Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

With Correspondent No. 105


December 26 2005

RESPONDENT: Richard I read where you said you did not know if emotions were necessary for playing music as you are not a musician.

RICHARD: What I actually said was that, not having developed the talent for playing musical instruments, I cannot personally report on (affective) feelings being essential for [quote] ‘playing music *with pleasure*’ [emphasis added] as I was responding to an observation that feelings of affection, warmth, are so essential for that. Vis.:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Feelings of affection, warmth, so essential for humour, playing music with pleasure and delightful human interactions is to me as valuable as sexual pleasure and orgasms.

• [Richard]: ‘As I have not developed the talent for playing musical instruments I cannot personally report on feelings being essential for playing music with pleasure ... but as music is designed to tug on the heart-strings I would easily agree with your observation’. 

The pleasure being referred to is, of course, affective pleasure (as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes such a big thing about but never does eliminate) and not sensate pleasure.

RESPONDENT: What about listening to music?

RICHARD: Emotions and/or passions are essential for listening to music with affective pleasure (hedonic pleasure); emotions and/or passions are not essential for listening to music with sensate pleasure (anhedonic pleasure).

RESPONDENT: Do you still delight in such?

RICHARD: You will find the following informative:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... in the forefront of my investigations right now is ‘beauty’ versus what you are calling ‘sensate delight.’ At first, upon reading the material at the AF website, I was stricken with a fear of what my life would be like if I gave up my experience of beauty – thinking that to be inhuman.

• [Richard]: ‘Yes ... when I was first catapulted into an actual freedom from the human condition I was astonished to discover that beauty had disappeared (I had trained as an art teacher and had made a living as a practising artist). Howsoever I was to discover that beauty is but a pale imitation of the purity of the actual.
Even so, it was initially disconcerting (to say the least).

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Then, I realized that you apparently have no problem in delighting in things I would have considered ‘beautiful.’ Sunsets, gardens, sexuality, etc. Indeed, the website itself uses delightful pictures of nature and music to enhance the reader’s experience. So it dawned on me that much of what we commonly call beauty can be experienced on two levels – mental/emotional and ‘sensate’. For you, the prior is gone. Now apparently you experience purely on the sensate level. I have never had much interest in painting, sculpture, or what is normally considered ‘art’ – so I have no problem stripping it of ‘beauty’ and replacing it with the sensate – just the delight of colour and pleasingness to the eye. Now music is a whole different story, since I’ve spent quite a bit of my life experiencing and developing my ability to experience ‘beauty’ in music. Is there something similar in the realm of music?

• [Richard]: ‘Yes ... to feel pleasure affectively (hedonistically) is a far cry from the direct experiencing of the actual where the retinas revel in the profusion of colour, texture and form; the eardrums carouse with the cavalcade of sound, resonance and timbre; the nostrils rejoice in the abundance of aromas, fragrances and scents; the tastebuds savour the plethora of tastes, flavours and zests; the epidermis delights to touch, caress and fondle ... a veritable cornucopia of luscious, sumptuous sensuosity.
All the while is the apperceptive wonder that this marvellous paradise actually exists in all its vast array.

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘It seems to me there must be a similar distinction – some sounds are more pleasing to the ear than others – and they don’t necessarily have to do with beauty. Is there ‘music’ without ‘beauty?’ 

• [Richard]: ‘Yes ... if by ‘music’ you mean a melody or a tune (some bird-sounds, for example, are melodious whilst others are not).

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Is there room for music appreciation without the affective?

• [Richard]: ‘Yes ... although it must be born in mind that most musical appreciation is determined by a cultural aesthetic (Chinese opera, for example, does not sound like the music the typical Western ear is accustomed to).

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘If so, what’s it like?

• [Richard]: ‘In a word: pure.

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... one of the fears I’ve had to confront is that of losing my lifetime ‘love’ of music. Confronting that fear has shown me how foolish it is to hold something like that so dear to my heart which could be lost with physical disability. I read some of [your] comments scattered through the website about music – mostly which seemed to suggest that enjoyment of music is affective – a passion. Then I began to question just what I thought ‘music’ is ... there is music designed to pull at the heartstrings – music to rally soldiers to war – music which is intended as sorrowful – music intended to be happy – music that is educational and fun – and music which doesn’t seem to have any purpose at all. Not that I can catalogue all the different types, but I soon realized that the word ‘music’ doesn’t really have anything in particular that it describes – rather a loose association of actualities. Now, it seems to me that most any actuality can be ‘experienced’ on 2 levels – what [you] call ‘sensate’, then also the ‘mental/emotional’. So, remembering that the idea behind moving toward virtual or actual freedom is minimizing emotional highs and lows, what would music be like on a purely sensate level?

• [Richard]: ‘Basically, in this context, it is a blessed release from all the emotional ‘highs and lows’.

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I remember [you] remarking that [you] are not interested in ‘beautiful music’ or even artistic ‘beauty’. Does that then eliminate any interest in ‘music’ or ‘art’ all together?

