And I had a friend . . .
This month's contents:
Dear Father by Tatia Rose | Launch Pad by Tristan Bergh | Deepest Respects by Pratap Bhatt | Relentless Intensity by Ed Bronson | What Mr. Rose Shared by Bob Cergol | Consider Yourself Lucky by Paul Constant | Mystic Missal Memorial by Bob Fergeson | Presence by Linda Harmon | The Friend by Gary Harmon | Lack of Pretension by Richard Hood | The Guy Who Saved My Life by Jake Jaqua | Chance Encounter by Tony Kalar | Last Hours by Bart Marshall | Encouraged Me to Think by Shane Murphy | Quotes & Notes by Shawn Nevins | Flowers by Dan Niebauer | Don't Light a Candle for Richard (anonymous) | Master Storyteller by Paul Schmidt | Pass It On by Art Ticknor | An Appropriate Gesture by David Weimer | Additional Sources about Richard Rose
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I am with you here now as those who love you the most are—in spirit. What our time together lacked in length it compensated for in depth. Because of your guidance, leadership, and wisdom, I will never walk this earth without the companionship of brothers and sisters. You have given us ourselves. Our truths, our lives, strength, and love. And while this earthbound journey has been short, we have walked it side by side. Our first steps together were rich in bliss, poor in sadness, and pure of innocence. And although the next bend in the road would take us through a dark tunnel, the end finds itself in the light—here and now. I also know that the end is not nearly as important as the journey. I know that you will be with me as I walk the steps of my journey, and will make the path one you would be proud to walk with me. On this path will also be my mother, my family, and all those who love you as I do. I know they want you here as much as I do, but I also know we want your soul to be free as you have freed ours. I will always love you and I will always think of you. And when I want you by my side, all I have to do is think about walking up the hill through the autumn leaves, your hand wrapped around mine, and my cheek pressed against the sleeve of your flannel shirt.
I came into contact with Mr. Rose's work via the Internet in October 2002.
Mr. Rose's teachings remain with me at all times: "That which you see is never you. That which sees is you. This is a subtractive path. God exists, I don't. If I can't honour the tiniest truths, how can I become the Truth? If the perceived world is a projection, from what is it projected?"
Mr. Rose's teachings were that most valuable thing: a disposable launch pad for becoming Truth.
He passed it on.
~ Tristan lives in Johannesburg, South Africa
I just want to acknowledge my deepest respects for Richard Rose, whom I never met or read much about. I have been just a recipient of Forum's monthly E-mails. Yet somehow I feel indebted to his teachings thru reading various articles from these mails. Thank you very much and I am sure He will continue to live among us...
I imagine that friends, students and family of Richard feel rather numb now that he is completely gone. My sister and I offer our sincere consolations to those who knew him in his better days, some still trying to decipher the meaning of his ironic absent-mindedness as age took its toll. So many things remain mysterious about him. There was a relentless intensity to his insights, however, that shall remain immortally potent.
We were privileged to attend the Spring TAT meeting and, although you wouldn't be able to tell from our silence afterwards, the speakers and people that attended that session affected us both very profoundly. It was as though we had found an entire group of serious truth seekers in one place that we otherwise would have been resigned to discover only singly and all too rarely (if even at all). In many ways it was so serendipitous to us, we were actually overwhelmed. After seemingly years of "drought," a full "vessel" of refreshment is almost too shocking to immediately consume or process. This, perhaps, is just another lamely stated (but real) testament to Rose's enduring influence.
Thanks so much for all of the work that you do, in countless ways, to inform and assist other seekers as Richard Rose exemplified. His life was exceptionally human and inclusively divine.
I've often reflected on what direction my life would have taken had I not crossed paths with Richard Rose. I never get very far in that reflection. It's like asking what direction would my life have taken had my mother and father not been my mother and father. My mind can't process that question. All it can do is fall back into contemplation of what DID happen.
I was nineteen years old when I met Richard Rose. He became my true god-father and mentor. The common meaning of godparent is a person who sponsors a child at its baptism and assumes responsibility for its faith.
At the time that I first met him, I had already lost my faith in the Catholic religion in which I was baptized and raised. I had some nebulous belief in a Supreme Being, but that belief was irrelevant to my day-to-day life. With that loss of faith I had also lost what little conviction I had in my ability to find the life that I was meant to live. I seemed to have also lost what little confidence I had in my capacity to live any particular life that conventional thinking suggested I must live.
I remember thinking while listening to him speak during my first encounter with him, that this man had the answer to that loss of conviction and confidence. And for me he did. In hindsight I can see that at nineteen, I was a boy that didn't know how to become a man. I was stuck in childhood and didn't know how to transition into adulthood. I had a spiritual hunger, starved for conviction.
Not only did Richard Rose initiate me into my spiritual search, but he also filled the role of a father figure and mentor that helped me to make that transition into adulthood. To listen to him and to be in his presence was to KNOW that the possibility of discovering final answers to life's most fundamental questions, and, indeed of finding and knowing the Supreme Being, was unequivocally real, and immediately available—because he made you feel its presence in your very self. To listen to him, to be in his presence and to observe how he lived, was to witness what it means to "walk, not wobble" in the conduct of one's life.
I had many remarkable, some would say miraculous, experiences in the course of my long father-son-spiritual teacher relationship with Mr. Rose. They remain engraved in my heart and mind. Suffice it to say that somehow this man touched the very core of my being and inspired the strength in me to engage life more fully than my innate diffidence should have allowed. I faced fears and challenges with the faith that I could, and the faith that there was a greater, living Good that could not fail me so long as I remained true to my self.
Perhaps this is the simplest way to summarize what I learned from Richard Rose: To thine own self be true. Yet you must define what that self is, while knowing that you are capable of self-delusion. Therefore you must resolve to discover the real Self—that alone to which you must remain true. Finally, you must act on that resolve with intensity and integrity.
I was nineteen years old when I met Richard Rose, and three months and two days after his death I will turn fifty-two years old, just five years shy of his age when I met him. The world drama seems somehow different without his character present on this stage, but that which he continually evoked in me while in his presence, has somehow found its way into the life of this character that was blessed to have shared that stage with him.
