Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Pure Consciousness Experiences
ALAN: One other thing, I have not read anywhere in your writings, is the ‘feeling’ I had (and still get in a PCE) somewhere around the solar plexus. It is like a feeling of love (can’t think of a better word), a warm glow, a connection with something (not outside nor Some Thing) just a connection with what is. Very difficult to describe – I almost use it as a benchmark as to whether I am having a PCE.
RICHARD: This is because the affective faculties still play a role in a PCE – usually – whereas actual freedom is free of calenture entirely. A peak experience is not actual freedom ... actual freedom is much better than what one can experience whilst remaining human. The PCE is the closest that an ‘I’ can come to the actuality of having eliminated all traces of the instincts one was born with.
GARY: Yesterday I had the first really clear and unequivocal PCE since starting with this ... previously, I had had what I call ‘mini-PCE’s’. They lasted only very brief periods of time, say an hour or so, and I wasn’t really sure it was a PCE. Yesterday, however, I had no doubt at all about the experience, as it accorded in all details with what I have read about PCE’s ... I had some trouble at work ... some old fears of mine concerning work, authority, success, etc. came up for me. I found myself in some turmoil about these issues and, investigating deeper into it, I once again saw the futility of a feeling-based life, a so-called ‘normal’ life of sorrow, malice, nurture, and desire ... I wrote in my journal to myself what I would do to bring about peace-on-earth, for myself and others. A little later, I sat in my chair and was still for quite awhile. The PCE experience started there and continued for the rest of the day, at times most vividly, at other times diminishing somewhat, but always lustrous, vibrant, and rich. One of the things I noticed most strongly was the intensity of sensation – the clearness and brilliance of colours, and the ability to hear every little sound around me ... at a gravel pit ... I saw a stone popping out of the ground that had some interesting features to it. I ran my hand along the exposed top of it and it felt to be alive. Similarly, the texture and surface of the stone appeared to be actually a living thing. It reminded me of psychedelic drug experiences I had when I was younger, except that it was natural and uncontaminated by any emotions of fright, fear, doubt, etc. Later on we went to the supermarket to do the week’s shopping. Another thing I noticed about the experience was how any object, even the most ordinary and mundane, instantly had become amazingly interesting and wonderful to look at. Everything I looked at had a life of its own. Everything appeared fresh and new. Everywhere I looked there were sensual delights to behold. Another thing was that there was some kind of very pleasurable sensation located near the solar plexus region. I find this difficult to convey but it was a very satisfying visceral sensation. I shall have to, in future, see what I can notice about it ... I found that I could refresh the experience by running the ‘How am I ...’. question and by increased attentiveness to the feelings that contaminated the experience. A couple of times, the experience would come back in full bloom in all its’ lustrousness. The PCE stands out in such dramatic contrast to ordinary, every-day perception and sensation ... another key feature of the experience – no affective element, no feelings, no disturbance whatsoever – there was nothing that could disturb the experience, take anything away from it, or detract from it. In other words, there was no feeling ‘me’ to spoil the experience. How amazing.
RICHARD: Yes ... ‘how amazing’ indeed, eh? 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.
Having said that, and I am not inferring anything either way by what I am writing here, it may or may not be relevant to report that one must be most particular to not confuse an excellence experience with a perfection experience ... and the most outstanding distinction in the excellence experience is the marked absence of what I call the ‘magical’ element. This is where time has no duration as the normal ‘now’ and ‘then’ and space has no distance as the normal ‘here’ and ‘there’ and form has no distinction as the normal ‘was’ and ‘will be’ ... there is only this moment in eternal time at this place in infinite space as this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware (a three hundred and sixty degree awareness, as it were). Everything and everyone is transparently and sparklingly obvious, up-front and out-in-the open ... there is nowhere to hide and no reason to hide as there is no ‘me’ to hide. One is totally exposed and open to the universe: already always just here right now ... actually in time and actually in space as actual form. This apperception (selfless awareness) is an unmediated perspicacity wherein one is this universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being; as such the universe is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.
In a PCE one is fully immersed in the infinitude of this fairy-tale-like actual world with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity where everything and everyone has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, wondrous, scintillating vitality that makes everything alive and sparkling ... even the very earth beneath one’s feet. The rocks, the concrete buildings, a piece of paper ... literally everything is as if it were alive (a rock is not, of course, alive as humans are, or as animals are, or as trees are). This ‘aliveness’ is the very actuality of all existence – the actualness of everything and everyone – for one is not living in an inert universe.
It is one’s destiny to be living the utter peace of the perfection of the purity welling endlessly as the infinitude this eternal, infinite and perpetual universe actually is.
GARY: To be living in a condition in which the physical world and everything in it appears to be wondrously alive, newly born, and remarkably vivid, bright, and clean, does indeed impress me as the ultimate. In such a condition, there is immense satisfaction with simply being alive, present in this world at this moment in time.
RICHARD: Yes, simply being here, right now as this flesh and blood body, is all the satisfaction and fulfilment one could ever want ... yet one gets to do things, from time to time, as a bonus on top of all this!
GARY: There is no sense of threat, nor does it seem such could arise.
RICHARD: An utter safety such that ‘I’ can never find ... one is truly living in benevolent universe.
GARY: In the so-called ‘normal’ condition, fear, dread, or a sense of being threatened, never seems far around the corner.
RICHARD: Yes, life in the real-world – the ‘Land of Lament’ – is where tears shed and blood spilt are the norm.
GARY: In contrast, in this condition, there was a fascinated and intense absorption in the world of people and things, a sense of moving towards rather than moving away.
RICHARD: A ‘fascinated intense absorption’, as in an actual intimacy, which leaves both rejection and its antidote acceptance far behind in the world of idealism?
GARY: The only thing that would be more ultimate would be to be living this experience continually and irrevocably.
RICHARD: 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!
GARY: Yes, particularly since on my part there has been some confusion on account of the terminology, some lack of clarity about the difference between the so-called peak experience and the PCE and, now, what is described as an excellence experience ...
RICHARD: Writing on mailing lists has been beneficial for me in that feedback made me aware that I had to get my act together over precise terminology ... I was straddling two eras, as it were, and had never realised that the term ‘peak experience’, as made popular by Mr. Abraham Maslow, was so loaded with the metaphysical content it has (I had mixed and mingled the phrases). As for this term ‘excellence experience’, it is being suggested to represent the penultimate ... the best of what can be experienced, in what is termed ‘virtual freedom’, wherein ‘I’ am so thinly in existence ‘I’ am virtually not there.
I use the word ‘virtual’ deliberately (it has nothing to do with the virtual reality of cyber-space) as ‘virtual’ means ‘almost as good as’ or ‘nearly the same as’ or ‘in effect comparable to’ and so on. This is because it is humanly possible to thoroughly improve one’s lot in life, before the ultimate happens, wherein one lives in a well-earned happy and harmless way 99% of the time ... and which is streets ahead of normal human expectations.
GARY: ... it is good that you are not lending affirmance in order to establish the validity of these conditions. One needs to ‘see for themselves’ what is up by comparing the experience with what is written and by talking to others.
