Richard's Personal Web Page
(Uploaded wirelessly to the World Wide Web from a solar-powered notebook)
I am retired, on a pension, and the senescent genitor of four offspring from my first marriage (generating over a dozen grandchildren and a great-grandchild) all long-time adults scattered far and wide and living their own lives. These days I reside in a ready-made retreat – which could be described, somewhat simplistically, as a two-roomed cabin (or three if a closet-size bathroom will qualify as a room) with a rooftop sundeck and a small front veranda – on the Richmond River, in the Northern Rivers area of the eastern seaboard of Australia, where my days can be lived-out in a paradisaical sub-tropical obscurity.
My compact abode is somewhat removed from mainstream utilities in that there is no permanent internet connection (no telephone cable), thus necessitating a mobile phone to connect wirelessly, with electric power coming primarily via photovoltaic cells (with a back-up portable generator) and bottled liquid petroleum gas to fuel the stove ... and so on, and so forth, through a range of items such as a low-power notebook computer, plus a miniscule-power hand-held, along with a small twelve-volt LCD television set and minimal-power LED lighting, for instance.
I have an affinity for the remote lifestyle as I was born and raised on a dairy farm in the south-west of this country (my progenitors were pioneer settlers carving a farm by hand out of virgin forest and sowing grasslands for animal husbandry). In that context I had a normal birth and upbringing (a bucolic lifestyle); I was educated in a normal state-run school (the dux of the class); took a typical occupation at age fifteen (full-time farming); volunteered for a six-year stint in the military at seventeen (in a water-transport unit); served my time in an overseas war at nineteen (on an army landing ship); entered into a commonplace marriage upon my return (a knobstick wedding); had a regular family, just as most peoples do. and, although I had about forty-to-fifty different jobs at odd times during my working life my main occupation, having obtained a tertiary education in the fine arts in my late-twenties, was as a practicing artist (mainly in ceramics) and a part-time art teacher.
As both a boy and as a youth I personally used hand-held axes and cross-cut saws to help cut down the trees to make pasture land; I was involved in the fencing and ploughing and sowing and harvesting; I hunted game in the forest and helped raise domesticated animals; I tended the gardens and orchards and crops; I assisted in building sheds (barns) and outhouses from forest timber and learned improvisation from the ingenuity required in ‘making do’ with minimal commercial supplies. There was no plumbing; no sewage, no telephone and no electricity – I went to bed with a candle and to the outdoor latrine with a kerosene lamp – thus no computer, no television, no videos, no record players, no freezer, no electric kitchen gadgets and etcetera.
The pioneering lifestyle gave me a vast experience with animals – domesticated creatures such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, geese, ducks and chickens plus the wild species which include kangaroos, emus, dingoes, foxes, rabbits, eagles, crows, magpies, pigeons and quail – quite a few of which I slaughtered, skinned and dressed with my own hands. Stalking game for the table made me keenly aware of feral behaviour and raising livestock for a living necessitated an eye for the detail of the creature’s daily practice. I observed animal action and demeanour, ascertaining how a creature is likely to perceive the world in relation to itself and others, and knew from a very early age that human beings are fundamentally no different, in regards to instinctive behaviour, despite their unique ability to be both aware of being sentient and reflective of thus being conscious.
There never was a ‘nature versus nurture’ riddle for me to solve in this respect; the human animal was demonstrably born with blind nature’s instinctual passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) just like the other animals were. On many an occasion I have seen cows ‘spooked’ and then stampede, in what must be described as hysteria, and bulls displaying what can only be labelled aggression; I have discerned birds putting into practice what can only be characterised as nurture; I have watched many animals exhibiting what must be specified as fear; I have witnessed carnal behaviour which can only be classified as desire; I have noticed dogs acting in a way which can only be called pining; I have oft-times observed a cat toying with a mouse in a manner which can only be dubbed cruel and, these days, I can tune into documentaries on this very topic.
Only recently a television series was aired again about observations made of chimpanzees over many, many years in their native habitat and I was able to identify fear, aggression, territoriality, civil war, robbery, rage, infanticide, cannibalism, nurture, grief, group ostracism, bonding, desire, and so on, being displayed in living colour. I have also read accounts, such as in a National Geographic article of chimpanzees in the wild, in which Ms. Jane Goodall uses words such as ‘war and kidnapping, killing and cannibalism’ and ‘affectionate and supportive bonds’ and ‘pleasure, sadness, curiosity, alarm, rage’ and ‘chimpanzees are creatures of extremes: aggressive one moment, peaceful the next’ when describing what she observed over twenty-plus years.