These words from a poem he wrote will forever echo in my mind and heart:
"Though you should seek me, or, still never know
Me, I am with thee."
But I know exactly where to look for him, because he told me.
"Look deep into thyself for I am there.
For I am Love, and I am everywhere . . . .
A part of thee,—and happily I share."
Like so many times in the past, Richard Rose has once again provided an opportunity to reflect more deeply about our spiritual direction and ourselves. I'm surprised—though I shouldn't be—that his death drastically shook up life's daily shuffle one more time, for me and many of his students, friends and family members. My thoughts do not stray for long when thinking about who influenced my life for the better—my wife, my immediate family, TAT friends, and Richard Rose. But in my twenties, Mr. Rose was the most powerful influence, helping to refocus my efforts on something far greater than money, power or popularity that consume most young people. In writing about my Experiences with Richard Rose, I said years ago, and still maintain, that Rose's Albigen System is the most astute philosophical system in the United States, and possibly the best in present worldwide circumstances. This is not mere belief, but a fact proven through personal experimentation and investigation.
In 1990, Mr. Rose responded to one of my letters, writing "We will do very good if we have people attending [group meetings] who are unsatisfied with themselves—and admit it. We must ask about knowledge—knowledge of Life (and knowledge of Truth), knowledge of Death and after Death, knowledge of the goals in life, and can you have all three." Those two sentences speak volumes. For me, what stands out the most is that Mr. Rose provided ample opportunities in his books, presentations and informal discussions. By "opportunities," I mean sound advice that allowed his readers and listeners to go within and find their Self.
If you did not have the good fortune to encounter Richard Rose, you shouldn't feel cheated. His books and audio CDs are a shinning light for the sincere seeker. Consider yourself lucky—you live and seek during a time when these gems are literally at your fingertips.
Bob devoted the October 2005 edition of the Mystic Missal to Richard Rose.
I visited Richard Rose mostly in the late 70's and in the 80's when the retreat was so full of life and seekers that we could barely fit into that large wing of the old farm house. Luckily he and some others had built the huge pavilion that would hold us all when the farm house over-flowed. He always had open arms for all who were honest seekers of the truth; and some of my most treasured hours were spent listening to his wisdom, with his sometimes comedic touches.
But astonishingly, the most important thing that I received from him was after he had broken free from some of the physical and mental chains of his physical existence. It seemed like his presence got even stronger and traveled to see you, instead of you going to see him. And the closer he came to breaking these physical bonds, the stronger his presence was felt. I also knew that this presence was getting vaster, and extending to all who were open to receive this grace.
A day or two before his death, my head was electrified as strong as I had ever experienced, as I felt his presence extra strongly. I knew with all my heart that he had totally joined the other clear awarenesses. He was sharing this incredible joining with all who were open to it. A day or two later when I meditated into the Allness/nothingness, it was noticeably brighter and stronger. He had definitely added much energy to this already wondrous field. Richard Rose is and will always be a great spiritual force for the whole universe.
Vividly I remember Richard Rose always insisting that there is no point in looking for anything until you look for the observer and discover what actually observes. "You have to find the anterior observer yourself," you can't just say you know where it is. Don't take anyone's word on that subject, he would say. "You must find out for yourself."
He brought our attention to thought at a seminar I recall by telling us to discover who is thinking. He asked us if our thoughts are really our thoughts or are they from an alien source possibly. "Do we have thoughts or do thoughts have us?" It seemed like he just steered you in the more truthful direction with these question and answer sessions. He sometimes would say that if you think that you are thinking then try to stop doing it and see what happens. See if you can actually stop these thoughts that you think are yours.
He commonly offered his teachings in a question format not an attempt to convince, done in a manner that might not be noticed until much later. A simple question which would automatically cause the mind to be challenged to respond somehow, but also might bring it to a standstill just long enough to realize that maybe, just maybe, your belief system was in grave error. When you left for home and had time alone to consider this, the challenge continued on and on.
To hear Richard Rose say these things was to be confronted on the most fundamental of intensities. Just as you might have thought that you had it all under control, he would say some haunting truth again that sounded so simple, yet seemed impossible. Something stayed deep inside, a voice that might not have even been audible kept saying disquietude … disquietude. Something just wasn't right; and how right he constantly was.
And that is what I remember most about him—the power of stating a simple truth with humor and compassion, being who he was which alone provoked thought, and also his tenacity to finish whatever he started. He is deeply missed. I have never met anyone quite like him. Time after time this would occur in his presence until you were sure that this guy could see right through you. Yes, there was something very special about this fellow, something that was compelling and trustworthy. And with time, if not immediately, you would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was your friend and always would be.
When I first heard about Mr. Rose, I had already been on a spiritual path for more than 10 years. After an initial enthusiasm when I began, I had seen a lot of gurus and spiritual leaders fail to deliver on what they promised and even some outright frauds. My initial reaction was here was someone else claiming enlightenment, let's see if there is anything to it before I get involved. As it turned out it was several more years before I joined a small group led by Bob Cergol, who kept insisting that Rose was for real. Since I had always wanted to meet someone who really had a profound spiritual experience, I made the trip out to the farm on a cold winter day with Bob and some other people in the group.
What really impressed me about Mr. Rose was his directness and lack of pretension. There were no robes, ceremonies or arcane language involved. He had less ego than any spiritual leader I had ever met, but also a stronger sense of personal power. He had a tremendous amount of energy but seemed to want to use it only to help, not to build himself up.
Since then I have used Mr. Rose as a standard to measure other spiritual teachers, and few if any have attained what he did. I only wish I could have spent more time with him and that I had applied more of his teaching to my life earlier. I do feel that he was able to transmit some of his awareness to me and for that I am very grateful.
Now that he is gone I feel that it is important that his students keep the teachings and transmission going. Certainly world events now are similar to the crisis of the early 70's when a lot of confused young people wondered how to live in an insane world. I still haven't figured out how to do that, but the experience I did get has convinced me that there is a far more real world that we are a part of, that which Rose called the "Absolute."