RICHARD: These words are music to my ears.
RICHARD: 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.
GARY: Yes, with the PCE as one’s teacher, one has the very finest there is, an experience in which nothing is lacking and nothing can be added. It is already always here, awaiting discovery by those rudely bold enough to leave the Tried and True teachings of religion, ethicality, and morality behind.
RICHARD: And, what is more, it is one’s own experience wherein believing or taking on faith the words of another plays no part whatsoever. One’s own PCE demonstrably shows what is possible. It is both lode-stone and benchmark ... a point of reference upon which all terms of reference can be reliably and confidently sourced.
GARY: As I understand these things, in the PCE there is the danger of an incipient ‘I’ stepping in and claiming the credit for the experience. ‘I’ want the experience to last, ‘I’ am sad to see it dimmer and fade away, hence, ‘I’ take centre stage and send the experience packing.
RICHARD: Yes and no ... the PCE is a temporary experience, when all is said and done, and it is unavoidable ‘I’ will reappear. There is more danger in ‘me’ stepping in as ‘Me’ (aggrandising the experience) with predictable results ... and then one will indeed be following in Richard’s footsteps (I always chuckle when certain people claim that anyone interested in actualism are followers of Richard).
GARY: What is it about the PCE that holds the ‘me’ in abeyance?
RICHARD: It is a two-way street ... it is both the perfection of the universe, as evidenced in the PCE, and the sincerity of ‘me’, as is evidenced by the PCE occurring, which does the trick. This universe has a built-in propensity for the best to emerge, so it is inevitable that the best will happen ... given ‘my’ concurrence.
We do not live in an inert universe.
GARY: Is it correct to say that ‘I’ am in abeyance during the PCE?
RICHARD: That was the word that occurred to me to describe the experience ... ‘suspended’, maybe (as in ‘the operation has been suspended until further notice’)?
GARY: Or is it more accurate to say that ‘I’ have vacated the scene completely and totally?
RICHARD: Oh, yes, there is a marked absence of ‘me’ during the experience ... perhaps it is more correct to say that it is after the experience, when ‘I’ reappear, that in hindsight it becomes obvious that ‘I’ was in abeyance?
GARY: What causes ‘me’ to return?
RICHARD: Because ‘I’ have a job to do: ‘I’ am going to make 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.
RESPONDENT: Yes, and what ceases to ‘exist’ is entirely subjective and dreamlike, lacking any inherently real existence. It is seen through and dissipates when exposed leaving transparency.
RICHARD: Speaking personally, what ceased to exist was not dreamlike ... ‘I’ was very, very real indeed. So real that ‘I’ had to eventually die a real psychological and psychic death in order to be what I am today. When ‘I’ first saw ‘myself’ in a peak experience, ‘I’ saw a lost, lonely frightened and very, very cunning entity. The moment ‘I’ saw ‘myself’, I was immediately not that person any more ... I was this flesh and blood body only being apperceptively aware. Everything was already perfect, as it always had been and always would be. Yet I knew that I would revert back to being that entity – that ‘I’ – and work ‘my’ way through whatever stood in ‘my’ way to freedom. ‘I’ did not permanently ‘dissipate when seen through’ ... ‘I’ had to put in a lot of work before ‘my’ complete and final demise could eventuate. For ‘I’ was born out of the instinctual fear and aggression and nurture and desire that blind nature endows all sentient beings with at birth ... a rough and ready software package to give us all a start in life. There is nothing subjective about war and murder and rape and torture and domestic violence ... which is the inevitable outcome of blind nature’s gratuitous bestowal of the instinct for survival at any cost.
‘Transparency’ ? Yes ... there is something precious in living itself. Something beyond compare. Something more valuable than any ‘King’s Ransom’. It is not rare gemstones; it is not singular works of art; it is not the much-prized bags of money; it is not the treasured loving relationships; it is not the highly esteemed blissful states of ‘Being’ ... it is not any of these things usually considered precious. There is something ultimately precious. It is the essential character of the infinitude of the universe ... which is the life-giving foundation of all that is apparent. The limpid and lucid perfection and purity of being here now, as-I-am, is akin to the crystalline perfection and purity seen in a dew-drop hanging from the tip of a leaf in the early-morning sunshine; the sunrise strikes the transparent dew-drop with its warming rays, highlighting the flawless correctness of the tear-drop shape with its bellied form. One is left almost breathless with wonder at the immaculate simplicity so exemplified ... and everyone I have spoken with has experienced this impeccable purity and perfection in some way or another at varying stages in their life. Is it not impossible to conceive – and just too difficult to imagine – that this is one’s essential character? One has to be daring enough to live it ... for it is both one’s audacious birth-right and adventurous destiny.
RICHARD: There is a wide and wondrous path to actual freedom: One asks oneself, each moment again, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’? This gives rise to apperception. Apperception is the outcome of the exclusive attention paid to being alive right here and now. Apperception is to be the senses as a bare awareness, a pure consciousness experience (PCE) of the world as-it-is, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself. Apperception is an awareness of consciousness. It is not ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious; it is the mind’s awareness of itself.
RESPONDENT: Apperception is an awareness of consciousness. It is not I being aware of me being conscious; it is the minds awareness of itself. OK, I feel like at this moment I am aware of what I am feeling, the keys on my fingers, the breeze on my skin. Is this a PCE?
RICHARD: When one is having a PCE one does not need to ask ... it is stunningly obvious.
RESPONDENT: If not, what is the difference between a PCE and what I am now experiencing?
RICHARD: When one is having a PCE one does not need to ask ... it is stunningly obvious.
RESPONDENT: Then obviously I have never had one. Sounds more complicated than it originally did.
RICHARD: It is the most simplest thing possible ... hence the apparent difficulties.
RESPONDENT: If not, what is the difference between a PCE and what I am now experiencing?
RICHARD: Initially a PCE is like moving into another world, another dimension (except that one is here – magically here right now as this flesh and blood body – for the very first time).
RESPONDENT: I have had experiences that felt like this when I had a severe head rush.
RICHARD: This starts to sound as if you may have the experience locked away somewhere ... it can initially be a very, very weird experience (such as can be experienced on psychotropic drugs). Can you remember/ describe more.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for this post Richard. I understand you to say that a PCE is experiencing the world as it actually is.
RICHARD: Yes, the direct (unmediated) experiencing of the actuality of people, things and events (the physical world) is a far, far cry from experiencing the ‘reality’ imposed as a veneer over the actual by who ‘I’ think and feel and instinctively ‘know’ that ‘I’ am. To be ‘normal’ is as if one has grey-coloured glasses on ... when one takes them off (in this analogy) the world is bright, fresh and ever-new ... one is now living in the infinitude of this fairy-tale-like actual universe with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity where everything and everyone has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, wondrous, scintillating vitality that makes everything alive and sparkling. This ‘aliveness’ is the very actuality of all existence ... the actualness of everything and everyone.
KONRAD: There is no such thing as a PCE.
