TAT FOUNDATION

The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, 
poems and humor.

September 2013

A conversation between Ally Milo, author of July's TAT Forum article, "An Art of Unknowing" and William Racine, Forum reader and longtime TAT Foundation member.


Note

This following interactive conversation, or exchange, took place in three parts.

Racine is familiar with the TAT Foundation and its founder's system of metaphysical and psychological Truth seeking, the Albigen System. Milo has another orientation and background of inquiry.

To explain the colors and labels:

Black is the color of Racine's original letter to the editor regarding Milo's July article.
Blue is the color of Racine's secondary comments, responding to Milo's green text.
Green is the color of Milo's responses to all of Racine's comments. An inset right arrow indicates Milo's secondary comments.
Pink is the color of Racine quoting from Milo's essay.

"A.M." is Ally Milo and "W.R." is William Racine.

Good reading!

Don't worry if you don't quite follow the order of the comments at first; this will become clear. The perspective of each person is the important thing....


Spiritual Magazine

W.R. #2:
After having read the following exchange a number of times and pondered whether there was anything succinct I could write that summarizes my thoughts and my intentions, I came to this realization: a fundamental difference between Ally's thoughts and my own is the unstated definition of Ego. Even Rose noted in The Albigen Papers that it is one of the Obstacles To Transcendental Efforts; what does the word Ego mean? Ally seems to hold that Ego is the negative aspect of personality, concerned with placing the self in a superior position relative to others, the "I am special" quality of one's psychology, that causes conflict through false identification with uniqueness and the insatiable scrambling for advantage relative to others. This is the sometimes frightened and confused, and sometimes indifferent, aspect of personality that engages in acts of greed, disdain, predation, deception, manipulation, subterfuge and sabotage.

I have written from the position that Ego is the fundamental desire to exist in the manifest realm, the base attachment to life, the "I want to live" voice that resides in the most primitive core of the manifest mind. I consider the negative qualities of personality to be neuroses, distorted perceptions of self, generated by neurotic cues from our parents and society in concert with the common experience of imagination and the multitudinous forces of adversity that assault the human physically, giving rise to the confusion of pain and sorrow. What Ally calls Ego I call Ego projections.

→A.M.:
Not quite. Where you say the “I want to live” voice, i might say the “I am separate” voice is the deepest part of what i mean be “ego.” i think these two “voices” are similar, if not synonymous.

Seeing this now, there are some things that follow that I might have written differently. However, I do not want to take the time to re-write everything, and I submit this dialogue as it is.

*********************************

W.R. #1:
A Commentary on "An Art of Unknowing" by Ally Milo

In her essay published in the July, 2013 issue of the TAT Forum, Ally Milo purports to address and challenge assumptions of those who would be on a scrupulous path of seeking Enlightenment, beginning with the rather romantic notion of the awareness of the infant child as one free of conviction and open to wonder. She contrasts this state of innocence with anyone who might dare to have the conviction, "I know," asserting that such a conviction "seems fairly close to the heart of all humanity’s poor reactions and conflict."

A.M:
i do not know if an infant is “free of conviction” as you put it, and didn’t mean to suggest that. But it does seem clear to me when i see them that generally speaking, infants experience more wonder and have less convictions as you called them, than most of the adults i encounter; again speaking generally.

W.R. #2:
Perhaps I should have quoted verbatim:
"it seems to me we need to get back to that wonderful unassuming attitude that in part we had as babies" paragraph 8, first sentence. If my re-stating is inaccurate in meaning, I acknowledge the appropriateness of expecting linguistic precision.

A.M.:
Personally, when i see kids of a certain age completely absorbed in something, looking as delighted and contented as could be, i wonder, “Jeez, what do they know that i don’t?” And i think that part of the answer is that they know nothing better than i do, which seems rather appealing to me.

i didn’t say in “An Art of Unknowing” that “daring to have the conviction ‘I know’” was close to the heart of humanity’s problems,

W.R. #2:
"The assumption “I know” seems fairly close to the heart of all humanity’s poor reactions and conflict." I concede that "assuming I know" may be different than "the conviction, 'I know.'"

or that it was the “conviction” itself that was the problem. i was pointing at the fact, which i encourage every reader to take the time and observe for themselves, that we often assume we know all about something whether there is any data to support that assumption or not.

