This month's contents:
Peace of Mind Despite Success (part 7) by Richard Rose | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Scale by Shawn Nevins | Preface to Experience & Philosophy by Franklin Merrell-Wolff | Spiritual Ecology by Bob Fergeson | Trace Your Roots by Bob Cergol | An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce | Humor | Reader Commentary
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~ From a 1984 talk in Akron, Ohio—Conclusion
(continued from the May 2004 TAT Forum)
The blueprint is harmonious—if you don't mind the fact of the predators and the victims, the pageantry of eat and be eaten, in the beautiful world. Everything's being eaten and destroyed and killed and slaughtered, etc. Still, it's a very beautiful pattern. The grass is green in the spring because a lot of things die.
But—I think the pain [Rose is referring to the pain in his head that preceded his self-realization, as described in the previous installment - Ed.] basically comes from physical reaction to the mind being taken out or disconnected from the body, that's all.
Of course, when I tried to find somebody who knew something about it, I looked for years. I found very little mention of it except in St. John of the Cross. I don't know how far John of the Cross went—he had an illumination when he was in prison. But a lot of people have had the different illuminations. Under stress—times of death, sometimes before a firing squad—it will happen. In times of tragedy, thinking is forced; you have to think about it, and the mind is opened up.
But there was physical pain. I got out of the body far enough—the circulation in the head might have been down, I don't know. And people have asked me this, but I never thought to time it. I don't know how long I was out. I was alone at the time, and....
Questioner: Was there pain when you came back into your body?
Rose: The pain was when I was leaving. The pain got so intense that I left my body.
Q: I have astral-projected and never experienced any pain.
R: See, this is something a little different I think from astral projection. Because I have projected astrally and didn't have too much trouble. But this seemed to be something tremendously different. Most astral projection, if you notice, is limited to the geography here.
Q: About losing your ego—the ego that you're talking about is your will to survive, or your life. You left your life—something happened, and you died. That's the difference between astral projection and this.
R: The thing that I faced, number one, was—I had a lot of little, real lousy, egos that I was trying to put across at the time. But also in the process, when I was sitting there and I knew that death was approaching, I had to face the fact, very quickly, that all of a sudden I was going to be possibly zero.
In a natural death, when a person dies slowly, they go through that change. And I went through it rapidly. I accepted death, knowing that very possibly it could be zero. You have no choice. Any bit of protoplasm—animals do the same thing when they realize that they're going to be killed. Nature has the sedative.
Q: This was a mental thing that happened to you, and you mentally accepted the fact that you were dying. It felt reasonable to you because this is what life is about.
R: Yes. The total absurdity of one and the inescapability of the other. Everything just like dominoes—the whole thing went down very rapidly.
Q: You just can't do that on the spur of the moment; certain things have to fall into place.
R: I couldn't bring it about, no. I don't particularly think that I'd care to.
I know there's a difference between whether I astrally stepped out of my body and went to see somebody I knew. (That would be a nice little trip, but I would say also that a bus ticket is cheaper.) It's not as traumatic. To go through this—you can't plan it—there's no way you can plan it—because you'd have to put yourself in a state of mind in which you would be beyond relativity, beyond concern.
One time it happened after that, and it just came upon me like a flash. It didn't last too long because it wasn't traumatic. It was traumatic in that I saw very clearly all the people that I really cared for on this earth as not making it. I knew that certain ones weren't going to make it, they were going to be stuck in the illusion. My own family. And there was a lot of sadness in that, because naturally you'd like to take your family.
Q: What do you mean, not making it? Here in this life?
R: I find that there are different levels of people. And the best explanation I ever got for them was in Gurdjieff's system. He was what I consider one of the greatest psychologists that ever came out of the Western world. He died in 1949. He had a tremendous psychology. He found his through a prefect psychology as well.
