they mean well ... this is only speculation but I guess they somehow kind of see themselves as some kind of latter-day cyber-zen masters giving each and everyone who ventures on the list a Whack!! every time they venture to speak. It is their infantile attempt to give people a wake-up call, for they both openly – and foolishly – believe themselves to be Awakened. And when all is said and done they are in cahoots with each other anyway. This is their life’s little adventure, as you will notice if you take the time to read what they have to say.
Other people before you on this list have called for moderation and courtesy ... to no avail. So, my advice is to see it all as a good joke and get stuck into them with as much verve and vivacity as you will. Let your fingers fly on the keyboard and give them as good as they dish out to others ... just call it their ‘karma’ and all will be well, apparently. (That is the magic word that allows for anti-social behaviour in the metaphysical world). Personally, whilst I have no desire for argumentation and disputation, it does not mean that I will not. I simply prefer not to ... if the circumstances require a robust discussion, I can oblige with much rigour and fortitude. And after all, do you really wish to stifle a lively discussion ... and nobble my fun into the bargain?
RESPONDENT: What would they who we regard as truly enlightened or perfected beings think of this if they could see us now? I don’t think they would be very impressed.
RICHARD: But then again, I am not at all impressed with those ‘truly enlightened or perfected beings’, so I care not what their opinion would be. Philosophical wisdom, Psychological knowledge and Spiritual enlightenment have had their day and are proving themselves to be inadequate to meet the requirements of this modern era. For thousands of years – maybe tens of thousands of years – humankind has known of no alternative manner of living life on this verdant planet. The passing parade of Philosophers and Preachers, Masters and Sages – geniuses and thinkers of all description – have failed abysmally to deliver their oft-promised ‘Peace On Earth’ ... in fact, instead of their much-vaunted love and virtue, they have left in their wake much hatred and bloodshed, the likes of which beggars description.
Millions of well-meaning followers have diligently put their Teachings into practice, prostrating and belittling themselves like all get-out in a hopeful attempt to live the unliveable. Yet no-one, it seems, dares to question the Teachings themselves; instead the humiliated penitents obligingly blame themselves for failing to achieve release from the human condition. To seek freedom via profound and lofty thought or sublime and exalted feelings is to blindly perpetuate all the horrors and sufferings that have plagued humankind since time immemorial. The time has come to put to an end, once and for all, the blight that has encumbered this fair earth for far too long. It behoves one to question all of the received ‘wisdom’ of the centuries, all of the revealed ‘truths’ ... all of the half-baked inanities that pass for understanding. Then, and only then, there is a fair chance that one can come to an actual freedom – a freedom the nature of which has never been before in human experience.
The blame for the continuation of human misery lies squarely in the lap of those inspired people who, although having sufficient courage to proceed into the Unknown, stopped short of the final goal – the Unknowable. Notwithstanding the cessation of a personal ego operating, they were unwilling to relinquish the Self ... and an ego-less Self is still an entity, nevertheless. In spite of the glamour and the glory of the Altered State Of Consciousness, closer examination reveals that these ‘Great’ persons had – and have – feet of clay. Bewitched and beguiled by the promise of majesty and mystery, they have led humankind astray. Preaching submission or supplication they keep a benighted humanity in appalling tribulation and distress. The death of the ego is not sufficient: the extinction of the self in its entirety is the essential ingredient for peace and prosperity to reign over all and everyone.
RICHARD: Humility is merely the antidote to pride – and they feed off each other, continuously. For example, one can not but feel proud of one’s accomplishment of self-abasing humility ... it is in the nature of the ‘self’ to do so. A humbled self is still a self, nonetheless, leaving one proud of one’s performance. It is a popular misconception that one can do away with a ‘bad’ emotion whilst hanging on to the ‘good’ one.
RESPONDENT: Richard, if I could take your humility from you, who would you credit?
