Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On Mr. Alan Watts


RESPONDENT: Richard, my next question is this: you said that Alan Watts, a writer whose works I’m familiar with, was ‘faking freedom’. What exactly did you mean by this and, not being Alan Watts himself, how could you possibly know this?

RICHARD: He did not live what he wrote about so prolifically and gave numerous lectures on.


RESPONDENT: Richard, I have been enjoying your web site immensely. You’ve done a very nice job for someone new to computers. Things have been quite busy here. I keep thinking I’ll have time to write an extensive response, but have decided to just cover some of the bases in the time that I have. In response to your question of sorts to me: What I would do is ask myself ‘do I have a deep feeling of being’? No. I do not. I lost all depth a number of years ago. The result of that is I find myself very much here, on the surface, in this body mind, in this world now. All present and accounted for. I no longer feel that there is a deep core of me that is more me than my usual me. I find no other me that is more real. In fact, what I refer to as me, turns out to be very arbitrary. The sense I had of it once, and has stayed with me, is that it is like drawing a circle in the sand and then saying that any wind that blows through that circle is me. However, I feel that this body/mind presentation is very real, or actual if you would prefer. Also, I never think of being as a noun, such as a being, but as a verb or more accurately a gerund I guess – as in the activity of being. As in being alive, or the universe being itself as a human, or a rock, or a bird, etc. So, when I use being I’m referring to an activity, not a state.

RICHARD: Good ... I am not too sure how familiar you are with ‘consciousness-raising’ phrases (Mr. Alan Watts wrote a lot about ‘verbing’ instead of ‘nouning’) because peoples mostly experience themselves as being the ‘do-er’ of being alive and enlightenment is when the ‘do-er’ dies/dissolves and the ‘be-er’ of being alive emerges (‘being’). If this style of description is something you are familiar with, then how about this phrase to describe what you are saying (above):

‘I am the doing of being alive’ (rather than ‘I am the being of being alive)?

But scrap the whole lot if this nomenclature (jargon) does not jell ... I am simply wishing to understand accurately so as to not make assumptions.

RESPONDENT: Yes, okay. That is accurate. We are trying to avoid using the word being as a thing, e.g. a supreme being, because of the usual connotations. However, in the statement ‘I am the doing of being alive’, there still is the opening to ask ‘Who is the doing of being alive?’

RICHARD: Yes... bearing in mind that you have explained that ‘I may differ from you in that I don’t find the ego I to be quite the problem that you do because I don’t see it as a thing, but more a way of seeing or being aware’ and that ‘there are patterns of feeling, emotional memory that still hold a certain amount of influence over me ... I am still swayed by those feelings at times’ then in conjunction with ‘yes, that is accurate ... there still is the opening to ask ‘Who is the doing of being alive?’ would this not indeed be the very opening needed to find out why this ‘a way of seeing’ ... ‘ego I’ or this ‘being aware’ ... ‘ego I’ (which you do not find to be ‘quite the problem’) is swayed by those ‘patterns of feeling, emotional memory that still hold a certain amount of influence over me ... at times’?

I only ask because peace-on-earth cannot become apparent if one is still swayed by feelings ... even if only at times. Where is one’s autonomy if something has influence into one’s innate intelligence ... preventing it from operating unencumbered? Which means: even if you ‘don’t find the ego I to be quite the problem’, upon sincere investigation (motivated by the desirability of total peace and harmony once and for all) you may find that ‘the ego I’ is the more obvious aspect to the feeling of ‘presence’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘being’ (not ‘a being’ but ‘being’ itself). I do note that you wrote ‘I no longer feel that there is a deep core of me that is more me than my usual me’ yet if there be affective feelings at all then the more subtle levels of ‘being’ itself must percolate throughout the body (feelings in the amygdala stimulate the release of hormones such as adrenaline).

Again I might suggest that you may experience this as ‘a way of feeling’ ... ‘ego I’ (or some other description) and not solely ‘a way of seeing’ ... ‘ego I’ or this ‘being aware’ ... ‘ego I’? I only make this suggestion again because I am very interested to compare notes as I find the presence of affective feelings to be indicative.