You know the phenomenon where “everyone is an expert”? On politics, the best candidate for the position, relationship trouble, how to please your husband or wife, why America is the greatest country ever, that Ford is better than Chevy, that “i’m right and you’re wrong,” “I know myself,” “You can’t drop ego’s; they’re taken from you.” It can be anything. Everyone has an opinion, and we very frequently grab onto these opinions and fight with others who have different opinions.

It’s not a very profound observation, to be sure. We’ve all heard the sayings. But it is an observation, not an opinion, or assumption. Yet, how many of us actually apply this knowledge?

We get so fixated on thinking we KNOW the answer to whatever subject is at hand that we frequently fail to listen to one another, and fail to actually examine what the answer might be. This causes conflict, see for yourself. This same mechanism has also been described as, “grasping,” “identification,” “attachment,” “ego.” It seems to me that, in this view, the social and the spiritual are not two, but ONE.

i have also observed in myself and in others that we’re frequently more defensive, more aggressive, more argumentative, more violent the less our position is actually defensible. That’s a bit confusingly stated so let me say it again: We are proportionally more defensive about our own unexamined assumptions than we are about our observations. When i use the words “assumption” and “assume” here i mean, “Taking something as true regardless of proof.” So it is not the “conviction” “I know” that causes the problem; nor “daring to have such a conviction.” But having an attitude of assuming “I know” when such an assumption is unfounded does cause conflict, and also is one valid way to look at what “ego” IS (or whatever you want to call that which prevents us from seeing essential Truth). Please look for yourselves. Look at how assumption functions within yourself.

W.R. #1:
It was apparently without irony that Ms. Milo had already made an "I know" assertion when she wrote in the preceding paragraph, "for those that may not be familiar with it, humility is that feeling at once tenderly joy and sorrow," a definition with which I would disagree. However, it is not my intention to debate the definition of humility, but to show the flaws in the overall tenor of this essay, most especially the ideas she presents regarding objectivity, egocentricity and ego, and Enlightenment.

A.M.:
Yes, this was said “without irony.” i also do not wish to debate definitions. “Humility” is just an empty word. It is the responsibility of each reader to discern whether the author is pointing at some actual bit of reality that can be labeled “humility” or whether he is “blowing smoke out of his ass.” But if we reject another’s communications based on our own definitions, then we are not really listening, wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t we do well to listen past the words for meaning? What do you mean by “humility?” Will you describe that bit of reality you are pointing at? Is it the same bit that i am pointing at?

W.R. #2:
Humility: Modesty of awareness, acknowledgement of one's relative standing in the immensity of Universe.

W.R. #1:
Let's begin with a simple consideration of the notion "objective" when assessing psychology and self-observation: what would "objective" mean in such a consideration? In paragraph 8, Ms. Milo proclaims that if we could just become unassuming, if we could just recognize our inner state of, "unconscious assumptions, delusions, beliefs, concepts, the constructing of false identity, self-centered motivations, the bulwarks and hallmarks of egocentricity," we could then, "actually listen for a change, look at the world objectively, and contribute some genuine concern for others, and thus have a real change of heart."

What is, "look at the world objectively"? …

A.M.:
i mean perhaps something very similar to what Rose meant with the “Process observer” stuff that you mention below. Though i don’t know for sure because i haven’t sank into the meaning of his terminology enough to be able to say.

But what i mean is this: that as we look at our own preprogrammed reactions to situations that come up, we already get a little space, become a bit more objective. Saying and really realizing, “Hey! I’m reacting right now! What is this reaction called?” is already i think more objective compared to being totally identified with the reaction, right? I mean that’s a true thing, isn’t it? “Whoa! I’m reacting.” as compared to something like, “You’re pissing me off you %#@*!” That is a small step toward objectivity.

