Kub933's Journal

I think it’s about time to finally start my journal. I have quite a lot of time to write lately and it’s clear that writing is both a benefit to me and potentially others.

The latest escapade with the diagram has really helped me understand the method and the tools in a way that I did not before. The main take away however has been the simplicity of it all, it is really nothing that hasn’t been mentioned over and over.

The method is enjoying and appreciating, the tools are there so I can see that it is silly for X to take away my enjoyment and appreciation and thus get back on track. That is the meat and potatoes of it all, the funny thing is looking back and seeing that I always resisted this simplicity. I wanted it to be some difficult, obscure challenge, maybe as a way to prolong myself, to remain unchanged.

The other thing was all the investigation that I did, if it could be called that! Really more often than not it was more philosophising and spiralling around in various degrees of despair and despondency. I still cannot work out if there was ANY benefit to this or not. There was a period where it seemed like I had to delve deep and ride out what came up so maybe to an extent this was necessary, if anything to be sure that I do not want to continue living in ‘reality’.

The simplicity is what stands out each day now though… Enjoy and appreciate, trace back and see what took me out. If I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed just take it steady, get to neutral and try again. I think what I also missed in the past was the process of just doing a few laps of the circuit. As in if there is a complex issue I do not need to resolve it right now, and I might not resolve it the first few attempts. I might go Good - bad - overwhelmed - neutral - good… and repeat the process as many times as it takes too chip away at something, I do not have to arrive at some earth shattering realisation on my first loop! If it is not working just set it aside, get back to feeling ok and gently nudge yourself to look at it again.

I would do this somewhat in the past but with still a very heavy focus on investigation, which was really verging on intellectualising most of the time. What I am talking about here is so much simpler, it’s more existential. It’s rooted in feeling good now, and actually seeing the silliness of having X take this away.

The past few days it seems I have been peeling away more and more layers of the belief system which has it that ‘life is a vale of tears’, actually it’s more like the layers have been falling away as something better is being discovered each moment over, something perfect.

What I am starting to find lately is that whichever way I look, whichever line of inquiry I take, I am left at the seeing that this universe is already perfect.
It is this weird and perverse agreement to remain ‘human’ (with all the beliefs and fantasies this entails) which distorts this perfection into a place of suffering.

For example I was watching top boy yesterday on Netflix, there was a scene where the main characters mother who is elderly, is beginning to struggle with health and move towards death. I can see the picture that the movie director is painting, it is the tragedy of life and the fight against the inevitability of death. It is as if the universe has done both the mother and the main character dirty by the fact of them being mortal, but how else could it be! It is as if we humans focus on a fraction of the information available and then decide to get pissed off with the universe for not living up to our self centred and limited view of how it should be. Seeing the grand scheme shows one that it could not be any other way, it is already perfect.

Furthermore what makes the situation worse, is the fantasy of ‘someplace else’, this perverse belief is what leads the main character to feel like his mother is being taken away from him and for her to feel like she is leaving them behind. None of this is actually happening but it is all responsible for the continued belief in the tragedy of life. Watching the scene play out I saw that it is only when this fantasy is dispelled completely that mortality can be seen for what it is, mortality is not a curse, being here on this planet earth is not some punishment to endure.
Writing this is I am having the flavour of the perfection that lies just outside of being ‘human’. Whenever I taste this perfection I am left with the acute reminder that I am missing out on living it fully. It’s a funny one because also ‘I’ cannot really speed the process up by wishful thinking or by getting emotionally involved. Genuine change does not go according to ‘my’ timeline.


I agree about its necessity perhaps being in ‘going there/doing that’ and seeing it not help much as being the entire utility of such action

Richard, Geoffrey, and Peter all refer to looking back at their old writings and seeing them as completely off the mark

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This is a really good example of the above:

Vineeto - exploring death & altered states of consciousness

“I said to Peter: ‘Forget about everything that I was so cock-sure about yesterday. I have no idea of anything.’”