He classified people as being instinctive, emotional, intellectual, or philosophic. He had seven classes, but he stopped describing them in detail at the philosophic. Man number seven he said was the perfect man—meaning that man was either in tune with the Absolute or his highest state of development.
We go through the different realizations. We start off—most of the people around, in the pyramid of life—all life is pyramidal in form. The common element is the greatest—the instinctive people are the greatest in number. There are very few of the philosophic people.
So what happens is—there are corresponding spiritual states. You hear of all these different things that happen to people after death. And they happen in tune with the particular type of person having them. An instinctive person seemingly never has a eureka experience, a satori, or samadhi.
First of all, you can't talk to them. They don't want to hear anything—except "Where can I get another drink?" or "Are there any girls down that way?" Sex, pleasure, accomplishment, raising hell, adventure—that sort of thing.
Now I had one of those fellows talk to me on the street. And I always figured this, because they don't care to talk about anything about life after death. It seems like they're afraid of it. As well as having you stamped as being a fanatic or a nut, rather than listen to you. So you don't talk to them; you don't try.
I remember this one fellow, somehow he had heard—maybe somebody told him I'd written a book or something—he walked up to me in this little town where I was born. And he said, "Hey, Dick, I got a feeling you know something about this stuff: What happens to a person after they die?"
And I said to him, "You just had a heart attack about six months ago, I heard. You're the fellow who should know." And I said, "What happened to you?"
He said, "Nothing. Nothing." He said, "When I came back, the only memory I had was of being obliviated. I was out."
Now what transformation occurs to an instinctive person during this evolutionary thing to where they get a little curiosity-hunger? There's a little saying that you've wandered away like a child from home, the house of the Father. And he can't bring you back alone, you've gotten out too far. There has to be some generation of desire, hunger, nostalgia for the old homeplace. So you start back—and if you start, you get some more momentum.
The next step above the instinctive person is the emotional person, which I call the emotional/devotional level. The implementation is forgetting the self, forgetting their selfish pleasures, thinking of somebody else, falling in love, thinking of your wife and children, or your husband and children, more than yourself.
This is a step upward from the instinctive person—the only step that you can go through. Or, falling in love with Jesus. Or falling in love with an ideal. But, regardless, getting some focus beyond yourself, quit thinking about yourself and pleasure. I've heard men say that when they could no longer enjoy sex they wanted to be dead. And every time I'd hear it, I'd say, "When I have to depend on that—I want to be dead." I don't consider this animal life anything to be snorting about for the next few decades.
This is the same with both male and female, this dedication to something beyond that physical vanity and love of pleasure. When those people approach death, invariably those people devoted to their parents and children—all you have heard some accounts—what is it when they die? Who appears? Mother appears; grandfather appears—they reach over, pull them across a little gap. Because this was the bond of love.
But—why? Where are those people? They're in a relative dimension. In other words, they are separate from those people. These people, finally, after so long—for instance, I've known people who for twenty years were in a Jesus movement and then suddenly spring loose from it. "I've got to go back to the drawing board again—I think maybe I've missed something." Their intuition comes to life again: "Better start looking."
So they get into astrology, numerology, the kabbalah—and apply the intellect. That's the intellectual person. So after so much of that, they start to see patterns—blueprints, possibilities, an order in the universe. In which they are a happy part. They transcend the emotional stage, and they find that they're able to approach this, understand it, work with it on the logical, intellectual level.
The kabbalah is a very logical thing, and through studying the kabbalah, supposedly people find great wisdom. Great wisdom, not great being. That’s the eureka experience. The word satori is synonymous with the eureka experience. That’s the Japanese Zen word for their achievement. So, after a while, people get tired of that. The people who die in that state of mind are a category of death experiences. All these things are written up by Moody, Kubler-Ross, and a lot more, and fall into these categories.
There are people who are visited by their relatives, people who see geometric figures or vistas. The next one is people who see like a psychedelic world-creation—that's Bucke's experience [Richard Bucke, author of Cosmic Consciousness]. He said the city of Montreal was lit up with a rose color—no one saw it but him. But the whole sky was transformed. And that was before the days of LSD.
