Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

with Correspondent No. 63

March 04 2004:

RESPONDENT: Richard, first of all – great site! It’s absolutely awesome, what you’ve done. In both respects – great and horrifying.

RICHARD: Aye ... anyone who comprehends the implications and ramifications of what is being reported/described/discussed will most certainly be affected deeply – at the core of their being (which is ‘being’ itself) to be precise – whereupon the existential angst of being nothing but a contingent being is bound to arise.

The flip-side of awe is dread ... hence the feeling of horror.

RESPONDENT: I can relate to a lot of things you describe. One is the PCE (I’ve had quite a lot of different ASC’s, and feel I’ve been getting to the PCE lately and beginning to have those instead).

RICHARD: As the pure consciousness experience (PCE) is central to the actualism practice a description of what you feel you have been getting to, and beginning to have lately, would aid clarity in communication.

RESPONDENT: Another thing that really struck a chord with me was your description of the ‘me’ that is going to disintegrate readily pushing the button which is going to make it disintegrate, which is more or less exactly what I think I’ve done, without even being aware of it or knowing what I was doing, and that I couldn’t put into words myself. I believe I initiated this ‘process’ several years ago, and recently went through what I think was an ‘ego death’. What’s left is, in short, a kind of deep tranquillity or even indifference, or to put it in another way ‘acceptance’ of the world and people and existence exactly as is, and an enormously increased sense of pleasure at simply being alive. Although it (it’s definitely a ‘state’, but not an ‘altered state’ in that sense) isn’t completely ‘stable’ – it’s kind of swaying to and fro, and I’m having occasional bouts of my old ‘self’ and some feelings that went with it coming back now and then. Still, it’s like these are kind of faint remnants or ‘shadows’ and that the old ‘ego’ or ‘self’ is basically gone. From your description and when I applied it to my experience, I figured that what went was my ‘ego’, but that my ‘soul’ is definitely still there. I. e., I have a very distinct sense of ‘being’, and that’s the main characteristic of it, if I understand your description correctly. Although I have no sense of being ‘enlightened’ or anything like that. Maybe it’s because I was never interested in getting ‘enlightened’, and maybe it’s because I simply don’t have a bent for that kind of thing. For instance, I can easily love all human beings, but that to me doesn’t have to do with being ‘enlightened’, since I’ve done that from 5 years old, when I had a near-death experience. And this ability to unconditionally love everyone is something a lot of NDE’ers acquire.

RICHARD: That sounds right enough ... the main difference being that when one is enlightened one *is* love (as a state of being) and there is nothing else but love.

RESPONDENT: In any case – before this ego death finally happened, I literally went through hell that got increasingly worse during the course of about 4 years. Before that, you could say I was more or less high for several years (not on any drugs, but on altered states, so to speak). But then I went through the metaphysical dread and horror and anxiety and the anguish of feeling your inner ‘self’ dying. I could really relate to your description of the ‘feeling of being a traitor to humanity’ when being on this road at the same time, even if it’s really the other way around. Anyway – the point is – to be honest, the thought of my ‘soul’, i.e. what I’m identifying with at the moment after the ‘ego death’, having to go too, scares the hell out of me. I can imagine it being even worse, maybe a lot worse than what I’ve already gone through, and that was, to say the least, no fun. But I believe it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not – since I did push the button, and the process is running it’s course – I can feel it. And, as you describe too, another part of me or feeling about it all is rather ecstatic. But there’s horror as well.

RICHARD: In the feeling of fear itself there is both a thrilling aspect (the source of valour) and a frightening aspect (the source of pusillanimity) and deep fear – horror/ terror/ dread – is no exception ... the main thing to watch out for, as fear itself is existential, is the temptation to surrender to the unknown/unknowable force, or energy, which beguilingly offers relief from anguish through salvation.