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So I came across Actualism initially around 2010/2011 if my memory serves me right. It all started with a spectacular PCE that I had when I was walking home from school, thinking about a particularly embarrassing event which took place. Being completely sick of always feeling sad and scared ‘I’ took a different turn inside my psyche and sincerely decided to drop it all. All of a sudden I found myself catapulted into this Actual world, I immediately saw that this sorrowful and malicious person that I call ‘me’ was a psychological and psychic construct.
This led to the most astonishing sense of freedom and ease. I saw without a shadow of a doubt that nothing has ever been wrong, that the problem was ‘me’.
The PCE was brief however the palpable perfection of this universe was mind-blowing, I knew that it was my destiny to live this and that this is what I have been looking for my whole life.

Unfortunately at the time like many others I was involved with Spirituality and self help and the PCE soon devolved into an altered state of consciousness where ‘I’ came in and flooded the experience with love and compassion.

As I did not know about Actualism at the time I found what appeared to lead to that experience - Vipassana mediation. I threw myself all in, meditating everyday for hours and aspiring to become enlightened. After about 1-2 years of meditation I noticed that I was moving further and further away from the PCE. On top of that my daily life was not becoming better but rather I was further removing myself from life, something was not right.

One day when scrolling through the Dharma Overground forum I saw the Actualism sub-category and started reading out of interest. I immediately saw that what Richard was describing as his moment to moment experience was exactly what I had experienced in that monumental PCE. Actualism then became my new obsession. I had some success with applying the method initially and even had at least 2 more PCEs but somehow my committment was lacking, this was relatively early days with Actualism too and there was a lot of confusion/misinformation about the method.

I was a young kid at the time and after falling in love I decided to sack Actualism and lead a ‘normal’ life to see what it holds for me. For the next 5/6 years or so I simply pursued all the things that other people did, I pursued success, highs, good feelings, belonging, love etc. I did it in the most extreme way to find out all that life had to offer and it was all a huge emotional rollercoaster that left me insecure, anxious and deeply unhappy.

I was also doing quite a bit of recreational drugs at the time, looking for an escape. Every now and then when partying and using drugs I would get glimpses of that flavour that I experienced years ago walking back from school. I knew that it was there for my taking but I just thought that I could never do it, that it wasn’t for me to become Actually free.

Well eventually I had enough of normal life and the time was ripe to try something different. I took some LSD with my girlfriend at the time and once again found myself experiencing life with that flavour of perfection that I knew well. It was an extraordinary experience, I was looking out the window into my garden and my attention shifted to my breathing, I saw that ‘I’ wasn’t doing the breathing, it was happening of its own accord and that the same applied to life. I saw that without ‘me’ life is already perfect, it is already happening, ‘I’ am not required. And once more this brought the most astonishing sense of freedom and magic. I decided there and then that I will no longer put Actualism aside as a fantasy, that I was going to become free and this would require me to actually do it, no more delays.

Shortly after I got back to reading about and trying to comprehend the Actualism method, but this time also putting it into practice each moment over, no matter what.

I got myself signed up to the Zulip chat (the forum that was used by actualists at the time) and began posting and talking with fellow actualists. In hindsight this was a great move because it kept me in the loop, it helped to ensure that I was no longer treating Actualism as a clip on and that I was actually doing it.The second part which was very helpful was meeting in person with 2 long time Actualists and observing first hand that Actualism is sensible and down to earth and that it is for everyone. From then on I was no longer a closet Actualist and became committed to the task of freeing myself of the human condition.

This happened approximately a year and a half ago and it has been a journey like no other. The initial and even intermediate period was difficult. There was just so much standing in the way of the simple task of enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive.
Yet the committment was already made and all that was left was action.
Bit by bit I have been making my life better and purer, focusing on the task at hand each moment.