I first met Rose at Kent State in 1975. I was irritated by the "You Are A Robot" posters around campus, and my girlfriend Beth and I went to hear Augie Turak talk, and then went to some Pyramid Zen meetings. I saw the end of bucolic college coming, with the prospect of a mundane life in front of me with no fulfilling meaning, and was becoming deeply depressed. Rose attended one of the Kent Pyramid Zen meetings and went to the ashram afterward, and after about an hour of listening to him, a light went off in my head, and I knew to myself "This guy is going to save my life!" I joined the group and shortly moved to the farm ashram for about 7-8 years. In retrospect now, I see the farm ashram was almost a magical place—a temporary oasis in a world dedicated to completely opposite principles. Rose did "save my life," and gave me some meaning worth living for, and probably at least half of the things I value in life I learned from him. Although as the years went by my philosophy changed somewhat, and I came to see that Rose was also just a man doing the best he could against big odds—the fact remains, He's the guy that "saved my life."
In the early 1980s, I was living in North Dakota of all places, and began to notice that a lot of interesting-sounding things were going on in Boulder, Colorado. Shambala Books for one, Naropa for another, and so on. Being the father of three small, wonderful, and very energetic children, I decided to catch a flight to Boulder alone, for a small vacation.
Boulder was a pleasant and progressive town, but not as interesting as it seemed it might be from a distance. When I got to Naropa, for example, I walked up the impressive front steps and into the lobby, and the place was completely empty. I tried all the rooms, nobody was home. While I appreciated the Zen humor, I was mildly disappointed.
So I began to wander around town to discover what I was doing there. One early evening I wandered into a small but pleasant bookstore near the college campus. I believe it was called Brillig Works. I didn't find anything to read, but noticed a sign saying that someone was giving a talk upstairs.
Indeed there was, but I had been nearly bored to tears by gurus any number of times, so I paused halfway up the stairs. I couldn't quite understand what was being said, but the voice sounded animated and something about it decided me to finish the climb.
I went through the door and there stood Rose in a suit, discoursing amidst a room of 15 or 20 mostly hippyish types draped across fashionably semi-decrepit furniture. My sort of crowd, so I sprawled out on an open sofa.
I don't recall much about what Rose said that evening, mostly I recall a long, half-humorous, half-scary story about a troublesome Krishna outfit that was not too far from the farm. A guru from farm country was a new one on me, and Rose seemed quite the raconteur. Whatever the rest was about, it revealed solidity, insight, practicality and humanity. I enjoyed it and afterwards walked past Rose and offered my hand.
Now that evening I was wearing a funky Cat hat and had been slouching on the couch with my eyes closed for the last 20 minutes. So when Rose extended his hand in return, and I said "MOST interesting talk," he got a big grin on his face. The eyes twinkled and he said "You should come down to the farm sometime."
Sometime after I returned home I believe I mail-ordered The Albigen Papers first. Well gosh. I was raised Catholic, but left the church when I was 19 and a college science major. In Albigen I first encountered some facts about the church that helped me understand better what I'd found troubling about it. And what had happened to western spirituality.
In those early college years I began reading outside of conventional European religiosity into Alan Watts, Ouspensky, Evelyn Underhill, and the like—mostly Western stuff from the early part of the century that was being republished as a result of the Beats, the 60s and psychedelics. Disenchanted with science studies, my "spiritual" reading and some scattered psychotropic experimentation had led to a number of increasingly intense experiences in late-60s, early-70s period. In the aftermath, I began fifteen years of study of everything I could lay hands on.
At that time in America, apart from seekers, artists and a few popular writers like Watts, there was almost no native work to turn to for stable, non-trendy, practically-grounded help understanding "The Way." My chance Boulder encounter with Rose was near the end of my studies of what had been written in the past.
In Rose's writings I found the voice of a modern and American and empirical man who'd not only walked the old road before me, but had studied and analyzed and carefully put his experiences and thought into words. Readable words that were lucid and practical, without mystifying or seeking to maintain some ancient tradition or ego. Words that help you to keep your paws out of the coconuts. Words that seldom strain to go beyond what words can say. Valuable words that will remain valuable.
In the years since, I've found and lost many books. But Rose, some of Jung, and Ouspensky have always remained on my shelves. As years go by, one can turn to such books over and over, both to gauge one's progress and gain new insights.
I met Richard Rose in 1990. I was in my forties—wife, kids, mortgage, angst. I’d been looking into esoteric matters for some twenty years by then and had a fair overview of the spiritual marketplace. None of it prepared me for Rose....
~ Bart has written a moving account of the final days and hours. Read Last Hours of Richard Rose in a .pdf file.
I didn't know whether to write an appreciation of Mr. Rose since I never met him and was only peripherally involved in TAT, living on the other side of the Atlantic.
I do think, however, that Mr. Rose had a big impact on me, mainly because he was the first "spiritual teacher" to actually encourage me to THINK. After years in a blind and silly Zen organisation in which thinking was a kind of sin, it was incredibly refreshing to find someone who not only did not disapprove of thinking but actually stated that it was vital for self knowledge. It was liberating.
His books, although sometimes heavy, were a joy to me when I read them first. I loved the fact that he brought out issues I had always suspected were important and gave them attention, no matter how wacky others might think them. He wasn't afraid to go off beam. I also thought he had a fabulously dry sense of humour—I still think his writings are wickedly funny in parts, as sharp as a scalpel.
Most importantly, I do think the man was genuinely enlightened and there are not many I truly believe in this. I think his desire to help others was as free of self benefit as I've seen anywhere and in this field. In fact to my mind he's probably, along with Krishnamurti and Douglas Harding, the all round most important guide for truth seekers in the West in the last 100 years.
The TAT organisation, a unique and genuine bunch of people, is a lasting testament to him.
I'd like to extend my sympathies to Cecy, Mr. Rose's family and everyone in TAT who knew him.