So this is the result of the outgoing or liberation from this logic. Because logic is vanity. There is no truth in logic. It only applies to the orderly way electrons pile on electrons. It's a small-r reality. A small-t truth. Science. Which in it’s totality is illusion. So after the person realizes the possibility of illusion, he goes out again as I did. Looking you-don’t-know-where now. You realize you've been dealing with vanity. You've fattened up your head. You're seeking to solve this with your logical mind, and you find out you can't. So you don't know where to look. And that's the reason the last four or five years I was just looking any place I could. I looked under any and every rock. Any place. Listen to people, go out and travel, see phenomena, see if you could tie something together with these different phenomena you run into—healing, miracles, and so on.
But by that persistence, even though you have no objective—it's better that you don't have an objective—then you reach the philosophic realization. This is samadhi.
Now those people don't see relatives. In fact, in the back of The Albigen Papers this is written up—what I wrote when I came back from it, in which I lamented when I came down that I had lost the friends of my youth. Everything, relatives and everybody—there was nothing, none of them were there. I felt that the world had melted, and that was the cause of a lot of the anguish as I went into it. I was describing the feelings as I approached it. Everything went.
Now the world wasn't a beautiful place. The world was as it is. All beauty is a projection. It's first of all the degree of refraction by which light bounces off protoplasm. But it's also basically a projection. We have certain impulses, and then we see what we want to see. Like the man on the desert island—when he sees a cow, it becomes a beautiful woman. That's the downfall of a lot of people.
Q: When someone dies, like the emotional man, does he stay there?
R: I really don't know how long the hangup occurs. I don't know whether they come back—some teachers say they come back, they have to come back here before they make the next jump. Someone asked Buddha that, in the Buddhist anecdotes, where people went when they died. And he said that people of a certain religion—when followers of Confucius die, they'll go to Confucius, and the Buddhists will go to the family of the Buddha. And whatever they're attracted to, dedicated to, whatever they believed in, is what they'll find.
And this has led some people to come to the conclusion that you went toward your desire, to a point where there were different religions. One of them was even called the desire region. There's a class of spiritualists—a fellow by the name of Curtiss wrote this up in a book, but I notice that some Theosophical writings hit the same chord—that a person, if they believe something—once this illusion melts—the only thing that happens is the collective creation of a homing place for them to converge on.
For instance, I was always amazed—if you look at these case histories of people who cross over—there was one I quote from in 1974—a fellow died in a car. They pronounced him dead. He was out for about two hours, and they revived him. He had been an agnostic before; he had no belief. He didn't see anybody, but he said he found himself in a place. And he was convinced of it's reality. He said there were no people there, but there was a place, he had landed in a place. [See "I Died at 10:52 AM," by Victor Solow, in the December 2003 TAT Forum.]
So I think sometimes that we have to free ourself—in order to actually be a more vital part of the human family, we have to free ourselves from this clinging. We have to be it without clinging. I don't think we lose anybody in death, on any plane. But I think there's an unnecessary huddling together probably for another period of time, that's all.
But these experiences correspond with the types of people. Maybe it's all they can conceive. Take all of the people sitting here, and supposing you were about to die, and you had an absolute experience. How could you even survive in it? This is the difficulty. Without the necessary change of being, there is no comprehension. In other words, you have to become absolute to actually—it's like going to China without knowing any Chinese: you're lost.
And what we're doing, all of you are sitting there now probably asking questions, trying to relate to it. You can't relate to it. You can't relate with the mundane mind to it. You can say, "Well, these are case histories of things that happened." But to transcend this, to get beyond this....
Even the dead person—suppose a dead person wants to communicate with you. What they have to do is build a picture in your relative mind—and I don't know how much trouble they would have to go through to do this—they would have to build a picture in your mind of relative scenery, with them in the relative scenery. And then you'll say, "Grandpa's alive. I had a dream about him that was very real." But he had to create something that would be familiar to your relatively confused mind.
