Actual Freedom – Selected Writings from Richard's Journal

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Apperception versus Choiceless Awareness


The search for meaning amidst the debris of the much-vaunted ‘human’ hopes and dreams and schemes has come to its timely end. With the end of ‘me’, the distance or separation between ‘me’ and ‘my’ senses – and thus the external world – disappears. To be the senses as a bare awareness is apperception, a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as an observer – a little person inside one’s head – to have sensations, I am the sensations. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not to ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment … one after another. To be these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful peace and tranquillity. Life is intrinsically purposeful, the reason for existence lies openly all around. Being this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it as I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away … nor has it ever been away. ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning.

Life is not a vale of tears. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article Seventeen

I have left the park and I am wandering through the village in order to reach my current residence on the other side of town. It is a delicious sensation to be here now, meandering my way through the press of life in this little town; I pass virtually unnoticed among the people engrossed in ‘being’. Little do they realise the enormity of this moment of being alive here in this place, so enamoured are they of being ‘someone’. I experience myself as no-one in particular; I am simply a body enjoying this exquisite motion of strolling, unimpeded by any self within. At this moment the park is but a faded memory and my residence a vague intention. Only this moment actually exists, for there is no lasting ‘I’ present which would make the past and future real. The freedom from enduring over a time known as the past, the present and the future, leaves one completely able to appreciate the impeccable purity of being here now. This appreciation is evidenced by being alive right here and just now as apperceptive awareness, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself.

Apperceptive awareness can be evoked by paying exclusive attention to being alive now. This moment is one’s only moment of being alive … one is never alive at any other time than now. And, wherever one is, one is always here … even if one starts walking over to there, along the way to there one is always here … and when one arrives ‘there’, it too is here. Thus attention becomes a fascination with the fact that one is always here … and it is already now. Fascination leads to reflective contemplation. As one is already here, and it is always now … then one has arrived before one starts. The potent combination of attention, fascination, reflection and contemplation produces apperception, which occurs when aware happens 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 fascinating contemplative thought - is when ‘I’ cease thinking and thinking takes place of its own accord. Such a mind, being free of the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ ‘I’ as ego and soul - is capable of immense clarity and purity.

All this is born only out of pure intent. Pure intent is derived from the PCE experienced during a peak experience, which all humans have had at some stage in their life. A peak experience is when ‘I’ spontaneously cease to ‘be’, temporarily, and this moment and place is here and now. Everything is seen to be perfect as-it-is. Diligent attention paid to the peak experience gives rise to pure intent. With pure intent running as a ‘golden thread’ through one’s life, reflective contemplation rapidly becomes more and more fascinating. When one is totally fascinated, reflective contemplation becomes pure awareness ... and then apperception happens of itself. With apperception operating more or less continuously in ‘my’ day-to-day life, ‘I’ find it harder and harder to maintain credibility. ‘I’ am increasingly seen as the usurper, an alien entity inhabiting this body and taking on an identity of its own. Mercilessly exposed in the bright light of awareness apperception casts no shadows ‘I’ can no longer find ‘my’ position tenable. ‘I’ can only live in obscuration, where ‘I’ lurk about, creating all sorts of mischief.

‘My’ time is speedily coming to an end, ‘I’ can barely maintain ‘myself’ any longer. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article Eighteen

Apperception, or pure awareness, can quickly disabuse oneself of the notion that there is an entity, an ‘I’, which has any substance anywhere inside this body. Initially, ‘I’ think – and feel – that it is ‘I’ who is the one being aware ... this is not apperception. This is an arrogation of responsibility that is most definitely not called for. Such self-promotion can be revealed for the hubris that it is, by contemplation of the fact that ‘I’ stand in the way of apperception happening. When apperception occurs, ‘I’ disappear. When ‘I’ disappear, reality also vanishes. Then I am here, as-I-am, in this actual world of these senses … I am living the third alternative. There are three I’s altogether, but only one is actual.