The other significant event which has led to my current success was finding a girlfriend and despite my fears of being seen as weird or crazy, deciding to be open about Actualism to her. To my surprise not long after finding out about Actualism and about what Peter and Vineeto did to demonstrate that a man and woman can live together in peace and harmony 24/7. She said the words that I never expected - “Can we be like that too”? I was taken aback at first as now I had to put my money where my mouth is, I was scared to committ to this because I was scared to admit the fact that I would have to change. That if I wanted to live with her in perfect peace and harmony I was going to have to change, but in the end I decided to face the challenge.

Looking back at my life a year and a half ago and now is always a reason to pat myself on the back because the person writing these words is nothing like the person that was at the beginning of this journey.
Firstly I now have a relationship with my partner that is so beyond what I thought was possible. Not perfect peace and harmony 24/7 just yet but certainly inching close to a virtual peace and harmony. There is so little in the way, so little to argue about, to get moody about. There is mostly just the fun and delight of spending time with my partner.

Equally with my personal life I am finally able to let go of that resentment of having to be alive. I am finally able to exist on this planet relatively free of sorrow, malice, confusion, anxiety, insecurity etc. I know there is more to do and more to discover but what I have now is way beyond what I ever found living as a ‘normal’ person, and equally way beyond what I observe all around.

There is so much that was plaguing my moment to moment existence that has simply disappeared out of my life. Looking back it is like I was living out a nightmare and now I am slowly finding that life is not a vale of tears after all.

I was always reluctant to agree with this one but life was indeed meant to be easy!


That’s an awesome story @Kub933 . I like how both our stories, and Richard’s for that matter, start with an out-of-the-ordinary PCE that we didn’t know was a PCE at the time. This is probably a common trend.

I think recreational drugs can serve as a sort of, taking you out of yourself, situation, that can cause sincere people who are already inclined in these directions, to see what is out there and go for it. But I know for sure the drugs do not cause one to go down the actualist path. Back in that period of my life I remember asking one fellow party-goer, didn’t they wish life could always be like this? And his reply was that nah, it would just get boring (!!). On another occasion I remarked to somebody else that I wondered how I can make my regular life more like this… their advice was to eat bananas because something they contain helps the body produce seratonin, or something along those lines. The lack of depth is astounding in hindsight.

Glad you shared and hope others do too :smiley: wink wink


Okay, thought it would be better if this was turned into a new thread. Nice one @Kub933. Re: psychedelics, I guess they are often the first experience as an adult one has of having one’s sense of consensus reality blown out of the water. You realise that there is more than one way to be and that can spur all manner of explorations - which for most people would go in a spiritual direction.


Yup maybe I should have also included a clarification in there that I no longer partake in recreational drugs (only very occasionally) as life is now good without them and I would not encourage their use as an aid to the Actualism method :yum: But yeah there’s no denying that those experiences took me outside of my normal worldview and showed a possibility of something else, in the long term they eventually lost their appeal however.

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Recently reading Geoffrey’s post regarding feeling good - Actualism flow diagram - #121 by geoffrey has clarified a lot of things for me. In a way what he describes is what I have been doing but I have not been able to put a name to it.

Also Srinath’s general advice to demarcate ‘being’ and continue moving towards purity (which we discussed on here a while ago) is talking about the same thing.

The way I experience it is that since I have been able to lock onto pure intent sufficiently the way I go about applying the method is primarily through allowing a movement into felicity/innocuity. This movement results in ‘my’ boundaries weakening until a purity that is outside of ‘me’ is experienced. This process happens in a spiral motion as I have mentioned previously, it is a back and forth from the depths of being with its sorrow and malice and then back into the purity.
The cool thing I am observing is that the spiral is still getting smaller and smaller. I can actually very well remember how much time was spent in the depths of ‘being’ a few months ago and how strong ‘my’ outlines were then vs now.
Actually thinking about this now it has gone past the tipping point, as in the purity is beginning to dominate and ‘being’ is now on the back foot.

The times when ‘being’ dominates with sorrow and malice are seen more and more as completely ridiculous. As in life is great but yet ‘I’ still compulsively seek to dominate, for no good reason at all. It is very much like Srinath’s writing on the Simple actualism page, like an addict wanting the last ‘hit’ of ‘being’, continually saying “just one more time”.

