Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Pure Consciousness Experiences
RESPONDENT: According to Richard and others, everyone has had a PCE sometime in their life.
RICHARD: I usually add a qualifier so as to obviate anyone having to ask a ‘how can you know that’ type of question ... for instance this is how I put it on the home page of my part of The Actual Freedom Trust web site:
And here is an example of how I put it in conversation:
Anywhere I have baldly said that ‘everyone has had a PCE sometime in their life’ (or words to that effect such as in Article Six of ‘Richard’s Journal’) would only be because I omitted to add the qualifier which obviates anyone having to ask a ‘how can you know that’ type of question.
RESPONDENT: And, a good question here: Does Richard or others know this to be a fact ...
RICHARD: What I know for a fact is that all the people I have spoken to at length could recall having had a PCE – as distinct from an altered state of consciousness (ASC) – although it sometimes took a quite a while for them to remember. Once it took over three hours of intensive description/discussion – as being sans any affective content whatsoever the PCE cannot be stored in the affective memory banks (which is where the ASC is primarily located) – plus they are much more common in childhood and require further reach.
Also ‘I’ have a vested interest in not remembering such an experience of pristine perfection as it would mean the beginning of the end of, not only ‘me’, but the extinction of ‘being’ itself (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being is ‘being’ itself) ... which is quite often capitalised as ‘Being’ (aka ‘Truth’, ‘God’, ‘Isness’, ‘All That Is’, ‘That’, and so on) upon self-realisation.
It is far easier to say that it can only be an assumption that everyone has had a PCE sometime in their life ... and then get on to the much safer topic of discussing whether such an assumption is reasonable.
RESPONDENT: ... or is it a reasonable assumption?
RICHARD: As everybody I spoke to at length – everybody – could recall at least one PCE, and usually more, it would be a very strange situation indeed that it be not an experience common to all people but only to those whom I engaged with on an ad hoc basis for two decades or more.
Plus I have read descriptions of such experiences at random over the years – and seen/ heard descriptions on television/radio – thus it is not a matter of my prompts implanting such a notion or even me putting words in their mouth ... and a good example of this happened only recently when a co-respondent referred me to books written by some ‘positive psychologists’, whilst discussing the subject of happiness in normal people, one of which books I found on-line in its totality. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter which immediately caught my eye:
The various people I have discussed these matters with have invariably recalled similar ‘Technicolor Land’ experiences in childhood ... sometimes referred to as a ‘nature experience’, a ‘peak experience’, a ‘jamais vu experience’, or even an ‘aesthetic experience’. And not only have I witnessed children having such an experience, and spoken with them about while it is happening, but recall having the same myself on many an occasion: often in 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 (at school I became known as ‘the dreamer’ and had many a rude awakening to everyday reality by various teachers) ... 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:
Put succinctly: there is an unimaginable purity which is born out of the stillness of the infinitude as manifest at this moment in time and this place in space ... but one will not come upon it by thinking about or feeling out its character. It is most definitely not a matter to be pursued in the rarefied atmosphere of the most refined mind or the evocative milieu of the most impassioned heart.
One must come to one’s senses ... both literally and metaphorically.
RESPONDENT: I have searched my memory banks and the only thing I can recollect is a possible PCE that I had when I was 3 or 4 years of age. I will describe it ... although this description is undoubtedly a memory of a memory of a memory ... since it was so long ago. I was sitting on the concrete under a tree in the back yard of my house. I was playing with something ... and I looked at the sky. I remember feeling so untroubled, so unusually peaceful ... just staring at the perfectly blue sky ... and then the green leaves of the tree gently dancing in a slight cool breeze. I don’t know how long the experience lasted ... it was so unique ... that I set the memory of it apart in my brain ... for I wanted to save it to refer to and savour later. This experience was so different from any other childhood or adult experiences that I ever had. The experience was so direct and fresh and perfect.
RICHARD: Yes, these moments of perfection are indeed ‘so direct and fresh and perfect’ that they speak for themselves, as it were, and no literary work, no philosophy tome, no religious tract, no musical rendition, no artistic piece, and so on, can say what actuality has to say.
Which is more or less why I abandoned a flourishing career as a practising artist ... nothing can compete with actuality.
RESPONDENT: Since I have had this ... .I have concluded, by contrast, that all of my other life experiences are muddy, stained ... (dare I say as looking through a glass darkly? ... which I think is an accurate description).
RICHARD: No, what is seen ‘through a glass darkly’ is an imagined actuality.
RESPONDENT: If I had never had this experience, I would have concluded that muddy is the only experience there is ... that clarity, conceivably ‘actuality’ is nonexistent ... only a far off dream for myself ... at best.
RICHARD: This actual world is magnificent beyond ‘my’ wildest dreams.
RESPONDENT: Does this sound like a PCE to anyone.
RICHARD: Yes ... and, more to the point, it goes to reinforce the inclination that what I would consider an unreasonable assumption would be the assumption that these experiences are not universal.
RESPONDENT: If so ... how can I use this recollection in the more pragmatic, practical way ... if at all?
RESPONDENT: ... and that I was looking very seriously about the claims and statements being made about AF by you, Mr. Peter and Ms. Vineeto ... with (read carefully here) an open mind, suspending both belief and disbelief.
RICHARD: If I may point out? I always ‘read carefully’ what my fellow human being considers important enough to share with me (as evidenced by my responses being direct and relevant to the point under discussion) ... the question is: do you?
RESPONDENT: That suspension includes (read carefully here again) suspending belief and disbelief in spiritualism in general, and Pure Land Buddhism in particular. I am perfectly capable of doing that ... of looking at this topic sans calenture of any kind ... based on my own background experience of having PCE’s.