RESPONDENT: More accurately might be to say, ‘What is the doing of being alive?’ without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the baby being the obvious capacity for reflexive awareness that humans possess.

RICHARD: A sensate-only awareness (with or without thought operating) is what the doing of being alive is. But a sensate awareness (with or without thought operating) incorporating a feeling-based intuitive/imaginative facility inclusive to its perceptive and/or insightful ability is who the doing of being alive is ... and is who the baby is who does need to be thrown out with the bathwater.

RESPONDENT: The experience of me is wholly contingent on the physical reality of this body/mind entity referred to as me. Let me also add that the capacity of this body/mind entity is marvellously complex with potentialities that have not nearly been fully explored or actualised.

RICHARD: Ahh ... excellent. So many people stop short and never, ever go all the way into experiencing the wondrous and magical perfection of the purity of the infinitude this universe actually is.

RESPONDENT: I am familiar with Alan Watts, read a little of him years ago. Further down in this email you say, ‘My experience (which is where all my description/understanding is drawn from) ... my experience is also where my understanding is drawn from. Increased clarity, a wondrous fullness, comes from my interactions with others, whether I fundamentally agree or disagree with any particular other. As you said in an earlier post, you are not a professional biologist, but the discoveries of biology, genetics, etc. have added something to your own understanding. I call this ‘free lunch’. I don’t have to be everything: a biologist, a physicist, a psychologist, a philosopher – I can enjoy the fruits of others’ labours and they mine without threat of ‘losing myself’ or needing to delineate ‘what is me’ and ‘what is other’.

RICHARD: Okay ... I only asked about Mr. Alan Watts because he was, of course, faking freedom in his day-to-day life (although he expressed his many non-ordinary experiences very eloquently) and wrote about this dilemma. His use of ‘verbing’ rather than ‘nouning’ was a ploy to make the ‘other’ happen (or a facsimile thereof) ... part of the Taoist ‘going with the flow’ fad of that era.

His influence has lingered for many Westerners seeking the intellectual solution, though.


RESPONDENT: I disagree only insofar as you present it to be a ‘discovery’ – I think this mode of perception has been around pretty long, together with different classifications as good – ‘happy and harmless’, or just beyond classifications – or bad – as some mental ‘disorder’.

RICHARD: I have travelled the country – and overseas – talking with many and varied peoples from all walks of life; I have been watching television, videos, films, whatever media is available; I have been reading about other people’s experiences in books, journals, magazines, newspapers (and latterly on the internet) for twenty four years now, for information on being a flesh and blood body only (sans the entire affective faculty/identity in toto), but to no avail.

RESPONDENT: From this, I gather that the usual phrasing that ‘beyond enlightenment, you become ‘perfectly ordinary’ is not what it means to be a flesh and blood body only.

RICHARD: As you go on to give Mr. Edgar Hofer, currently known by the acronym ‘OWK’ (from ‘Oh! Who Knows’) as an example of what becoming [quote] ‘perfectly ordinary’ [endquote] is after enlightenment then the following passage from his book may be self-explanatory:

• ‘After enlightenment’ one has to go back into normal duality, but very different of course. This duality is filled with a complete new way of sensory perception and ‘truthful experiences’. It is a life in the here and now, perceiving the truth of the now which is relative and underlies time. *It is not an ultimate experience*’. [emphasis added]. (www.owk-satsang.com/enl_short.htm).

If it is not this one should be:

• Who is ‘OWK’? I have no idea. Sometimes he is here. Then he is gone again. He is using the body of the writer like a channel. And if he does not write, the writer is a ‘very normal man’, *with human feelings, dreams and fears*. [emphasis added]. (www.owk-satsang.com/enl_short.htm).

RESPONDENT: Or – is it?