So there is definitely progress in that regard, the addict that is ‘me’ might be relapsing daily but the spiral is getting smaller. The one thing that is becoming clear however is that the spiral never ends until ‘I’ disappear. So this job will never reach a completion, in a sense that ‘I’ will never live in that purity completely. The last bit is unbridgeable. Claudiu’s latest diagram actually reminded me of this with the text explaining that all this is in the meantime, whilst one builds the utter confidence that self-immolation is the best thing he can do for this body and everybody.

But experientially this is as far as I know at the moment, I know by now that vainly fantasising about self-immolation and attempting to follow some step by step process will never work, it lacks sincerity.


Lots of things I keep meaning to write about and then I never get round to it so I will try to compile the recent things now.

I have realised recently a very deeply ingrained habit of second guessing myself. As in whenever I start to get anxious about something I notice that I have already looked at the situation and decided what is the most sensible way to act. The facts are already seen and a decision is already made.
Yet I notice that I must keep going back to the situation and sift through all the various morals and values to check that what I am doing is in alignment with those.

For example I was going training the other day and I was due to meet up with a training partner that has a habit of always being late, which I don’t mind at all as I will just go on the bag or take a little longer warming up. This time round I wanted to have a cigarette in the car before training and I knew that this would get me to the gym later than I had said to him.

Now I knew that he was most likely going to be late anyways, I also knew that if he had to wait for 5min he would not mind at all. So seeing those facts I knew that it was not an issue at all. Yet when I was having my cigarette I started going back and sifting through all the reasons why being late was bad, all the what ifs and all the reasons why what I am doing could be seen as wrong. The funny thing is that when I got there late he turned up after me anyways :joy: and that was not an issue either!

What I have noticed is once again the end product of years of socialisation. That at some stage in my life I was taught to question my own assessment of what is silly and sensible, I was taught to doubt my own intelligence and instead rely on the morals and values of society.

I was taught that as long as I am operating within those morals I am safe, that if someone tried to get upset with me I could say - “actually I wasn’t wrong cos I did X” as if the authority of those morals keeps me safe from the scorn of others. Even if it is all a silly game that is being played.

Operating based on my own sensible choice does not provide that group security, because now they can turn around to me and use the moral against me eg - “don’t you think it’s rude to be late? To say you’ll do one thing and then do another”?

So it became clear that at the core of all this is a fear of being punished by others, I have been noticing that almost all of my issues always relate back to this basic point, I am afraid to be punished by the group.

I will try to remember to write more but I gotta get ready so I’m not late for training and end up upsetting someone :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


I had a really cool glimpse of something this morning, something I have been working up to for a while now.

For a while now it seems like that fundamental sorrow which is part and parcel of ‘being’, has been wearing thinner and thinner.

This morning I woke up to the clear seeing that sorrow only exists in ‘me’. I always saw this to an extent but deep down ‘I’ always felt that life itself is tragic in some way.

This morning this was flipped on its head, I saw clearly that outride of ‘me’ there is no sorrow, ‘I’ had projected ‘myself’ onto the world and turned existence into tragedy. But sorrow only exists in ‘me’ and more importantly as ‘me’. Once again the utter senselessness of feeling sorrowful was highlighted.


Reading back my post it seems the missing link is clearly seeing the senselessness of ‘being’ itself.

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“seeing the senselessness of ‘being’ itself” - This is a good direction to look. I have been contemplating this the past hour or so.

There is something which I saw a few days ago, something which I have seen before. That this universe we exist in has no edges, it is the only thing which exists, it’s space stretches infinitely, we did not come from an ‘outside’ and we have nowhere else to go when we die because there is no more ‘space’ for anything other than this boundless universe.