W.R. #1:
…The implication is that one can assess experience and being from a superior psychology, but unless one has a non-self awareness, whatever such a state of awareness might be, the nature of all individuated consideration is, by definition, subjective. …

A.M.:
Yeah, more or less subjective, i can agree in part. But with the addition of observing one’s own assumptions AS assumptions we can really free up a lot of awareness for ACTUALLY looking at the world and discerning where everyone is REALLY coming from, including ourselves.

W.R. #1:
…It is, in fact, the purpose of the fellowship within TAT, and the practice of The Albigen System, to cultivate a more refined and honest psychology, to become Truth by the whittling away of untruths of self. Apparently, this notion, this conviction, that one has only the subjective from which to assess being and awareness is objectionable to Ms. Milo, but I repeat the question, what is "look at the world objectively"? …

A.M.:
Not at all. i think it is all very admirable. And in fact the way you put it strikes me as a rather concise way to convey what i meant about assumptions. Like, “Hey all my observations are subjective.” And you get into getting thrown back on yourself. You get into some deeper observations and questioning of your own subjectivity. Such as, “How are my own notions biasing the information I’m receiving? How am I filtering this situation? What am I assuming? What’s really going on for this person I’m speaking with? How can I find out?”

At least i can imagine such a thought process coming from the point of view “that one has only the subjective from which to assess being and awareness.” Right? If you KNOW that you have only the subjective you’re already kind-of being objective, aren’t you? You (hopefully) have sunk deeper within. Are we on the same page here?

W.R. #2:
It seems you are saying, cultivating mindful self-observation is what you meant when advocating objectivity.

→A.M.:
Yes in part, but without genuine concern for others one necessarily misses important aspects of “mindful self-observation.”

W.R. #1:
…Even if one should attain silent mind and enter the pure observer state, is there such a thing as non-subjective evaluation of that which is observed and experienced?

A.M.:
That is a really good question to which i’ve had no prior realizations that i can recall. i’ll sit with this awhile….

First off, i haven’t attained “silent mind” and entered “the pure observer state,” so i can’t speak to whether or not “non-subjective evaluation of that which is observed and experienced" is possible. What i can speak to is that one can discern the difference between ones observations and ones evaluations and assumptions. Please don’t get the idea that i think evaluations and assumptions are one and the same, the question has never occurred to me. But one can observe the assuming process, and that has proved to be invaluable to me in the context of self-inquiry. i have also observed the effects that my assumptions are having on others. Each reader may do the same; i leave it to you to evaluate whether each effect is “good” or “bad.” But be careful, you can tell yourself all day that your attitudes and conduct are not having “soul crushing” and “ego exciting” effects on those around you, but that doesn’t make it a fact. You may be lying to yourself. The question is: Have you observed it, experienced it, or only assumed it? There is a difference.

W.R. #1:
Ms. Milo errs when she asserts that egocentric is synonymous with "wrong". …

A.M.:
Did i assert that? If so, where?

W.R. #2:
"unconscious assumptions, delusions, beliefs, concepts, the constructing of false identity, self-centered motivations, the bulwarks and hallmarks of egocentricity." Emphasis, mine. "But how are we going to see the evidence of egocentricity within our lives? Obviously we are identified with these “ways of being,” and don’t realize their effects; otherwise we’d knock it off."

I do not think it is a stretch to interpret your statements as suggesting that the very state of egocentric is a (the?) problem. But the choice to take on the work of confronting and refining awareness is an egocentric act. The goal of the work is raising one's awareness of and revealing the operations of ego, until the process itself leads to an action that cannot be directly initiated by the ego, the annihilation of ego.

→A.M.:
Yes, self-centeredness is THE cause of all problems; “inside” and “outside.” i agree about refining awareness. Cultivating Unselfish Love is a means of engaging in that refinement and the raising of awareness.

i actually have come to prefer language other than the “right and wrong” terminology such as “conducive to the well-being of all, or not conducive to the well-being of all.” But even if i did, it’s just another empty word. i think what matters is what a person means; what bit of reality they are pointing at.