~ Shane lives in County Cork, Ireland
3/2 - 3/4/91 - Trip to see Mr. Rose at the farm in WV. Informal rapport session (I know that he knows). [This was the trip that was recorded in the "Mister Rose" video —Ed.]
6/24/91 - Went to the Farm this past weekend. The message was between-ness. There is nothing that one can do. One can only watch and let things happen. Mr. Rose said my problem was I was still looking for a logical solution. There is none. He said, however, "You can also feel. Maybe you'll use both. I don't know." I don't know what that last sentence means. He said he advises no regular practices—no system. Each of us should know what he needs to work on. He said no to vegetarianism and the ascetic diet. Eat what is available and appropriate. "In a true rapport, you will know what the others are thinking." "Put a thought in your head, hold it there, then forget it." He said something about how you reach a point where you don't know what else to do, but you have to keep on looking.
7/8/91 - Went to the TAT meeting. A bunch of us were sitting at a round table in the side room discussing dreams. I was feeling good that some philosophical discussion was finally started. Mr. Rose looked in and said, "Ah, the warriors gathered in the cave."
Mr. Rose told me that everyone has a different obstacle and unless they opened up to him, he couldn't help. Guys spent years on the farm and he never knew why they were there. He also said I had to find a place where I could think and I had to make a decision. He said I must have a plan for whatever action I take.
9/2/91 - Ten of us from Raleigh went to the TAT meeting. Mr. Rose said an autistic child is one who is honest.
12/2/91 - Spent Wednesday through Sunday at the Farm. Mr. Rose said we had to get a different point of view. It was not possible to view the earth while standing on it. He also told us to avoid those things which hypnotized us. He said none of us had read enough; sometimes things come to you when you read.
1/1/92 - Rose said you must get angry. He also said you must find what will settle your system. Each of us has something which is bugging us.
1/3/92 - Rose said we weren't asking the right questions. He said none of us had a blueprint for our fight. We were still concerned with what we might miss if we chose a spiritual path. We had no conception of what was at stake and what there was to gain from seeking.
In regards to rapport, Rose said rapport can be built. We should only let one person in at a time. That way, after a couple of sittings, we'll know if he is an energy drain. Lack of revelations is a sign you are not on the path, but revelations are not a sign you are on the path.
Rose said that because a person is low energy does not mean they are an energy drain. They may just have a slow metabolism.
He said that in his experience, "I knew that I was home." In rapport, we can get a hint of this.
3/3/92 - Rose, "You don't fight battles by worrying about what you may lose." "You'll never know if what you're doing is right. You can only back away from untruth."
Mr. Rose said that if we keep at this work long enough, we will become free. He also said that words can't record what we get from these meetings. There is also a feeling or a state of mind which results.
6/7/92 - Mr. Rose came by the lodge yesterday and talked to Bill, Georg, Danny, and me. He said we shouldn't work more than a half a day because this would stimulate the appetite and slow down thinking, and we should all learn hypnosis because it is a way to understand the mind. He said he would be available for advice, but other than that would let us do our own thing.
6/13/92 - Mr. Rose said we are looking for mechanisms to get what we want. We aren't moving. The secret is to apply an intense amount of energy to a question, then forget about it. One must be focused.
6/18/92 - Mr. Rose said when you have to work with your mind, you're losing bits of energy. His mind works by taking impressions of a person, then thinking over them.
6/26/92 - Mr. Rose said: You must have an iron will. You can't get to know him in order to facilitate rapport. You must know yourself thereby increasing your stature. People of similar stature have a natural rapport. You must dope out for yourself ways and means of speeding the process of obtaining spiritual knowledge. Going off by yourself and reading is very important.
6/27/92 - Mr. Rose said that thinking of nothing is slowly pulling away from all thoughts until none are left. This is not the same as his experience. He said Zen is a technique of harassing the mind, but one should harass their own mind.
6/30/92 - Rose said you just have to keep at it. A steady pressure is better than one muscular push.
7/13/92 - Rose said [the group] must be a group of independent seekers. No man should let another order him around. You must take inventory (mental) at least once a year; maybe every three months. He said we were at a threshold where we had to be able to focus in on something. When we start really focusing in, we'll start asking the right questions.
7/16/92 - Rose said you pretty soon realize you're a machine, then you want to know where the programming is coming from. You'll get enlightened before you find this out.
8/2/92 - Rose said that in the past, if a guy wanted some answers, he would go out into the desert and fast until he got them.
1/5/93 - Rose said several times that whenever you set your mind to something, forces will arise to stop you. I asked about the energy I sometimes feel in meditation. He said you should look at it as a gift and not pursue it. It comes after a successful struggle.
4/1/93 - A profound lecture by Mr. Rose at Chapel Hill tonight. The key to magic is to remove the ego from what you do. Take the attitude of "let's see what might happen" rather than "let's make this happen." Mr. Rose says don't brag about what you do. Be grateful that it happened. He implied that you bump into things; you don't make things happen. Mr. Rose said that in the old days, a master would send the pupil to the mountaintop and tell him to stay until he found the answer.
8/1/93 - Mr. Rose said not to seek out pressure. If you are seeking, then pressure will come to you. He said he listens to the tone of a person's voice and not what they are saying. He said our job was to ask questions. Our group deteriorates into a clubhouse and we don't ask enough questions. He said we must perfect ourselves, choose a direction, and become a vector in that direction.
8/11/93 - Asked Mr. Rose if I would ever feel I was doing everything I should. He said no, and that that had been the curse of his life.
9/13/93 - Talked with Mr. Rose today. He said that a discipline will pay off after time whether it be reading cards or being celibate. He downplayed the idea of a teacher and had no comment on transmission. He very grudgingly said it's worthwhile sitting for rapport, but said it just happens. He seemed to agree that asking him questions was how to use his friendship, and that being friends is most important.
9/14/93 - Talked with Mr. Rose for four hours. He said after a year of celibacy you have the power. Just don't let your ego get involved. If you want to try healing, take a what-the-heck attitude and just give it a try. He said women could not give energy to men and so couldn't use their own energy in healing. He said you shouldn't touch people.