So with that type of confusion we are rooted in the necessity for the mundane dictionary definitions. Everything has to rest on terra firma. And that limits the understanding.
And if you were projected into it, I presume you would be totally lost. That's my presumption. If you weren't prepared for it, you'd be totally lost. So the whole thing is—if we all go to the same place just by jumping off the cliff—let's all get to the cliff real quick and get it over with. Because it seems to be a much better place to be.
But I think there's an advantage in life. I think there's an advantage. If life brings us an experience in which we're able to talk the language when we cross over—that language over there, not this; this doesn’t matter—then life becomes worthwhile.
I think the majority of you—what I pick up from you—the majority of you have felt that this life is not worth that much, as we previously set the values. The previously set values were not worth that much. There is something worth a tremendous lot more.
Life could be put to a tremendously better use than going down to the bowling alley every weekend, or going dancing, surfing, skiing, whatever. Even cocaine: Kennedy lived high, but I don't think he got the definition. [David Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy, died of a cocaine overdose in 1984.]
(Discussion of meetings, etc., followed.)
© 1984 Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.
Rising water, falling leaves —
Rising and falling,
Love is: walking out a door
I never remember Reality.
I won't be long.
I've made a mess of the world.
The cock crows
If I could speak
Interspersed among the moments of your life
Your belief in a unique destiny for your self—that you are a lover, warrior, hero, or devil; wise man or sly man; manipulator and ruler; guide, martyr, or watcher of fools—betrays your hubris. To loosen the bonds of belief, look:
"According to the latest scientific estimates, the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and the first living things appeared about 3.9 billion years ago. Imagine the complete panorama of the earth's history—about 4.5 billion years—set equal to a 24-hour day. If geological time were displayed on a clock that began ticking the instant our planet was born, the first gene probably emerged in the predawn hours, before 5:00 am. Later that morning the first sun-fed photosynthetic cells appeared, followed that afternoon by cells that carry their genes inside a membrane-bound nucleus, and later that evening by the first of many multicellular organisms. The first modern human beings, members of Homo sapiens, would not arrive on the evolutionary scene until about the last 30 seconds of this long day, and all of recorded history took place during the last tenth of the last second before the stroke of midnight."1
What fraction of the last tenth of the last second before midnight belongs to you? What will you do with your span of time? What can you do that has significance in the face of billions of years?
What about you does not change? Is there anything eternal?
Especially considering that our sun will burn out in 5.5 billion years.
The edge of the visible universe is some 15 billion light years distant (one light year equals five trillion 880 billion miles).
Within that universe are 2000 billion billion stars (equate that with every grain of sand on 47,000 miles of beaches.)
And 10 million billion planets.
Then there is the planet Earth.
And you standing upon that planet,
taking in, or being taken in by the vastness,
looking at the night sky;
looking into the past.
The light you see tonight from the star Alkaid (the star on the end of the handle of the Big Dipper) began its journey before you were born—101 years ago. You will be dead before an observer on a planet near Alkaid ever sees the light of this Earth night.
What will he know of you? What will you know of what you were? What will you know once the mind and body are gone, preceded by countless other minds and bodies?
The total number of people who ever lived is 33.8 billion. Of those, 6 billion are alive today.2
Where are the 27.8 billion who died? What did they want during their life? Who do you know that is now among the 27.8 billion who passed away? Are they immortal, or do they only remain in frozen memory which melts away like day?
Of the 6 billion alive today, how many hunger for meaning and purpose? What is your purpose among this 6 billion?
Current world death and birth rate:3
4.2 births per second, 1.8 deaths per second
361,381 births per day, 152,460 deaths per day
Every second, your replacements arrive, and every second is closer to being your last.
The average American life span is 76 years. That is 2,396,736,000 seconds.