RICHARD: I must admit I puzzled over this response and I am not too sure if I understand what you are getting at. As I am entirely without any humility you can not take it away from me anyway. If I did have some left, and you were to take it away from me, I would credit the both of us for being able to winkle out of me something deleterious to my salubrity. All transactions of this nature take the two of us to do it. But more importantly than giving credit to someone, I would more be pleased that the world is rid of at least one measure of a pestilential affliction.
RICHARD: Pride, with its companion in arms, humility, have disappeared along with all the other feelings.
RESPONDENT: I have had no trouble identifying the strong feelings you have projected in this generous exposition, and I believe it was a good thing.
RICHARD: Other people have also said that I ‘write with feeling’ yet I can assure you that there is not a trace of emotion or passion in me. I write deliberately, however, to convey an alternative to all the suffering that pollutes this fair earth that we all inhabit ... did you know that over 160,000,000 people have been killed in wars this century alone? Not to mention all those countless millions maimed, tortured, raped and otherwise having their life’s work destroyed ... yet all the while perfection is freely available here and now for anyone who dares to dedicate their life to ensuring a peace-on-earth for themselves, as this body only, in this life-time.
Yet the revered ‘Teachers’ of humanity urge us all into selfishly pursuing a fallacious Immortality in some specious After-Life thus actively perpetuating all the malice and sorrow by keeping the self – transmogrified into a Self – intact and thus able to continue to wreak its havoc unimpeded.
RICHARD: The passing parade of Philosophers and Preachers, Masters and Sages – geniuses and thinkers of all description – have failed abysmally to deliver their oft-promised ‘Peace On Earth’ ... in fact, instead of their much-vaunted love and virtue, they have left in their wake much hatred and bloodshed, the likes of which beggars description.
RESPONDENT: Can they be held responsible for the actions of those maladjusted ones that mis-understand them ?
RICHARD: Of course not. But they can – and must – be held responsible for delivering a fatally flawed message. They have led everyone astray for millennia for self-serving reasons and it is high time they were brought to account. They have been getting away with sanctimonious hypocrisy, for all the while they preach humility and penitence, they practice arrogance and complacency – and avoid recrimination through wily dissimulation. But they mean well, by and large. It is just that they lack the requisite intestinal fortitude to go all the way into self-annihilation ... into oblivion ... extinction.
I do consider that they should either put up or shut up.
RICHARD: Yet the revered ‘Teachers’ of humanity urge us all into selfishly pursuing a fallacious Immortality in some specious After-Life thus actively perpetuating all the malice and sorrow by keeping the self – transmogrified into a Self – intact and thus able to continue to wreak its havoc unimpeded.
RESPONDENT: Can you help me see the logic here? I’ve re-read it three times. I must be dense.
RICHARD: No, you are not dense, it is just that all we humans were brainwashed by the people who were already here when we arrived as babies. As children – the newest recruits to the human race – we knew nothing and were gullibly ready to imbibe anything ... we all took the bait hook, line and sinker. We were unable to discriminate because we knew no other alternative to the ‘tried and true’ ... and on the few occasions where we dared to question the received wisdom we were told things like: ‘That’s how it is’, or: ‘Who do you think you are?’, or: ‘Don’t get uppity’ and so on. Consequently it is difficult – but not impossible – to see a fact for itself.
The logic of the above statement is this: If, as it is commonly agreed, to be egotistical is to be selfish (and thus acting in a way that is not conducive to social harmony) then it follows logically that ‘I’, the self as ego, must psychologically self-immolate for the good of society in general and the individual in particular. The resultant Altered State Of Consciousness is called Enlightenment.
Enlightenment has been held to be the Summum Bonum of human existence for at least three thousand years ... if not more. Yet there is still as much suffering now as there was back then. Therefore, something is not working to produce the desired result ... peace on earth. Why is this so?