RICHARD: Ahh ... here is the nub of the issue: if, as you say, you are looking at this topic (of whether or not actualism is indeed the third alternative to materialism and spiritualism) based on your own background experience of having pure consciousness experiences (PCE’s) then where does the necessity to have ‘an open mind’ on top of such direct experience come from?
More to the point: the PCE, being self-evidentiary, does away with the intellectual approach of suspending ‘both belief and disbelief’ (which is why I stress its importance in the actualism practice).
RESPONDENT: I close with this, Richard, for your particular benefit: [Respondent]: ‘I like your commitment to investigation, empiricism, pragmatism, ACTUAL FACTS’. [Richard]: ‘It is one thing to like another’s commitment to ‘investigation, empiricism, pragmatism, ACTUAL FACTS’ ... and another thing entirely to emulate same’. [endquotes]. Have no fear about my emulating your commitment.
RICHARD: If you had not snipped what immediately followed you would see that it is not my commitment at all I am speaking of:
I have no such commitment – and I did nothing at all as I have been here all along just having a ball – because the necessary altruism is, just as selfism is, a core feature of the passionate identity within ... and not the flesh and blood body.
RESPONDENT: I will do no such thing.
RICHARD: Suit yourself ... it is your life you are living, when all is said and done, and only you get to reap the rewards, or pay the consequences, of any action or inaction you may or may not do.
All I can do is offer suggestions ... what the other does with these suggestions is entirely up to them, of course.
RESPONDENT: I have my OWN commitment to integrity in this investigation, that depends not a whit upon yours.
RICHARD: If I may suggest? Sincerity is the key to unlock one’s innate naiveté, the nourishing of which is essential if the wondrous magic of life itself is to be apparent, which naiveté effortlessly provides the ‘integrity’ you say you have your own commitment to.
Speaking of which ... did you not notice that I said the commitment was a ‘total dedication to global peace and harmony’ (and not the ‘commitment to integrity’ you make it out to be)?
RESPONDENT: If, as time unfolds, your commitment, or anyone else’s should appear less that 100% ...
RICHARD: Again (and put differently for emphasis) my commitment is 0.00%.
RESPONDENT: ... my commitment to doing this investigation with integrity will be unaffected.
RICHARD: So be it ... you stay with your commitment to ‘doing this investigation with integrity’ then, and let other people, who have twigged to the fact that naïveté is the closest that one can come to innocence (which is where integrity lies) whilst remaining a ‘self’, proceed on their way so that the results of your experiment can be assessed for viability against this salient bench mark.
I might add, though, that naïveté does away with all that ‘heavy lifting’ you spoke of in an earlier e-mail. Vis.:
Where you have gleaned this diaphoretic impression from has got me stumped ... here is but one of the many ways I describe the actualism practice:
Or even more specifically to the point of your ‘heavy lifting’ comment:
In short: if it be not either easy (effortless) or fun (enjoyable) then there is something to look at until it is again.
RESPONDENT: And ... at the end of the day (week, month, year), if I have concluded that indeed there is something radically different and radically worthwhile going on here (i.e. a legitimate 3rd alternative able to at long last deliver the goods ... i.e. AF), I will have no trouble, I assure you, in permanently re-adjusting my cognitive maps and models as you, Mr. Peter and Ms. Vineeto have done, regardless of my ultimate judgement of any of the PROMOTERS and their integrity at any given moment.
RICHARD: I wonder why you do not see how you undo your claim to have, not only a background of PCE’s but having had one just recently, when you make comments such as above. For example:
Yet you say now that, at the end of the day, week, month, or year, if you have concluded that indeed there is something radically different and radically worthwhile going on here (that is, a legitimate third alternative, an actual freedom, able to at long last deliver the goods) you will have no trouble, you assure me, in permanently readjusting your cognitive maps and models.
Do you see why I look askance at the other things you have to say? Things like this for instance:
As it is the PCE which convinces – and not any claims I make as my words are designed to precipitate a PCE in the reader (whereupon they can then experience perfection for themselves) so as to not have them believe me or be convinced by the sensibility of any description I offer – I would suggest there is a strong possibility that whatever it is you experienced, both before you ‘re-engaged as an egoic self’ and after disconnecting, it was not a PCE.
Which could explain why you considered that Mr. Douglas Harding [Finding The Self], Ms. Byron Katie [God With God], Mr. Maximilian Sandor [Alienation/Integration Of The Being], and Free Zone [The Beingness-By-Itself] were some places to look to see where an actual freedom from the human condition was already happening because Richard had not yet made an exhaustive investigation of all the other places it might have been happening up until now.
More to the point: if it were indeed a PCE then your contributions to this mailing list would be of an entirely different nature to what they currently are.
RESPONDENT: And finally, just so you and everyone else here knows: I’m very comfortable being proven wrong, about things small or large.
RICHARD: As the only proof worthy of the name, in matters of consciousness, is experiential proof only you can prove yourself wrong.
RESPONDENT: It is a comfort I commend to one and all ...
RICHARD: Oh? Are you really recommending that people should emulate your comfort? If so, why then do you spurn emulation of the commitment to global peace and harmony the identity parasitically inhabiting this flesh and blood body made all those years ago?
Is it a case of one rule for your advice ... and another rule for my advice?
RESPONDENT: ... one that prevents, and even cures, premature hardening of the orthodoxies.
RICHARD: Let me see if I comprehend the basis of your commendation (after 30+ years of having prevented, or even cured, premature hardening of the orthodoxies):
If being ‘settled’ in a variant of Buddhism is not a hardening of the orthodoxies, be it premature or otherwise, then I would like to know what is ... or is there some inscrutable understanding in this deconstructionism method of yours that I am missing?