RICHARD: This is just crazy ... everyone I have ever questioned has reported at least one PCE in their life. Usually more than one ... and they can last from as little as one-two seconds to several hours. One person (a woman) I spoke with had it last all afternoon and night, finally going to sleep at 2.00 AM ... only to find it still happening upon waking. It gradually diminished during the course of the morning. And it is not only my observation ... many are the accounts I have read of this ... the subject is currently being discussed around the world in the fields of academia. It comes up in the new study (of the last fifteen years or so) called ‘Consciousness Studies’. This is where I obtained the phrase ‘PCE’ from ... I had called it a ‘Peak Experience’ (after Mr. Abraham Maslow) until then. Oh, there are many, many websites discussing the nature of consciousness itself ... one such site is called ‘The Journal Of Consciousness Studies’ and operates out of Cambridge University in the UK ... if my memory serves me correct. Their URL is: www.zynet.co.uk/imprint/home.html
RICHARD: What is essential to success is to precipitate pure consciousness experiences (they are your personal verification that this is not all a matter of belief, trust, faith and hope) and they are your ‘guide’, your ‘teacher’, your ‘authority’ and so on ... not me.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for the response Richard. I appreciate what you have written, and I have just one question about something you have said: of what possible service can you be given that the PCE itself is my guide – and not you? (I ask this since it occurs as a human question timelessly worthy of clarification and not to subject you to undue resistance).
RICHARD: The PCE is the inerrant lodestone: all I have ever wanted is that the words and writings of an actual freedom from the human condition should exist in the world as a third alternative ... for anyone to avail themselves of if it be in accord with their own experience and/or aspirations. As such it is an affirmation that such experience is not only valid but a confirmation in that a fellow human being has traversed this territory in an eminently satisfactory way. For eighteen years I scoured the books ... to no avail. Now the information exists – and has taken on a life of its own – and I am well content and having so much fun.
I offer tips, hints, suggestions, clues, inside information, anecdotal stories and so on. What the other does with it all is entirely up to them. In the final analysis only you get to live your life and only you have amenability ... it is you who reaps the rewards or pays the consequences for any action or inaction that you may or may not do. And it is the report and the description of my experiencing that is important, not me. Anyone who has met me face-to-face only gets verification that there actually is a flesh and blood body that lives what these words say ... there is no ‘energy-field’ here. In fact, the written word is better as I tend to skip important detail with the spoken word ... this computer generates all my stock-standard phrases in an instant.
RESPONDENT: If there is PCE (or emptiness), is that which is ‘formed’ in consciousness from memory perceived to be separate from emptiness? Clearly not.
RICHARD: First, if by ‘emptiness’ you mean the ‘emptiness that is not empty’ of eastern mystical delusion (Sunyata) then ‘emptiness’ is not synonymous with a PCE.
However, if by ‘emptiness’ you mean that this flesh and blood body is devoid of identity in its totality (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul having become extinct), then whatever is ‘formed’ as consciousness (‘as’ consciousness not ‘in’ consciousness) from memory is perception itself in action as this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware. This flesh and blood body, being the self-same stuff as the stuff of the universe, is not separate, never has been separate, and never will be separate. It was only the psychological and psychic identity who is permanently and unalterably separate ... eternally cut-off from the magnificence of the actual world of people, things and events.
RESPONDENT: After thinking more about it, here is my objection to what you write: PCE is history.
RICHARD: Yet a PCE is only ‘history’ if one is not experiencing this moment of being alive (the only one there is as an actuality) as a pure consciousness experience (PCE). Then one asks ‘why not?’ (as in ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’). It is essential to grasp the fact that this is your only moment of being alive. The past, although it did happen, is not actual now. The future, though it will happen, is not actual now. Only now is actual. Yesterday’s happiness and harmlessness does not mean a thing if one is miserable and malicious now ... and a hoped-for happiness and harmlessness tomorrow is to but waste this moment of being alive in waiting. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Thus any ‘change’ can only happen now. The jumping in point is always here ... it is at this moment in time and this place in space. Thus, if you miss it this time around, hey presto ... you have another chance immediately. Life is excellent at providing opportunities like this. It takes some doing to start off with, but as success after success starts to multiply exponentially, it becomes automatic to have this question running as an on-going thing ... because it delivers the goods right here and now ... not off into some indeterminate future.
Thus one asks oneself, each moment again: ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: What is happening now is definitely not a PCE, there is thinking involved and feelings (both sensational ones, and the gut feelings).
RICHARD: As one knows from the PCE that it is possible to experience this moment in time and this place in space as perfection personified, ‘I’ as ego set the minimum standard of experience for ‘myself’: feeling good. If ‘I’ am not feeling good then ‘I’ have something to look at to find out why. What has happened, between the last time ‘I’ felt good and now? When did ‘I’ feel good last? Five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end that good feeling? Ah ... yes: ‘He said that and ...’. Or: ‘She didn’t do this and I ...’. Or: ‘What I wanted was ...’. Or: ‘I didn’t do ...’. And so on and so on ... one does not have to trace back into one’s childhood ... usually no more than yesterday afternoon at the most.
Thus one asks oneself, each moment again: ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: In a way, feelings have supremacy over thinking: something that I can feel deep down, as a gut feeling, rings more true to me than mere thinking.
RICHARD: By finding out what triggered off the loss of feeling good, 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 good you have no chance whatsoever of being here in this actual world (a glum and grumpy person locks themselves out of the perfect purity of this moment and place). Of course, once you get the knack of this, one up-levels ‘feeling good’, as a bottom line each moment again, to ‘feeling happy’. And after that: ‘feeling perfect’. 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 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’ for the first time in one’s life.
Thus one asks oneself, each moment again: ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: But if remember correctly you (or someone else) mentioned that even intuition can fail us. So, I don’t know what, if any, is/are the guiding principle(s). I see your point about the supremacy of PCE – during those moments the body-mind reacts on its own, without any conscious intervention of thought/feelings.
RICHARD: Being ‘alive’ is to be paying attention – exclusive attention – to this moment in time and this place in space. This attention becomes a fascination ... a fascination about being here as a flesh and blood body doing this business called being alive ... and fascination leads to reflective contemplation ... then one is the doing of the happening called being alive. Then – and only then – apperception can occur ... which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself. Apperception is an awareness of consciousness. It is not ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious; it is the mind’s awareness of itself. Apperception – a way of seeing that is arrived at by reflective and fascinated contemplative thought – is when ‘I’ cease thinking and thinking takes place of its own accord ... and ‘me’ disappears along with all the feelings. Such a mind, being free of the thinker and the feeler – ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul – is capable of immense clarity and purity.
As a sensate and reflective flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware, one is automatically benevolent and benign.
RESPONDENT: This leads me to the following: the silence that exists between thoughts is probably the true thing. I have experienced that silence on occasions and today was a particularly eventful day – after a fair amount of cathartic exchanges on this forum, I could feel that silence quite palpably. It descends even now as I type this message. It could well be simple tiredness, or delusion, or any one of those things that my mind is so eminently capable of imagining. Who knows ...