When the ego – the self – dissolves, one’s sense of identity remains intact. Instead of identifying as the self, one now – as an Enlightened Being – identifies as the soul – the Self. As a generalisation only, the ego is located mostly as being in the head and the soul as being in the heart. This soul is held to be Eternal and pre-dates birth (the Zen people’s ‘Original face’) and post-dates death – in other words: Immortality. An ‘I’ still exists, transmogrified now into a super-natural ‘I’ (the second ‘I’ of Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer (aka Ramana) fame). Thus I asked myself the question: If ‘I’ as ego (the self) wreak havoc, could it be that ‘I’ as soul (the Self) am the cause the continued suffering?
Is not the desire for Immortality – the perpetuation of ‘I’ on into an After-life – selfish? If selfishness is the cause of suffering, then the eradication of ‘I’ in any way, shape or form is essential if we are to have peace on earth. Thus it is the sense of identity that is the root cause of suffering (sorrow and malice). Not just one half of the identity – the ego – but the other half – the soul – as well, is at fault. Thus not only must the self dissolve but the Self must psychologically self-immolate also.
The belief in Immortality is a denial of death’s actuality.
RICHARD: But they can – and must – be held responsible for delivering a fatally flawed message.
RESPONDENT: How’s that Richard. We can never know whether the message is flawed, or the meaning is not grasped. Or if it was from the mind or revelation.
RICHARD: If you understand what I have just written you will realise that we can know ‘whether the message is flawed’. We can know that it is not because ‘the meaning is not grasped’. Instead of obligingly blaming ourselves for not ‘doing it properly’ according to the ‘Teachings’, it behoves one to question these self-same ‘Teachings’ for the obvious flaws they carry. This leads to questioning the ‘Teachers’ ... if one can only get past the reverence they are held in. Then one questions the source of the ‘Teachings’ ... the ‘God’ that these ‘Teachers’ have surrendered to in order to lose their egos. This is the ‘Power and Authority’ that is deemed to be ‘Unknowable’. It is discovered to be the self in disguise.
Thus, when the ego and soul dissolve – the death of self and Self – God and Truth disappear. The ‘Power and Authority’ are no more ... it was all a projection of the self. Then, and only then, is there peace on earth.
And as to whether we can know ‘if it was from the mind or revelation’ ... apperception provides the irrefutable answer.
RICHARD: Is not the desire for Immortality – the perpetuation of ‘I’ on into an After-life – selfish?
RESPONDENT: Can you not conceive of one seeking Immortality with the understanding and belief that to achieve it would require a complete dying of ego, and a resulting renewal of self who’s only inclination is to be a conduit of love to the world?
RICHARD: No, I can not ... I used to live like that until I ascertained that a ‘renewed self’ is still a self, nevertheless. And it is the self – or the Self – that is the root cause of all the suffering of humankind.
As for being ‘a conduit of love to the world’ ... to be a loving self is to gild the lily. People mistakenly think and feel that the ‘dark side’ of human nature can be dealt with by cultivating a ‘good side’, and one of these ways is to be loving. As love has such a bad track record as regards being the cure-all for humanity’s ills, I no longer countenance such a course of action for even one second.
RESPONDENT: Trading our finite pleasures of attachment for Immortality seems like quite a deal to me. Could it be that you don’t believe in man’s capacity to do this, which would mean your own. Or is the obstacle in the other direction, that is, you choose not to believe in Immortality. In either case, it is an issue of not believing something.
RICHARD: But Immortality is a belief, not a fact. There is no trade to be made ... except in one’s imagination. When one is dead, one is dead. Finish.
As for ‘our finite pleasures of attachment’ ... you are not the only one to consider that I write about hedonism. I am not advocating that at all ... I am talking about being devoid of any concept or belief in the ego’s ‘reality’ or the soul’s ‘Reality’. This way, the ego and soul are seen to be concepts – that is, the self and the Self may be real but they are not actual – and their dissolution can proceed post-haste. Then one is being here as this body only. One is the universe experiencing itself as a sensate, reflective human being. One is living the infinity and eternity of this physical universe as an actuality here on earth and now in time.