He said that you have a vector built up, and if you relax then a lot of things will take care of themselves. He said he always just took the first job he could find. He said don't procrastinate making decisions or else they'll become bigger and bigger worries.
I asked why he opened the Farm up to people and he said so that one could have a place to be alone and think. He said the guys even needed to get away from each other because there was a tendency to sit around and bullshit.
10/6/93 - Talked about three hours with Mr. Rose. He said I should set a goal such as stop smoking and go for it. That way you set greater and greater goals and gain more control over oneself. He said "service and selflessness" is not a thing to strive for; that these traits would come to you if you were on the path.
He said he knew I would get complacent out here [on the Farm]; that I was living an idyllic life. He said I must keep my mind stimulated; books were one way.
10/15/93 - Rose keeps saying that a sign of progress is that you will gain power to cause things to happen—like healing. He said don't go out and look for people to heal. When the opportunity presents itself, use it without fear of failure. Rose said reason and logic will not take one to the Absolute.
10/17/93 - Rose said the women in the group were more spiritual than the men because they could "pick up on it." He said a woman could have a soul if she wanted to look for it.
10/21/93 - Rose said you can see the ego working. He said you must have faith in yourself, but also not let the ego get in the way.
10/24/93 - Mr. Rose said he had failed to inspire people. He again pointed out how few people ask him questions. He wants to operate by question and answer; not by preaching. Said 9 out of 10 group people are unwilling to change their lifestyle. Said knowledge and power are interlinked. The most interesting [thing] he said was about the Farm section near the boundary of B and C sections. He said he gets a nostalgic feeling out there; that there is more of the spirit of the group out there than there is down at the house. He said he has a couple of "false faces"—joking and bitching.
10/29/93 - Rose said, "A person shouldn't get angry because that saps power. A person could break into my house and I would kill him, but not with anger." Be determined without anger. He said it's okay to work just enough to get by. Work is a trap. The country is ideal for a spiritual life. In the city, you'll always have somebody knocking on your door wanting to go get a beer. He said physical habits start with mental habits.
When a person becomes celibate and gets his power, he should make up his mind to help others.
I said I didn't have any more questions. He said, "Oh, yes you do, you just don't know them yet."
10/30/93 - Mr. Rose said daydreaming was a loss of energy.
11/25/93 - [regarding healing] Rose said you must care about the person and have confidence in, or indifference to, the results. If you get peace of mind then you're free because your habits are no longer needed and fall away. At the same time, it takes trauma for realizations to occur.
12/1/93 - Talked to Mr. Rose. I asked why I didn't pick up on things like others. He said he thought I was sensitive, but my sensitivity was in a locked box. He said I was reserved. He said that's fine, you can just be that way, and let others do the talking. I said "don't I have to change if I want what you have?" He said yes and that's what you work on in meditation.
12/15/93 - Rose talked of the path of solitude. Each person must find their own way; do what they feel they should. Go to him when you have questions. He also said never plan on expanding the group. Growth should be automatic. He emphasized how you should tell him what troubles you're having, how your experiments are working, because he might spot something you missed. Each person has a slightly different language.
1/11/94 - Alex and I went to see Rose. Lots of talk about why you have to "be single and expect to be for a long time." "You can't carry your girlfriend on your back to enlightenment." I worried about chasing that feeling I get from Three Books of the Absolute. "It's alright to chase it, just don't be disappointed if you don't find it."
About depression: analyze it, it's sending you a message. Analysis will ease it.
He said you get inclinations from your parents. Get away from these inclinations and you'll "start to see down the road and know you're digging for gold."
I asked if I should be training so I could read five hours non-stop. He said no, when you need a break take a walk. When walking, your mind will think some more and get some oxygen to it.
1/23/94 - Rose said something is speaking to me when I have moments when I feel I could let go and die. He said analyze it. He said the pleasure of sitting in the woods was OK. I take it that any pleasure which becomes a habit is using you. He said a girlfriend or marriage was alright, but was a step towards the basement. He said exercise, but don't strain yourself.
Rose said summon determination even by getting angry at yourself. Sooner or later, he said, you see life is a bunch of crap.
2/17/94 - I mentioned how a person once asked if they'd get enlightened if they went out to a cabin and said they'd stay until enlightened or dead. Rose told him yes. To this story, Rose told me, "Yes, but I wouldn't recommend it. The determination is to be admired, but the attitude is wrong. You're challenging whatever is up there. You're saying 'enlightenment or death,' but that may be not following the natural course. If you get help it will be because you ask for it, not because you demand it."
He said chief feature is chief weakness.
3/10/94 - Other things of interest which Rose said: "The more I talk, the less you listen." "You are alone." "Through consistent effort, you become." He said he plays a very minor role in one's becoming. That is your job. "You are the path; you are the way."
3/12/94 - Rose said you can't get straight answers from an enlightened person.
4/2/94 - Rose said he could transmit, but it would be his experience and not your own.
4/17/94 - Rose said he wanted to turn away from the meeting being a b.s. session and have a discussion. He said he didn't have much time left and wanted to have some people speak up and say what they wanted. He's looking for people interested in "the relationship between the mind and the eternal part that knows."
He said people come to the Farm for three reasons: vacation, meditation, and spiritual insight.
4/29/94 - He said a person wouldn't get a realization in a rapport, but would know the other people better and might get an idea of a direction that their self would need to take.
5/1/94 - He said when the mind is stilled you can pick up on something.
5/8/94 - Rose said that even though it might only be a minute quantity of energy lost, don't let anyone touch you.
5/15/94 - Rose did say that a person should sit for rapport with themselves. This was different from meditation because the mind would eventually go blank in meditation and it'd turn into dreaming.
5/17/94 - Rose said that if you are determined, the group (rapport) can't hold you back; they may only provide a small push, but they can't stop you. He said the other day that you can hear rapport.
Reading is our counter-programming.
Rose said that you find a peace within you.