RICHARD: Only you can know your every thought and feeling and impulse ... and it is only you who gets to live your life. In the final analysis it is you who reaps the rewards or pays the consequences for any action or inaction you may or may not do. I can only suggest and, born out of personal experience (thus it is not theory), the best way to get to know your every thought and feeling and impulse is to ask yourself, each moment again, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
RESPONDENT: It is like you are asking relative to some past PCE.
RICHARD: Aye ... this is the whole point of being able to remember. When one has experienced the best one would have to be a fool to settle for second-best – or worse – because this moment of being alive is one’s only moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: When you are focusing on what is not, then and only then does this seem second-best.
RICHARD: To waste this moment of being alive – the only moment one can actually be here now – by experiencing malice and sorrow (or the antidotal love and compassion) or any derivatives thereof which are generated by the instinctual passions of fear and aggression and nurture and desire that all sentient beings are born with (which instincts are the origin of ‘self’) by stating that it is not second best (or worse) is not only personally insalubrious but socially reprehensible.
RESPONDENT: What is happening right now is second-best as compared to what?
RESPONDENT: The dualism of those who see versus those who don’t seems to rely on the same discriminating activity of thought as that of the division between ‘me’ and not ‘me’. Life is divided into self/other, me/not me, seers/non-seers by thought. We cannot experience being ‘not me’. Thought imputes a ‘me’ to have an experience. By discrimination we create the notion of a ‘thinker’ or a ‘me’. There is no fault or judgement. There is apparent division and seers/non-seers and selves/others by virtue of thought, but ultimately they have no inherently real existence. When thought or discrimination stops and it is observed that the ‘me’ ends, there is no need to hold on to a state of non-thought, but to see that the ‘me’ is merely an appearance imputed by thought. If that is clear, there is no need to make thought wrong or to stop it. Seeing the dependence of a ‘me’ on thought it is clear that it never has really existed other than as an appearance. Thought imputes the notion of a ‘thinker’, so a ‘thinker’ cannot be responsible for anything. I don’t see this ‘me’ that gets ‘on with the business of unravelling one’s self or a ‘me’ that ‘knows the a ‘me’ is a dualistic notion’. That sense of a ‘me’ seems to be imputed by thought. Who is it that glimpses a condition of not me and has a goal?
RICHARD: Where you say ‘we cannot experience being ‘not me’, I wonder what you mean. There are many, many instances of people experiencing being ‘not me’. They are called ‘Pure Consciousness Experiences’ (PCE’s) and occur in what is known as a ‘Peak Experience’. What stands out in a PCE is that there is, in fact, no ‘me’ anywhere at all – either inside the body or out of it – to be having the experience. It is this sensate body experiencing itself ... and the term ‘this body’ includes this physical brain perceiving. There is even a name for this ‘me-less’ thought: Apperception. With apperception, the brain is able to perceive itself ... not ‘I’ perceiving ‘my’ brain thinking, as is normal, but awareness happening of its own accord. All this is well-documented.
You ask: ‘who is it that glimpses a condition of ‘not me’ and has a goal?’ It is me as I actually am – this flesh and blood body just brimming with sense organs. When one glimpses what one is (‘what’ not ‘who’) it is these sense organs in operation that does the glimpsing: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me. Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the world as-it-is (the actual world) by ‘my’ very presence.
All this can be ascertained from a PCE (which everybody has had at least once in their life but, generally speaking, have forgotten about). After the PCE is over, and one reverts back to normal, it is ‘I’ who has the goal. Then one embarks upon the adventure of a life-time.
RESPONDENT: You said a PCE reveals a ‘me’ that can end. That is an experience of thought temporarily going into abeyance. I suggested that the whole notion of there being a ‘me’ is false, which does not depend on the absence of thought but on observing thought.
RICHARD: A PCE is not ‘an experience of thought temporarily going into abeyance’ , it is ‘I’ that temporarily abdicates the throne in a PCE. Thought still operates in a PCE ... clear and pure thought, undefiled by a ‘thinker’ and a ‘feeler’. This is one’s native intelligence in operation, and this intelligence is the intelligence of this universe. It is unlimited in its scope; it knows no boundaries; it is infinitude personified.
Whilst the whole notion of there being a ‘me’ is indeed false, nevertheless, this ‘false’ me’s effects are actually experienced in the real world of people, things and events. It is really of no use to merely state that the ‘me’ is false, because its presence shows up in behaviour and moods and so on.
I say that one must acknowledge the obvious ... or else one can not proceed with the dissolution of this pernicious and insidious ‘I’.
RESPONDENT: I don’t think it [this flesh and blood body being self-lessly aware of itself in a PCE] is obvious at all. How can sensation glimpse itself or a form glimpse itself or an eye see the eye? I am not familiar with the term apperception, but that seems true. Awareness of forms, sensations and feelings coming and going without a ‘me’ seems like just what is occurring.
RICHARD: Sensation does not glimpse itself in a PCE; a form does not glimpse itself in a PCE; an eye does not see the eye in a PCE. In a PCE, bodily consciousness is awareness happening of its own accord – there is effortless awareness. There is no longer an ‘I’ inside the body looking out through the eyes as if out of windows. The eyes see for themselves; the ears hear for themselves ... and so on.
RESPONDENT: What I am asking is what do you say caused your transformation/PCE experience to occur? Was it the result of delving deeply into a problem and then staying with it?
RICHARD: My questioning of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being had all started in a war-torn country in June 1966 at age nineteen – when there was an identity inhabiting this body complete with a full suite of feelings – and a Buddhist monk killed himself in a most gruesome way. There was I, a callow youth dressed in a jungle-green uniform and with a loaded rifle in my hand, representing the secular way to peace. There was a fellow human being, dressed in religious robes dowsed with petrol and with a cigarette lighter in hand, representing the spiritual way to peace.
I was aghast at what we were both doing ... and I sought to find a third alternative to being either ‘human’ or ‘divine’.
This was to be the turning point of my life, for up until then, I was a typical western youth, raised to believe in God, Queen and Country. Humanity’s inhumanity to humankind – society’s treatment of its subject citizens – was driven home to me, there and then, in a way that left me appalled, horrified, terrified and repulsed to the core of my being with a sick revulsion. I saw that no one knew what was going on and – most importantly – that no one was ‘in charge’ of the world. There was nobody to ‘save’ the human race ... all gods were but a figment of a feverish imagination. Out of a despairing desperation, that was collectively shared by my fellow humans, I saw and understood that I was as ‘guilty’ as any one else. For in this body – as is in everyone – was both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ... it was that some people were better than others at controlling their ‘dark side’. However, in a war, there is no way anyone can consistently control any longer ... ‘evil’ ran rampant. I saw that animal instincts – what I now know to be fear and aggression and nurture and desire – ruled the world ... and that these were instincts one was born with.
Thus started my search for freedom from the Human Condition ... and my attitude, all those years ago was this: I was only interested in changing myself fundamentally, radically, completely and utterly. Twenty six years later I found the third alternative ... but only when ‘I’ ceased to exist in ‘my’ entirety. There was no change or transformation big enough or grandiose enough to cure ‘me’ ... only extirpation – annihilation, expunction, extinction – ensures peace-on-earth.
RESPONDENT: Was it sought?