RESPONDENT: Before one can investigate beliefs, morals, etc does there have to be a recalled memory of a PCE?
RICHARD: No, there is sufficient information presented on The Actual Freedom Trust Website to establish a prima facie case worthy of further investigation – rather than capricious dismissal – which examination may very well induce recall ... or a fresh pure consciousness experience (PCE).
RESPONDENT: I see that you have set aside responding to the rest of my email, because I have caused a misunderstanding. I should have said that I was not interested in others’ (just in general, but not including or excluding yours, by the way) claims of *authenticity* (and hence, of authority) which is where so many discussions can and do become uselessly fixed, as these are entirely not settleable by third parties.
RICHARD: This sweeping dismissal – ‘entirely not settleable’ – indicates to me that you are again not taking note of what I am saying in regards the pure consciousness experience (PCE).
Perhaps if I were to put it this way: it is the PCE which is authentic – and hence authoritative – and the validity of the authenticity and authority of the PCE can certainly be settled by any body ... it is experiential.
To use an old-fashioned – and possibly now politically incorrect – phrase: one has to ‘go native’ to fully understand.
RESPONDENT: However, I am quite interested in your ‘report’ and others’ inasmuch as they *unpack* the subtler aspects and layers of what they feel to be going on, rather than, say, merely making capsule apodictic statements.
RICHARD: There are many, many descriptive articles and passages available on The Actual Freedom Web Page ... not all of what I write is in the form of apodictic statements.
I will say it again: it is the PCE where the necessary facticity or complete certainty of these matters is clearly demonstrated or established ... then there is no need to ‘feel’ what is going on.
Furthermore, to ‘feel’ what is going on will keep one away from the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: I think there is much subtly to what you are addressing by ‘apperception’, and I hope we can continue getting at it beginning by way of the rest of my last email.
RICHARD: Not by way of your last e-mail, no ... I read it through three times before I responded as I did and in it you made it patently obvious that unless a matter was able to be settled in the ‘third-person’ way then it was a matter of [quote] ‘outright speculations’ [endquote] to discuss it ... in fact you observed that otherwise [quote] ‘usually, fine and entertaining disputes develop’ [endquote].
You may not have been subscribed to The Actual Freedom Mailing List long enough to notice that those peoples that have had, or remember having had, a PCE do not dispute what actualism is on about – nor do they have to have recourse to ‘third party’ settlement – rather that there is a sharing of experience and understanding and the querying of the various statements with the aim of elucidation rather than argumentation.
RESPONDENT: I believe our heretofore good clarifications of words/referents can arrive at an shared understanding of the dynamics of what you are calling apperception which does not depend on any claims of authenticity, but rather elucidates features which become testable against the observations of one’s own experience.
RICHARD: Hmm ... you want to claim the authenticity (and hence the authority) of the ‘third-person’ way of validation but seek to deny me of the authenticity (and hence the authority) of the experiential way of validation.
Yet the subject under discussion – human consciousness – is an experiential matter and not a ‘third-person’ matter. Here is the example you provided to explain what ‘third-person’ means to you (in item No. 2 of your previous e-mail):
It is this simple: if no living creatures exist then no human consciousness exists.
RESPONDENT: Sorry for the confusion.
RESPONDENT: Thought I’d better add a little more to my reply, so we can get back on track in our discussion. (... ...) You see, appalling as it might at first seem, it has never really mattered to me whether a source of insight came from a sage or a madman, a well-grounded philosopher or a psychotic street musician, a family man or a freak of nature, the poised or the spastic, a man of honesty and integrity or a hypocrite and a plagiarist.
RICHARD: Sure ... I gained useful information from many, many people over many, many years: the most valuable information, however, came from those that put their words into practise (those that spoke from their on-going experience).
For example: a heroin addict might say ‘drugs are detrimental to your well-being’ (and the explanation why from their own situation is useful information) ... but what an ex-heroin addict has to say is valuable information (because such a person knows how to free oneself of the addiction).
The corollary to this example is that maybe 6.0 billion peoples are addicted, as it were, to the human condition – and any one of them may say that it is detrimental to one’s well being and explain why – but the person that is free of the human condition knows how to be free of it.
Otherwise it is a case of the blind leading the blind.
RESPONDENT: Now, establishing the authenticity, integrity, etc. of someone or their claims about themselves doubtless has value and is a very important matter, depending on one’s interests and especially if one aims to guide one’s actions based on their authority or validity. And settling such matters is no small affair and usually involves much investigation and disputation. However, this is no what is of interest to me presently.
RICHARD: Okay ... but there is, however, an easier and more reliable way: I invite anyone to make a critical examination of the words available on The Actual Freedom Web Site 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.
RESPONDENT: What does matter to me is this: where a certain act or idea (from whatever source, be it ‘sane’ or ‘insane’) presents in my present state of inquiry as heuristic (an exploratory aid), I explore, discuss, and ply its suggestions and implications, both intended and unintended, until either the source or the act or idea are exhausted or fully flowered. That’s what I’m trying to do with you and your use of ‘apperception’. I’m sure there are many aspects we could unfold.
I have always found that some preliminary research saves a lot of unnecessary repetition.
RESPONDENT: So, with that, perhaps we can return to items 1-3 of my original post of 17 July.
RESPONDENT: 4) How is it that better than 80% of Americans report positive ‘life satisfaction’ in recent surveys reported by some of the ‘positive psychologists’ (see David Myers ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, Dr. David Lykken ‘Happiness’ and Martin Seligman ‘Authentic Happiness’) studying things like happiness and life satisfaction – and people all over the world reporting in general relatively positive life satisfaction – yet you still refer to life in the real world as ‘abysmal’ and ‘grim and glum’ and ‘miserable?’