RICHARD: No, a flesh and blood body sans the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto hosts no identity at all/has no feelings whatsoever – thereby living a life free of both the duality and non-duality such a faculty/ entity automatically creates by its very presence – and is thus already always directly experiencing the ultimate experience ... whether doing something (such as writing) or doing nothing.

RESPONDENT: The typical Zen saying that mountains are mountains again, only a little more so?

RICHARD: What you are referring to is a Koan – from a discourse attributed to Mr. Ch’ing yuan Wei-hsin – and not descriptive prose. Vis.:

• ‘Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters’. [endquote].

It is obviously not descriptive prose because he then asks:

• ‘Are the three understandings the same or different?’ [endquote].

Here is a clue: the second understanding is per favour the comprehension of (buddhistic) emptiness.

RESPONDENT: You certainly don’t depend upon hearing your ideas in their exact phrasing to recognize them.

RICHARD: I will draw your attention to the following:

• [Richard]: ‘... this is an apt place to inform you, up-front and out-in-the-open, that actualism – the direct experience that matter is not merely passive – is experiential and *not philosophical*’. [emphasis added].

And just so that there is no misunderstanding: actualism is not about ideals either ... or beliefs, concepts, opinions, conjectures, speculations, assumptions, presumptions, suppositions, surmises, inferences, judgements, intellectualisations, imaginations, posits, postulations, images, analyses, viewpoints, views, stances, perspectives, standpoints, positions, world-views, mind-sets, states-of-mind, frames-of-mind, or any other of the 101 ways, of overlooking direct reports of what it is to be actually free from the human condition and living the utter peace of the perfection of the purity welling endlessly as the infinitude this eternal, infinite and perpetual universe actually is.

RESPONDENT: What distinguishes Actual Freedom from the Zen teachings of Hui-neng or Huang-po?

RICHARD: For just one example here is an edited-for-brevity version of Mr. Hui-neng’s final instructions (from Chapter X of the ‘The Treasure Of The Law’ sutra):

• ‘One day the Patriarch sent for his disciples [snip names] and addressed them as follows: ‘You men are different from the common lot. After my entering into Parinirvana, each of you will be the Dhyana Master of a certain district. I am, therefore, going to give you some hints on preaching (...) I am going to leave this world by the 8th Moon. Should you have any doubts (on the doctrine) please ask me in time, so that I can clear them up for you. You may find no one to teach you after my departure. (...) Are you worrying for me because I do not know whither I shall go? But I do know (...) death is the inevitable outcome of birth, and even the various Buddhas who appear in this world have to go through an earthly death before entering Parinirvana’. [endquote].

Whereas (for example):

• [Richard]: ‘I am mortal. Death is the end. Finish. If you do not become free here and now whilst the body is breathing you never will’.

And, by way of another example, here is an edited-for-brevity version of what Mr. Huang-po had to say (from a translation found in Mr. Stephen Mitchell’s ‘The Enlightened Mind – An Anthology of Sacred Prose’, Harper Perennial, 1991):

• ‘All Buddhas and all ordinary beings are nothing but the one mind. This mind is beginningless and endless, unborn and indestructible. It has no colour or shape, neither exists nor doesn’t exist, isn’t old or new, long or short, large or small, since it transcends all measures, limits, names, and comparisons. (...) This pure mind, which is the source of all things, shines forever with the radiance of its own perfection. (...) Above, below, and all around you, all things spontaneously exist, because there is nowhere outside the Buddha mind’. [endquote].

Whereas (for example):

• [Richard]: ‘(...) all experiencing is awareness of what is happening whilst it is happening; the mind, *which is the human brain in action in the human skull*, has this amazing capacity to be, not only aware, but aware of being aware at the same time (a simultaneity which is truly wondrous in itself).
And it is where this awareness of being aware is unmediated (apperceptive awareness) that this universe knows itself’. [emphasis added].

In other words, when this flesh and blood body dies this mind also ceases to operate.

RESPONDENT: (They are both sources of Alan Watts, as you know, but I found the originals, at least Hui-neng, more exhilarating).

