A GUIDE TO ACTUALISM and ACTUAL FREEDOM
This is a site for those wishing to know more about actualism and actual freedom. Actual freedom is essentially an alternative to spiritual enlightenment. Since its discovery in the last few decades, several former spiritual seekers have gone on to become actually free. A far more comprehensive account can be found at the Actual Freedom Trust – the original website of the progenitor and pioneers of actual freedom. Simple Actualism is intended to complement the information found there and is a basic introduction to actual freedom.
Several years ago, an Australian man named Richard* chanced upon a novel method of attaining an exquisite degree of happiness and contentment. The simple method that he used, he later termed actualism. Later on, he would find a way to dwell permanently in a state of utter delight, stillness and peace – through a process of self-immolation – eradicating the self permanently and living only as a body and its consciousness. This was an actual freedom from the human condition – or actual freedom, for short.
Essentially, actual freedom is about the ending of being or feeling being – that intuited sense of who one feels oneself to be deep within – your core sense of self. While a strong sense of self may be valorised in the modern societies we live in today, if you're reading this, you probably have more than an inkling of the suffering that can spring from it.
What is being? You only have to close your eyes for a few seconds to intuit an 'I' that seems to precede even your thoughts. If not, then simply wait some minutes longer for a personal memory, a thought or an emotion to arise that points to the presence of 'you' as felt presence. 'You' as being. Further contemplation reveals that this being is comprised primarily of feelings or emotions, rather than thought. It is this pre-verbal and pre-cognitive feeling self that is the primary terrain for the practice of actualism.
The way to a spectacularly happier and serene life by way of the actualism method is anything but dark and turbulent. It is the way of gaiety, the path of happiness and harmlessness. It is the wide and wondrous path.
Although actual freedom might bear a superficial resemblance to diverse spiritual practises from South and South-East Asia that are intended to facilitate nibanna, awakening or enlightenment, they have little in common – apart perhaps that both are concerned with abolishing human suffering in a radical and irrevocable way. One key way in which they differ is by means of a focus on feelings rather than thoughts.
Pure Consciousness Experiences and Actual Freedom
One of the keys to permanent happiness is a pure consciousness experience or PCE.
These often-overlooked experiences are something that all humans experience in childhood and can even occur as an adult. In fact, if you know what to look for, you could likely remember a PCE from your life right now. The curious thing about these experiences is that they are marked by an absence of any sense of self or of feelings. In these experiences, one realises that what one considers a ‘self’ is essentially made up of feeling. In other words, feeling coalesces into the being that one considers a self. Contrary to what one would expect, the absence of feeling – and thereby of self, is experienced as remarkably freeing, delightful, gay and pleasurable. All suffering of any sort ends. The universe comes alive in all its sweet benevolent splendour. No longer is it veiled by the heady mix of feelings, be they loving, malicious or sad. The absence of feeling being, reveals what the universe is as an actuality as opposed to the grim reality that human beings walk around in, by default. The swirl of feelings that forms any man or woman’s subjective experience of ‘me’ or ‘I’ is a complete fiction. ‘Self’ evolved as an offshoot of a natural process, but it is now a vestigial remnant that can be gotten rid of as the intelligence of the human takes over from the instinctual passions.
Even though PCE’s are common and likely a universal human experience, it seems that Richard was the first person to realise their importance in ending the human condition. The PCE’s that Richard experienced were at first relatively brief. But he knew that they pointed to a way of living and experiencing the universe, that was unsurpassed. In between PCE’s, when he was once again a self with feelings, he strived to imitate actuality by getting as close as he possibly could to that state. He did this by meticulously examining his feelings and by striving to enjoy and appreciate as much as possible this moment of being alive (see This Moment in Time). He made an effort to be as happy and as harmless as possible in his feeling state, so as to imitate the Pure Consciousness Experiences. Later on, he would call this ‘The Actualism Method’.
It would take Richard several more years before he could free his body of ‘self’ once and for all. Once he had done so he called it an actual freedom from the human condition.
Who is it for?
Many of us interested in actualism started off as ‘seekers’ or meditators in Buddhist, Hindu and other traditions. We were interested in the pathways to awakening or enlightenment that those traditions offered, and became disillusioned with them for various reasons.
However, it must be said that no experience or familiarity with such practices is required. In fact due to the paradigm shift required to practise actualism – which is radically different in scope and orientation from those of ‘Eastern’ or even 'Western' enlightenment practises – an intensive meditation practice can in fact be an impediment. Anyone interested in becoming a happier person, who is willing to put in some work and has an interest in radically reappraising their conception of happiness and the ground of their own being, will benefit.
Be warned though, this is not a practice for the faint-hearted or the dilettante. It is not some kind of self-help gloss or positive psychology for living your life; for furthering all your current hopes and dreams. The goal of actual freedom is radical. Ultimately it involves self-immolation – ridding you of ‘yourself’. What this means will become clearer as you read on – well to the extent that one can understand something so radical without experiencing it. We can confirm however that the result of not having a ‘self’ is truly a magical, wonderful and freeing experience. Not anything like what you have been lead to believe by reading/watching really bad sci-fi involving lobotomised zombies!
Talking to Other Actualists
Join the Actualism Forum. We recommend an attitude of enthusiasm, openness, curiosity. Questions – even pointed and vexing ones are welcome.
Any Other Sources of Information?
The Actual Freedom Trust website is the gold standard for information about Actual Freedom. It is a massive trove of curated forum discussions, as well as the personal writings of Richard, Vineeto and Peter. The sheer size, disorganisation and rambling nature of conversations there are likely to dissuade anyone looking for a quick skim. But making yourself familiar with it over time will prove very rewarding. It is a guaranteed-to-be-accurate repository of authentic reports/ descriptions/ explanations of an actual freedom from the human condition. It is more than likely that any doubt or question that you have about actual freedom has already been asked and answered there at some point. The following pieces on the AFT website should help get you started:
An Introduction to Actual Freedom: a full introduction going into what the problem of the human condition is and its solution.
This Moment of Being Alive: details about what the actualism method is and ways to apply it
A Précis of the Method of Actualism: complete with links into the topic pages.
The Library: a list of all topic pages on the website.
Frequently Asked Questions: for general questions for somebody starting out.
Commonly Raised Objections: if you find yourself objecting to something, check here first as it has likely come up already.
Frequently Flogged Misconceptions: if you find yourself disagreeing with what is written on the website, check here first as it is likely a misconception and has been addressed already.
Searching the site
If you are curious about a topic in particular, then the best way to search the site is to take advantage of google’s highly developed search algorithm. For example, if you are interested in ‘love’, then google: site:actualfreedom.com.au love
*Richard likes to live in relative anonymity and hence only his first name is used here.