RICHARD: To illustrate what a life of total fulfilment and utter satisfaction looks like I will quote from a book by one of the three ‘positive psychologists’ you refer to:
In short: life here in this actual world *is* such an intense experience, each moment again, as the intense experience he describes (a PCE lasting a few seconds 40 years ago) yet despite his well-explained (referencing Mr. Aldous Huxley’s account) glimpse of the perfection of the purity of this actual world (as experienced when 4 years old) he opts instead for the ‘life satisfaction’ of positive psychology ... all the while presuming, with spurious justifications, that this life I am living is [quote] ‘maladaptive in adults’ [endquote].
Yet I am neither in gaol nor a psychiatric institution; I can orient myself in space and time and get from point A to point B; I am not easy meat for prowlers; I feed, clothe and house myself, paying all my bills on time; I manage four net-worked computers, an internet domain, a web page, a mail server, and so on, without any prior experience or training; I write millions of words meaningfully strung together in sentences and paragraphs ... all the while [quote] ‘entranced by colours, smells, and textures’ [endquote] to an extent much, much more than a PCE allows (as evidenced by Mr. Aldous Huxley not being able to bear it for example).
RICHARD: ... what I am also getting is that you may have overlooked, forgotten, or are not taking into account, what is evident in the PCE. Vis.: [Respondent]: ‘The ‘strongest’ part of the experience probably lasted only about 15 seconds – it seemed like I had been taken into another world, though it was obviously the same world, but yet it was in sharp detail that I hadn’t completely noticed before. And it did have a benevolence about it. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, which may be what brought the most intense part to an end – but the calm and ‘presentness’ lasted the rest of the evening and a bit into the morning. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, as there is obviously more self left to whittle away at. But it is so wonderful to finally get a taste of what a virtual freedom can be – it’s wonder, it’s ‘certainty’ which needs no prop of certainty. It’s obvious to me now that there is no other way for me to live. In the PCE – fulfilment is in every moment. Absolutely amazing’. (‘Getting The PCE’; 12 May 2002). When I read the words ‘fulfilment is in every moment’ I can only take that as referring to meaning and/or purpose being consummated ... can you recall what you meant by it?
RESPONDENT: As best I can put it is that there was ‘nothing missing’. No need for another moment, another experience – each moment was not deficient or lacking.
RICHARD: Ahh ... that is well put. I often say if I were to drop dead right now that would not be a problem ... there is nothing missing or missed as each moment is utter fulfilment and total satisfaction.
RESPONDENT: But I would also say that there was something of a depression when it’s gone. Initially a sense that I may never have to deal with my pet ‘issues’ ever again – then a reluctance to admit that there is much more uncovering of the ‘self’ to be done.
RICHARD: I do recall that often there was a reluctance to acknowledge that a PCE was wearing off – the reality of the ‘real world’ soon brought about that acknowledgement however – but what stands out in your words is that there was a sense that you may never have to deal with your ‘pet issues’ again ... which is an important point to remember, if ever you are more than somewhat lost in such issues, as it helps to bring one back to one’s senses to remember where the ultimate solution to those issues lies.
RESPONDENT: The questions about meaning came from possibly too literal of an interpretation of what you say about meaning both in your journal and your original response with the confusion of ‘meaning’ with ‘meaning of life’, and less reliance on my own experience. I appreciate your pointer back to my own experience.
RICHARD: You are welcome ... after all it is your own experience which is of vital importance, and not my descriptions and explanations (which can be either inadequate or misconstrued), as you then intimately know for yourself where to go and what to do.
RESPONDENT: Could you please, in detail, explain how that phrase is supposed to free the entity who is asking it from ‘being’?
Suffice is it to say for now, to enable the process to work its magic, is that it is vital to remember a pure consciousness experience (PCE) where one finds oneself walking through a world of veritable delight – the actual world of the senses – whereupon this ambrosial paradise called planet earth, with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity, comes alive in a truly wondrous way. Everything and everybody has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, scintillating vitality that makes everything vivid 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 everybody.
RESPONDENT: I have now read most things on the site, Peter’s Journal and about 100 pages of Richard’s journal. I was still wondering when an incident happens, of a ‘volatile nature’, how it registers on what remains of ‘Richard or Vineeto’. They say they feel intimacy as opposed to love; sensate bodily feelings as opposed affectations. I just was wondering if any blow-by-blow description existed in either journals or on the site as to what its like when a ‘close’ friend or relative dies; or something of some similar emotive intensity. Since there is no feeling anymore, what is it like?
RESPONDENT: Maybe what I’m terming a PCE is still filled with a delightful emotive pleasure.
RICHARD: That may very well be the case ... there are two possibilities:
The PCE is the litmus test ... not any claims I make (my words are designed to precipitate a PCE in the reader so that they can experience perfection for themselves and thus not have to believe me or be convinced by the sensibility of any description I offer).
RESPONDENT: How many have you taught successfully?
RICHARD: First, I do not teach anyone ... the PCE does that. I am not required for the process of understanding (as in a ‘personality cult’ that can grow around a ‘charismatic leader’) ... <SNIP> ... as far as I have been able to ascertain there is nobody else living an actual freedom from the human condition ...
RESPONDENT: How did you ascertain that?
RICHARD: The same way that I ascertain anything about anybody and everybody ... I ask and I listen. Plus I read about other people’s experiences in books, journals, magazines, newspapers and on the internet. I watch TV, videos, films ... whatever media is available. I have been scouring the books and talking with many and varied peoples from all walks of life for nineteen years now for information on an actual freedom from the human condition ... but to no avail.