These matters were of interest to me because, as a child, a youth and a young man, I was particularly sensitive in comparison with my then peers – I felt everything keenly, acutely – and was easily hurt by others and had difficulty hurting anyone or anything. I always preferred the company of females to males anytime – boys pulling wings off flies at grade school sickened me to the stomach – and all the killing I did as a farmer’s son was quick and efficient in that I ensured it was as painless as is possible (I have no objection to killing per se). The rough and tumble of typical manly pursuits, such as competitive sports, did not interest me at all and I often felt like a fish out of water during my six years in the military.
What was of specific interest, of course, was why peoples were the way they are. For instance, on the arrival of a grandmother from the city, for a once-yearly visit during the festive season, her white-haired features would be soft and pink – she exuded a palpable warmth and affection – as she swept me up in a welcome embrace, yet, on the next day (due to some infraction all toddlers are prone to) that loving face was as if it had never been manifest. Contorted in conspicuous severity and antagonism – she radiated a palpable coldness and abhorrence – as she berated me, in no uncertain terms, those white-haired features were harsh and purpled. Those steely eyes and spittled lips, both frightening and bewildering, made mockery of nature’s nurturance.
Another example: upon being enthusiastically introduced to a new game called cricket – with the aim being to prevent three sticks from getting knocked over – I eagerly took up position as instructed, with bat ready in anticipation of what seemed to be an eminently sensible sport, as my inspirer bowled his first ball at me. Now, a cricket ball impacting bodily at great force is very painful indeed, yet, as I assumed it to be a miscalculation and tossed it back, the next ball impacted even more severely. The third instance, and the look of tangible glee on the bowler’s features, disabused me of any notion of accident and left me with the desolate realisation that my fellow human was out to hurt me ... deliberately and with malice aforethought.
It was starkly obvious then, even as a pre-schooler, that we humans were not on this planet to have a good time together; to be kind to each other at all times and always help one another out, if in error, in a friendly manner.
My adult questioning of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being all started in a war-torn country in 1966 at age nineteen where a religious man killed himself in a most gruesome way. There was I, a callow youth dressed in a jungle-green soldier’s uniform and with a loaded rifle in my hand, representing the secular way to peace. There was a fellow human being, dressed in a saffron-orange monk’s robes dowsed with petrol and with a cigarette lighter in hand, representing the mystical way to peace.
I was aghast at what we were both doing ... and I sought to find a third alternative to being either secular or spiritual.
This was to be the turning point of my life for, up until then, I was a typical western youth; raised to believe in a cultural ‘God, Queen and Country’ ethos. Humanity’s inhumanity to humankind – society’s treatment of its subject citizens – was driven home to me, there and then, in a way which left me appalled, horrified, terrified and repulsed to the core of my being with a sick revulsion. I saw how no one knew what was going on and – most importantly – how no one was ‘in charge’ of the world. There was nobody to ‘save’ the human race insofar as all gods and goddesses were but a figment of a feverish imagination.
Out of a despairing desperation, which was collectively shared by my fellow humans, I saw and understood how I was as ‘guilty’ as anyone else. For in me – as is in everyone – was both ‘good’ and ‘bad’; it was that some people were better than others at controlling their ‘dark side’. However, in a war, there is no way anyone can consistently control any longer ... evil (aka malice) ran rampant. I saw how fear and aggression and nurture and desire ruled the world and, already knowing that these were the instinctual passions one was born with, thus started my search for freedom from the ‘Human Condition’. My attitude, all those years ago, was this:
I was only interested in changing myself fundamentally, radically, completely and utterly.
In late 1979, after flying with my then-wife and then-children to the west coast of this continent for a family reunion, I had the first of what would turn out to be many experiences of pristine purity during that ten-day vacation. Upon disembarking from the aeroplane, whilst walking across the hot tarmac to the terminal, a noticeable shift happened in the nape of the neck (the base of the brain/the top of the brainstem) and everything was all-of-a-sudden perfect; an immaculate perfection of such a nature as to be inconceivable/unimaginable and incomprehensible/unbelievable were it not being directly experienced.