This is why there is no tragedy, in the infinitude of this actual universe nothing at all could ever go wrong, there is no ‘loss’ that could ever happen, it is all simply here where it has always been. Nothing could ever take away from this, when I first used to get glimpses of it I would call it the ‘ultimate answer’ this is because to live this seeing each moment again would be the complete end of any sort of suffering, any ‘wrongness’, there is no greater security than to live this understanding fully.

It was a glimpse of this during my most memorable PCE years ago that set me off down this path and it is becoming clearer that this actual security is already here, available for everybody.

Bearing the above in mind, the senselessness of ‘being’ becomes more and more apparent. ‘I’ am the very sense of danger and tragedy itself and yet this body can have an actual security. ‘I’ know this because it is glimpsed every now and then, and yet ‘I’ cling onto ‘being’ sorrow and malice.

The other side to it is glimpses of the utter perfection and magic of this universe, glimpses which always lead to the same sense of wonder and delight, of a complete fulfilment in simply being here. With no outside to this universe there is no frame of reference to compare anything against, everything and everybody is seen to be perfectly what they are, the direct experience of this is simply magical.

And yet again ‘I’ would rather remain, forever separated, forever bored and lonely, and what for?

The other thing that I noticed lately is ‘my’ investment in forever believing that self-immolation is not possible, or of spinning various stories and scenarios of how actual freedom looks. The investment is a sneaky way to prolong ‘myself’, I have noticed this because whenever I start to get close I catch myself going down that path. ‘I’ simply want to remain at any cost. It reminds me of something Srinath wrote in his report of becoming free, that we humans actually work overtime to miss the actual world.

What I am starting to experience more and more is that the Actual world is so very close, this experiencing has the sense of ‘its no big deal’, as in it is just right here and ‘I’ just need to stop clawing my way in the opposite direction.

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So I have been in the process of buying my first property recently, something that I never thought I would be doing but it just makes sense as I have a lot of savings that otherwise are being used for nothing.

Doing the whole process has been super interesting because I have no clue whatsoever how this stuff works and especially as I am getting the property specifically on a buy-to-let mortgage it changes things somewhat so its been a learning curve for me. Something that would no doubt be completely overwhelming for me in the past, even now I sometimes begin to get overwhelmed when dealing with the various things that need to be sorted. But the thing I have noticed overall is the ease with which I can approach the whole thing, I am simply doing 1 thing at a time whenever the fancy takes me and when I have free time and it seems like it is all coming together! It reminds me of what Richard would often say about “having all the time in the world”.

It’s been really interesting to see that when I am overwhelmed it feels like its surely impossible to ever do all these things I need to do, and then when I am back to feeling good, allowing things to happen of their own accord it seems like there is always sufficient time and energy to get everything done and it is a pleasure to do it too!

A few days ago I noticed that this whole house thing was starting to cause me to feel anxious more and more. Looking at the situation I saw that I don’t actually need this property, that if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out it makes no difference whatsoever (in an ultimate sense). Normally my default would be to become anxious and attempt to fabricate some feeling of control over the situation, this time though I simply decided I would not go down that path.

I remembered Richards advice to put everything on a ‘it doesn’t really matter basis’ which was very helpful. Instead I focused on allowing things to happen of their own accord and having confidence that whatever needs to be done will be attended to, and that ‘I’ am not needed for any of this to happen. And more or less this is what has been happening :slight_smile:


So I woke up this morning to notice that I was experiencing myself a little differently than I normally do. Upon looking I realised that the ‘narrator’, the little talking person inside the head was largely gone. ‘I’ was still there but different, it actually reminded me of my childhood, I quickly realised that this is mostly how I experienced myself when I was young. Which also lead to realising that the ‘narrator’ is a product of socialisation.

‘he’ is forever spinning stories and narrating his own existence, within the framework of the morals, beliefs and values of society. ‘he’ is also extremely lonely as ‘he’ needs the validation of others in order to justify his own existence. This was seen because as ‘he’ stepped back there was a noticable ease and freedom from sorrow.