5/29/94 - Rose said that if a guy went into the desert and could focus, he might gain consciousness of life after death. He would be like a dead man talking to himself.
5/23/94 - Rose said there was a restlessness in the room as if people were trying to decide something; perhaps some are too carefree. It's like a battery, he said, there might not be enough people. He put the nix on further rapport sittings.
8/6/94 - Rose: I am not a Zen master. I know the Zen techniques, but I don't think they fit my personality. Don't go looking for people to help. That's ego. If someone standing in front of you needs help and you see that what you said helped them change, that's great.
8/31/94 - I asked Mr. Rose about [the poem] "The Dawn Breaks." "I like that," he said, "even if no one else does. Sometimes I get in a mood of reality." I asked about the Wilder play "Our Town," specifically the graveyard scene. "I think that's accurate," he said, "they're all sitting around real stiff in chairs. Silence, then someone brings something up which sparks a bit of association."
9/4/94 - "Make yourself a vector in one direction." "It's what you read that's important. Now, I don't mean books. I mean phenomenon and what your mental state is when they happen." Rose said, "I am absolutely convinced that those people who have consciousness after death spent the most time thinking about it while they were alive."
9/5/94 - Rose said you had to be sympathetic toward a person to get rapport with them. If you get too sympathetic, then you lose energy.
9/10/94 - Rose said, "All of you are distracted." He said analyzing thought processes was indeed part of exploring.
9/18/94 - Rose said [about X], "He never did develop his own philosophy. Some people are joiners. They want to be in a club or something."
10/2/94 - Rose said, "If you speak the truth, maybe truth will come to you. Don't amplify what you have done. Don't' try to please people by touching on their philosophy."
Why people left the group: "Most people get sucked back into the mundane mind before any realizations happen to them."
He said to avoid "bopping" around the country. "You should get a job around here and cement yourself in."
To my question of him also knowing how to act and what to say: "The fact is, I often think I should have said this or emphasized that."
"The closest that you get to god is that some changes occur within yourself and then you see the infinite possibilities." He also said, "some part of you knows who you are."
He said a good place to begin is by writing down what you believe or what you think yourself capable of. He said it's good to read, sit alone, think, and write.
"Intensity is what matters."
10/20/94 - Rose on hypnosis: what matters is that the subject senses that you mean them no harm; that you want to help them, then they are willing to cooperate. He said if he was in a happy-go-lucky mood, feeling good about himself, he could heal anybody who walked through the door.
10/22/94 - Rose on lectures: I always go in with the attitude of not wanting a person to have to go through what I did [in my years of searching].
11/25/94 - Besides celibacy, how do I improve my chances of getting hunches? "Through applying enough energy to the problem."
What does it mean to look between thoughts? "Things will come to you, which were not reached by thought."
Could a man unravel his personality on his own or does he need others to point things out? "You can do it on your own."
12/21/94 - Rose said, "Take it two by two; don't plunge all in at once." You'll get confused if you plunge right in.
1/23/95 - Rose on lecturing: "make yourself common. Go in with your head empty. Go in as a seeker. If someone might help you by talking, listen to what they have to say."
Rose said don't brag about saving three cents.
1/28/95 - Asked Rose, "What should I be doing in the next year, if I could do anything I wanted?" "Whatever you want to do."
He said that between-ness and "making a commitment and putting it out of your mind" were different. He said he doesn't know how between-ness happens: "it's like grace." I asked if it were like no-mind in the Zen writings. "Possibly," he said, "You don't have any thoughts of yourself in your head." I asked if he had to make an effort to keep his ego out of it. He said, "Oh yes, I turn away when those thoughts come up."
1/29/95 - "Live your beliefs."
"Your inner self knows [if this work agrees with you]."
2/8/95 - "A lot of people act like they want to be your friend, but they just want something from you. A real friend is rare."
I asked, "What has to change for me to advance spiritually?" He said, "You don't have to change."
I countered, "But there's things I want to change." "Of course," he said, "like with the guy calling you names. You'll find new ways of communicating and certain things won't matter."
2/19/95 - Told Rose I wanted to be able to sit with nothing like the guys in the desert did, but found I could only do so for a short time. He said, basically I wasn't fed up enough with the world. He said the guys in the desert already had some wisdom and wanted to get away from the world. He said there's hurdles I have to cross like a runner does. Those hurdles may be celibacy, drinking, etc.
He said he never felt he had much ego, but was kind of shy. "Sooner or later you have to come out of that shell."
In regards to healing: "you need to have compassion."
2/20/95 - Rose said to choose a book that grabs you and take it into isolation. If you have three or four books it will confuse you.
3/9/95 - Rose said, "You can't do this for yourself. You're doing it to impress on people that there is a higher way of life."
3/15/95 - He kept talking about healing. Finally, I asked what that had to do with spiritual realization. "Healing relates in no way to spiritual realization," he said. "What caused enlightenment is the agony within the man." "There's no formula or rules which can be written out in a book."
"I need more agony," I said. He just laughed.
"Going into the desert, having few or no people to talk to, not eating, you know, is a way."
I asked if my attitude toward celibacy should be to stay celibate until I have a realization. "Well, that's the wrong attitude; don't challenge," he said.
"Is saying that I want to know an answer, the wrong attitude?" I asked. "A drowning man should scream for help," was his reply.
Tonight, Rose was watching "Married with Children" on tv. "I can't take much tv, but Bundy, he's pretty good."
3/31/95 - Rose said that different poems affect different people. He said poetry shows you that there is more than logical deduction.
5/12/95 - Regarding transmission: "if a person is spiritually hungry enough, that's what matters."
He said going within was where it was at; that that was seeking self-definition.
"Everybody's head has a different mud in it. You may go out to the Farm and get you head clear and you do. But then you start thinking that you don't need to read books or examine other people's religions, and so your head is muddied up with that."
Rose said that if you shit yourself don't go out and tell the world, but be honest with yourself.
Rose said you have to be cautious because some gurus can hypnotize. They may zap you and you feel completely changed, but after a week you're back to your old self. They'll have an explanation, though, which lays the blame on you.