RESPONDENT: So you are the only one? You need more than one case to prove your claims.
RICHARD: Not so ... when I go to bed at night I have had a perfect day ... and I know that I will wake up to yet another day of perfection. This has been going on, day-after-day, for years now ... it is so ‘normal’ that I take it for granted that there is only perfection. Such a remarkable consistency of pristine purity is the only proof I need.
RESPONDENT: By the way, it wasn’t a request of proof for you.
RICHARD: Okay ... who was it ‘a request of proof’ for, then, and why? If it was ‘a request of proof’ by you for you ... can you not recall your own PCE’s, your own direct experiencing of actuality at various stages throughout your life? Everybody that I have spoken to at length over the last nineteen years – everybody – has had at least one PCE ... although most people cannot initially remember a PCE and may need a lot of prompting to retrieve it from their memory. An example by a man from Australia:
An example from a woman from The Netherlands:
Sometimes a PCE is also known as ‘a nature experience’ ... wherein one’s own personal experiencing is likewise the only proof worthy of the name. Being deep in a rain-forest goes some way towards making it all clearer ... or any wilderness, for that matter. As one travels deeper and deeper into this – initially ‘other’ – world of natural delight, one experiences an intensely hushed stillness that is vast and immense ... yet so simply here. I am not referring to a feeling of awe or reverence or great beauty – to have any emotion or passion at all is to miss the actuality of this moment – nor am I referring to any blissful or euphoric state of ‘being’. It is a sensate experience, not an affective state. I am talking about the factual and simple actualness of earthy existence being experienced whilst ambling along or sitting quietly without any particular thought in mind ... yet not being mindless either. And then, when a sparkling intimacy occurs, do not the woods take on a fairy-tale-like quality? Is one not in a paradisiacal environment that envelops yet leaves one free? This is the ambience that I speak of. At this magical moment there is no ‘I’ in the head or ‘me’ in the heart ... there is this apperceptive awareness wherein thought can operate freely without the encumbrance of any feelings whatsoever.
It is not my ambience nor yours ... yet it is here for everyone and anyone for the asking ... for the daring to be here as this body only. One does this by stepping out of the real world into this actual world, as this flesh and blood body, leaving your ‘self’ behind where ‘you’ belong ... because the reality of the real world is an illusion ‘I’ create by ‘my’ very ‘presence’.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your web page and mail group for about 8 months. When I was 18 I had an experience on LSD that seems to match your descriptions of PCE’s and also ASC’s. That day I swung from one to the other. After that day I could never stop desiring to return to that space of unspeakable peace and miraculousness (PCE as I understand it) or messianic immortality (ASC as I understand it).
RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Mailing List ... here is an example, from a self-healing personal growth book published only recently, which maybe shows how a pure consciousness experience (PCE) can readily turn into being an altered state of consciousness (ASC) when feelings enter the picture:
The intense feeling of beauty, in such instances, is what reveals truth (or god/goddess): beauty is the affective substitute for the purity of the perfection of this actual world ... just as love is the affective surrogate for actual intimacy.
RICHARD: I have never made a secret of what my agenda is in writing to this mailing list (peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body) and I have no reservations whatsoever about endeavouring to persuade another to read with both eyes ... but to describe this pastime as ‘pushing a particular set of conclusions’ is to miss the point entirely.
RESPONDENT: I agree that if there is a PCE, for some people the memory itself can be a trigger for the actuality. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for most people.
RICHARD: One of the many things I did, in the years before I went public, was to ascertain whether people from all walks of life could recall having had a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – as distinct from an altered state of consciousness (ASC) – for obvious reasons. Sometimes it took a quite a while for them to remember – once it took over three hours of intensive description/discussion – as being sans any affective content whatsoever the PCE cannot be stored in the affective memory banks (which is where the ASC is primarily located) ... plus they are much more common in childhood and require further reach.
Everybody I spoke to at length – everybody – could recall at least one PCE ... and usually more
RESPONDENT: Some of us find keen awareness of death or the truth of impermanence tends to trigger PCE but again, that does not seem to be so for most others I have talked with, unfortunately.
RICHARD: 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 ... I can recall being on a farmhouse verandah 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.
As for ‘impermanence’ ... as the PCE evidences that it is never not this moment then permanence is already always here.
RESPONDENT: Moreover, I question whether freedom or happiness is something to seek. The seeking, grasping, desiring mind is painful, is suffering.
RICHARD: Whereas with the PCE as one’s guiding light, as it were, one is drawn deliciously to one’s destiny.
RESPONDENT: It is to be ‘in the way’ rather than on the way.
RICHARD: How I express it is that the wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is marked by enjoyment and appreciation – the sheer delight of being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’ – and that the slightest diminishment of such felicity/ innocuity is a warning signal (a flashing red light as it were) that one has inadvertently wandered off the way.
One is thus soon back on track ... and all because of everyday circumstances.
RESPONDENT: If it is the experiencer that makes efforts to be aware and stay aware, the centre is strengthened, not dissolved, right?
RICHARD: Since when has naiveté been sudorific?
RESPONDENT: A PCE means that the centre is momentarily dissolved.
RICHARD: No, a pure consciousness experience (PCE) is when the identity in toto, and not just its centre, is temporarily in abeyance ... so that one is nothing other than a flesh and blood body living life intimately on this verdant and azure paradise.
As one has been all along.
RESPONDENT: In order for that to occur, the illusion of being in time has to stop.
RICHARD: No, in order for a PCE to occur the identity in toto goes into abeyance ... then one is where one has always been: just here right now at this moment in eternal time.