W.R. #1:
…When she writes, "There are moments of selfless consideration, of gentleness, of genuine compassion, of humility, though they are much rarer than they could be," she is asserting that one must choose to be either benevolent or egocentric, failing to see that choosing to act from a motivation of benevolence is no less egocentric than choosing to engage in a predatory act, the difference being how one might assess the overall social benefit or detriment of each behavior.

A.M.:
Are you saying that a man who rapes a woman is exactly as egocentric as a man who stops a rape out of deep concern for the victim?

W.R. #2:
We might agree that, in our estimations, the ego of the rescuer is more civilized and conducive to enhancing well-being in the individual and society than the ego of the rapist, we might agree that the ego of the rescuer is preferable to the ego of the rapist, we might agree that the ego of the rescuer is more evolved than the ego of the rapist, but I maintain that action originates with ego.

W.R. #1:
She goes on to even more confused thinking when she writes, "we can in Fact do the opposite of what our egos tell us to do." It appears that Ms. Milo is unfamiliar with the concept, a central tenet of The Albigen System, of the umpire. The umpire acts in concert with the ego, continuously evaluating the plusses and minuses of any situation, and exercising the decision making process when considering actions and behavior in response. EVERY decision one makes is based on the assessment of how it will serve the well-being of the self. We are all aware at an instinctive level that there must be a balance between autonomy and community, and we make our behavioral decisions on this constant balancing. If one makes the decision to act in a manner that benefits another while taking time or energy from the self, be assured that there is, somewhere in the mind, the conviction that such an act will serve the self, if only with the ego gratifying message, "I am a good person." At the very least there is the conviction that one is doing the right thing, which again implies that one "knows". This is not to say we don't sometimes decide with poor discernment and suffer the negative consequences of such errors.

A.M.:
Is grasping at one’s own “benevolent” conduct unavoidable?

W.R. #2:
I'm not sure what it means to "grasp" at one's own benevolent conduct. I think it's pretty observable that genuinely mindful individuals strive for the wholeness of being, through which genuinely benevolent behavior may be more easily known. I insist, however, that this striving, too, is ego.

A.M.:
i don’t think so. Cultivating certain attitudes is conducive to non-grasping. To paraphrase a rather useful observation from The Tao Te Ching: A Masters’ acts fall from her. Do you remember a moment of sincerity, wherein your act cried out with a beauty far beyond words? Increase these!

W.R. #2:
For one who is Enlightened, who has also mastered the psyche in this manifest realm, it may be that intuition has become so refined that there is in fact pure action, wherein egocentricity is a non-factor in knowing the right action. But is not the very premise of the essay, "An Art of Unknowing" that until one KNOWS one knows, the assumption of knowing may be a falsehood which causes conflict?

→A.M.:
Yes, that is a premise. When a person cultivates Unselfish Love and its qualities, that person continually refines their disidentification with the assumption “I know.” They begin to see.

A.M.:
Spontaneity is not the same as compulsion. Serving the little lone individual never actually leads to well-being for anybody. Is your life not an example of this Truth?

W.R. #2:
There is an assumption here, "the little lone individual," that may cease to exist with Enlightenment.

→A.M.:
i knew i should’ve put that in quotes… Ha!

W.R. #1:
It is in paragraph 15 that Ms. Milo spins her essay into the consideration of Enlightenment, where she enters even more deeply into projections while admitting, "Perhaps I’ve not made it very clear how this relates to enlightenment, and the Truth is, I don’t really know, I’m not enlightened." And herein lies the crux of her errors: Ms. Milo confuses Enlightenment with social reform. Where she earlier wrote, "contribute some genuine concern for others, and thus have a real change of heart.," now she cites Tom Stine and concurs, "'if the only place the Truth led was to being an absolute asshole to everybody in the world around you, screw the Truth. I’d rather have a really nice, pleasant human being than someone who knows the Truth.' Well so would I."

A.M.:
Even though i agree with Tom Stine’s statement, that doesn’t mean i think assholiness is the only place Truth leads. Truth goes both ways: psychological and sociological.