• [Richard]: ‘No ... but the interest is far removed from the pathetic interest one previously had.

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘It would seem to me that just as there is a level on which we can delight in what is ‘pleasing to the eye’ without involving beauty – that we can also delight in what is ‘pleasing to the ear’ – as in various musical forms – without involving the beautiful and the sorrowful.

• [Richard]: ‘Yes, you have hit the nail upon the head ... and where there is no beauty there is no ugly as only purity abounds.

December 28 2005

RICHARD: ... [quote] ‘... but as music is designed to tug on the heart-strings I would easily agree with your observation [that feelings of affection, warmth, are essential for playing music with (affective/ hedonic) pleasure].

RESPONDENT: So you have a sensate enjoyment of something that was designed to ‘tug on the heart-strings’?

RICHARD: I will draw your attention to the following (from the quoted text in the e-mail you are responding to):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... I have never had much interest in painting, sculpture, or what is normally considered ‘art’ – so I have no problem stripping it of ‘beauty’ and replacing it with the sensate – just the delight of colour and pleasingness to the eye. (...) It seems to me there must be a similar distinction – some sounds are more pleasing to the ear than others – and they don’t necessarily have to do with beauty. Is there ‘music’ without ‘beauty?’
• [Richard]: ‘Yes ... if by ‘music’ you mean a melody or a tune (some bird-sounds, for example, are melodious whilst others are not).
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Is there room for music appreciation without the affective?
• [Richard]: ‘Yes ...’.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘If so, what’s it like?
• [Richard]: ‘In a word: pure’. [endquote].

As there are no ‘heart-strings’ in actuality there is nothing to be tugged ... there is only purity.

RESPONDENT: Actually I don’t think you have said that you do listen to and delight in music only that sensate enjoyment of it is possible. My next question may make my point more clear. [Richard]: ‘... to feel pleasure affectively (hedonistically) is a far cry from the direct experiencing of the actual where the retinas revel in the profusion of colour, texture and form; the eardrums carouse with the cavalcade of sound ...’ [snip]. So music would just be another wonderful sound amongst other wonderful sounds but nothing special, correct?

RICHARD: What these ears hear is tone (pitch), timbre, harmonics, resonance, and so on, and musical appreciation is primarily based upon what is pleasing to them ... in a word: taste.

RESPONDENT: In other words, you would not go out of your way to listen to music?

RICHARD: I rarely listen to music for the sake of listening to it ... the last occasion was maybe five-six months ago when, upon having just then purchased a set of 5.1 surround sound speakers, I watched ‘Apocalypse Now Redux’ (arguably one of the better examples of a masterly application of the surround sound effect) in order to more fully experience the beach attack scene and I wound up listening to the opening track (an outstanding rendition of ‘The End’ by ‘The Doors’) several times.

What I found interesting was it no longer conveyed the haunting quality it did all those years ago when first listened to (circa 1984-85) ... although I could comprehend why it did back then.

RESPONDENT: In your experience of the actual world is there ever any enhancing of your experience?

RICHARD: Well, the surround sound already mentioned certainly enhances the experience of movies but, apart from technological advances like that, no (the pristine purity of this actual world is already always perfect).

RESPONDENT: Like icing on the cake?

RICHARD: The cake (this actual world) already has lashings of icing on it ... plus bucket-loads of cream, liberally dotted with cherries, on top of that.

January 03 2006

RICHARD: I have written about this before ... for example:

• [Richard]: ‘... it is ‘me’ who is responsible for an action that results in ‘my’ own demise – without really doing the expunging itself (and I am not being tricky here) – as it is ‘me’ who is the initiator of bringing about this sacrifice in that ‘I’ deliberately and consciously, and with knowledge aforethought from a pure consciousness experience (PCE), set in motion a ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise (‘I’ do not really end ‘myself’ in that ‘I’ do not do the deed itself for ‘I’ cannot end ‘myself’). What ‘I’ do, voluntarily and intentionally (cheerfully and blessedly), is press the button which precipitates an, oft-times alarming but always thrilling, momentum which will result in ‘my’ irrevocable ‘self’-immolation in toto. What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ... peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already always existing (‘I’ was merely standing in the way of it being apparent).
The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple ...’.

RESPONDENT: Richard: ‘The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple ...’ Are you referring to this ‘process’: Richard: ‘What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ...’

I know it reads that way, but where does the ‘being as happy and harmless as one can’ come into play in this ‘process’. Attempting to be happy and harmless seems to be the opposite of ‘being just here, right now as the universe’s experience of itself...’ Because just being here right now as the universe’s experience of itself may not entail being as happy and as harmless as one can. I have to agree with No. 28: ‘The goal of being happy and harmless just seems contrived.’

RICHARD: What do the words ‘peace-on-earth’, which follow-on immediately after the three dots in that sentence of mine which you have requoted only the first half of, indicate to you (if not happiness and harmlessness)?