Moreover, in actuality everything already had been, and always would be, perfect.
The memory of those pristine moments would have gradually faded back into faraway realms, as befitting a vacationer’s idyll, were it not for a memorable perfection experience – indelibly imprinted into my memory – a scant six months later which lasted for four exquisite hours. I was struck with the comprehension of this being what I had been looking for all my life (even though I did not know, earlier, it had been what I was looking for) when travelling the country, going from job-to-job, searching for the ideal place, the ideal occupation, the ideal colleagues and all the rest which constitutes such chimerical pursuits.
More to the point, in actuality the meaning to life already had been, and always would be, apparent.
It was manifestly clear how nothing was ever amiss – in a universal sense – whilst this paradise was apparent; everything was clean and pure; flawless and faultless; spotless and blameless; impeccable and unimpeachable. Speaking in the context of the only esoteric language I knew then (due to my cultural background) I would say, to anyone prepared to listen, that everyone has got it wrong because nobody has to physically die to get to heaven; that eternity was just here right now because, as it was already always happening, it cannot cease at physical birth and recommence at physical death after a seventy-plus year interregnum.
In other words, time itself had no duration in actuality; it already had been, and always would be, this moment.
It is events which change, not time; just as objects exist and move in an infinite and thus static space, events exist and change in an eternal and thus stationary time. ‘Twas no wonder various peoples had reported how ‘time stood still’ in exigent situations and circumstances; it never did move, in actuality, nor ever would. Furthermore, as matter per se (be it either mass or energy) is of a perdurable nature – neither created nor destroyed – the universe is a veritable ‘perpetuum mobilis’ ... absolute in its infinitude.
Those who were prepared to listen, the various people I have discussed these matters with at length, have invariably recalled similar perfection experiences – most common in childhood – and which are sometimes referred to as a ‘nature experience’, a ‘peak experience’, a ‘jamais vu experience’, or even an ‘aesthetic experience’. I could recall similarly having perfection experiences myself, on many an occasion while growing up, where 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 extensive periods 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 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.
In 1981, as the new year dawned, I took the first step on what I would later choose to call the wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition. I was a family man with four children, then, and their grandmother had offered to have all of her grandchildren stay with her in the city for a three week holiday (which left my then wife and myself together, on our own, for the first time since the birth of the first child). I grasped the opportunity with both hands to, not only regain the honeymoon intimacy of 1966, but to enable the actual intimacy experienced six months prior during the four-hour perfection experience which had indubitably evidenced that peace-on-earth was already always here. What I set about doing, consciously and with knowledge aforethought, was to deliberately imitate the actual – as magically manifested in that perfection experience – each moment again.
I did everything I could to be as happy and harmless (free of sorrow and malice) for as much as is humanly possible. This was achieved by first putting everything on a it-does-not-really-matter basis. That is, I would prefer people, things and events to be a particular way but, if it did not turn out like that, it did not really matter for it was only a preference. I chose to no longer give other people – or the weather – the power to make me annoyed, irritated, irked, or even peeved, if that was possible.
Then, as it was patently obvious in those perfection experiences how this very moment of being alive is the only moment of ever actually being alive, I began to treat each moment again as precious. After all, it is not as if we have an unlimited amount of moments and – unlike a bank account which can be replenished – our supply of such moments is our most valuable (albeit dwindling) asset. In practical terms this meant being aware of how each precious moment was being experienced; if feeling good (felicity and innocuity) was the prevailing experience then this attentiveness ensured enjoyment and appreciation, of the sheer fact of being alive, each moment again; if feeling bad (unhappy and harmful) was the prevailing experience then whatever had displaced feeling good became readily apparent, upon such attention, with so much at stake.
Once the specific moment of ceasing to feel good was pin-pointed, and the silliness of having such an incident as that (no matter what it was) take away the exquisite enjoyment and appreciation, of this only moment of actually being alive, was seen for what it was – usually some habitual reactive response – I was once more felicitous and innocuous and, what is more, aptly armed with a pin-pointed cue to watch out for, on the next occasion, so as to not have that trigger off yet another bout of the same-old same-old.