Finite pleasures are but a bonus on top of this ambrosial and on-going experience.
RESPONDENT: To he who believes such things comes a peace greater than the world has ever seen.
RICHARD: I beg to differ. To he who believes in such things comes the believed peace that has been duplicated by ‘great’ persons throughout recorded history. They have left such hatred and bloodshed in their wake that one wonders why they are still fervently followed and believed. The facts speak for themselves ... actual peace has yet to be lived by humanity at large.
Individual peace-on-earth is instantly available to one who dares to go all the way into ridding oneself of any identity whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: Okay, Richard. I’ll take the bait. I’ve looked up the word ‘apperception’, but what it means to you is what counts. Tell me about this philosophy, who it helps, why is it the best choice, will it bring peace – but if you do, be prepared for honest debate.
RICHARD: But I have been doing nothing else but being honest. I am being factual, down-to-earth, practical and pragmatic. I am being sensible, literal, accurate and authentic. How much more honest can one be?
The Oxford dictionary defines apperception as being ‘the mind’s perception of itself’. It is where ‘I’, the self, cease to function as a perceiver and perception happens of itself. This is known as a ‘pure consciousness experience’ (or PCE for short) and is remarkably obvious during a peak experience. A peak experience is when everything is seen to be already perfect – it always has been and always will be – and that ‘I’, the self, have been standing in the way of the perfection being apparent.
The self, whilst being real – sometimes very real – is not actual. For many years I mistakenly assumed that words carried a definitive meaning that was common to all peoples speaking the same language ... for example ‘real’ and ‘truth’. But, as different person’s told me things like: ‘That is only your truth’, or: ‘God is real’, I realised that unambiguous words are required. (To a child, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are ‘real’ and ‘true’). Correspondingly I abandoned ‘real’ and ‘true’ in favour of ‘actual’ and ‘fact’, as experience has demonstrated that no one has been able to tell me that their god is actual or that something is only my fact. Therefore this keyboard is actual (these finger-tips feeling it substantiate this) and it is a fact that these printed letters are forming words on the screen (these eyes seeing it validate this). These things are indisputable and verifiable by any body with the requisite sense-organs.
Any sense of self is an identity ... the persistence of identity even into enlightenment is legendary by now: ‘I am God’, ‘I am That’, ‘I am The Supreme’, ‘I am Emptiness’, or even just ‘I am’. It is the continuance of identity – ‘I’ – in any way, shape or form that is the ‘spanner in the works’. There is only one thing that ‘I’ can do to remedy the situation. As ‘I’ am only real and not actual, ‘I’ can simply disappear. Psychological self-immolation is the only sensible sacrifice that ‘I’ can make in order to reveal the fulfilment of the perfection of being here as this body in the world as-it-is at this moment in time. Life is bursting with meaning when ‘I’ am no longer present to mess things up. ‘I’ stand in the way of the purity of that perfection being apparent ... ‘my’ presence prohibits consummation being evident. ‘I’ prevent the very meaning to life that ‘I’ am searching for from coming into plain view. The main trouble is that ‘I’ wish to remain in existence to savour the meaning; ‘I’ mistakenly think that meaning is the product of the mind and the heart. Nothing could be further from the case.
The closest approximation to the actual that ‘I’ can attain via thought can only ever be illusory states produced from visionary ideals that manifest themselves as hallucinatory chimeras. The mind, held hostage by humanity’s ‘wisdom’, is a fertile breeding-ground for fanciful flights of imagination, giving rise to the fantasies and phantasms so loved and revered – and feared – by humankind. As for feelings ... one can disregard feelings too, for emotions and passions beget the esoteric, the psychic world of materialisations and apparitions. One can easily become bewitched by the bizarre entities that inhabit the Supernatural Realms; one can become beguiled and enchanted by the promise of the Glory and Glamour and Glitz of the Altered State Of Consciousness ... one will become a victim of that most insidious aspect of vanity: Power and Authority.