January 04 2006

RICHARD: ... it is ‘me’ who is responsible for an action that results in ‘my’ own demise – without really doing the expunging itself (and I am not being tricky here) – as it is ‘me’ who is the initiator of bringing about this sacrifice in that ‘I’ deliberately and consciously, and with knowledge aforethought from a pure consciousness experience (PCE), set in motion a ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise (‘I’ do not really end ‘myself’ in that ‘I’ do not do the deed itself for ‘I’ cannot end ‘myself’). What ‘I’ do, voluntarily and intentionally (cheerfully and blessedly), is press the button which precipitates an, oft-times alarming but always thrilling, momentum which will result in ‘my’ irrevocable ‘self’-immolation in toto. What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ... peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already always existing (‘I’ was merely standing in the way of it being apparent). The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple ...’.

(...)

RESPONDENT: [quote] ‘The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple ...’ [endquote] Are you referring to this ‘process’: [quote] ‘What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ...’ [endquote]. I know it reads that way, but where does the ‘being as happy and harmless as one can’ come into play in this ‘process’. Attempting to be happy and harmless seems to be the opposite of ‘being just here, right now as the universe’s experience of itself ...’ Because just being here right now as the universe’s experience of itself may not entail being as happy and as harmless as one can. I have to agree with No. 28: [quote] ‘The goal of being happy and harmless just seems contrived’ [endquote].

RICHARD: What do the words ‘peace-on-earth’, which follow-on immediately after the three dots in that sentence of mine which you have requoted only the first half of, indicate to you (if not happiness and harmlessness)?

RESPONDENT: Here is the sentence in full: [quote] ‘What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ... peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already always existing (‘I’ was merely standing in the way of it being apparent)’. [endquote]. So pulling ones self up by the boot straps means making an effort to be here now with the result that one becomes happy and harmless?

RICHARD: Where do I say anything like that in the passage at the top of this page (such as to warrant the use of ‘so ...’)?

RESPONDENT: And when Peter says he does whatever it takes to become as happy and harmless as he can, he means that he does everything he can to be here now as the universe experiencing itself?

RICHARD: Where does Peter say he means that (such as to warrant me being asked for confirmation)?

RESPONDENT: Somewhere along the way the perception becomes that one is trying to force ones self to be happy and harmless even though one is not anything of the sort.

RICHARD: What is it about the words ‘process’ and ‘momentum’ in the passage at the top of this page which conveys the sense that one is trying to force one’s self?

RESPONDENT: The gist of what you are saying is be here right now and happiness will follow?

RICHARD: In just what way does the passage at the top of this page (which is explicitly about the act of initiating the ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise being pure and simple altruism) convey such a gist?

RESPONDENT: Here are some spiritualist statements that sound like they are saying the same thing: [quote] ‘Living in the moment is to awaken, become alive. We are released from regret, fear, worry. I believe one can only be happy in the moment. As I have told my daughters, and posted before: ‘Only the present moment is real and available to us. The peace we desire is not in some distant future, but it is something we can realize in the present moment’ – Thich Nhat Hahn, ‘Interbeing’ [endquote]. And: [quote] ‘Realize you can be happy right now, and for no reason. Otherwise you eternally depend on conditions for happiness. Unconscious of this moment, you remain a victim of your mind’. [endquote].

RICHARD: I have read those statements carefully and for the life of me I cannot see how they even remotely sound like saying the same thing as the passage at the top of this page.

RESPONDENT: You have stated that ‘plain old awareness’ by itself does nothing.

RICHARD: I copy-pasted < plain old awareness > into the search-engine of this computer and sent it through everything I have ever written ... only the return nil hits; if you could provide the text of mine wherein you obtained that quote it would be much appreciated.

RESPONDENT: What is the extra ingredient in the actualism method that is missing in meditation practices?

RICHARD: As the actualism method is not a meditation practice in the first place there is no [quote] ‘extra ingredient’ [endquote] that is missing in them.

RESPONDENT: Pure intent?

RICHARD: If the pure intent of the actualism method were to be added, as an extra ingredient, to those meditation practices the practitioners of same would no longer be practicing meditation.

RESPONDENT: It sounds like those speaking above have the intent of being aware of this moment in the interest of peace and happiness.

RICHARD: There are more than a few spiritualists who do not comprehend just what the goal of meditation practices really is (more on this at the bottom of the page).

RESPONDENT: I am going to go back and read some of the commonly raised objections concerning this matter but anything you can offer would be appreciated.

RICHARD: Okay ... given that you agree the goal of the actualism method just seems contrived then here is a question for you: what is the difference between solipsism and nondualism (aka advaita)?

RESPONDENT: [Richard]: What actualism – the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom – is on about is a ‘virtual freedom’ (which is not to be confused with cyber-space’s ‘virtual reality’) wherein the ‘good’ feelings – the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) are minimised along with the ‘bad’ feelings – the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful) – so that one is free to feel good, feel happy and feel perfect for 99% of the time. I make this very clear in my writing: [snip]. What I am reading here is, ‘good feelings along with bad feelings are minimized so that one is free to feel good feelings and thereby make a PCE more likely. Could you clarify?