I have gone into this in some detail before ... the following is the essence of it:

• [Richard]: ‘A deep feeling of dread, the abject intuition of impending doom, is fraught with foreboding, be it a grim, dire, or awful presage, and this intensely apprehensive trepidation is symptomatic of the existential angst (the anguish of the essential insecurity of being a contingent ‘being’) which underpins all suffering. As such an occasion of profound dread is an opportune moment to plumb the depths of ‘being’ itself (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being) ... rather than avoidance through realisation of the portentous event as all manner of phantasmagoria can be manifested by such evasion. With pure intent one can enable a movement into the existential angst, rather than despairingly grasping at doomsday straws, which movement facilitates the bright light of awareness being shone into the innermost recesses of ‘my’ presence ... which is ‘presence’ itself.
Such an active perspicacity in ‘my’ moment of reckoning will reveal that ‘presence’ itself feeds off ‘my’ fear – it is its very life-blood as it were – and this functional acuity brings an abrupt end to its nourishment. Whereupon all-of-a-sudden one finds oneself on the other side of the wall (to keep with the ‘cornered’ analogy for now) with the hitherto unseeable doorway to freedom closing behind one ... and one is walking freely in this actual world where one has already always been living anyway.
All what happened was that upon ‘my’ exposure dissolution occurred and the Land of Lament sank without a trace.

RESPONDENT: So my question is mainly what I might expect with this ‘soul death’ ...

RICHARD: In short: a blessed release into oblivion.

RESPONDENT: ... if you could expand on what it entails, or share more about how you experienced it, and what if anything I can do to prepare for it and make it easier or to facilitate it.

RICHARD: The key to easiness and facilitation – indeed to success itself – is pure intent.

RESPONDENT: Or maybe I should just let it go and let it run it’s own course and happen when and if and however it does?

RICHARD: To put it as simply as is possible: all you can do is procrastinate.

RESPONDENT: I used to have a teacher who’d gone through the ego death part, and who helped me up to that point, but I think he hasn’t done the ‘soul death’ part either, which means he can’t help me further. And I find it immensely helpful and reassuring to have some guidance from someone who’s gone through what you yourself are about to go through.

RICHARD: Indeed ... the very reason The Actual Freedom Trust web site, and this mailing list, exists is because the ‘being’ within scoured the books for eleven years, to no avail, for information on an actual freedom from the human condition.

All the actualism words and writings are ‘his’ legacy, as it were.

RESPONDENT: Besides, I like doing reality checks with more than one person, or simply getting ‘a second opinion’ :-).

RICHARD: A most sensible approach.

RESPONDENT: So – I also wonder whether you think that this ‘state’ I find myself in after the ‘ego death’ could be something similar or identical to what you describe as ‘virtual freedom’?


RESPONDENT: I’m not quite sure I understand what that is.

RICHARD: This is what the word ‘virtual’ means to me (not to be confused with ‘simulated’ connotations that the virtual reality of cyberspace has):

• ‘virtual: that is so in essence or effect, although not recognised formally, actually, or by strict definition as such; almost absolute; possessed of certain physical virtues or powers; effective in respect of inherent qualities; capable of producing a certain effect or result’. (©Oxford Dictionary).

A virtual freedom is what is humanly possible, given sufficient pure intent, before the magical event occurs which renders all such attentiveness to being as happy and harmless (virtually free from malice and sorrow) as is practicable unnecessary ... and naïveté (the nearest to innocence an identity can be) is what makes it possible.

And the key to being naïve (not to be confused with being gullible) is sincerity.

April 20 2004

RESPONDENT: Doesn’t anyone have the same experience as me on this ‘road’ that you ‘push the button’ as Richard puts it (...) Once you’ve pushed the button, there’s no turning back. It’s definitely a one way ticket.

RESPONDENT No 53: (...) Richards metaphorical ‘button’. Or perhaps it is a metaphysical button? Or perhaps a spiritual button? Or perhaps even a material button? I can’t really tell being that, on this button issue, clarity in communication is lacking.

RESPONDENT: Buttons – yeah, I don’t have a clue what the ‘button’ really consists of either, or how one (or who is it?) really ‘pushes’ it.