RESPONDENT: This abandonment is to do with everything that you think you are, and more, so some discomfort is inevitable.
RICHARD: Not just what you ‘think you are’ ... it is even more fundamental than that. It is what you feel that you are in the core of your ‘being’. This does not just cause discomfort. It requires nerves of steel to delve into the stygian depths of the Human Condition. The journey into the psyche is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee. The rewards for doing so are immense, however ... and are of far-reaching consequences not only for oneself but for humankind as a whole.
RESPONDENT: The problem here is why would one go through this if the reward is not immediately apparent.
RICHARD: What is essential is to remember one of your pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s). A PCE is when one’s sense of identity temporarily vacates the throne and apperception occurs. Apperception is the mind’s perception of itself ... it is a pure awareness. Normally the mind perceives through the senses and sorts the data received according to its predilection; but the mind itself remains unperceived ... it is taken to be unknowable. Apperception is when the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ is not and an unmediated awareness occurs. The pure consciousness experience is as if one has eyes in the back of one’s head; there is a three hundred and sixty degree awareness and all is self-evidently clear. This is knowing by direct experience, unmoderated by any ‘self’ whatsoever. One is able to see that ‘I’ and ‘me’ have been standing in the way of the perfection and purity that is the essential character of this moment of being here becoming apparent. Here a solid and irrefutable native intelligence can operate freely because the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ is in abeyance. One is the universe’s experience of itself as a human being ... after all, the very stuff this body is made of is the very stuff of the universe. There is no ‘outside’ to the perfection of the universe to come from; one only thought and felt that one was a separate identity. Apperception is something that brings the facticity born out of a direct experience of the actual. Then what one is (‘what’ not ‘who’) is these sense organs in operation: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me. Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for ‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the actual world – the world as-it-is – by ‘my’ very presence.
RESPONDENT: So, it is futile to search for the timeless, the spaceless, the formless. This search is an illusion, as our happiness is here, right now, not in some imagined afterlife. There is something about your words which have a strong ring of truth to me right now, at this time. Perhaps it is a wish to find that ‘ambrosial paradise’ you talk of, I don’t know.
RICHARD: Or maybe you are being prompted by long-lost memories of a pure consciousness experience (PCE) which all peoples I have spoken to at length have experienced at least once in their life (it has a global occurrence). Generally speaking, PCE’s are more prevalent in childhood and the memory is tucked away in an area of the brain not normally accessed. As a PCE has no affective qualities whatsoever it cannot be remembered in the normal way (reverie, reminiscence, nostalgia, daydreaming, wistfulness and so on) but its elusive reminder stirs one into positing utopias (as expressed in ‘there must be more to life than this’) or after-life realms.
RESPONDENT: I seriously doubt that I have ‘self-immolated’ and, I must say, I doubt that you have either. I think others have raised these doubts as well.
RICHARD: Indeed ... it is an outrageous thing for a white westerner in a suburban house to say. If the ‘me’ that was for 33 years could have met me today face-to-face (or read my words) ‘he’ would have dismissed me as being ‘off with the fairies’ or ‘you are up yourself’ as ‘he’ was quite cynical and sarcastic. But ... one night ‘he’ had a PCE that made ‘him’ sit up and pay attention.
RESPONDENT: What is the difference between the state you described (that lasted 4 hours, and changed your being) and the permanent state you are in now?
RICHARD: Apart from the obvious quantitative difference (on-going for the remainder of one’s natural life) there is a qualitative difference that is more than the outcome of permanence. In a PCE, the identity is merely in abeyance – not extinct – and this abeyant ‘me’ casts an ever-so-faint shadow over the purity of the perfection made apparent. This ever-so-slight pall is of little or no account, however, given the vast differentiation betwixt ‘reality’ and the actuality being evidenced and what one sees is, more or less, what one gets. The actual is so perfect, you see, that nothing ‘dirty’ can get in, as it were ... thus it needs no protection whatsoever. Consequently, the actual freedom is qualitatively different in that there is a safety and security here that has to be lived to be known ... in a PCE one will inevitably revert to ‘normal’ where menace and insecurity prevail. In an actual freedom – as distinct from a PCE – one is pristine, immaculate, impeccable, unimpeachable, unassailable, untouchable and so on as an absolute and irreversible fact.
RESPONDENT: Here is a description, you may have already seen it as I posted this in to another mailing list before: ‘Went to New England last month – there is a lighthouse and a small parking area out on a peninsula – sitting there in the car – two geese flew from left to right across the front of the car about 20 feet out and 20 feet or so above the water – about eye level. As I remember afterward – there was no time – just the geese flying – their dark eyes, beautiful and wonderful – along with a verbal WOW from me – but I wasn’t there – just this timeless happening’.
My guess is the mind relaxes and doesn’t think so much. The point is that I – the ‘you’ referred to by J. Krishnamurti below – remembered it. The experience was all – I wasn’t engrossed in the experience at the time – I really wasn’t there. Only afterward did I (thought) reflect on it. This was a one of a kind experience for me. I can’t explain the realness of it to anyone and don’t try (you’re an exception because you understand). The timelessness of it was astounding (after it was over) and me not being there can’t be described. The experience does make it easier to see in the moment the emptiness of everything. However, nothing has ever been as real as that timeless time.
(Krishnamurti said: ‘Have ‘you’ ever noticed when ‘you’ are in a state of complete attention the observer, the thinker, the centre, the ‘me’, comes to and end? In that state of attention thought begins to whither away’.)
RICHARD: I am interested in this topic as I had the first PCE that I could remember in 1980 ... and that triggered of memories of similar incidents in my child-hood. I had one when I was eight years old and had locked it away, out of sight, for twenty six years. It proved to be the turning point of my life ... and it can be for others as well. It is possible to live like that, twenty four hours a day, for the rest of your life. This I call an actual freedom. It is here on earth, in this life-time, as this body.
Everybody that I have spoken to over the last eighteen years – everybody – has had at least one PCE. It is a universal experience common to all humans from all walks of life. Therefore it is objectively authentic, unlike religion and spirituality which require belief and faith, and is the genuine peace-on-earth we have all been looking for. It is what gives rise to such expressions as: ‘There must be more to life than this’. Nevertheless, as I said before, people do not usually remember them easily.
This is because, in a PCE, there is no ‘I’ to record the memory on the affective ‘tape-recorder’, for the PCE is not a matter for the emotions and passions. All other (normal) memories have an affective component ... which is why there is nostalgia and sentimentality in people’s reveries.
RESPONDENT: Back in about 1980 I did a stint in the woods ... in the National Forests for a couple years. I spent almost all my time in the wilderness at that time. On a sunny afternoon, in the backyard of where I was living at the foot of a mountain ... I had a blanket out doing my yoga exercises when this happened ... the phenomenon of suddenly trembling and the mind spinning towards dizziness and potential unconsciousness ... I just stared at my hands. They kept vibrating and with a shimmery essence – and when I looked up – suddenly I could see every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass, all the bugs and grains of dirt, every bird on every single branch, in a 180 degree circumference all around my head, all at the same time, all at once. It was beyond incredible. At the time, I was not seeking that enlightenment; in fact it freaked me out forever. And – I do not know the ‘intellectual jargon’ either eastern or western; just that it gave me a unique perspective on this life. Now that I know the possibilities, how can I just ruminate on analysis?