RICHARD: Sure ... the [quote] ‘good’ [endquote] feelings mentioned are the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) and the [quote] ‘bad’ [endquote] feelings mentioned are the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful) whereas feeling good/ feeling happy/ feeling perfect are the felicitous and innocuous feelings (those that are delightful and harmonious).

Thus what you are reading – ‘good feelings along with bad feelings are minimised so that one is free to feel good feelings and thereby make a PCE more likely’ – would look something like this when spelled-out in full:

• [example only]: ‘the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting), along with the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful), are minimised so that one is free to feel the felicitous and innocuous feelings (those that are delightful and harmonious) and thereby make a pure consciousness experience (PCE) more likely’. [end example].

Furthermore, as I say in that text of mine you quoted, I make this very clear in my writing:

• [Richard]: ‘... by asking ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ the reward is immediate; by finding out what triggered off the loss of the felicitous/ innocuous feelings, one commences another period of enjoying and appreciating 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 happy and harmless you have no chance whatsoever of being here in this actual world (a glum and/or grumpy person locks themselves out of the perfect purity of this moment and place). And by having already established feeling good (a general sense of well-being) as the bottom line for moment-to-moment experiencing then if, or when, feeling happy and harmless fades there is that comfortable baseline from which to suss out where, when, how, why – and what for – the feeling of being happy and harmless ceased happening ... and all the while feeling good whilst going about it. (...) 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 (a virtual freedom) 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’. Being ‘alive’ is to be paying attention – exclusive attention – to this moment in time and this place in space (...)’.

Incidentally, the words [quote] ‘being here at this moment in time and this place in space’ [endquote] are what the words ‘being just here right now’, in the passage at the top of this page which first caught your attention, refer to when spelled-out more fully ... as distinct to the religious/ spiritual/ mystical/ metaphysical ‘here and now’ (sometimes expressed as ‘here-now’) which, being a timeless and spaceless dimension, is neither spatial nor temporal.

Moreover, it is a bodiless presence which is being ‘here-now’ anyway ... thus peace-on-earth is just not on that being’s agenda.

January 04 2006

RICHARD: ... as I am not about to provide a day-to-day description of what occupied me suffice is it to say for now that, amongst other things, I was doing some detailed research so as to gather more background information for another project which may, or may not, be one day be released for publication under the aegis of The Actual Freedom Trust.

RESPONDENT: Do you write anything not pertaining to actual freedom?

RICHARD: It being the area of my expertise (in order to write non-fiction successfully one does need to have something of import to say) I have not written anything other than what pertains to an actual freedom from the human condition.

RESPONDENT: I ask because you mentioned that writing is what you enjoy doing rather than painting now.

RICHARD: If I were to paint again (I have idly considered illustrating my next book with the scenes described therein from my day-to-day life) it too would pertain to an actual freedom from the human condition.

And even if I were to write fiction (I have also idly considered writing a novel with a romantic castaway-on-an-uninhabited-tropical-island setting whereon a stranded couple would be catalysed, by being thrown together in such an inescapably intimate situation and circumstance, into setting in motion the process of freeing themselves from the instinctual passions/ the identities formed thereof which would mar their otherwise idyllic lifestyle) it too would pertain to an actual freedom from the human condition.

January 05 2006

RICHARD: ... it is ‘me’ who is responsible for an action that results in ‘my’ own demise – without really doing the expunging itself (and I am not being tricky here) – as it is ‘me’ who is the initiator of bringing about this sacrifice in that ‘I’ deliberately and consciously, and with knowledge aforethought from a pure consciousness experience (PCE), set in motion a ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise (‘I’ do not really end ‘myself’ in that ‘I’ do not do the deed itself for ‘I’ cannot end ‘myself’). What ‘I’ do, voluntarily and intentionally (cheerfully and blessedly), is press the button which precipitates an, oft-times alarming but always thrilling, momentum which will result in ‘my’ irrevocable ‘self’-immolation in toto. What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ... peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already always existing (‘I’ was merely standing in the way of it being apparent). The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple ... .

(...)

RESPONDENT: (...) So pulling ones self up by the boot straps means making an effort to be here now with the result that one becomes happy and harmless?

RICHARD: Where do I say anything like that in the passage at the top of this page (such as to warrant the use of ‘so ...’)?

RESPONDENT: I am trying to put the pieces together. The ‘so’ meant that was the conclusion I drew. Maybe you could tell me where pulling ones self up by the boot straps comes in if not in ‘being here right now’?

RICHARD: I have looked-back through what Peter wrote recently and have been unable to find where he referred to boot straps (let alone pulling one’s self up by them) ... if you could provide the passage containing same it would be most appreciated.