RICHARD: I am none too sure why you are agreeing that clarity in communication is lacking on [quote] ‘this button issue’ [endquote] as it is writ large all over The Actual Freedom Trust web site that the altruistic instinct (aka altruism) is what initiates the process. For just one example:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... do you think the key for setting it [the process] in motion is will (‘pure intent’?), or an increase in the frequency of apperceptive awareness? Or both? Or something else?
• [Richard]: ‘There is an intrinsic trait common to all sentient beings: self-sacrifice. It manifests in humans in the way that ‘I’ will passionately defend ‘myself’ and ‘my group’ to the death if it is deemed necessary. All of ‘my’ instincts – the instinctive drive for biological survival – come to the fore when psychologically and psychically threatened, for ‘I’ am confused about ‘my’ presence, confounding ‘my’ survival and the body’s survival. Nevertheless, ‘my’ survival being paramount could not be further from the truth, for ‘I’ need play no part any more in perpetuating physical existence (which is the primal purpose of the instinctual animal ‘self’). ‘I’ am no longer necessary at all. In fact, ‘I’ am nowadays a hindrance. With all of ‘my’ beliefs, values, creeds, ethics and other doctrinaire disabilities, ‘I’ am a menace to the body. ‘I’ am ready to die (to allow the body to be killed) for a cause and ‘I’ will willingly sacrifice physical existence for a ‘Noble Ideal’ ... and reap ‘my’ post-mortem reward: immortality.
This is called altruism ... albeit misplaced.
Thus when ‘I’ willingly and irremunerably ‘self’-immolate in toto – both psychologically and psychically – then ‘I’ am making the most noble sacrifice that ‘I’ can make for this body and that body and every body ... for ‘I’ am what ‘I’ hold most dear. It is ‘my’ moment of glory. It is ‘my’ crowning achievement ... it makes ‘my’ petty life all worth while. It is not an event to be missed ... to physically die without having experienced what it is like to become dead is such a waste of a life.
Now, 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 a, 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: it is a rather curious decision – a decision the likes of which has never been made before nor will ever be made again – that it is imperative it be ‘me’ who will evince the final and complete condition which will deliver the goods so longed for by humanity for millennia ... whereupon that thrilling momentum takes over and one realises one has embarked already (and once that impetus gets going one cannot ‘un-set’ the pace).
There is no pulling back – which is why most people do not want to set it in motion – because once one has started one cannot stop. It is a one-way trip – that is the thrilling part of it – and with application and diligence and patience and perseverance, born out of the pure intent garnered from the PCE, the exposure of the inner workings of one’s psyche (which is the human psyche) will readily occur in the course of everyday events due to ‘my’ concurrence ... one cannot help but become fascinated for this means the end of the predicament which humankind has been agonising over for aeons.
Any reluctance to become fascinated is because of the ‘no turning back’ aspect.
After fascination comes obsession wherein one cannot leave it alone any more – or rather it does not leave one alone – and that is when that tempo picks ‘me’ up and ‘I’ am borne along on the adventure of a lifetime as it is inevitable that one is to meet one’s destiny ... it being what one is here for.
An eagerness takes over – one feels alive, vital, dynamic – and things happen serendipitously such that ‘I’ can no longer distinguish between ‘me’ doing it and it happening to ‘me’ ... and this is exhilarating for one is fully doing this business of being alive – doing it here on earth in this lifetime as this body – and it is all happening now of its own accord. This moment is happening and all the while one is doing it the doing is happening of itself ... then one is the experiencing of the happening.
And this is wonderful.

April 21 2004

RESPONDENT: Richard – thanks for the clarification. I haven’t read the AF website so much in-depth yet. When saying I didn’t have a clue what the button was or who pushed it, I wasn’t referring to any lack of clarity in communication – only to that I myself didn’t know. That’s the way I’ve experienced it – the ‘button’ WAS ‘pushed’, ‘someone’ or a ‘confluence’ of events and interaction between me and this person I for convenience call my ‘teacher’ made it happen in some way – but how, who or what exactly, I couldn’t say. But I very much relate to the way you put it. Especially: [quote] ‘Put simply: I did nothing – ‘twas the (fantasy) identity who pushed the (fantasy) button which ensured ‘his’ (fantasy) demise – as I have been just here, right now, all along ... simply having a ball’. [endquote]. These things are really hard to put into words or ‘explain’, and I think you’re doing a great job of it.

RICHARD: Oh, I have no difficulty reporting/describing/explaining ... but, then again, that is because I am not awakened/enlightened (by whatever name) and instead enjoy the condition which ensues when one goes beyond such a massive delusion.

RESPONDENT: One of the problems for me with this ‘button pushing’ and the inevitable no-turning-back process I feel has been set in motion by it, just like you say, is that for me, it wasn’t in any way consciously initiated, intentional, or an even remotely conscious event. Simply – I didn’t have a conscious clue of what I was really doing.