By being relentlessly attentive to, each moment again, and scrupulously honest about, how that only moment of ever being alive was experienced (so that any deviation from such felicity and innocuity was attended to with the utmost dispatch) it rapidly became more simpler and much easier to live peacefully and harmoniously with my then-wife and then-children, in particular, and with anyone and everyone who came into my presence. And this way of living was so successful I was wont to exclaim to all and sundry, then, about how I had discovered the secret to life (for that is how far beyond normal human expectations the felicitous/innocuous state, which I nowadays call being virtually free, truly is) and I recall being perplexed as to why, it being such a simple and easy thing to do, nobody had ever done it before.
Including myself, of course.
Because the felicitous and innocuous feelings are in no way docile, lack-lustre feelings; in conjunction with sensuosity they make for an extremely potent combination as – with all of the affective energy channelled into being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible (and no longer being frittered away on sorrow and malice or their redressive hand-maidens love and compassion) – the full effect of ‘me’, the feeling entity at the core of ‘being’ itself, is dynamically enabled for one purpose and one purpose alone.
Such imitative felicity and innocuity, in concert with sincerity and sensuosity, readily evokes amazement, marvelment and delightsomeness – a state of wide-eyed wonderment best expressed by the word naiveté (the nearest an identity can come to innocence whilst being an entity) – and which allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude, which this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is, to operate more and more freely. This magnipotent munificence, an intrinsic largesse which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness, will do the rest.
All what is required is cheerful, and thus willing, concurrence.
It was great fun and very, very rewarding along the way. My life became cleaner and clearer and more and more pure as each habitual way of living life was consciously eliminated through constant exposure to the bright light of awareness shining its attentiveness into every nook and cranny of the psyche. Eventually, I invited the actual by granting myself permission to having the controls be let go of and thus giving way to this moment living me (rather than me trying to live in the moment). I became the experience of the doing of this business of being alive; the ‘beer’ and no longer the ‘doer’. Finally, my days as a persona non grata were numbered; I could hardly maintain myself (as an affective entity); soon my time as a feeling being would come to an end. An inevitability set in and a thrilling momentum took over ... my psychological and psychical demise became imminent.
Since 1992 I have been actually freed from the human condition; consistently and irrevocably so. I use the word actually because this factual manumission is located in the physical dimension, this actual world of sensate experiencing. It is not an affective, cognitive or intuitive state of being/altered state of consciousness; it is a physical condition which ensues when identity in toto/the entire affective faculty is expunged, extirpated.
(By the words the-identity-in-toto I mean both ego (aka self) and soul (aka spirit) – or ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) – and by the words the-entire-affective-faculty I mean all of the emotions and passions as well as its epiphenomenal psychic facility. They have all vanished, utterly, leaving me both blithe and benign – carefree and harmless – which leads to a most remarkable state of affairs: only this actual world, the sensate world, exists and the real world, the affective world, has no existence in actuality).
Consequently, I am a fellow human being, nowadays living in an incomparable condition of pristine perfection and peerless purity, offering my experience to whomsoever is interested.
We are all fellow human beings who find ourselves here in the world as it was when we were born. We find war, murder, torture, rape, domestic violence and corruption to be endemic; we notice that it is intrinsic to the human condition; we set out to discover why this is so. We find sadness, loneliness, sorrow, grief, depression and suicide to be a global incidence – we gather it is also inherent to the human condition – and we want to know why. We all report to each other as to the nature of our discoveries for we are all well-meaning and seek to find a way out of this mess we have landed in. Whether one believes in resurrection/reincarnation, or not, we are all living this particular life for the very first time and we wish to make sense of it. It is a challenge and the adventure of a life-time to enquire and to uncover, to seek and to find, to explore and to discover. All this being alive business is actually happening and we are totally involved in living it out; whether we take the back seat or not, we are all still doing it.
In spite of the fact that every single human being has had at least one perfection experience – and usually more – in their lifetime it is strange, to the point of being weird, bizarre, that so many persons will turn their backs on the pristine purity of being here at this place in infinite space at this moment in eternal time as this form of perdurable matter/energy (this flesh and blood body only). Here in this actual world of the senses, which is where flesh and blood bodies are living anyway, is the peace-on-earth which everyone says they are searching for. All what is required is that one comes to one’s senses – both literally and metaphorically – and spend the rest of one’s life without malice and sorrow. One will then be blithe and benign.