Right now I am more back to normal, and the weird thing is I remember in a way yearning to get back to normal, as in it was a bit too odd to have this part of me out of the picture, like ‘I’ wanted something to do. Something to do gives ‘me’ a reason to continue ‘being’, the way I was travelling was away from ‘being’.

But the cool thing is I can already tell that place I was in is very accessible. I can angle myself to find it whenever I want and that is actually the catch :grin: Why don’t I want to go back there?


There is something else that has been coming up today that I am finding helpful. It is something that Srinath has mentioned many times, that without Pure intent Actualism becomes somewhat of a morality, that something outside of ‘me’ is ultimately required to do the heavy lifting. Without it ‘I’ will forever revert back to sorrow and malice which then requires to be controlled, this can never lead to freedom.

What I am finding easier and easier now is to give way to that something each moment, I used to fight it because I somehow felt that ‘I’ needed to do it, it was some weird pride in operation. I never wanted to accept that things run smoother without ‘me’.

What I notice now is that it is completely necessary for this something outside of ‘me’ to be operant, this is because everything that comes out of ‘me’ is already tainted. Every emotional concept that ‘I’ consist of is a reflection of humanity itself, it is the expression of the human condition as ‘me’.

It has been quite fun actually to observe all these concepts that humanity has created and how they completely dominate the world, it is very subtle things like everything being a battle between good and evil, the whole concept of danger or tragedy, of us vs them, of power, of gain vs loss etc etc. Those things are ‘me’ and those things will forever circle ‘me’ back to more of the same.
They are affectively sourced constructs and have no existence outside of humanity. It is weird to explain because of course it is possible to have actual loss as in a game of chess for example but the affective concept of ‘loss’ is a whole other dimension itself, it is intuitively experienced and sourced in the passions, same as all the other concepts, and they keep reality alive, it is so freeing to be step by step ridding myself of those.

The Purity is what offers an alternative that is completely untainted, and it is available each moment.


Something more to add and this appears to be one of the reasons why this morning I was yearning to get back to normality, it is also related to these concepts falling away.

The experience lately is that truly there will be nothing left soon, those concepts continue falling away and reality is slowly fading. This is weird because ‘I’ need those things to feel normal, ‘I’ am quite afraid of going beyond all of it, because what will be left? Actuality is so different to reality, it cannot be interpreted in the terms that I have operated under my whole life. It is like everything in reality has a black and white label attached, there are these firm boundaries, actuality is nothing like this, to ‘me’ it seems somewhat empty, not in the ‘traversing the no mans land’ kind of empty with feelings of dread etc there is none of those, but there is like a hesitation.

Actually this is the answer to :


Reading this back I can see my understanding being flipped on its own head, because the above only applies from ‘my’ perspective. The fact is that there are firm boundries in the actual world, eg I am this flesh and blood body and not the tree outside.

What ‘I’ refer to when ‘I’ say no boundries is the lack of ‘my’ boundaries, of nothing being interpretable according to ‘my’ emotional concepts, this makes it appear as if there is nothing left beyond reality aka it seems empty. But there is an entire actual universe existing, it is just that ‘I’ can never put my finger on it, ‘I’ can never place it in ‘my’ box.

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This is also a fun one to contemplate. Because in Actuality there is no separation however this does not mean that ‘one is all’ as Spirituality would have it.

Somehow the Actual always manages to be the best of all alternatives haha! The universe is such that there is no separation, there is only the stuff of the universe which exists and yet it does not mean that everything is some big cosmic blob! :laughing:

There is endless variety with firm boundries and yet there is no separation or any sort of ultimate division such as the one experienced in the real world.