*

RESPONDENT: And when Peter says he does whatever it takes to become as happy and harmless as he can, he means that he does everything he can to be here now as the universe experiencing itself?

RICHARD: Where does Peter say he means that (such as to warrant me being asked for confirmation)?

RESPONDENT: If I thought he said that explicitly than I would not need to ask you if that was the correct assumption.

RICHARD: Ah, I see ... like this (for example)? Vis.:

• [example only]: ‘...when Peter says he does whatever it takes, to become as happy and harmless as he can, does he mean that he does everything he can to be here now as the universe experiencing itself? [end example].

As Peter is subscribed to this mailing list why not ask him what he means by what he says?

RESPONDENT: Could you just tell me what you and he mean rather than throwing questions back at me?

RICHARD: I am not [quote] ‘throwing questions back’ [endquote] at you ... all I am doing is asking for the passages containing what you are enquiring about so that I can see what was actually written.

The ‘process’ being referred to, in the passage at the top of this page, which will ensure ‘my’ demise (the initiation of which is pure and simple altruism) is the thenceforth-involuntary behind the scenes working-out of that once-in-a-lifetime curious decision to have ‘self’-immolation in toto, for the benefit of this body and that body and every body, eventuate.

Hence ‘momentum’ ... an inevitability sets-in as destiny unfolds its ineluctable course.

*

RESPONDENT: Somewhere along the way the perception becomes that one is trying to force ones self to be happy and harmless even though one is not anything of the sort.

RICHARD: What is it about the words ‘process’ and ‘momentum’ in the passage at the top of this page which conveys the sense that one is trying to force one’s self?

RESPONDENT: When I said that becomes the impression somewhere along the way I did not mean in that passage specifically. I am trying to figure out where the effort comes in.

RICHARD: Just what [quote] ‘effort’ [endquote] would that be which you are asking me about? And before you respond to that query copy-paste the following, as-is, into the search-engine box at Google:

effortless site:www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard

Then left-click ‘search’ (or tap ‘enter’) ... you should get about 55 hits. For instance:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I have my OWN commitment to integrity in this investigation, that depends not a whit upon yours.
• [Richard]: ‘If I may suggest? Sincerity is the key to unlock one’s innate naiveté, the nourishing of which is essential if the wondrous magic of life itself is to be apparent, which naiveté effortlessly provides the integrity you say you have your own commitment to. (...)

I might add, though, that naïveté does away with all that ‘heavy lifting’ you spoke of in an earlier e-mail. Vis.:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘From what I can glean so far, virtual freedom is a period of ‘heavy lifting’. (‘Introduction’; Friday, 27 July 2003).

Where you have gleaned this diaphoretic impression from has got me stumped ... here is but one of the many ways I describe the actualism practice:

• [Richard]: ‘... 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 and 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.

Or even more specifically to the point of your ‘heavy lifting’ comment:

• [Respondent No. 12]: ‘If it is the experiencer that makes efforts to be aware and stay aware, the centre is strengthened, not dissolved, right?
• [Richard]: ‘Since when has naiveté been sudorific?

In short: if it be not either easy (effortless) or fun (enjoyable) then there is something to look at until it is again.’

(...)

RESPONDENT: You have stated that ‘plain old awareness’ by itself does nothing.

RICHARD: I copy-pasted < plain old awareness > into the search-engine of this computer and sent it through everything I have ever written ... only the return nil hits; if you could provide the text of mine wherein you obtained that quote it would be much appreciated.

RESPONDENT: Do you know of anything you have said even close to that?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: I was working from memory.

RICHARD: Which would be why, probably, I am having to ask for the passages containing what you are referring to so that I can see what was actually written.

RESPONDENT: It seems like I recall you saying somewhere that awareness alone could do nothing.

RICHARD: I will take this opportunity to draw your attention to the following:

• [Respondent to Richard]: ‘Do you write anything not pertaining to actual freedom? I ask because you mentioned that writing is what you enjoy doing rather than painting now. *I’m sure you will produce the exact quote*. [emphasis added].

If you could do your own leg-work, rather than expecting me to do it for you, it would save me a lot of fruitless searching for something not actually written.

*

RESPONDENT: What is the extra ingredient in the actualism method that is missing in meditation practices?

RICHARD: As the actualism method is not a meditation practice in the first place there is no [quote] ‘extra ingredient’ [endquote] that is missing in them.

RESPONDENT: I should have said what is the main difference.

RICHARD: This is what Peter wrote to you:

• [Peter] ‘Put briefly, the idea of meditation is to cut off from sensate experiencing and to stop thinking (as in become the watcher) and allow imagination and affectation to take over … and lo and behold … a new very-grand ethereal-like alter-identity emerges.’ (‘Re: Newbie questions’; Tue 27/12/2005 12:07 AM AEDST).