Apperception, as I said, is the mind’s perception of itself – it is a bare awareness. Normally the mind perceives through the senses and sorts the data received according to its predilection; but the mind itself remains unperceived ... it is taken to be unknowable. Apperception happens when the ‘who’ inside abdicates its throne and a pure awareness occurs. The PCE is as if one has eyes in the back of one’s head; there is a three hundred and sixty degree awareness and all is self-evidently clear. This is knowing by direct experience, unmediated by any ‘who’ whatsoever. One is able to see that the ‘who’ of one has been standing in the way of the perfection and purity that is the essential nature of this moment of being here becoming apparent. Here a solid and irrefutable native intelligence can operate freely because the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ is extirpated. One is the universe’s experience of itself as a human being ... after all, the very stuff this body is made of is the very stuff of the universe. There is no ‘outside’ to the perfection of the universe to come from; one only thought and felt that one was a separate identity (ego, id, self, identity, persona, personality, lower ‘I am’, atman, soul, spirit, or whatever) forever seeking Union with ‘That’, by whatever name (Higher Self, True Self, Real Self, The All, Existence Itself, Consciousness, The Void, Suchness, Isness and so on).
Then what one is (‘what’ not ‘who’) is these sense organs in operation: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me. Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the world as-it-is – the actual world – by ‘my’ very presence. Any identity whatsoever is a delusion.
Without ‘me’, the immediate is the ultimate.
RICHARD: However, the whole concept of Enlightenment has seduced people away from the possibility of achieving perfection here and now ... the perfection of Enlightenment is predicated upon there being a permanent self – an ‘I’ called the Self – that exists for all Eternity. Thus they look to an After-Life wherein one becomes Immortal. This is selfishness taken to the extreme. It is the perpetuation of self – in whatever form – that is the sole cause of suffering.
RESPONDENT: Well, you didn’t explain why a seeking after enlightenment/immortality, how ever ‘selfish’ a goal, prevents a person from becoming perfect. Haven’t you ever worked for something very hard with intent to distribute the fruits of your labour to others? That has as it’s goal selflessness, not selfishness. And exactly how are you defining a perfect person, one who is totally selfless from square one, or/and some other way?
RICHARD: But I did explain how seeking Enlightenment prevents a person becoming perfect. Enlightenment perpetuates and endorses the self by promoting it to the dizzy heights of being a Self existing for all of Eternity. That is self-glorification and self-aggrandisement taken to the extreme! The ‘perfection’ of Enlightenment is but a pale imitation of the perfection of the actual. It is but a cognitive and affective construct ... a house of cards. I define a perfect person as one without a self in any way, shape or form. After all, is that not what selfless (self-less) means ... without a self? Then one is totally free of malice and sorrow.
RICHARD: The dead are dead, and death is the end. Finish. It is us who are still here who must deal with suffering ... and it is possible for suffering to be eliminated now .. and not have to wait for physical death for reprieve.
RESPONDENT: Why do you feel that believing its over at death will contribute to either our selflessness or to achieving perfection?
RICHARD: It is not a matter of ‘believing it’s over at death’ – it is indeed over at death. Death is the end. Finish. Understanding the actuality of death – to cease being in a state of denial – is to understand that there is no ‘Immortal Self’ that will ‘quit the body’ and continue on in some nebulous After-Life. Death is the end of being both a body and a self.
One can actualise this end of being a self whilst this body is still alive and breathing by understanding that any intuition of ‘being’ is a psychological construct only. The self may be real – sometimes very real – but it is not actual. The ending of this ‘being’ is when the actual can become apparent.
Then there is an actual perfection, as this body only, in this life-time, here on earth.
RICHARD: The Oxford dictionary defines apperception as being ‘the mind’s perception of itself’. It is where ‘I’, the self, cease to function as a perceiver and perception happens of itself. This is known as a ‘pure consciousness experience’ (or PCE for short) and is remarkably obvious during a peak experience. A peak experience is when everything is seen to be already perfect – it always has been and always will be – and that ‘I’, the self, have been standing in the way of the perfection being apparent.