If you want to see how many seconds you have left, and watch them go by, visit www.death-clock.org.
Don't deny time—look within for the first motion, and its source.
In their lifetime, an average person will spend:4
24 years sleeping
12 years talking
9 years watching TV
8 years at work
3.5 years eating
6 months on the toilet
Sad twilight cricket ...
Yes, I have wasted
Those daylight hours.
Your one-year probability of various ways of dying:
lightning 1:14.2 million
dying in auto accident 1:7000
heart disease 1:400
death by any cause 1:117
Your long term odds:
However, your odds of discovering your true relationship to death are only limited by your desire. Your desire is only limited by your capacity for honesty. Your capacity for honesty changes through efforts to be honest.
2 www.nyu.edu/classes/adler/cosmos/How_Many.pdf now has restricted access; another reference to Prof. Hoffert's estimate of the total number of people who have lived on Earth is http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=258651
4 Sunday Telegraph, 5/17/98
Jesus said, "For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has." —Matthew 13:12
If we wish to advance spiritually, then we must take drastic steps beyond that which nature mechanically provides. We are not created as self-developing organisms in matters of the spirit, only in nature. We were born into the world as creatures of nature, bred to reproduce and provide a better environment or nest for yet more bodies, ad infinitum. But as individuals, we are not even recognized in the realm of nature, much less helped to a higher state of being. To fool ourselves into believing we are forever young, here to have only fun, never grow old, or become unhealthy, rot and die stupid, is to throw away our chance to awake and recognize something of the spirit as well as that of the body. Even as mind, we are limited and can never know much that really matters in the short time and circumstance that nature allows. To become something more than a finite mind in a rotting pleasure house, we must take the highest energy this body/mind has and invest it in the search for understanding. Higher energies are needed to stimulate higher thinking and to generate even higher energies. To move beyond our limited natural state of mechanical pattern-reaction, to become an aware, alive intelligence, we will need to conserve and transmute what little energy we have.
The higher energies of understanding and spiritual discernment are found through conservation and transmutation. This is the true spiritual ecology. The saving of our energy to be used for the greatest possibility is to save our resources for our inner potential rather than spending it on base reactionary living, only. Our machine, this body and mind, must be free of toxic pollution, psychic parasites, irrational fears, and unquenchable desires that would use and abuse it for their own self-interests. If left to the devices of these forces of adversity, we can be likened to a man who is unable to stand, down on his hands and knees, lost in inner fantasy and dissipation, racked with fever and fear, hung over from his excesses. Only able to crawl at best, he cannot muster the energy needed to shake off the negative forces that keep him down. If he is to gain the strength and stability needed to stand and walk upright, in clear awareness of himself, he will need to gain sustenance from the best food available. This energy, saved and transmuted, can rid him of the fever that robs him of his potential spiritual strength and understanding. We only have so much energy on any given day. To spend it only on the realm of the body and the fantasies of mind is to rob ourselves of our spiritual potential. Having only so much energy for living, if it is spent entirely on partying and pleasure, on fear and false security, then none is left over to put aside for the future. The spiritual search will be under-funded while we dream away in pleasure, fantasy and suffering. As our time runs out, we spend even more energy blocking these facts from our own minds.
Our feeling causes much of our thinking. When we are tired, anxious or hung over, the world becomes a cramped place, full of danger and bereft of possibility. When we regain our energy, through time and the body's ability to regenerate, we become lighter in mood, possibility returns, and we go in search of the next opportunity to spend the little energy we have saved. Family moods and inherited states of mind can also eat up much of our energy, leaving us in dank corners of the mind with little purpose or ability to even think clearly. It is easier to see how this works in others. How many of you know someone who is chronically tired, in a bad mood, and perhaps ill health? The causes of this can sometimes be clearly seen from the outside. Perhaps the person never exercises the body even enough to metabolize their food. He doesn't get out from in front of the TV long enough to take in new impressions, refuses to go out with friends, overeats, drinks too much coffee and beer, smokes, and uses drugs. Their moods and states of mind are the product of being in energy-debt. This toxicity is born from a lack of energy caused by spending more than you take in. But he or she would rather think the reason for their negative state of mind is that the world just isn't giving them what they want. If only they had a break, could be given another chance, be a different person. The idea that changing their lifestyle could solve the problem, and give them a new potential, is never considered. A toxic body/mind cannot, on its own, initiate action leading to sanity and freedom.