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I maybe don’t need to say this, but the hesitation is what forms the ‘void/empty’


These streams of thought are contagious, Kuba. This really is a fun one to contemplate. What’s remarkable is how when one starts playing with one’s perspectives one ends up playing with one’s experience. May I join in on the play? Note I won’t be trying to establish anything definite or final with these musings; none of what follows is strictly scientific, so there is liable to be errors. Point them out if you see them! This is not an attempt to mislead anyone (as if what I write is all that compelling). A suggestion to the reader: if what follows appears unbearably dry, irrelevant, or nothing more than intellectual masturbation, you may exercise the freedom to ignore it. Or don’t, it’s your call. It’s not required reading. It’s just the writer having fun with his perceptions and experiences. :thinking: Hm, so maybe this is like having a bit of a wank. :smirk: Anyways, starting from the impression you had of simultaneous “firm boundaries” with “no separation,” I’d like to change trajectory only a little, modifying the course just slightly. If that, in turn, spurs your thought processes slightly elsewhere, that’s fine. Hopefully we all come out a little bit disoriented.

I’d also like to add that this “type of play” draws inspiration from one of Richard’s “taped dialogues.” Decidedly my favorite:

Richard: For me there is no separation between the finger-tip and the brain. The finger-tip is the brain on stalks and I do not locate myself ‘out here’. To locate yourself somewhere – out on the finger-tip – is to separate oneself out from some perceived ‘whole’. You see, I do not locate myself anywhere in relation to the universe, because there is nowhere in particular to be. When one realise that being here is to be nowhere in particular, then here is anywhere at all … this is what infinite and eternal means. Now – and I have no wish to appear mystical – anywhere at all amounts to everywhere all at once.
Q(1): Mmm.
R: Put it this way: I am sitting here, on this couch. I can locate this body, locally, in reference to these walls; I am one metre from this one and three metres from that one and so on. The boundaries of this room give me a location, a position, a place in space. The physical infinity of the universe has no boundaries, so we are not ‘somewhere’ in relation to some edge. There is no edges to the universe, so there is no place ‘inside’ of ‘something’ – like this room – to be. The nature of infinitude is that to be anywhere is to be everywhere all at once, for time comes into it. Time, being eternal, has no beginning and no end. Therefore there is no middle. Just as there is no centre to the infinity of space, there is no middle in time. We locate ourselves in time, locally, in reference to yesterday and tomorrow. With infinitude, there are no reference points at all … either in space or in time. So if one says: ‘I am here. In infinitude, I could equally be there or there’ Now I am pointing to places in this room. Take the walls away, and this location does not mean anything. Therefore the phrase ‘anywhere at all’ gives the sense of a place in space and a moment in time … which is purely local. The actual experience of the infinitude of space and time is to be ‘everywhere all at once’, because all time and all space are right here … and right now. There is nowhere else but here and no time but now. Anywhere is everywhere and everywhere is anywhere.

Thank you, Richard.

Distinction & Discernment

“Firm boundaries” and “no separation.” I am sitting in a room. There is a laptop in front of me atop a small table. Looking at the laptop, I begin to pay attention to its individual components. I take notice of its keyboard. Looking at the keyboard, I discern individual keys. I’m also able to see how each key is distinct from the whole of the keyboard. On the other hand, I can’t help but notice that the keyboard is its keys, that is, there is in fact no distinction between the keys and the keyboard. Take away the keys, you also take away the keyboard; take away the keyboard, and there go the keys. It could be said then that the components and the whole are both distinct and indistinct from each other, at the same time. The hell?

How do we notice things? What does it mean to discern? To discern is to distinguish, and to distinguish is to see differences – that is, we discern a distinct object by seeing that it is different in some way from surrounding objects. Consider this: We are born into the world seeing jumbled blotches of shapes, colors and lines. To aid our survival, we are programmed to instinctively recognize and respond to a selection of these blotches (e.g., a milky tit). We come to notice how certain groups of blotches stand fixed together, or move as if united. At this point, we discern not just individual blotches, but individuated sets of blotches. Later, we learn the names given to these individuated sets of blotches, “Mama,” “Dadda,” “Ball,” “Doll,” “Green,” and so on. For the rest of our lives, we will continue dividing and uniting, grouping and individuating all the blotches in our world.