I am none-too-sure that I can put it all that differently but I will give it a go: put briefly, the main difference is that in meditation practices the aim is to bring about senselessness and thoughtlessness (as in become the witness) so that fancifulness and pretentiousness can reign supreme and ... !Hey Presto! ... a modishly much-aggrandised unearthly-like other-self manifests.

RESPONDENT: Awareness is a factor in both, but what you do with that awareness is different in actualism, right?

RICHARD: Yes ... it is, in fact, 180 degrees different as the actualism method is all about coming to one’s senses (both literally and metaphorically) whereas meditation practices are all about going away from same (both literally and metaphorically).

To explain: the word ‘meditate’ is the (inaccurate) English translation of what is known as ‘dhyana’ in Sanskrit (Hinduism) and as ‘jhana’ in Pali (Buddhism) wherein there is a complete withdrawal from sensory perception and a cessation of thought, thoughts, and thinking ... a totally senseless and thoughtless trance state which could only be described as catalepsy in the West.

Apart from Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer (aka Ramana), in his early years, possibly the best-known example could be Mr. Gadadhar Chattopadhyay (aka Ramakrishna): onlookers can see the body is totally inward-looking, totally self-absorbed, totally immobile, and totally functionless (the body cannot and does not talk, walk, eat, drink, wake, sleep ... or type e-mails to mailing lists).
A never-ending ‘dhyana’ or ‘jhana’ (aka meditation) would result in the body wasting away until its inevitable physical death ... as a means of obtaining peace-on-earth it is completely useless.

RESPONDENT: The idea that the spiritualist ‘be here now’ meant being in some mystical state never occurred to me.

RICHARD: Okay ... this is what a dictionary has to say about the word ‘spiritual’:

• ‘spiritual: of, pertaining to, or affecting the spirit ...’. (Oxford Dictionary).

And this is what a dictionary has to say about the word ‘spirit’:

• ‘spirit: the immaterial part of a corporeal being, esp. considered as a moral agent; the soul; this as a disembodied and separate entity esp. regarded as surviving after death; a soul; immaterial substance, as opp. to body or matter’. (Oxford Dictionary).

Thus the word ‘spiritual’ essentially means (a) of, pertaining to, or affecting the immaterial part of a corporeal being ... or (b) of, pertaining to, or affecting a disembodied and separate entity ... or (c) of, pertaining to, or affecting immaterial substance, as opposed to body or matter.

RESPONDENT: When J. Krishnamurti talked about being choicelessly aware of this moment I took it to mean that he was talking about this moment in this world.

RICHARD: Nope, not in the world but away from it ... for example:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘I have found the answer to all this [violence], not in the world but away from it’. (page 94, ‘Krishnamurti – His Life And Death’; Mary Lutyens; Avon Books: New York 1991).

RESPONDENT: Words like Truth, Beauty and the such did not occur to me to be spiritual words.

RICHARD: Spiritualists are prone to pinching spatial/ temporal words even when they have their own lexicon ... such as using the word intelligence, for instance, instead of god/ goddess and so on.

RESPONDENT: J. Krishnamurti also said something like ‘you are anger’. So it did not register with me that he meant that we were not our feelings ...

RICHARD: Oh, he meant it alright ... for instance:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘We talk of love as being either carnal or spiritual and have set a battle going between the sacred and the profane. We have divided what love is from what love should be, so we never know what love is. Love, surely, *is a total feeling* that is not sentimental and in which there is no sense of separation. It is *complete purity of feeling* without the separative, fragmenting quality of the intellect’. [emphasises added]. (page 76, ‘On Living and Dying’; Chennai [Madras], 9 December 1959; ©1992 Krishnamurti Foundation of America).

And what is the word most apt for the love which is ‘a total feeling’ and ‘complete purity of feeling’? Vis.:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘Love is passion’. (page 153,’The Wholeness Of Life’; Part II, Chapter III: ‘Out Of Negation Comes The Positive Called Love’; ©1979 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd.).

And where does that passion come from? Vis.:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘There is this thing called sorrow, which is pain, grief, loneliness, a sense of total isolation, no hope, no sense of relationship or communication, total isolation. Mankind has lived with this great thing and perhaps cultivated it because he does not know how to resolve it. (...) Now if you don’t escape, that is if there is no rationalising, no avoiding, no justifying, just remaining with that totality of suffering, without the movement of thought, then you have all the energy to comprehend the thing you call sorrow. If you remain without a single movement of thought, with that which you have called sorrow, *there comes a transformation in that which you have called sorrow*. That becomes passion. The root meaning of sorrow is passion. When you escape from it, you lose that quality which comes from sorrow, which is complete passion, which is totally different from lust and desire. When you have an insight into sorrow and remain with that thing completely, without a single movement of thought, out of that comes this strange flame of passion. And *you must have passion, otherwise you can’t create anything*. Out of passion comes compassion. Compassion means passion for all things, for all human beings. So there is an ending to sorrow, and only then you will begin to understand what it means to love’. [emphasises added]. (‘A Relationship with the World’, Public Talks; Ojai, California; April 11 1976; ©1976/1996 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Ltd.) .