RESPONDENT: Very interesting. Okay, so much for the theory. Give me some nuts and bolts. How do I do this while eating a hamburger?
RICHARD: By appreciating the fact that, at this moment of biting into this hamburger, this is the only moment that I am actually alive. All past ‘me’s and all future ‘me’s have no actuality at all. I am only ever here, now. Likewise, all past hamburgers and all future hamburgers do not exist at this moment ... they are either memory or expectation and have no substantial existence. Of all the hamburgers I have ever eaten or will ever eat, only this one actually exists. This hamburger and I – and all that is around and about me at this moment – are it what we are living for. To experience this moment in time and this place in space fully is the whole point of existence. I am the universe experiencing itself as a sensate, reflective human being ... and I am biting into a hamburger.
The taste buds on the tongue are relishing the explosion of sensation; the nasal receptors are satisfying their ability to smell the delicious aromas that waft endlessly past; the eyes are delighting in the colours and the form of whatever is in view; the ears are pleasing themselves in being able to hear the sounds of this moment’s happenings; the fingertips are enjoying the touch of the texture of this hamburger; the skin is gratifying itself with the feel of the air all about ... all this and more – the awareness of all this happening – is me at-this-moment.
I do not exist over time or from place to place. I am only ever here now. Any ‘I’ that appears to have a duration is a psychological entity – a cognitive and affective construct – which in no way is substantive. This construct is that intuition of ‘being’ – a ‘presence’ – that one mistakenly thinks and feels oneself to be. One has ‘been’ in the past, one is ‘being’ in the present, and one will ‘be’ in the future. That ‘being’ is what one calls ‘I’, taking it to be me; me as-I-am. ‘I’ was, ‘I’ am, ‘I’ will ‘be’ ... this sense of continuity, a psychological entity called ‘me’ existing over time, is not me as-I-am. I do not exist over time; I exist only as this moment exists, and now has no duration. Everything is immediate and direct. This is apperception. Apperception is when the immediate is experienced as the ultimate.
Time has no duration when the immediate is the ultimate and the relative is the absolute. This moment takes no interval at all to be here now. Thus it appears that it is as if nothing has occurred, for not only is the future not here, but the past does not exist either. If there is no beginning and no end, is there a middle? There are things happening, but nothing has happened or will happen ... or so it seems. Only this moment exists. This moment has no term, it takes no time at all to occur ... which gives rise to the inaccurate notion that it is timeless. This is an institutionalised delusion, for it stems from the egocentric feeling that ‘I’ am Immortal, that ‘I’ am Eternal.
Apperception – which is the mind’s perception of itself – reveals that this moment is hanging in eternal time ... just as this planet is hanging in infinite space. This moment and this place are in the realm of the infinitude of this actual physical universe. This physical universe is infinite and eternal. It has no beginning and no ending ... and therefore no middle. There are no edges to this universe, which means that there is no centre, either. We are all coming from nowhere and are not going anywhere for there is nowhere to come from nor anywhere to go to. We are nowhere in particular ... which means we are anywhere at all. In the infinitude of the universe one finds oneself to be already here, and as it is always now, one can not get away from this place in space and this moment in time. By being here as-this-body one finds that this moment in time has no duration as in now and then – because the immediate is the ultimate – and that this place in space has no distance as in here and there – for the relative is the absolute. I am always here and it is already now.