RICHARD: I did not know that Mr. Hui-neng and Mr. Huang-po were sources for Mr. Alan Watts ... and neither did I find either of them at all interesting, just now, whilst copy-pasting the above quotes (let alone exhilarating).

RESPONDENT: At first sight, there appear to me to be some similarities, so I would be delighted to learn precisely what it is that you do/experience differently from them.

RICHARD: Just for starters: there is this on-going experience of a world beyond their ken ... to wit: this actual world (the sensate world) which is the world of this body and that body and every body; the world of the mountains and the streams; the world of the trees and the flowers; the world of the clouds in the sky by day and the stars in the firmament by night and so on and so on ad infinitum.

*

RESPONDENT: To thank you, I would like to give back something, a text elaborating on the universe observing itself through us.

RICHARD: You may find the following illuminative: [Co-Respondent]: ‘... I should like to ask you also something else. You said that through you the universe is experiencing its self’ ...

RESPONDENT: As I understood Advaita teachings, the ‘Self’ and the ‘Universe’ are identical; why should the ‘universe’ have a ‘self’ separate from itself? As you say in your reply: [Richard]: ‘I did nothing of the sort ... I specifically say *as* this flesh and blood body. Vis.: [Co-Respondent]: ‘We are the universe creating its own self and experiencing it’s self. [Richard]: ‘The planet earth not only grows vegetation it also grows people – and all other sentient beings – and, as such, the universe can experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being (just as it also experiences itself as a cat or a dog and so on)’. [endquote].

RICHARD: I was not referring to the ‘Self’ and the ‘Universe’ being identical as I had clearly said [quote] ‘itself’ [endquote] ... it was my co-respondent who evidently split that word, which I had used four times in the previous discussions, into two so as to make what I had said into meaning something they were partial to.

The word ‘itself’ is nothing other than a reflexive form of ‘it’ ... and there have been others trying to get similar mileage out of it too. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘Contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘something’ or ‘someone’ in charge of the universe. It is perfectly capable of looking after itself.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Namaste’. It is clear that the choice has been made not to respond to offerings attributed to [me], however, if you please, concentrate on the following questions as they are now, and provide answers?
• [Richard]: ‘Hmm ... where I wrote, on December 26 2000, in response to your then latest offering, that I was currently not inclined to feed your voracious capacity to dismiss all the ills of humankind through tortuous tautological treatises by responding to any other e-mails you might see fit to offer just then, one of the things I was referring to was a propensity on your part to pick up on syntactic aberrations and semantical oddities as if so doing demonstrated something profound.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘What actually is the universe’s self ( as in: ‘It <the universe> is perfectly capable of looking after itself’)?
• [Richard]: ‘This query of yours is a perfect example of out-of-control semanticism. Vis.: [Dictionary Definition]: itself: refl. form (indirect, direct, and after preps.) of ‘it’; pron. (to, for, etc.): the thing in question; emphatic; in apposition to a noun (subjective or objective); that particular thing, the very thing, that thing alone; it, not something else. (© 1998 Oxford Dictionary). Thus as there is nary a ‘self’ to be found, in the sentence in question, and when I do ‘concentrate on the questions as they are now’ I see yet again why ‘the choice has been made not to respond to offerings attributed to [you]’. In fact, ‘the questions as they are now’ are remarkably the same as the questions as they were then’.

*

RICHARD: ... [Richard]: ‘I did nothing of the sort ... I specifically say *as* this flesh and blood body. Vis.: [Co-Respondent]: ‘We are the universe creating its own self and experiencing it’s self. [Richard]: ‘The planet earth not only grows vegetation it also grows people – and all other sentient beings – and, as such, the universe can experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being (just as it also experiences itself as a cat or a dog and so on). [endquote] ...

RESPONDENT: This last part is almost a literal quote of Alan Watts – the universe as ‘peopling’, ‘treeing’ and so forth.