And here again in a similar vein:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘We are always pursuing beauty and avoiding the ugly, and this seeking of enrichment through the one and the avoidance of the other must inevitably breed insensitivity. Surely, to understand or feel what beauty is, there must be sensitivity to the so-called beautiful and the so-called ugly. A feeling is not beautiful or ugly, it is just a feeling. But we look at it through our religious and social conditioning and give it a label; we say it is a good feeling or a bad feeling, and so we distort or destroy it. When a feeling is not given [such] a label it remains intense, and it is this passionate intensity which is essential to the understanding of that which is neither ugliness or manifested beauty. What has the greatest importance is sustained feeling, that passion which is not the mere lust of self-gratification; for *it is this passion that creates beauty* ...’. [emphasis added]. (‘Life Ahead’; ©1963 Krishnamurti Foundation of America).

Then there is this:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘... to feel it [beauty], to be with it, this is the very first requirement for a man who would seek truth. (...) So it is essential to have this sense of beauty, for *the feeling of beauty is the feeling of love*’. [emphasis added]. (‘Fifth Public Talk at Poona’ by J. Krishnamurti; 21 September 1958).

And this one explains all:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘When there is love, which is its own eternity, then there is no search for God, because love is God’. (page 281, ‘The First and Last Freedom’; ©1954 Krishnamurti Foundation of America).

As does this one:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘Love is not different from truth’. (page 287, ‘The First and Last Freedom’; ©1954 Krishnamurti Foundation of America).

Finally:

• [Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti]: ‘I am God’. (page 65, Krishnamurti, ‘The Path’, 3rd Edition, Star Publishing Trust: Ommen 1930).

In short: out of the passion of transformed sorrow comes compassion; passion also creates beauty; the feeling of beauty is the feeling of love; love is God/ love is not different from truth; I am God.

RESPONDENT: ... and so I did not try his choiceless awareness with that assumption nor the assumption that ‘this moment’ referred to a mystical state.

RICHARD: Ahh ... there is nothing that can be more a mystical state than being a timeless and spaceless and formless god/ truth.

*

RESPONDENT: It sounds like those spiritualists speaking above [now snipped] have the intent of being aware of this moment in the interest of peace and happiness.

RICHARD: There are more than a few spiritualists who do not comprehend just what the goal of meditation practices really is (more on this at the bottom of the page).

RESPONDENT: I read a little of those spiritual books but always with a naturalistic view.

RICHARD: You are not the first to do so ... and will not be the last.

RESPONDENT: If they said they were in some state I assumed they had tapped into something in the brain and just did not know what to call it other than God.

RICHARD: You are not the first to assume so ... and will not be the last.

RESPONDENT: I never thought I was practicing anything spiritual in meditation.

RICHARD: Back in 1968, when still in the military, I hired a black and white TV set for six months as, having been born and raised on a remote farm being carved out of a forest, television was a novelty and every now and again, whilst changing channels, I would come across a half-hour programme on something entirely new to me and called ‘Yoga’ which was conducted by a youngish women from India with, what I took to be, a large mole in the centre of her forehead (it was black-and-white television).

What puzzled me at the time was that she kept on assuring her viewers that it was not necessary to be religious in order to start doing, what I took to be, the exotic physical exercises she was introducing into this country (daily doses of regular physical exercises were mandatory in the military).

It was many, many years before the penny dropped ... and the Tai Chi introduced from China is another instance.

RESPONDENT: I guess that spiritual ideas are what the practice is based on so even with a secular humanist flavouring to the language it still takes one to the same place.

RICHARD: Aye ... if only the western religions could package their prayer-practice in a secular disguise they too may gain many more converts.

(...)

RESPONDENT: I am going to go back and read some of the commonly raised objections concerning this matter but anything you can offer would be appreciated.

RICHARD: Okay ... given that you agree the goal of the actualism method just seems contrived then here is a question for you: what is the difference between solipsism and nondualism (aka advaita)?

RESPONDENT: I am not familiar with advaita.

RICHARD: In which case ... essentially there is no difference between solipsism and nondualism as they are both totally, completely and utterly self-centred.

RESPONDENT: What does the question have to do with the actualism method being contrived?

RICHARD: It does not have anything to do with [quote] ‘the actualism method being contrived’ [endquote] ... it has to do with you agreeing that [quote] ‘the goal’ [endquote] of the actualism method just seems contrived. Vis.:

• [Respondent to Richard]: ‘I have to agree with Respondent No. 28: [Respondent No. 28] ‘The goal of being happy and harmless just seems contrived’. (Tuesday, 3/01/2006 5:11 AM AEDST).

Put succinctly: as the goal of a nondualist (even for a dilettante) is not peace-on-earth then, of course, the goal of the actualism method must seem contrived.