This moment is perennial, not timeless. I am perpetually here – for the term of my natural life – as this moment is; I am not Eternally Present. It is the universe that is eternal ... not me. As one is the universe experiencing itself as a sensate human being, any ‘I’ – always on the look-out for self-aggrandisement – grabs the universe’s eternity for itself. Also, what helps to create the feeling that the present is timeless is that human beings – as an identity – are normally out of this universe’s eternal time. Yet time is as intimate as this body being here now at this moment. It is so intimate that I – as a body only – am not separate from it. Whereas ‘I’, as a human ‘being’, have separated ‘myself’ from eternal time by being an entity. To be an ontological ‘being’ is to mistakenly take this body being here as containing an ‘I’, a psychological or psychic entity. To ‘be’ is to take this moment of being alive personally ... as being proof of ‘my’ subjective existence. ‘I’ am an illusion; if ‘I’ think and feel that ‘I’ do exist, then ‘I’ am outside of eternal time. ‘I’ am forever complaining that there is ‘not enough hours in the day’, or ‘I am always running out of time’, or ‘I am always catching up with time’, or ‘I am always behind time’. All this activity is considered ‘normal’, as it is the common experience of humankind.
To be an entity is to be forever locked-out of eternal time. Complete security lies inside eternal time. ‘I’ will never look into eternal time; for ‘me’ eternal time is an enemy to be avoided at all costs. ‘I’ condemn ‘myself’ to the endless creation of grandiose schemes to save my soul; ‘I’ concoct all kinds of fantasies about Other-Worldly Dimensions. ‘I’ have to believe in multitudinous Heavenly Kingdoms wherein ‘I’ can reside as an Immaculate Spirit for all of Eternity. ‘I’ am driven to spin dreams and illusions because ‘I’ refuse to see what lies here on earth ... right under ‘my’ nose, as it were. ‘I’ can never live inside eternal time ... whereas I as this flesh and blood body can only be here now. Inside this body there is no ‘being’ ... nothing psychological or psychic left for ‘I’ am extinct. Time is a blessing, not a curse. I can never be out of time, nor anywhere but here, for I have actualised my destiny ... here on earth and now in time.
Little do people realise that what they are looking for lies just under their nose; the actuality of peace-on-earth is no further away than instantaneously now in time and properly here on this planet in space. It only takes a determination to evince for oneself something infinitely better than that which has been promised but never delivered. It only takes a sincerity of purpose and a pure intent to instigate a beginning of the end of woe and malevolence. It only takes a dedication to the actualisation of freedom to uncover and make apparent the factual perfection that lies open all around for those with the eyes to see. It only takes the devotion of one’s every waking moment to the delightful task of allowing the instant bestowal of individual universal peace at this moment in time ... befittingly here in the ultimate immediacy of this juncture in space.
I am mortal. Mortality is a fact and if one is to be at all exact, one must stick to the facts. To avoid a fact is to avoid involvement ... and there is no greater involvement than being here on earth now, at this point in time. Time and mortality are inextricably linked. Mortality is essential in order to be here, in time. I am glad that I am mortal; if it were not for death, I could not be free to be here. Perennial happiness is only possible because of death and extinction. This physical universe is perfect to the nth degree and I would not presume to change one little bit of it. To live with the fact is to live completely. Nothing is missing, nothing has ever been missing, nor ever will be missing. Life is already complete.
By avoiding death – which is avoiding the fact – ‘I’ am standing in the way of the exquisite purity of being alive. By searching for Eternal Life, ‘I’ shut ‘myself’ off from the perfection of being here. ‘I’ am wasting ‘my’ time in the most insidious way possible; but then again, ‘I’ am by nature cunning and deceitful. ‘I’ will do anything but face the fact of ‘my’ own demise. With ‘my’ psychological ‘death’, however, comes release from the fears of physical death. All of the unnamed terrors surrounding death arise from apprehension as to what will happen to ‘me’ as a ‘being’. I regard death with equanimity; when it happens I will welcome it as I do the oblivion of deep sleep each night. Like sleep, it is an agreeable actual occurrence.
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 ‘me’, the distance or separation between ‘me’ and ‘my’ senses – and thus the external world – disappears. To be the senses as a bare awareness is apperception, a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as an observer – a little person inside one’s head – to have sensations, I am the sensations. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not to ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another. To be the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release.
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. ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning.
I am completely happy to be here, securely inside time and space, eating this hamburger.
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.