RICHARD: It has nothing to do with Mr. Alan Watts’ whimsical penchant for using verbs instead of nouns ... as the word ‘experience’ refers to a sentient creature participating personally in events or activities then the universe quite obviously does not experience itself as a tree.


RESPONDENT: Richard, you may or may not find this interesting. This is Alan Watts describing an LSD experience: [begin quote] ‘(...) But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were /objects/. I can say only that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear. I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, /having/ sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened -- not to me, but just happened -- moment by moment, one after another. To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’. [end quote]. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

RICHARD: Why does it sound awfully familiar to you?

RESPONDENT: I wonder if this is a case of cryptomnesia, or whether you have consciously and deliberately used almost identical words because you found them so appropriate.

RICHARD: Where have I used almost identical words?

RESPONDENT: The latter seems a bit unlikely to me because I also recall you saying you had read numerous accounts of LSD experiences, but none of them seemed to match your experience.

RICHARD: You must be referring to this:

• [Richard]: ‘I never advise or encourage anyone to use psychotropic substances (for obvious reasons). If, however, someone already has done so, and intends to do so again of their own accord and volition anyway, then I would counsel their very careful and considered use as it is all-too-easy for an altered state of consciousness (ASC) to emerge rather than a pure consciousness experience (PCE) ... there are many accounts available on the internet and 4 or 5 years ago I browsed through several web pages and never found any description that resembled a PCE’.

A quick search of the internet showed that the quote you provided comes from an essay, in ‘This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience’, entitled ‘The New Alchemy’ and goes on to say, immediately after where you ended it, the following:

• [quote] ‘For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety’. [endquote].

That polarity of subject/ object, knower/ known, feeler/ feeling, experiencer/ experience is an unmistakable description of mystical experiencing wherein the polar opposites unite (aka non-duality) – known in some mystical literature as ‘complexio oppositorum’ (union of opposites) ‘or coincidentia oppositorum’ (coincidence of opposites) – and thus shows that my counselling of very careful and considered use of psychotropic substances is a well-advised monition.

Here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.

*

RESPONDENT: Richard, you may or may not find this interesting. This is Alan Watts describing an LSD experience: [begin quote] ‘(...) But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were /objects/. I can say only that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear. I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, /having/ sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened – not to me, but just happened – moment by moment, one after another. To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’. [end quote]. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

RICHARD: Why does it sound awfully familiar to you?

RESPONDENT: Why wouldn’t it?

RICHARD: Just for starters ... because Mr. Alan Watts is describing a spiritual experience (the above quote you provided comes from an essay in ‘This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience’) and clearly refers to the awareness of grain or structure in the senses as being an awareness of [quote] ‘myself from *inside* myself’ [emphasis added] which, in concert with his report of it being the ego which there was nothing left of, leaves no doubt whatsoever as to what the nature of the remaining, and non-detached observer, is.

In short: the feeler.

In some detail: ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being – which is ‘being’ itself – and most certainly not the flesh and blood body only (sans the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto).

RESPONDENT: Doesn’t it to you???

RICHARD: Given that [quote] ‘awfully’ [endquote] is a colloquial way of saying ‘exceedingly; very much’ (Oxford Dictionary) then ... no.

*

RESPONDENT: I wonder if this is a case of cryptomnesia, or whether you have consciously and deliberately used almost identical words because you found them so appropriate.

RICHARD: Where have I used almost identical words?

RESPONDENT: Here’s one instance: From www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-ramana.htm ...

RICHARD: As discussing my words in absentia is an exercise in futility I appreciate that you have provided the text of mine you are referring to this time around.

RESPONDENT: Let’s compare:

Alan Watts: ‘the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear’
Richard: ‘the distance or separation between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs – and thus the external world – disappears’

RICHARD: Here is the full version (with the sections you selected highlighted for convenience):

• [Mr. Alan Watts]: ‘I can say only that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that *the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear*. [emphasis added].
• [Richard]: ‘With the end of both ‘I’ and ‘me’, *the distance or separation between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs – and thus the external world – disappears*. [emphasis added].