RICHARD: I find your description above to be an accurate portrayal of what I have been calling a peak experience. At other times I have named it an actual intimacy, which I defined as: ‘The direct experience of the actuality of people, things and events’. It is a condition wherein the psychological distance disappears and everything is immediate and ultimate.
In actual freedom everything and everybody stands out intense and vivid and dynamic and alive ... the physical world of the senses is experienced as having a magical – almost fairy-tale like – quality wherein the actuality of this corporeal world is indubitably verified and is seen, touched, tasted, smelt and heard to be substantial ... and perfect as-it-is.
Yet Hindu and Buddhist philosophy calls this physical world we all live in Maya ... they say it is unreal ... that it does not exist ... that only the ‘Greater Reality’ – a supernatural dimension beyond the senses – is real. This is why I write so vigorously as I do. We are already all always living in perfection, here-on-earth, if only we acted upon our seeing that this is so in a peak experience ... such as you described so well. They were actual leaves, actual trees, actual grasses, actual birds and actual branches, were they not? Perfection is already here ... all around us ... we are that perfection. And, of course, it is here in space and now in time – and is only able to be experienced as this body, in this life-time, on this fair planet of ours.
It matters not that you arrived at the experience via yoga ... other people have arrived via drugs, via sex, via art, via just washing the dishes, via just about anything at all. What matters is that one has the experience, remembers the experience and acts upon the experience. Unfortunately, because of acculturation, people ascribe it to ‘transcendence’ or whatever ‘god’ their society holds in esteem and go of searching for the ‘Greater Beyond’ that lies outside of time and space ... indeed, outside of this very universe we all live in.
It is possible to live the experience you had for the twenty four hours of every day. I call it being here. I have described it thus: ‘The real world, which ‘I’ had created out of imagination, is but a veneer pasted over the actual, and to go in search of a ‘Greater Reality’ is to go in the wrong direction. One arrives in the actual by becoming involved, totally involved in being here ... not by practicing detachment. Being here is to put your money where your mouth is, as it were. In being here one is completely immersed. Being here is total inclusion. One demonstrates one’s appreciation of life by partaking fully in existence ... by letting this moment live one. One dedicates oneself to the challenge of being here as the universe’s experience of itself.
RICHARD: I consider that to be an excellent idea. Please, give your evaluation born of your examination. And we can take it from there.
RESPONDENT: And with this understanding, your description of your daily normal experiences take on a totally different context. There seems to be two basic concerns in your post below: 1. The actual in contraposition to the real. 2. The moral basis of a life of actuality. Perhaps we can use your text below to raise some questions for further discussion?
RICHARD: ‘I am not going anywhere in a hurry; I like to freely enjoy being here, savouring the world in all its sensual delight. I am pleased to see, running parallel to this track, the main highway in and out of town; busy with cars buzzing to and fro, it adds bright splashes of colour to my vista. On my other side lies a magnificent large swamp, with well-adapted trees and shrubs growing out of its still and turbid water. Birds and crickets are filling the air with their sweet melodies and all is alive with life. With a few puffy white clouds scattered randomly in a light-blue sky, the stage is well set for me to partake in the sheer joy of being alive in this physical world and going about my daily delectations. All this is just happening of its own accord. Everything I experience is actual to this moment. And this moment is occurring now. This particular moment of being here has never happened before ... and it will never happen again. This moment is ever-fresh, perennially new. It is consistently so; dependable in its originality and reliable in its uniqueness. For twenty-four-hours-a-day it is like this, day-in-day-out ... therefore it is impossible for it to ever become boring’.
RESPONDENT: Yes this vivid experiencing is never boring. This state does seem to be that which is experienced by many if not all people.
RICHARD: This vivid experiencing of the direct apprehension of actuality has been spontaneously experienced by every single human being that I have spoken to about these matters over the last eighteen years. It is called a pure consciousness experience (PCE) and was personally experienced in 1980 artificially with psylocibin ... which triggered off numerous memories of the exact same PCE at odd moments throughout my life. Specifically, there was one clearly remembered in detail at eight years of age, for example. I have been told – and read – that it can also be induced by other psychotropic substances like ‘lysergic acid’ and ‘ecstasy’ and ‘mescaline’ and ‘peyote’ and the like. Mr. Alan Watts is a veritable gold-mine of information on the subject ... but alas, he attributed to it the religious/ spiritual/ mystical experience and went off into the eastern metaphysical philosophies.
RESPONDENT: But the state deteriorates, the mind grows weary, and the vividness is lost. This has something to do with the way in which the mind distances itself from the experiencing. This involves thinking about the experience, but it also involves the way in which memory and accumulating experiences dulls.
RICHARD: Yes, the temporary experience does ‘deteriorate’ ... but this state shows the genuine aspirant what is possible. One then makes the living of this condition, twenty four hours a day, one’s number one priority in life. It is called being here at this moment in eternal time and at this place now in infinite space ... one is then this physical universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being. For this to happen, not only ‘I’ as ego must dissolve, but ‘me’ as soul must disappear as well. Then, when there is no identity ‘being’ whatsoever, the clean and clear and pure perfection of the infinitude of this self-same universe becomes apparent. Peace-on-earth was here all the time.
Is the deterioration because ‘the mind distances itself’? Is it because of ‘memory accumulating experiences’? When I recall what happened back in 1981 when activating the PCE on a daily basis in order to make the condition permanent, thought and memory operated easily and without causing the state to deteriorate. It was feelings that precipitated re-entry into everyday reality ... the reassertion of ‘me’ being. The mind’s activities – like thought remembering and planning – cops a lot of blame, whilst feelings get off scot-free. Emotions and passions – especially passion itself – are the real spanners in the works. The only way I would point the finger at the mind’s actions would be in believing and imagining ... which are emotional and passionate actions of thought, anyway. Logical and intuitional thought – being both irrational – fall into this calenture-based category.
RESPONDENT: I fear you are suffering from delusion here Richard.
RICHARD: Okay ... what is the nature, the characteristics of the delusion, according to you? Bearing in mind that I invite anyone to make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and if they are all seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves. Then one will have reason to remember a pure conscious experience (PCE), which all peoples I have spoken to at length have had, and thus verify by direct experience the facticity of what is written. The PCE occurs globally ... across cultures and down through the ages irregardless of gender, race or age.
RESPONDENT: Your PCE is limited to your body and this earth. The hole in your argument. One of many.
RICHARD: First, it is not my PCE ... the PCE occurs globally, across cultures and down through the ages, irregardless of gender, race or age. Second, I have only ever wanted peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body ... and I found it. In so doing I discovered infinitude – eternity and infinity – right here at this place in infinite space just now at this moment in eternal time as an on-going existential experiencing. This kind of knocks your ‘limited to your body and this earth’ theory for a six.