7/9/95 - "People are taught from an early age that you have to 'take it.' I don't have to take anything. All I have to do is die."
I told him how I get inspired and think I'm close to an answer, then boom! I fall. He said, "I know." "This is important. You have to accept what comes. You should say to yourself, verbally, what you want, but accept what comes."
7/18/95 - Someone called Mr. Rose weeping. Afterwards, Rose said the fellow was being attacked, but it was a spiritual attack. Rose said you just start crying, but you don't know why. He said it's a good thing because once you get through it you find you gained understanding. The attack opens your head. He said the thing to do is wait it out, knowing that it will end. Go off by yourself because others will think you're going crazy.
9/2/95 - Rose on celibacy, "those were the most beautiful years of my life."
11/13/95 - I asked if hypnosis could put one in a state where they would be open to a revelation. He said absolutely.
He said to be aware as much as possible and that meant paying attention to what you were doing and why.
2/10/96 - Rose once said, "You guys, one by one, will forget there is a path. It won't be a momentous decision, but a slow forgetting."
I remember vividly a short walk that I took with Mr. Rose on one occasion around 1975. I had been feeling pretty miserable after my relationship with a certain young woman had ended - in no small part because I was torn between her charms and the potentials of the Path. We walked along, neither of us saying much, but we both were observing the variety and colors of the flowers that were in blossom at that time. Finally Mr. Rose said, simply: "It is not necessary to pluck the flowers in order to appreciate their beauty." He could not have said more with many more words, and it has stuck with me ever since.
My deepest condolences to Cecy and the entire extended Rose family.
There is an experience, possible right now to know what Is. Richard was that experience and at the same time after he had it, he built a house for himself, milled his own wood to build it with, and when the time so dictated, would attempt to convey his experience.
This is really not quite right, for It is never his/our experience, It simply experiences Itself. This experience was available to all who Richard touched, yet the "us" can never experience it. He confronted us by saying " A Mirror of A Mirror."
Did Richard do it (create the experience)?
No, he manipulated the mind to be able to receive It.
Can you know It right now?
The "you" can never know what Is, only what Is, Is.
What have we lost?
The Truth Is, simply put, and you are It, yet you cannot ever know It. It is not possible to find it, yet you are It and never were anything else. That you never existed is something you will find when you Know. That Richard was not, was something his experience showed him. For you do not find it, you can go so far and then you are taken.
Sokei An calls this God coming into this world and taking what is His.
What was lost?
Everything, the Great Journey right in front of you, beckoning you to follow, and telling you how to find It. The perfection of That Which Is, and at the same time "the void and the darkness are part of the unknowing."
When you find It, or maybe more correct, when It grows tired of the multiplicity of Itself, In Itself, As Itself, It Remembers Itself. In this way "All that Remains Is All."
Don't light a candle for Richard. Light a candle for yourself. For He That Is still holds a candle there to pull you up. Read the "Three Books of The Absolute" until that time where you reach a peaceful pool of Knowing. In that Great Nothingness, All Is There. "Such is Satori."
(The author wishes to remain anonymous. —Ed.)
Mr. Rose was my teacher in the school of Life. In the modern age it is a real anomaly to have a Socrates or Plato teaching young people about the essential values, virtues and ideals. I was fortunate to find such a man.
He taught me so many things that I had missed or probably would miss on the course I was stuck on. What being a real man means. What being like a child means. How deep the matrix goes. He was always pulling away curtains that I didn't even know existed.
He showed me how to look at life and death in ways I never imagined before. One of his views of life was a struggle between tension and relief. And he offered a psychology of action which could make the most of this fact for the individual seeker.
There are a couple of things I am especially grateful to Rose for. One was his very sound advice in the area of sex and his advocacy of celibacy for the individual seeker. By his own life's example he showed the way to gain self mastery and the power to affect or invite change. It was a state of being that opened my eyes a little and inadvertently brought a sublime happiness. And the other thing was his encouragement to spend time in isolation, or "stepping into silence" as he put it. Both of these things have left lasting impressions on me.
Mr. Rose was the exceedingly rare individual in that he dared to question love and sex critically. He was able to bring out and confirm the latent sense in some of us that these things weren't what they were cut out to be, but somehow were unable to fit into a larger context. He never copped out to—"All you need is love." But I think he was one of the few people who knew what real love meant, in the highest non-emotional impersonal sense.
And he was capable of real friendship. Alfred Pulyan said that everyone is capable of betraying their friends, except for the individual who is awake. I had the feeling that Rose would go all the way to help anyone. He was courteous, hospitable and generous to a fault with his time towards me and others who visited him. Around the time of 1995 to 1996, I was fortunate to spend a number of hours interviewing Mr. Rose for a biography I was intending to write. It was in the year before he started losing his memory and slipping into the illness which finally took him. I was always nervous before driving up to his house in Benwood. Mr. Rose and his lovely wife Cecy always made me welcome in their kitchen, and the hours of talk never seemed long. Mr. Rose probably knew I wouldn't finish my book, just as many others he'd known had been fired up and then fizzled out. But he gave me his full attention and commitment, answering all my questions on subjects he'd covered a thousand times before. And I remembered how, whenever making eye contact with him, it was a vivid focus, with the periphery just kind of whiting out. He always had the power of attention and commitment to whatever he was engaged in and it rubbed off on you—even a little went a long ways.
And lastly I want to mention one other thing. I can easily say that I’ve never encountered a person who could make people laugh so hard—people of such disparate backgrounds and sense of humor (or lack thereof). Laugh that physical hurting kind of laugh. Rose was a master storyteller and many of the hilarious episodes from his life and search were inseparable from the lessons he was artfully conveying to those who were listening.
Richard Rose was my first contact with the Genuine. In fact he "rang my bell" the first time we met. It was as if a brass gong within me, whose existence I hadn't even been aware of, had been struck. The words that formed in my mind were: "This man is telling the Truth. I've never heard it before, but something in me recognizes it."