Different. Distinct. Separate. Those are words signifying the same thing. All referring to division. From etymonline.com, Different is from Latin differentem meaning "set apart,” from dis (apart)+ferre (carry), so “carry apart” or “take apart.” Distinct is from distinguere meaning “to push apart,” also containing the root dis (apart)+stinguere (prick), literally “prick/pierce apart”; and Separate is from separare meaning "to pull apart,” from se (apart) + parare (prepare, make ready). They all describe not just things but activity – setting apart, taking apart, pulling apart; actively dividing something up; taking something whole and splitting it. And isn’t that what we do when we discern something?

Discern etymologically shares the same connotations as the words above. It derives from the Latin discernere “to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive.” Discernment then is not passive, but active. It is the literal action of splitting our world apart. The exciting implication is that the pieces and things we observe around us aren’t “pre-cut”; they don’t start-off “separate.” The brain, detecting properties of objects in its environment, automatically discerns – that is, it separates – its surroundings along these “property lines” in a way that is useful or advantageous to it. Thus we are the ones actively cutting and dividing.

The Arbiter

There’s something arbitrary in all this. We (or our brains) are the arbiters, the judges, who are – automatically or manually – deciding, as a tribe or as individuals, what in our environment gets divided, and what it gets divided into. For instance, the European and the Eskimo can look upon the same set of snowflakes and separate that phenomenon in different ways. The European may discern seven types of snow, or rather, he separates “snow” into seven categories; whereas the Eskimo may discern fifty types of snow, or rather, he divides his environment even further than the European, and in a way that suits him. We discern (we separate) trees from forests, leaves from trees, forests from the rest of the land, and divide (distinguish) land from ocean.

Just as we have this “power” to separate, we have the power to integrate, to combine, merge and unite. We can organize, group and arrange. We can also “solidify” these arbitrary arrangements by marking them as “individual” (literally a non divisible). Something or someone is deemed an individual essentially because we say so. We could just as well, acting as arbiters and judges, divide something deemed indivisible into its constituent bits. Or conversely, we could take the individual, categorically arrange it with other individuals, and designate them as constituent parts of another larger individual, whose properties and boundaries we also define and delineate. We can go back and forth, from the individual forest to individual trees, and then vice versa, all by adjusting our criteria and perspective.

The Cosmos

Shall we apply this “power” to take a trip across the universe? We can achieve this by doing nothing more than playing with perspectives, boundaries and categories. All we need to do is be here, and contemplate what that means. Our arbitrary powers allow us not only the ability to define blotches, but to define the limits of this place. Here extends as close or as far as we want. Here can be the edge of our seat, the walls of our room, the exterior of our home, the boundaries of our town, the borders of our country, the exosphere of our planet, the fringes of our solar system, the outer spirals of our galaxy, and on and on, to the ends of infinity. Why not? By being here, in a snap, we can be anywhere and everywhere in the cosmos.

Point to yourself. Where are you pointing at? Is it your chest? Well, then that’s not yourself, that’s your chest. Or is it not the same thing? Point to the device you are using right now (pc, mobile or whatever). Did you point to the screen? Is that the device or is that the screen? Are they not the same thing? Now, point to the planet earth. Where did your finger land? Was it the floor, a TV, a car, a beach, a rock, yourself? Whatever it was, it was the earth. (The things that make up this planet are not just on this planet, they are this planet.) Same happens when you point to the Milky Way Galaxy. Wherever you point, that will be the Milky Way. Finally, point to the universe. Same thing happens. The universe is here, it’s there, it’s inside, it’s outside. There is nowhere and nothing you can point to that is not the universe. It has no boundaries.

We discovered that we have the “power” to take all these bits, pieces, and parcels we encounter, slice them off from the rest of the universe, and call it “rock,” or “me,” or “you,” or “truck,” or “planet.” We can slice out ever larger individual systems, complexes, and structures. No ceiling, no limit to how big a single “thing” can be or what it can include. In a sense, limits are entirely arbitrary, which means, in actuality, there are none. Boundaries are somehow completely fixed yet completely flexible.