It is, of course, a bold step to forsake lofty thoughts, profound feelings and psychic adumbrations and enter into the actuality of life as a sensate experience. It requires a startling audacity to devote oneself to the task of bringing about a mutation of consciousness. To have the vital interest in applying oneself, with the diligence and perseverance born out of pure intent, to the patient dismantling of one’s acculturated social identity, then to the cheerful extirpation of identity in toto, indicates a strength of purpose and courage of conviction unequalled in the annals of history. It is no little thing to do and it has enormous consequences, not only for one’s own well-being, but for humankind as a whole. With more and more outbreaks of individual peace-on-earth, in the due course of events, global peace-on-earth would revolutionise humanity at large.
It would be a free association of peoples world-wide; a utopian-like loose-knit affiliation of like-minded individuals. One would be a resident of the world, not a citizen of a sovereign state. Countries, with their artificial borders, would vanish along with the need for the military. As nationalism would expire, so too would patriotism with all its heroic evils. No police force would be needed anywhere on earth; no locks on the doors, no bars on the windows. Jails, judges and juries would become a thing of the dreadful past; terror would stalk its prey no more. People would live together in peace and harmony, pleasure and delight. Pollution and its cause – over-population – would be set to rights without effort, as competition would be replaced by cooperation. It would be the stuff of all the pipe-dreams come true.
But none of this matters much when one is already living freely in the actual world. With an actual freedom from the human condition, life is experienced as being perfect as-it-is, here on earth, in this lifetime. One intimately knows every body is living in a beneficent and benevolent universe ... and that is what actually counts. The self-imposed iniquities which ail the peoples who stubbornly wish to remain denizens of the real world, the world of the affections, fail to impinge upon the blitheness and benignity of one living in the vast scheme of things. The universe does not force anyone to be happy and harmless, to live in peace and ease, to be free of sorrow and malice. It is a matter of personal choice as to which way one will travel. Human beings, being as they are, may very well continue to tread the ‘tried and true’ paths, little realising they are the tried and failed ways. There is none so contumacious as a self-righteous soul (spirit/being) who is convinced they know the way to live as revealed in either their ancient and revered scriptural tracts or their progressive and esteemed humanist disquisitions.
So be it.
I live in peace and tranquillity, beholden to none. With no loyalty to bind me, I have nothing to defend. With nothing to defend I have no need to attack. I have no sense of mission to ‘change the world’. I am not driven by either humanistical or mystical forces to evangelise, to proselytise, to convert. If anyone is genuinely interested in finding out what the meaning of life is, I am only too happy for my words to facilitate their enquiry. Nevertheless, I can only be of assistance to those who wish to be aided in the only way I can be of help. I am free to be here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. Unadorned and unencumbered, I stand on my own two feet, owing allegiance to nobody at all and nothing whatsoever. I am supremely content with life, as-it-is, for perfection can be found where others find only imperfection ... and I have no desire to change anything. To be here, intimately here at this moment in time, where this actual world is such a marvellous place to be alive, is a satisfaction and fulfilment unparalleled in the chronicles of antiquity.
There is an actual intimacy between this body and that body and every body and every thing; an actual intimacy is a direct experiencing of all other as-they-are or as-it-is. I am living a superb life; and it is a well-earned superb life, too. Nothing has come without application – apart from serendipitous discoveries because of pure intent – and I am reaping the rewards which are plentiful and deliciously satisfying. An actual intimacy frees one up to a world of factful splendour, based firmly upon sensate and sensual delight. The candid and unabashed sensorial enjoyment of being this body in the world about is such a luscious and immediate experience.
The search for meaning amidst the debris of the much-vaunted human hopes and dreams and schemes has come to its timely end. To be the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing freedom and ease. Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful harmony and serenity. Life is intrinsically significant; the meaning of life lies openly all around. Being this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it as I breathe it in and out. What is more is that 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. Only ‘being’ itself (the-identity-in-toto/the-entire-affective-faculty) was standing in the way of significance.
This is an actual freedom from the human condition. It is possible to be actually free, here on earth, as this body, in this life-time.
Richard’s Text ©1997-. All Rights Reserved.