And if that is ‘one of many’ holes ... what are the rest? Innuendoes, allusions and intimations in the place of sensible refutations will get you nowhere ... other than creating the impression that, for all of your ‘totally accurate’ feelings and non-interpreted ‘ideas’ , you have very little of substance to offer when someone presents a viable alternative to being either ‘human’ or ‘divine’.
CO-RESPONDENT: Richard, the ‘pure consciousness experience’ as you describe it sounds like it bears an uncanny idea to Ian Goddard’s ‘cosmic consciousness experience’. www.iangoddard.net/CCE.htm.
RICHARD: Here is what Mr. Ian Goddard specifically has to say, on that web page, regarding that experience:
The way I describe a pure consciousness experience (PCE) is not at all like that (let alone uncannily so).
RESPONDENT: Richard would you so kind as to explain what the difference is between what is written above and how you would describe a PCE?
RICHARD: First of all: here is the way those three words, in the term ‘pure consciousness experience’ (PCE), are used:
Thus a PCE is the condition of a flesh and blood body being conscious sans an adulterant, a contaminant, a pollutant, and so on – specifically the identity in toto (both ‘I’ as ego/self and ‘me’ as soul/spirit) – whereas in an altered state of consciousness (ASC), such as the ‘Cosmic Consciousness Experience’ (CCE) portrayed in that quote above is, it is only the ego/self aspect of identity which dies or dissolves and the soul/spirit (aka ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being ... which is ‘being’ itself ) expands, inflates, or in any other way aggrandises itself, so as to be all-encompassing.
RESPONDENT: To me the difference seems to be in language only, rather than in kind. But I am ready to be convinced otherwise.
RICHARD: The simplest way to comprehend it all is that, 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.
RESPONDENT: Also, can you help me in remembering any PCE that I had?
RICHARD: As a generalisation, pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s) are more prevalent in childhood and the memory is tucked away in an area of the brain not normally accessed. Because a PCE has no emotional/ passional qualities whatsoever – there is no affective being present to record the memory in its affective memory banks – it cannot be remembered in the normal way (reverie, reminiscence, nostalgia, and so on).
Also, ‘I’ can have a vested interest in disremembering a PCE as it could very well be the beginning of the end of ‘me’.
Mostly PCE’s happen for no demonstrable reason at all – as in being a serendipitous event – and quite often occur in everyday surroundings doing everyday things such as washing the dishes (for instance) and can be quite brief ... I can recall being on a farmhouse veranda at age eight, looking into the glistening white of a full glass of milk in the early morning sunshine, when it happened for the entity within.
Often in my early childhood there would be a ‘slippage’ of the brain, somewhat analogous to an automatic transmission changing into a higher gear too soon, and the magical world where time had no workaday meaning would emerge in all its sparkling wonder ... where I could wander for hours at a time in gay abandon with whatever was happening.
They were the pre-school years: soon such experiences would occur of a weekend ... so much so that I would later on call them ‘Saturday Morning’ experiences where, contrary to having to be dragged out of bed during the week, I would be up and about at first light, traipsing through the fields and the forests with the early morning rays of sunshine dancing their magic on the glistening dew-drops suspended from the greenery everywhere; where kookaburras are echoing their laughing-like calls to one another and magpies are warbling their liquid sounds; where an abundance of aromas and scents are drifting fragrantly all about; where every pore of the skin is being caressed by the friendly ambience of the balmy air; where benevolence and benignity streams endlessly bathing all in its impeccable integrity.
This magical world is what occasions me to write like this:
RESPONDENT: Can you give me some good pointers and questions and help/assist me with your expertise on human condition to uncover any such pure experience I had?
RICHARD: Have you ever thought that there must be more to life than currently experienced (the everyday norm in which maybe 6.0 billion peoples live)?
RESPONDENT: I shall read more about this and co-operate with you sincerely if you have the time/ inclination to do so.
RICHARD: ... by its very nature a PCE, being a temporary experience, is simply not possible where identity in toto is extinct.
RESPONDENT: And the difference in that period of time when identity is in TOTAL abeyance and where an identity in toto is extinct, is?
RICHARD: The difference is as follows: [quote] ‘temporary: lasting or meant to last for a limited time only; not permanent ...’. [endquote]. And: [quote] ‘extinct: ended, no longer existing ...’. [endquote]. For the duration of a PCE identity is totally abeyant – ‘in a state of abeyance [a state of suspension or temporary disuse; dormant condition liable to revival]’ (Oxford Dictionary) – as distinct from an actual freedom from the human condition where identity is totally extinguished. Or, put differently, for the duration of a PCE identity, in toto, is abeyant – ‘in a state of abeyance [a state of suspension or temporary disuse; dormant condition liable to revival]’ (Oxford Dictionary) – as distinct from an actual freedom from the human condition where identity, in toto, is extinguished. The words extinct and extinguish come from the same Latin root: ex + stinguere (quench).
RESPONDENT: Let me put it this way: Lets say you are with some friend of yours and the clock ticks 1pm. That friend currently is experiencing what you have termed a PCE and it lasts one hour until 2pm. What is the difference in consciousness between that person who is experiencing a PCE and you, who is not experiencing a PCE, for that one hour?
RICHARD: The difference in consciousness between a person having a PCE and a person actually free from the human condition is that the dormant identity can, on occasion, cast an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced (whereupon it is no longer a PCE). The very fact that identity is latent, and not extinct, renders the PCE a potentially unstable condition – liable to degradation and/or dissolution at any moment – and bound to eventually cease happening anyway ... as such it can in no way be said to be identical in every respect, to an actual freedom from the human condition, but only virtually so.
Furthermore, being potentially unstable a PCE is, by that very factor, subject to variation and fluctuation (wherein it momentarily ceases to be a PCE) from time-to-time.
Moreover, the comprehension that it is, after all, a temporary condition casts a (barely perceptible) pall over the experience.
RESPONDENT: Is their consciousness ‘pure’?
RICHARD: A flesh and blood body being conscious (the suffix ‘-ness’ forms a noun expressing a state or condition) during a PCE is indeed pure – as in being unadulterated, uncontaminated or unpolluted by any identity – else it not be a PCE (a pure consciousness experience).
RESPONDENT: Is yours ‘pure’?
RICHARD: The flesh and blood body typing these words is not adulterated, contaminated or polluted by any identity whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: ... you say you have no identity, yet you say you don’t have PCE’s ...
RICHARD: As it is impossible for a PCE to occur where identity in toto is extinct/where identity is totally extinguished then your utilisation of another modifying conjunctive – ‘yet: nevertheless, and in spite of that, but for all that’ (Oxford Dictionary) – is even more pointless than your previous usage.
RESPONDENT: Is your consciousness pure, pristine and all those other wonderful adjectives you use to describe a PCE?
RICHARD: The following should be self-explanatory:
As is this:
RESPONDENT: So ... here it is the AF site & mailing list, an opportunity. Who can make a satisfactory use of this opportunity?
RICHARD: Anybody who is vitally interested in finding out about life, the universe, and what it is to be a human being living in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: Only those who can remember a PCE?
RICHARD: No ... I often put it that there is sufficient information on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site to establish a prima facie case worthy of further investigation ... and not capricious dismissal.