Being here now as-I-am is to be blithe and gay, for life is a delightful adventure in itself. I do not have to do anything to ‘get out of it, man’ for it is sensational to realise, each moment again, that I am actually here now. I am fresh, ever-new ... I have never been here before. All that is happening is happening now for the first time. Never before in history has this particular moment occurred, so of course it is exciting. There is no way of knowing for sure what will happen next … how much more stimulated can one be than this? Yet there is an utter safety in all this, for in the actual world nothing can go ‘Wrong’. The actual world is epitomised by a perfection that is unassailable ... whatever happens is appropriate to the circumstances. Being here now as-I-am enables one to be aware of the grand scheme of things, and everything falls into place. A vast understanding, beyond ‘normal’ human comprehension, is instantly available to one who is genuine. This actual world is rich and vital in all its happening. I am the universe experiencing itself in all its splendour and magnificence as a sensate reflective human being. It is abundant, bountiful, luscious ... I luxuriate in being here now, so fantastic is it to be alive as me as I actually am.

However, a word of experiential advice: just prior to apperception occurring, ‘I’, the beholder – the one who wants to be in control – can view life as being bereft of depth. Everything can become flat, two-dimensional, barren and stark. This is not actuality, although one may be inclined to feel it to be so. This is reality, stark reality, and is not to be confused with actuality. Actuality is never, ever, stark. This starkness can influence one to pull back, to retreat into ‘normal’ life. Courage of one’s conviction and confidence in the purity of the actual is essential if one is to proceed. All of one’s ‘being’ wants to back off and regain the once-despised reality that looks so attractive now, from this extreme position. This stark reality is a barrier; it is a desert of monumental proportions that one can only traverse if supplied with the fortitude garnered from the peak experience. Then one is willing to endure the ghastly reality masquerading as the actual. The very ground beneath one’s feet can appear to shift, to disappear, and all seems to hang upon nothing. Unsupported and alone, one is in the outer-most reaches of ‘being’. The feeling is that one cannot survive this appalling emptiness without going mad. To be in durance vile is not for the faint-hearted, the weak of knee. Nerves of steel are essential if one is to meet one’s destiny. It is the adventure of a life-time.

Life is wonderful where I am genuine. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article Twenty-six

When this body is in deep sleep or under anaesthesia, there is no awareness of consciousness ... yet the body is still breathing, pumping blood, etcetera. Being alive and the awareness of being conscious of being alive are not necessarily the same thing ... which is confusing to the uninitiated. I am this sensate and reflective body, yet when this body is unconscious, there is no awareness that this body is alive. So, strictly speaking, what I am is this body’s apperceptive consciousness – I am the awareness of being here now – and I am very much dependent upon the body being alive and awake to be conscious. When the body dies, this body’s apperceptive consciousness disappears … just as in deep sleep. To take consciousness as being ‘who I am’, independent of the body, is clearly a misconception ... and a belief. The belief in Immortality is a denial of death ... which is tantamount to saying that what is universally actual is, somehow, wrong!

When one ceases being in denial, something marvellous can happen. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article wenty-seven

The third alternative is something that brings a confidence born out of a direct experience of the actual. Have you never come across apperception?

Apperception is the mind’s perception of itself … it is a bare 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 happens when the ‘who’ inside abdicates its throne and a pure awareness occurs. This is called a pure consciousness experience. This peak experience is as if I have eyes in the back of my head; there is a three hundred and sixty degree awareness and all is self-evidently clear. This is knowing by direct experience, unmediated by any ‘who’ whatsoever. I am able to see that the ‘who’ of me has been standing in the way of the perfection and purity that is the essential character of myself becoming apparent. Here a solid and irrefutable native intelligence can operate freely; by negating the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’ … calenture disappears entirely in apperceptive awareness. I am 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; I only instinctually felt and thought that I was a separate identity. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article Thirty-three

Apperceptive awareness can be evoked by paying exclusive attention to being fully alive right now. This moment is your only moment of being alive … one is never alive at any other time than now. And, wherever you are, one is always here … even if you start walking over to ‘there’, along the way to ‘there’ you are always here … and when you arrive ‘there’, it too is here. Thus attention becomes a fascination with the fact that one is always here … and it is already now. Fascination leads to reflective contemplation. As one is already here, and it is always now … then one has arrived before one starts. The potent combination of attention, fascination, reflection and contemplation produces apperception, 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 fascinating 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 body only, one is automatically benevolent and benign. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Appendix Four


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