That something was the sleeping inner man, which Mr. Rose had awakened. And an intense joy accompanied the awakening.
A year or so later, as I was leaving for California, I told him I wished there were something I could do to repay him for all he'd done for me. "That's not the way it works," he replied. "Pass it on."
Since then I've tried to make my life an expression of thankfulness for what he's done for me and many others.
The search for Truth, for the recognition of our essential state of being, requires momentum for a possible long haul. After the initial enthusiasm wears off and we find ourselves in an apparent stalemate, how do we keep going? One of the other memorable comments he made that formed my life-action was: "If you can't inspire yourself, find someone else to inspire."
He was strongly convinced of the value of a person's working with other seekers and helping those on the rung of the ladder below them. While the individual's efforts may be tinged with egotism, the chain of helping and being helped thus formed has a great impersonal beauty and can be instrumental in pushing the seeker beyond the bounds of limitation.
an angel, not a saint
projected by the Self
thru the viewer
testifying to the fact
that all answers lie within.
When I met Richard Rose, I was surprised to meet myself in the form of an unfamiliar familiar old man. When I met Rose I was surprised to find that someone, anyone, had made their life a dedication to finding The Answer. I was chagrined at the time that I hadn't thought of it myself—taking my dreaming and thinking about life and turning it into a career, the only career that ever could matter.
I have my dad's dying to thank for meeting Richard Rose. If he hadn't drowned in Lake Superior in 1985, I wouldn't have spent two years in Germany, living and breathing the unblinking questions, What is? What is? Why? Why? What? I wouldn't have gone to North Florida after leaving the Army where my family had moved to make a new start, leaving painful memories back in Michigan. If I hadn't attended Lake City Community College, I wouldn't have met my first wife in the last semester and wouldn't have followed her to Pittsburgh to attend Pitt, where I was a campus reporter in the spring of '92 covering the first meeting of the Zen Study Group that semester. Later that year, I interviewed Rose on the phone for a story about his coming lecture on Zen.
I was in shock at the funeral of my father. I was eighteen. The guy lying there in the coffin wasn't Dad. When I stood before Rose's coffin twenty years later, I had the same sense of no one home anymore. Only this time, I found myself laughing. "Well you went and did it," I said. I addressed the body in the suit that vaguely resembled Richard Rose. At both funerals, I was saying goodbye to the same person.
Another TAT member told me that Richard Rose influenced him at least as much as their own father had. I nodded. My dad taught me how to work. But there is no one else who impacted me more than Rose. He was the right person at the right time. If I'd met him earlier I would have thought he was an interesting nut, maybe. Maybe not. I automatically related to this man who was two generations ahead of me and who had marched his life, unexpectedly, to a tune that I somehow recognized.
I heard bells when he spoke. He talked on a wavelength that I had thought only I was on. I didn't think anyone else pondered the unknowns of the universe like I did, staring at the starry winter sky countless times while growing up. Rose's life example inspired me. If he can do it, I can. I wish I had engaged in my own life quest for the Ultimate before meeting Rose. I hope that I would have come up with the notion if I'd never met him. I don't know. Rose said a person's yearning would result in their finding or running into a book or a teacher. I can't argue with that.
I had wanted a personal guru to advise me on what to do with my life, step by step. Rose wasn't interested in the job. He just didn't reinforce me like I wanted and needed. I reluctantly let drop my hopes of such a relationship. By default, I became self reliant. Around this time, I was sitting at the kitchen table in Rose's house in McMechen. "What specific advice can you give to me?" He answered without missing a beat. "Be celibate." It's not what I asked. I wanted spiritual advice. I drove back to Pittsburgh.
When I got home to our apartment, I sat in front of my desk and examined the unwanted souvenir that I'd brought back from West Virginia. I put it on the table with no great enthusiasm. Then I found myself thinking, I'll try it. Even though I don't think there's anything to it. At least I'll know for myself.
Instead of an unwanted bauble, I had received a multifaceted gift. I discovered that when I began to cultivate purity in all things, as the author Santanelli said in his book on hypnosis, I stopped scaring little children. Living a clean life, I no longer did things to be ashamed of and was free. The experience of celibacy allowed me to focus my energy and attention on a single goal. I might be a goat, but I'm not only a goat.
The second gift that I got from Rose was a frightening commitment. It gave me something to do with tension, and with my life. It was the career called My Search for the Meaning of Life. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I'd heard the echo of him saying that a person has to make a personal commitment to achieve any goal they have in mind. I'll probably never forget when I did it. Either commit to this thing or dump all the books in the trash and walk away from this stuff forever. This is what I said in my head with my feet on a bookshelf of philosophy and mystic books, leaning back on my chair in the corner of our apartment where I thought every night as my wife watched TV in our bedroom with the cats.
I'd been a TAT member for a year and a member of the University of Pittsburgh Self Knowledge Symposium somewhat longer. I'd learned the shop talk and read the canon of required authors, including Rose, and was reading more each day. For some reason, it all came down to this solitary night in Oakland and a flash of knowing that I would be a hypocrite and worse if I spent another minute talking the talk without taking a first actual step. I think someone can spend years without being a real philosopher. When there's no life commitment, there's no life.
People are what they do. I have discovered this myself as well as many other things that I first heard a West Virginian say on recorded university lecture tapes. Only one tribute is possible for this man who is now cold and gone. If I have to attempt an appropriate gesture, I can live. I have been informed by him and his life. And beyond that, I feel paradoxically that it wouldn't matter if a single other soul ever learned that he had existed. The fact that such a man once upon a time lived his solitary shooting star arc in this infinite seeming tapestry of time is all that matters and all that ever will.
I hadn't planned on having to make an unbreakable commitment to myself to find the truth no matter what. The university group and TAT were fun and interesting. But in a single dark night I was faced with something ominous. Making a real, binding commitment. It felt like the stupidest thing in the world. Committing to finding the big answer. Who in the hell ever does? The alternative of being a hypocrite was, unfortunately, not an option. Between a rock and something worse, and to myself and to the All as my witness, I said, Here goes nothing. I was wrong.
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