RICHARD: I can appreciate that such a blind impetus as you refer to would be problematic ... which is why I stress how vital it is that a person see for themselves experientially just what it is that they are getting into should they embark on a voyage of discovery through their psyche (which is the human psyche) and not merely believe what the actualism words and writings refer to. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘... I am particularly pleased to see you say that you had a ‘clear and unequivocal PCE’ as, of course, I have no way of ascertaining the intrinsic quality of what any body experiences other than what they describe – and I have no intention of setting myself up to be to arbiter of another’s experience anyway – so I cannot adjudge the exact nature of what you experienced. The rule of thumb is to ask oneself: is this it; is this the ultimate; is this the utter fulfilment and total contentment; is this my destiny; is this how I would want to live for the remainder of my life ... and so on. It is up to each and every person to decide for themselves what it is that they want ... as I oft-times say: it is your life you are living and only you get to reap the rewards and pay the consequences for any action or inaction you may or may not do.
When I first started writing on the internet I tended towards saying things like ‘I find your description to be an accurate portrayal of what I have been calling a peak experience’ and ‘going by what you have written I have no doubt that your experience is a PCE’ and so on, as it was important to both establish a common basis for discussion and to build up a data-base of differing people’s descriptions for others to read and draw affirmation and confirmation from. Yet herein lay a catch-22 that became increasingly obvious as more and more people reported their experience ... I was, by default, setting myself up to be to arbiter of another’s experience by (a) my words of corroboration or negation ... or (b) by the inclusion of their description in or the exclusion of their description from the data-base!
I am finding these things out as I go along and I am left with no alternative but to devise a stock-standard disclaimer such as this: I am simply reporting my experience and it is entirely up to the other to do with it what they will ... and I stress that it is the pure consciousness experience (PCE) that is one’s guiding light – one’s authority or one’s teacher – and not me or my description of a PCE. The evidence of human history demonstrates that there is a distinct possibility that things can go awry wherever the human psyche is being subjectively investigated. Yet there are some notable people (or notorious people) in this field of endeavour who have rashly promised that they will take care of everything if only the person investigating will believe them and/or have faith in them and/or trust them and/or surrender to them and/or obey them ... and so on. And there are more than a few of these gullible persons currently occupying places in psychiatric wards as a direct result ... and the person who promised to ‘take care of everything’ is remarkably unforthcoming (it is counsellors and therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists who have to pick up the pieces).
I cannot save anybody at all.

RESPONDENT: On the road, I’ve kind of started to become more aware of what is actually happening and going on with this ‘process’. Which for me is and has been very difficult in many ways. I’m still in the middle of it – and it’s like a constant dying – sometimes ecstatic in a sense and I do have ‘peaks’ or maybe ‘PCE’s’ occasionally – but sometimes it’s so horrendously anxiety generating and resulting in such ‘suffering’ (I can’t not try to struggle against it or try to hold on – I feel it’s an instinctual response by my own ‘self’ which is disintegrating) – that I deeply regret ever ‘pushing’ the bleedin ‘button’ ...

RICHARD: Okay ... given that the process has been initialised, and is currently underway anyway, any regret about it all (no matter how deeply felt) is counterproductive, of course, and can only work to hinder its passage and thus needlessly prolong the horrendous anxiety/ suffering.

There are at least two courses of action (going by your words) at this stage: (1) focus upon the awareness of what is actually happening – and not upon what the person whom, for convenience, you call your ‘teacher’ may say/may have said is happening – so that ever more active perspicacity can occur ... and (2) focus upon the thrilling aspect of anxiety, when it occurs, rather than its frightening aspect, and the regret will surely be replaced by the zest with which you (presumably) started with.

And, as a general rule of thumb, do not suffer your suffering ... the suffering itself is awful enough as it is without any further input from you.

RESPONDENT: ... and I’ve been accusing this ‘teacher’ person who had a lot to do with it for me, of not being truthful in what is really going on. He doesn’t clearly state that what you do is self-immolate and what it entails, but puts it in terms of ‘working with oneself, development’ asf., which I nowadays actually think is very misleading. You don’t ‘work’ with yourself – your ‘self’ disintegrates and disappears! Of course, my ‘accusations’ have to do with what’s still left of my own psyche and all the garbage there.

RICHARD: Perhaps it is high time to wipe the slate clean – put all the regret/ recrimination to rest now that the job has been done – and continue afresh, enlivened by the very process itself?

RESPONDENT: In any case – I really appreciate your stating it as clearly as you have.

RICHARD: You are very welcome ... and I am well-pleased that both the website and its associated mailing list are achieving their purpose.




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