And the reason why I provide the full version is because Mr. Alan Watts clearly reports that it is [quote] ‘because’ [endquote] of the awareness of himself, from inside himself, that the distance or separation (between himself and his senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other) seemed to disappear ... as contrasted my report that it is [quote] ‘with’ [endquote] the end of both ‘I’ and ‘me’ that the distance or separation (between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs and thus the external world) disappears.

In other words, with no identity whatsoever there is no-one to be either in a state of separation (aka duality) or in a state of union (aka non-duality).

RESPONDENT: [Let’s compare]:

Alan Watts: ‘I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head ...’
Richard: ‘Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart)’

RICHARD: Again here is my full version (with the section you selected highlighted for convenience):

• [Richard]: ‘To be living as the senses is to live a clear and clean awareness – apperception – a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. *Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart)* ...’. [emphasis added].

Again the reason why I provide the full version is because to be living *as* the senses (as a flesh and blood body only) is a vast cry from a remaining, and non-detached observer, having *become* the sensations (as in having identified with and/or having arrogated them).

RESPONDENT: [Let’s compare]:

Alan Watts: ‘ ... /having/ sensations. I was the sensations’
Richard: ‘to have sensations happen to them, I am the sensations’

RICHARD: And again here is the full version (with the sections you selected highlighted for convenience):

• [Mr. Alan Watts]: ‘I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head */having/ sensations. I was the sensations* ...’. [emphasis added].
• [Richard]: ‘Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart) *to have sensations happen to them, I am the sensations*’.[emphasis added].

And again the reason why I provide the full version is because of the marked distinction between an egoless observer/ feeler/ experiencer (aka identity) having become the sensations and a flesh and blood body only being the very senses.

RESPONDENT: [Let’s compare]:

Alan Watts: ‘[I was the sensations], so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened – not to me, but just happened – moment by moment, one after another’
Richard: ‘There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not happening to an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another’

RICHARD: And yet again here is my full version (with the section you selected highlighted for convenience):

• [Richard]: ‘The entire affective faculty vanishes ... blind nature’s software package of instinctual passions is deleted. *There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not happening to an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another*’. [emphasis added].

And yet again the reason why I provide the full version is because of the remarkable difference betwixt a flesh and blood body sans the entire affective faculty (and thus identity in toto) and an identity, replete with the full suite of emotions/ passions/ calentures it is comprised of, having identified with and/or having arrogated bodily sensations.

RESPONDENT: [Let’s compare]:

Alan Watts: ‘To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’
Richard: ‘To live life as these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and magic’

RICHARD: Here is what I go on to say immediately following:

• [Richard]: ‘Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful peace and tranquillity. Life is intrinsically purposeful, the reason for existence lies openly all around. Being in this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it; I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away – nor has it ever been away – it was just that ‘I’/ ‘me’ was standing in the way of the meaning of life being apparent’ [endquote].

And here is what Mr. Alan Watts goes on to say immediately following:

• [quote] ‘For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but of itself. The experiencer and the experience become a single, ever-changing self-forming process, complete and fulfilled at every moment of its unfolding, and of infinite complexity and subtlety’. [endquote].

(...)

RICHARD: That polarity of subject/ object, knower/ known, feeler/ feeling, experiencer/ experience is an unmistakable description of mystical experiencing wherein the polar opposites unite (aka non-duality) – known in some mystical literature as ‘complexio oppositorum’ (union of opposites) ‘or coincidentia oppositorum’ (coincidence of opposites) – and thus shows that my counselling of very careful and considered use of psychotropic substances is a well-advised monition. Here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.

RESPONDENT: I agree that there are differences, psychic adumbrations, in Watts’ description

RICHARD: As I never used the term [quote] ‘psychic adumbrations’ [endquote] anywhere at all in this e-mail you are responding to one thing is for sure ... it is not me you are agreeing with.

RESPONDENT: I was, and am, struck by the almost identical theme ...