Bondage or attachment means we are identified with the personality facet that is using up our energy, thinking it is "us." If we are hypnotically identified with our current state, then we can hardly be expected to think in a less attached manner. Being in a constant state of ego-defense or offense doesn't leave any time or energy for searching out a path to a higher state of being. Every time we agree to the bad moods and their corresponding personalities, and think that they are us, we burn higher energies that could be used in gaining greater understanding of ourselves. All impressions coming to us from outside are of themselves neutral and are taken according to the inner state of the receiver. If we are in a negative mood, all incoming perceptions tend to be taken negatively. If we are light in mood, they can be taken similarly. Only if we are awake and paying attention, with our mind quiet, can we actually have a chance at seeing what's what. This also saves energy and tends to give the higher energies we have a chance to transmute into even higher states. Animal reactions can only generate animal energy. Higher understanding comes from higher seeing. Our spiritual potential must be funded, to be actualized.
The path to Liberation is not found through getting more and more of what we think we want. It is found through clearer understanding of ourselves, brought about by a well functioning body/mind capable of storing and transmuting energy, along with a well-defined aim or direction. The energy provides the funding for our search. The aim, brought about by our suffering and longing for our true home, will provide the tension or pressure to transmute this energy into clearer understanding of ourselves. If enough energy and pressure are applied, we may find our very being is changed, and We are no longer in need, of anything. Take the little that you are given and invest it in your future becoming. Apply the force of steady direction, inwards towards your Source, and stand the pain of withdrawal from your former "selves." Turn the water of your energy into the Wine of your Becoming.
Q: Any recommendations for 5 guys trying to do something for 5 days?
Yes. Trace your roots. "How did you get to where you find yourself right now?" is the question. Recall with intensity—for observation—that state of mind that was present at some critical point in youth—perhaps adolescence or earlier—when your identity was in jeopardy—or at least undetermined, and that state was a source of anxiety—and see how that problem was resolved. (It never was.)
For those in their early 20's, the "resolution" of this conflict is fresh and not that well set and subject to shaking more easily, yet the fear is also greater, so they hang on more tightly. For older folks, that identity is crystalized and accepted through sheer habit, but an awareness of the much closer proximity to death can rekindle the youthful angst. This angst must be present for exposure to inspirational words to have a deep impact. If you can create an agenda that would develop this angst and alternate it with readings of profound and inspirational materials, followed by silence and rapport, then something could happen.
"One thing's for certain: if you're alive, something terrible's gonna happen to you."
Thank you for a powerful collection of words all pointing to the wordless. I found my way here thru the ND Highlites. What was echoed today for me was how as I jump more and more into the "emptiness" or "living presence" I am paying attention to what catches me and have been noticing with wonder that the whole world appears to be designed as tv/commercials/comedy/beauty/drama to keep me "hooked" so I don't turn inside. Even the beauty of satsangs hook me. At the same time, my way thru this is I notice the "attention catcher" whether tenderness for a baby Canada Goose this morning or my frustration at a driver not signaling etc. and I either go on recognizing I'm caught or I let go. I'm developing an amused benevolence for my mind so eager to notify me continually of what is good and bad, and so incredibly talented at trying to keeping me occupied, filling the silence. But the silence is so filling and present it isn't covered anymore all the time. Anyway several pieces described this so well. A nice mirror. Thanks for your work. ~ Josie K.
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