Furthermore I invite anyone to make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and if they are all seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves. Then one will have reason to remember a pure conscious experience (PCE), which all peoples I have spoken to at length have had, and thus verify by direct experience the facticity of what is written (which personal experiencing is the only proof worthy of the name). The PCE occurs globally ... across cultures and down through the ages irregardless of gender, race or age.
Then it is the PCE that is one’s lodestone or guiding light ... not me or my words. My words then offer confirmation ... and affirmation \ in that a fellow human being has safely walked this wide and wondrous path.
I also make it clear that what I write is (mostly) expressive prose – it is not a thesis – as I am conveying the lavish exhilaration of life itself. My writing is not intended to stand literary scrutiny for scholarly style and grammatical form and so on – the academics would have a field-day with it – for it is an active catalyst which will catapult the reader, who reads with all their being, into this magical wonder-land that this verdant and azure planet is.
Then actuality speaks for itself.
RESPONDENT: I cannot recall a PCE in the sense that I cannot look into the past and say with absolute certainty ‘that was a PCE’ using actualist description as a standard. On the other hand, I can remember an ASC and I can definitely say ‘that was an out-of-the-ordinary consciousness experience’ and it was an ASC by actualist standards.
Where are the PCE’s stored?
RICHARD: Presumably you are referring to this:
It would appear that your (affective) memory of the ASC is blocking access to (cognitive) memory of a PCE ... experience with other people over the years has shown that ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being – which is ‘being’ itself – has, more often than not, both a vested interest in remembering an ASC and in being amnestic about a PCE.
RESPONDENT: I understand that it is a cognitive memory, but what type of memory is that?
RICHARD: A non-affective memory ... a memory sans feeling-tones.
RESPONDENT: What other memories are stored there?
RICHARD: The following may throw some light on the subject:
RESPONDENT: I can only relate ‘cognitive’ with the ability to know something, does a PCE allows you a different type of knowledge?
RICHARD: No (unless untainted knowledge can be classified as a different type of knowledge).
RESPONDENT: And there is the memory of the ASC, of course ... how could it not be?.... but I cannot detect emotionality when remembering it and it cannot be represented anyhow. Could you represent in your mind a PCE when living an ASC?
RICHARD: Not ‘represent’ ... it can be intellectually remembered (indeed such a memory of the pure consciousness experience (PCE) is what helped me escape from a lifetime of being stuck in the permanent altered state of consciousness (ASC) known as spiritual enlightenment).
RESPONDENT: In my case and other participants on the mailing list it’s not easy to remember one.
RICHARD: This could very well be because if ‘I’ were to actively remember a PCE it could be the beginning of the end of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: Hmm ... the end of ‘me’?
RICHARD: Yep ... everything one instinctively knows oneself to be – what one deeply feels and thus intuitively thinks oneself to be – can and will vanish in an instant ... never to ‘be’ again.
RESPONDENT: I have always thought that this universe is infinite (even as a child when watching TV documentaries) simply because all the other explanations seemed so silly. And I spoke to other non-scientific & non-spiritual people and surprisingly they also said that they believe it to be infinite. But when asked to explain why they think so, they couldn’t say it.
I wrote this as you explained that it’s the connection between this infinity and myself that eliminates ‘me’ and delivers the goods. That this connection is an active force (‘pure intent’).
I sense this is the missing link ... to live each moment fully realizing that I live in an infinite and perfect universe. I don’t think remembering a PCE creates ‘the fatal attraction’ ...
RICHARD: The following may elucidate what I mean by a connection with the peerless purity of infinitude:
RESPONDENT: ... how many people you spoke to at length who remembered a PCE haven’t continued with their life as usual, even though they aware of an opportunity?
RICHARD: I have never kept count ... it would be the minority of them, though.
RESPONDENT: If presented with the choice of 10 million dollars reward/seeing God/living in a PCE, how many would choose $64.000?
RICHARD: Presumably ... the minority.
RESPONDENT: I ask this as I don’t want to fool myself practicing a method without knowing where it leads. I guess it leads to a PCE, but what’s that?
RICHARD: Presumably you are speaking of experientially knowing where it leads ... intellectually knowing cannot provide the fatal attraction, so to speak, which experiential knowledge provides and which is essential for success.
I am, of course, referring to pure intent.
RESPONDENT: As a consequence of all this, I set my aim to be happy & harmless and not to live in a PCE (I don’t know how it’s like).
RICHARD: A very sensible approach indeed ... being sorrowful and malicious (and thus antidotally loving and compassionate) is not at all conducive to a PCE occurring.
RESPONDENT: What’s on offer here, is both valuable and sensible in my view and it reflects, explains my personal experiences and observations in a very satisfactory and comprehensive way. But these words (aka thoughts) are derived from PCE’s. They can provide guidance, direction and assistance in the DIY process of dismantling the identity and help one assess which are the facts and which are the beliefs. But they cannot induce/produce a PCE ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? More than a few persons have had a PCE occur whilst listening to me/reading my words ... which is why I explained (further above) that my expressive writing is an active catalyst which will catapult the reader, who reads with all their being, into this magical wonder-land that this verdant and azure planet is.
‘Tis the ‘all of their being’ which is the key.
RESPONDENT: Well, I’ve read your writings extensively and intensively ... I intellectually agree with them, but you know that there is a world of difference between intellectual and experiential understanding. And no PCE’s occurred, although there were many realizations.
RICHARD: Okay ... a realisation is not to be sneezed at, of course, where it sets one free of a habit of a lifetime.
RESPONDENT: ... as this experience escapes any reference frame of thought, it’s pure consciousness as experienced by an individual.
RICHARD: Hmm ... are you so sure that it does indeed escape ‘any’ reference frame of thought?
RESPONDENT: The results derived by practicing this method is that I’m cleaner day-by-day, but a ‘pure’ individual does not necessarily mean pure consciousness, eh?
RICHARD: There is no such thing as a pure identity (if that is what you mean).
RESPONDENT: I fully engaged myself on the spiritual path as a consequence of an ASC. Is it vital to remember/live a PCE in order to successfully practice actualism?
RICHARD: Eventually ... yes; in the interim ... I would say not (going by another’s report).
RESPONDENT: I would say it is essential to live a PCE otherwise all these discussions will degenerate sooner then later into intellectualisations rather then conveying individual experiences.
RICHARD: Not while there are some that do recall a PCE ... even one such person could keep a discussion on track (keep it in accord with what this mailing list is set-up for).
RESPONDENT: This is already happening on the mailing list, circles in a circus.
RICHARD: Speaking personally I find the input from peoples of a religio-spiritual/ mystico-metaphysical persuasion (if that is what you are referring to by your ‘circles in a circus’ phrasing) to be a salutary example – a real-life practical illustration – that the ‘Tried and True’ is indeed the ‘Tried and Failed’.
There is nothing like a practical demonstration to drive the point home.
RESPONDENT: What I’m doing right now is to sensibly use the information supplied here for daily use, see if it can stand practical life exposure and eventually create the favourable circumstances for a different CE to occur.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.