*

RESPONDENT: [Richard]: What actualism – the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom – is on about is a ‘virtual freedom’ (which is not to be confused with cyber-space’s ‘virtual reality’) wherein the ‘good’ feelings – the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) are minimised along with the ‘bad’ feelings – the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful) – so that one is free to feel good, feel happy and feel perfect for 99% of the time. I make this very clear in my writing: [snip]. What I am reading here is, ‘good feelings along with bad feelings are minimized so that one is free to feel good feelings and thereby make a PCE more likely. Could you clarify?

RICHARD: Sure ... the [quote] ‘good’ [endquote] feelings mentioned are the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) and the [quote] ‘bad’ [endquote] feelings mentioned are the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful) whereas feeling good/ feeling happy/ feeling perfect are the felicitous and innocuous feelings (those that are delightful and harmonious).

RESPONDENT: So the meditation practices blow the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions up larger than life?

RICHARD: That is one way of putting it ... the spiritualisation process involved is essentially one of sublimation and transcendence.

RESPONDENT: What do they do with the felicitous ones?

RICHARD: As a generalisation: the felicitous (and innocuous) feelings are not experienced in their own right but are subsumed under the ‘good’ feelings ... felicity (and innocuity), rather than being the delightful experience of sensuosity and sensuality, then comes from feeling loving and compassionate (for instance).

A conditional happiness, in other words, dependent upon the ascendancy of the ‘good’ feelings.

January 05 2006

RESPONDENT: Do you write anything not pertaining to actual freedom?

RICHARD: It being the area of my expertise (in order to write non-fiction successfully one does need to have something of import to say) I have not written anything other than what pertains to an actual freedom from the human condition.

(...)

And even if I were to write fiction (I have also idly considered writing a novel with a romantic castaway-on-an-uninhabited-tropical-island setting whereon a stranded couple would be catalysed, by being thrown together in such an inescapably intimate situation and circumstance, into setting in motion the process of freeing themselves from the instinctual passions/ the identities formed thereof which would mar their otherwise idyllic lifestyle) it too would pertain to an actual freedom from the human condition.

RESPONDENT: Sounds interesting, like an actualist ‘pilgrim’s progress’.

RICHARD: Although I have heard of that title I have never read it ... and on the off-chance I might write that novel (it being but idle speculation) it will now continue to remain unread.

RESPONDENT: It may help people to grasp what you are saying more easily.

RICHARD: What I am saying is dead-easy to grasp: just as the ego-self (aka ‘the thinker’) has to die, so as to become spiritually enlightened/ mystically awakened, so too does the spirit-self (aka ‘the feeler’) in order for the flesh and blood body to be actually free from the human condition.

In other words, spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment is still within the human condition.

January 05 2006

RESPONDENT: ... I am trying to figure out where the effort comes in.

RICHARD: Just what [quote] ‘effort’ [endquote] would that be which you are asking me about? And before you respond to that query copy-paste the following, as-is, into the search-engine box at Google: [snip].

RESPONDENT: This is the kind of effort I am referring to: [Peter]: ‘His remedy is to take both glasses off – and what a wonderful, delightful, actual world is revealed when one takes the risk of eliminating that lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning entity that resides within. Of course perfection and purity is here all the time – only now I am able to experience the actuality of it. It is amazing that I now get up in the morning and take it for granted that I will again have a perfect day. But it does take ‘effort’, commitment, drive, ambition, stubbornness and sheer will power to get there. I called on every one of those attributes whenever I needed them’. [endquote]. Here again: [quote] ‘As you know by now this is old archaic thinking – superstition based on ignorance of fact and empirical observation. To suppose that one can become free of being a psychological and psychic ‘self’ without ‘mental effort’ does not make sense’. [endquote]. Here again: [Peter]: ‘Whereas it is my experience, and the experience of all of the practicing actualists on this list, that it takes stubborn effort – and a certain amount of intestinal fortitude – firstly to become aware of, and secondly to abandon all of the beliefs, hopes, dreams, wishes, morals and ethics that make up ‘me’. This programming does not take effort to sustain, it is ‘self’-sustaining by its very nature. This programming is ‘who’ I think and feel I am and as such it obviously it takes effort to remove’. [endquote]. Now in the above I see that he is saying it takes effort to become aware of and secondly to abandon ones conditioning. Is that the only place effort comes in? And if so does this not mean that being here now does take effort at least in the beginning?

RICHARD: I will re-post the operative words, which are just sitting there in plain view, in the section you snipped from the above response of mine:

• [Richard]: ‘In short: if it be not either easy (effortless) or fun (enjoyable) then there is something to look at until it is again’.

Furthermore, what Peter is saying in those quotes which you have provided is a far cry from [quote] ‘attempting to be happy and harmless’ [endquote] and [quote] ‘making an effort to be here now’ [endquote] and [quote] ‘trying to force ones self to be happy and harmless’ [endquote] is it not?

The clichéd expression ‘make a mountain out of a molehill’ is what immediately springs to mind.


CORRESPONDENT No. 105 (Part Two)

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