Have you not ever noticed that it is never not this moment?
RESPONDENT: That is why awareness of death or impermanence can be a trigger. Whatever is being experienced now is not ‘going’ anywhere. It is just a mind thing, a movement of thought.
RICHARD: What one is as this flesh and blood body only is this material universe experiencing itself as an apperceptive human being and, as its physical space is infinite, and as its time is eternal, and as its matter is perpetual, then the infinitude which this universe actually is has no beginning and no ending and therefore no middle. As there are no edges to this universe, which means that there is no centre either, one is neither coming from anywhere nor going anywhere for there is nowhere to come from nor anywhere to go to.
By being here as-this-body now one is nowhere in particular – which means one is anywhere at all – and in the infinitude of the universe one finds oneself to be already here and, as it is always now, one cannot ever get away from this place in space and this moment in time anyway. Furthermore, one finds that this moment in time has no duration as in now and then – because the immediate is the ultimate – and that this place in space has no distance as in here and there – for the relative is the absolute.
In other words: one is always here as it is already now.
RESPONDENT: Psychologically there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow is just a projection and yesterday is just memory.
RICHARD: Aye, the past, although it was actual whilst it was happening, is not actual now; the future, although it will be actual when it happens, is not actual now.
RICK: Richard ... I have a question. How do I induce a PCE?
RICHARD: The most simple (and thus mnemonical) answer to your question is: by allowing it to happen.
RICK: I ask and ask myself how it is I’m experiencing this moment of being alive and still there is no pure consciousness experience. I haven’t had one yet. How can I go about bringing one up?
RICHARD: It takes the felicity and innocuity of naiveté to bring about a PCE: where one is happy and harmless a benevolence and benignity which is not of ‘my’ doing operates of its own accord ... and it is this beneficence and magnanimity which occasions the PCE.
The largesse of the universe (as in the largesse of life itself), in other words.
RICK: Should I try and focus on what my senses are experiencing (i.e. paying attention to colours, noises, smells, textures, and such) and ignore feelings?
RICHARD: As what you are asking is, in effect, whether a PCE can be induced by focussing on sensate experience with a bored, nervous, scared, regretful, and etcetera, attentiveness the answer is: no.
RICK: Because when I ask myself how it is I’m experiencing this moment of being alive, I am always experiencing this moment of being alive through some feeling, usually a strong feeling (i.e. being bored, nervous, scared, regretful, etc.) and so I pay full-attention to my internal state and what’s going on in my psyche and I get all caught up in what’s going on in there so much so that I am not able to ‘live as these senses’.
RICHARD: The essence of the actualism method is to minimise both the ‘good’ feelings – the affectionate and desirable emotions and passions (those that are loving and trusting) – and the ‘bad’ feelings – the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful) – by nipping them in the bud as soon as, if not before, they start to occur via the explanatory article I copy-pasted for you, in response to your very first e-mail to this mailing list, a little over ten months ago.
This enables one to (initially) feel good, to (then) feel happy and harmless, to (eventually) feel perfect for 99% of the time (a virtual freedom) ... and by thus deactivating both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ feelings, and therefore activating the felicitous/ innocuous feelings (happiness, delight, joie de vivre, bonhomie and so on), then with this freed-up affective energy maximised, in conjunction with sensuousness (delectation, enjoyment, appreciation, relish, zest, gusto and so on), the ensuing sense of amazement, marvel and wonder can result in apperceptiveness (unmediated perception).
In short: it is the on-going felicitous/ innocuous sensuousness which ensures a win-win situation.
RICK: Thus, I wonder that maybe I should switch my focus from paying attention to my internal state of affairs when asking myself how I’m experiencing this moment of being alive, to exclusively focusing on what is happening externally (sensately).
RICHARD: As what you are wondering is, in effect, whether apperception (unmediated perception) can be brought about by focussing on sensate experience with a bored, nervous, scared, regretful, and etcetera, attentiveness your wonder is entirely misplaced.
RICK: Any thoughts on that approach?
RICHARD: Just this: the more one enjoys and appreciates simply being alive – to the point of excellence being the norm – the greater the likelihood of a PCE happening ... a bored, nervous, scared, regretful, and etcetera, person has no chance whatsoever of allowing the magical event, which indubitably shows where everyone has being going awry, to occur.
RICHARD: ... when I was first catapulted into an actual freedom from the human condition I was astonished to discover that beauty had disappeared (I had trained as an art teacher and had made a living as a practising artist). Howsoever I was to discover that beauty is but a pale imitation of the purity of the actual.
Even so, it was initially disconcerting (to say the least).
RESPONDENT: If I may interject here? By the time you became actually free you had experienced numerous PCE’s, some of which had come while painting and/or listening to music. If I am not mistaken, you had even produced some of your best work when ‘you’ were absent. Why, then, would it be disconcerting, or even surprising, to find yourself experiencing on a permanent basis something which you had experienced many times before and had actively sought to make permanent?
RICHARD: First and foremost: there was absolutely no precedent – the identity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago did not have the millions of words now available on The Actual Freedom Trust web site to refer to – and, whilst it is true that ‘his’ best work was produced when ‘he’ was absent (and thus beauty played no part at all), when ‘he’ came out of abeyance and reviewed that art ‘he’, of course, automatically imbued it with beauty ... as did the viewers who bought ‘his’ work (reinforcement).
Second, when a pure consciousness experience (PCE) occurs the contrast with what was immediately prior (everyday normality) is so startling, plus there is so much going on (the !Wow! effect), that it never struck ‘him’ afterwards, when ‘he’ came out of abeyance, that there was no beauty in actuality.