RICHARD: If I might interject? What [quote] ‘almost identical’ [endquote] theme are you referring to? If nothing else did the words [quote] ‘*feeler* and feeling’ [emphasis added] not stand out like an outhouse in the arid region when you read them?

RESPONDENT: ... and phrasing in the selected passages, and wonder whether you were aware of having virtually duplicated (word for word in parts) what Watts wrote all those years ago, or whether you did it without being aware of it.

RICHARD: The quote of mine you provided is from an on-line version of what I wrote in ‘Richard’s Journal’ circa 1995-97 ... and, by way of explanation, I will first draw your attention to the following:

• [Richard]: ‘... [‘Richard’s Journal’ is] pieced together from recollection and undated jotted notes and scraps of writings from over the years so as to add some measure of sequence to the story ...’.

What would have happened is that somewhen prior to stringing-together the ad hoc collection of undated jotted notes and scraps of writings into becoming some of the miscellaneous articles eventually published under the title ‘Richard’s Journal’ I must have come across the text in question and made an (un-referenced/ un-attributed) note of it in the midst of myriads of other notes of mine ... because not having a photographic memory there is no way it could have been cryptomnesia and/or unconscious plagiarism.

Just so there is no misunderstanding regarding your original query (about a found appropriateness): for there to be [quote] ‘psychic adumbrations’ [endquote] there must, perforce, be a psyche ... and where there is a psyche there is an identity (albeit aware of itself, from inside itself, as having become the sensations).

Put succinctly: an egoless identity is still an identity, nevertheless (replete with the full suite of emotions/ passions/ calentures it is comprised of).

*

RESPONDENT: I don’t know if this was a strategic oversight on your part but, in the section I quoted, he described it as ‘awareness of awareness’ ...

RICHARD: It was not an oversight ... let alone a strategic one (whatever that means): the second awareness he refers to there is [quote] ‘inspecting’ [endquote] his senses from inside himself, and not from outside or from a distance, and the first awareness is of that inspection (of grain or structure in his senses) ... or, as I put it, the awareness of grain or structure in the senses as being an awareness of [quote] ‘myself from *inside* myself’ [emphasis added] as he clearly says, in the sentences immediately preceding the one you started the quote (above) with, that the shapes, colours, and textures, of his outside world are also states of his nervous system, of him, and that in knowing them he knows himself. Vis.:

• [quote]: ‘... I became vividly aware of the fact that what I call shapes, colours, and textures in the outside world are also states of my nervous system, that is, of me. In knowing them I also know my self. But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was ...’. [endquote].

Plus he definitely goes on to say, in the part you quoted, that he was that grain or structure/ had become that grain or structure (the very sensations).

RESPONDENT: ... which is virtually identical to how you describe apperception ... ‘the mind’s awareness of itself’.

RICHARD: Ha ... I can now make a guess as to why you would be familiar with a term such as [quote] ‘a strategic oversight’ [endquote].

*

RESPONDENT: ... I wonder whether you were aware of having virtually duplicated (word for word in parts) what Watts wrote all those years ago, or whether you did it without being aware of it.

RICHARD: The quote of mine you provided is from an on-line version of what I wrote in ‘Richard’s Journal’ circa 1995-97 ... and, by way of explanation, I will first draw your attention to the following: [quote]: ‘... [‘Richard’s Journal’ is] pieced together from recollection and undated jotted notes and scraps of writings from over the years so as to add some measure of sequence to the story ...’. [endquote]. What would have happened is that somewhen prior to stringing-together the ad hoc collection of undated jotted notes and scraps of writings into becoming some of the miscellaneous articles eventually published under the title ‘Richard’s Journal’ I must have come across the text in question and made an (un-referenced/ un-attributed) note of it in the midst of myriads of other notes of mine ... because not having a photographic memory there is no way it could have been cryptomnesia and/or unconscious plagiarism.

RESPONDENT: Putting aside for a moment the logistics of how those words found their way into your writings ... let me see if understand your bottom line aright ... When Alan Watts says ‘To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’ he is having an entirely different experience from the one that you describe thus: ‘To live life as these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’. Yes?

RICHARD: Yes, only an identity could *become* the sensations it was previously having (this flesh and blood body is already living/ always has lived life *as* these sensations).

RESPONDENT: No?

RICHARD: Put simply: where there is no identity whatsoever there is no-one to have been separated (aka dualistic) such as to become unified (aka non-dualistic) ... here in this actual world neither duality nor non-duality have any existence.


CO-RESPONDENT: ... I wonder whether you were aware of having virtually duplicated (word for word in parts) what Watts wrote all those years ago, or whether you did it without being aware of it.

RICHARD: The quote of mine you provided is from an on-line version of what I wrote in ‘Richard’s Journal’ circa 1995-97 ... and, by way of explanation, I will first draw your attention to the following: [quote]: ‘... [‘Richard’s Journal’ is] pieced together from recollection and undated jotted notes and scraps of writings from over the years so as to add some measure of sequence to the story ...’. [endquote]. What would have happened is that somewhen prior to stringing-together the ad hoc collection of undated jotted notes and scraps of writings ...

RESPONDENT: I presume you were collecting your own writings.

RICHARD: Yes, on many an occasion I would jot down various things on bits of paper.

*

RICHARD: ... into becoming some of the miscellaneous articles eventually published under the title ‘Richard’s Journal’ I must have come across the text in question ...

RESPONDENT: I presume you are referring to Alan Watts’ words.

RICHARD: Yes, although I cannot remember the particular instance as I mainly read books and articles, and so on, by spiritually enlightened/ mystically awakened peoples (for obvious reasons).

*

RICHARD: ... and made an (un-referenced/ un-attributed) note of it in the midst of myriads of other notes of mine ...

RESPONDENT: That is called plagiarism. Were you collecting others’ words as well?

RICHARD: What would have happened (as I cannot remember that particular instance I can only assume) is that it must have been an occasion where I was demonstrating to my companion at the time just what, specifically, the difference was between spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment and that which lay beyond by highlighting the relevant wording itself and substituting what words I would use instead ... and I say this because I can clearly recall doing the same with some text in a book by Mr. Nisargadatta Maharaj, in a book by Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, and in at least two books by Mr. Mohan ‘Rajneesh’ Jain (all of which I burned, in 1992, along with the four copies of an 80,000 word manuscript I had typed out on an old-fashioned typewriter, as I had crossed-out and written-into the pages of those books themselves).

In case that is not clear enough: my companion at the time would, on occasion, come to me with a book and ask me to explain just how a particular passage was not what I was talking about so I would cross-out certain key-words, in a paragraph or two, and write in my own ... just as I do to this very day with my ‘example only’/ ‘end example’ way of demonstrating something via a rearrangement and substitution of certain words and/or phrases.

I can recall a verbal instance (for example) of doing just that, whilst sitting on a balcony one fine afternoon circa 1997, when Vineeto handed me a book by Ms. Bernadette Roberts and asked how it was that what I was saying was any different to some passages she had bookmarked ... to which I responded by saying that, were I to have put it that way, I would say this, instead of that, and that rather than this, and so forth and so on.

*

RICHARD: ... because not having a photographic memory there is no way it could have been cryptomnesia and/or unconscious plagiarism.

RESPONDENT: I fail to understand your logic here.

RICHARD: That could very well be because it has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with what would have actually happened: I freely acknowledge that I must have consciously used that paragraph, which Mr. Alan Watts wrote, somewhen prior to stringing-together the ad hoc collection of undated jotted notes and scraps of writings of mine into becoming some of the miscellaneous articles eventually published under the title ‘Richard’s Journal’, to demonstrate just what, specifically, the difference was between a pure consciousness experience (PCE) and an altered state of consciousness (ASC) by highlighting the wording itself and substituting what words I would have used had I written about it in that way.

The allusion to a photographic memory is my understanding of the phenomenon of cryptomnesia (and/or unconscious plagiarism).


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