Third, although a PCE is so close to what this flesh and blood body experiences 24/7 as to be virtually identical in every respect it must be borne in mind that it is a temporary experience wherein identity is in abeyance and not extinct and thus, by being latent, can cast an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced ... which influence, and once again through lack of precedence, that identity all those years ago was not aware of.
Last, but not least, as the main focus during ‘his’ eleven years of spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment lay in questioning love and compassion, pacifism and appeasement, timelessness, spacelessness and formlessness, immortality and ‘being’ itself, it simply never occurred to ‘him’ to question beauty ... ‘he’ (unknowingly) took the pristine purity of the actual, which beauty is but a pathetic imitation of, to be beauty itself.
RESPONDENT: Also, if I may ask, how did you experience being disconcerted without the affective faculty?
RICHARD: Just because there are no affections whatsoever it does not mean it is not possible to be (mentally) astonished, astounded, surprised, uncertain, baffled, puzzled, perplexed, nonplussed, and so on, on occasion.
Here is an in-context example:
RICHARD: ... when I was first catapulted into an actual freedom from the human condition I was astonished to discover that beauty had disappeared (I had trained as an art teacher and had made a living as a practising artist). Howsoever I was to discover that beauty is but a pale imitation of the purity of the actual. Even so, it was initially disconcerting (to say the least).
RESPONDENT No. 106: If I may interject here? By the time you became actually free you had experienced numerous PCE’s, some of which had come while painting and/or listening to music. If I am not mistaken, you had even produced some of your best work when ‘you’ were absent. Why, then, would it be disconcerting, or even surprising, to find yourself experiencing on a permanent basis something which you had experienced many times before and had actively sought to make permanent?
RICHARD: First and foremost: [now snipped]. Second [now snipped]. Third, although a PCE is so close to what this flesh and blood body experiences 24/7 as to be virtually identical in every respect it must be borne in mind that it is a temporary experience, wherein identity is in abeyance and not extinct, and thus by being latent can cast an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced ... which influence, and once again through lack of precedence, that identity all those years ago was not aware of.
RESPONDENT: Richard, from dictionary.com: ‘abeyance: the condition of being temporarily set aside; suspension’. [endquote]. From the AF Library section on PCE: ‘This is knowing by direct experience, unmoderated by any ‘self’ whatsoever’. [endquote]. I find it surprising that now you report that the identity does have an ‘ever so slight influence’ even in a PCE.
RICHARD: I did not say it [quote] ‘does’ [endquote] have an ever-so-slight influence ... I specifically said that, by being thus latent, and not extinct, it *can* cast an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced. Vis.:
Maybe it would have been more clear to have added the qualifier ‘on occasion’. For example:
RESPONDENT: I am only too happy to re-phrase: If the identity can exert an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced even in a PCE (and this ‘can’ can become ‘does’ on occasion), then *on that occasion* when it actually does so, the PCE is no longer pure.
RICHARD: If I may point out? The words [quote] ‘even in a PCE’ [endquote] are your words and not mine.
RESPONDENT: Either it is a PCE un-contaminated by an identity, be it in an ever-so-slight degree or to any degree, or it is not.
RICHARD: Aye ... unless identity is in total abeyance it is not a PCE.
RESPONDENT: It is double-talk to say that the identity is in abeyance but still it *can* (or *does on occasion*) have an ever-so-slight influence in a PCE.
RICHARD: It would indeed be double-talk to say that identity is in abeyance but can, on occasion, have an ever-so-slight influence [quote] ‘in a PCE’ [endquote].
RESPONDENT: Well the question then is: Is the identity in total abeyance or not in a PCE?
RICHARD: Unless identity is in total abeyance it is not a PCE but an ASC ... for instance:
Here is another:
RESPONDENT: Well the question then is: Is the identity in total abeyance or not in a PCE?
RICHARD: Unless identity is in total abeyance it is not a PCE but an ASC ...
RESPONDENT: Ok, so it would not be a PCE be when the identity is in abeyance but is exerting an ever-so-slight influence on the experience. Correct?
RICHARD: Where identity is casting an ever-so-slight influence upon what is being experienced it is not, or is no longer, a PCE.
RESPONDENT: If correct, then please clarify in what way (other than the obvious one of being temporary) is experiencing a PCE, in which the identity is in total abeyance, and not having even an ever-so-slight influence, different from actual freedom?
RICHARD: The very fact that identity is in abeyance – a ‘dormant condition liable to revival’ (Oxford Dictionary) – during a PCE, and not extinct, renders it 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 it that one has to be on guard not to let passion and calenture (or any other affective feelings) take over?
RICHARD: All it takes is the habitual attentiveness engendered by being aware of how this moment of being alive is experienced – and that awareness is the very enjoyment and appreciation of being alive at this moment (the only moment of ever being alive) – inasmuch any diminishment of the quality of that experiencing is patently obvious (simply by virtue of a lessening of that enjoyment and appreciation).
RESPONDENT: Would you say such alertness is effortless?
RICHARD: No, the alertness of being on guard implies effort ... whereas enjoyment and appreciation is a breeze.
RESPONDENT: And your last sentence above is confusing: An identity is not ‘aware’. It is a merely a poisoning facade over unmediated perception.
RICHARD: I am using the word ‘aware’ in the following sense:
Thus the latter part of that last sentence could have been written like this:
I will take this opportunity to add that an as-fully-informed-as-possible identity is vital to the whole process as only an identity, and no-one else, can set its host free. For instance:
Another way of putting it is that identity has a job to do. Vis.:
RESPONDENT: And also, do you mean to say that in a PCE, an identity is still there to take stock of the experience, to compare it with others (‘and once again through lack of precedence, that identity all those years ago was not aware of.’).
RICHARD: No, I do not mean that at all ... I meant it in the same way as is clearly expressed in both my ‘First and foremost ...’ section and my ‘Second ...’ section. Vis.:
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: So, the minority of those who remembered a PCE would choose a happy and harmless life.
RICHARD: I did say ‘presumably’ ... when there is more than at present virtually free, or even another actually free from the human condition, that presumption is no longer valid, of course.
RESPONDENT: How could Peace-on-Earth be possible if every new generation would be born with the same old, same old instinctual passions?
RICHARD: The same way it is possible now.
RESPONDENT: It would be a continuum ‘ad infinitum’ DIY process and some would simply refuse (for a million reasons) to conform to a happy and harmless life.
RICHARD: Nobody is being asked to ‘conform’ to anything (as is the case with morality and/or ethicality) ... it is each and ever person’s choice, each moment again, how they experience this moment of being alive (the only moment they are ever alive).
No one is preventing you from being happy and harmless but you.
RESPONDENT: And they will be the minority report.
RICHARD: Only until they become the majority report.
RESPONDENT: Or would the actual free parents would give birth to instinctually free babes in a gradual evolutionary process that would stretch over thousands of years?
RICHARD: As I had a vasectomy in my late thirties I am unable to test that theory.
RESPONDENT: We’ve been here before, but this just doesn’t make sense to me.
RICHARD: Maybe the following will be of assistance:
RESPONDENT: And even if actualism would be practiced by many people (say 500 millions), it would not be an identical process to everyone, as a matter-of-fact it would get distorted, it would degenerate as with everything which happened on a mass scale in the history of humankind and over an extended period of time.
RICHARD: You are referring that which is new – thus without precedent – and which is actual, and not fantasy, and are comparing it to not only that which is old but that which is a massive delusion into the bargain, in order to come to your conclusions.
RESPONDENT: Nothing remains the same. Yes, the PCE might be identical to everyone, but ...
RICHARD: If I may interject (before you go on with your ‘but ...’)? If, as you say, nothing remains the same, how can you then say, in virtually the same breath, that the pure consciousness experience (PCE) be *identical* to everyone?
RESPONDENT: ...[but] the process of becoming free will inevitably be distorted, there will be countless ‘branded’ versions of becoming free.
RICHARD: As the PCE is essential to the process of becoming actually free from the human condition then any method other than the only one that has worked so far to deliver the goods will be similarly bench-marked ... ‘tis not for nothing that clarity in communication (what some classify as pedantic nit-picking) is the hall-mark of actualism words and writings.
RESPONDENT: This will serve the innate human need for diversity and tolerance.
RICHARD: Those that choose diversity and tolerance over happiness and harmlessness are simply wasting their only moment of being alive ... frittering a vital opportunity away on more of the ‘Tried and True’ in yet another guise.
RESPONDENT: I lived part of my life in communism and I know on my personal skin the effects of idealist unicity, equality and freedom applied in practice.
RICHARD: As actualism is not ‘idealist’ your comparison of it to an unfeasible (given the human condition) socio-political system is pointless.
RESPONDENT: They have also thought to have found the ‘only and unique’ solution, never tried before.
RICHARD: As no actualist has the ‘thought’ that they have found anything of the sort, but rather the direct experience of the actuality, your comparison is again pointless.
RESPONDENT: I guess this is my version of ‘you can’t change human nature’ applied on a global scale, but that’s the way I see it in the long run.
RICHARD: Okay ... it is your life you are living, when all is said and done, and how you see things is your business, of course.
RESPONDENT: ... 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: You can easily and accurately describe how good it was last time you had sex with your partner. But these are only thoughts, they convey something ... but of what use they would be to me if I wouldn’t have any sexperiences?
RICHARD: I was questioning your ‘escapes any reference frame of thought’ statement ... am I to take it that your analogy with the sexual experience indicates it does not escape ‘any’ reference frame of thought after all (as in thoughts which convey something)?
RESPONDENT: Even Enlightenment can be described, that’s not the issue here.
RICHARD: Oh? This is the issue I am responding to:
RESPONDENT: I have pointed out to the distinction between thoughts and experience. The experience gives rise to thoughts, not the other way around, otherwise I will live through quotation-marks. Your thoughts cannot give rise to a similar experience in me (a PCE for instance), they can describe it, yes, but they cannot produce/induce it. Simple as that.
RICHARD: As ad hoc experience with other human beings has shown me there are some people, who listen to me/read my words with all of their being, that have been catapulted into the magical wonder-land that this verdant and azure planet is then what is (so far) the case for you is not the case for everybody.
It is as simple as that.
RESPONDENT: Everything can be described, take ‘torture’ for instance. It’s one thing to be tortured and another thing to intellectually understand torture as described by another person. Torture escapes ‘thought’ because it’s not an intellectual experience. You can describe it via thought but you can’t experience it via thought.
RICHARD: Of course not ... it almost goes without saying that one cannot (sensately) experience a sensate experience cognitively.
RESPONDENT: In this sense escapes thought, not in the sense that you can’t convey or describe it.
RICHARD: Sure ... but what has this got to do with you saying that the actualism words and writings [quote] ‘cannot induce/produce a PCE as this experience escapes any reference frame of thought’ [endquote] when they can do, and have done, that very thing (induced/ produced a PCE)?
It just does not make sense to say that something which has happened, and does happen, cannot happen. Vis.:
As I am the living evidence that practicing ‘it’ (the actualism method) does enable this actual world to become apparent it would appear that you are but tilting at windmills ... as is the following further on in the same e-mail:
Not all that surprisingly I am reminded of the following:
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.