But i do not think we will ever achieve social reform except through a Universal Consciousness which includes genuine concern for all, and each of us must do this. Nor do i think Universal Consciousness can ever be achieved but through that very same concern. That is what makes it Universal. i do not intend to lower the bar on Enlightenment. No, i wish to raise it. Or rather, i wish to point out that perhaps there is a higher bar.

W.R. #1:
From what follows, it appears that Ms. Milo takes exception with the way she has been addressed by some who claim to be Enlightened: "I’ve had apparently enlightened folk tell me things contrary to my intuition, and what’s worse, they’ve sometimes said it with a sense of certainty bordering on arrogance. I think it is arrogance." And, "I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an “enlightened teacher” who is a “whoremaster.”

I agree that one should not associate with anyone who presents himself as a teacher if that person is, in fact, a whoremaster, and I would have to challenge whether such a person is, in fact, Enlightened. But it is equally incorrect to posit, "the measure of your enlightenment is the % of the time that you’re feeling kind, compassionate, courageous, and loving."

A.M.:
True. In our search for Truth it’d be counter-productive to believe such a thing blindly. We can however examine the effects of our motivations and conduct, and come to such a realization.

W.R. #1:
Enlightenment is not of such considerations. Enlightenment is beyond the relative and the temporal. Enlightenment is beyond words, beyond concepts. Enlightenment is the Absolute in which all dualities are moot, where the considerations of benevolent and malevolent do not exist, a state of singularity and multiplicity in the same eternal instant which is everything, all things and no thing, it is a state in which the infinitesimal and the infinite are simultaneous in the beginningless endless now which is timeless and time without end, for time is a dimension of the relative, which exists only as a glimmer of the Absolute. And after one passes through the Enlightenment experience and returns to the medium of space-time, the world still contains challenges and frustrations, pain and sorrow, and anyone who has relationships with others will encounter plenty of those.

A.M.:
Sure. At least a part of THAT WHICH IS is back behind the interplay of appearances, which include the compulsions with which we identify. So Enlightenment itself… may have nothing to do with such considerations as how Unselfishly Loving we are. But intuition still tells me that something is off about that last statement, even considering the qualifiers i included.

Nevertheless, that which prevents us from directly experiencing Enlightenment is of such considerations as how self-centered we are. Universal Consciousness is of such considerations.

W.R. #2:
Do you KNOW Universal Consciousness, or are you projecting a concept, an idea, that has appeal?

→A.M.:
No. i haven’t realized Universal Consciousness. But i begin to feel something. The relevance of Unselfish Love to Universal Consciousness is more and more apparent to me every day. i see and feel the death of separations within increasing Unselfish Love.

And it may well prove helpful to consider such things on ones path. i know it has for me. Like Nisargadatta said, “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”

The compulsions that make up ego are what we are identified with. i mean such “pettiness’s” as greed, resentment, resistance, pride, vanity, neediness etc; in short: selfishness. What i mean by selfishness is this: lack of consideration, circumspection, concern, or effort for the well-being of others.

i mean: most of us want what we want, period. And want to avoid what we want to avoid, period. Why? Those same petty compulsions, and other compulsions still deeper. To what end are we compelled? Delusion, and more compulsion for all.

W.R. #2:
EVERYONE wants a permanent state of well-being, and EVERYONE tries to avoid those things that debilitate one's well-being. One of the goals of the work is to refine one's awareness of what debilitates, and what it might be to find permanent well-being while residing in a realm in which conflict, pain and drama are inherent conditions.

W.R. #1:
So, to address directly the idea that being Enlightened means being a nicer person: one may have nothing to do with the other. It does appear to be true that someone who has had a genuine Enlightenment experience has little need of pettiness or self aggrandizement, but that does not mean that the same individual will match someone else's ideas of what is a good person. What does it mean to have compassion? I knew one Zen master who could be agonizingly harsh with his students when he perceived they needed it, as easily as he could be a good friend. That same individual had no hesitancy to use whatever level of violence he deemed appropriate in a given situation, and could then turn around and be a gentle nurturer of children. And I am certain that he was Enlightened. You see, he knew that all his actions in the relative space-time realm were just that, relative, and of no Absolute measure of good and evil, for the terrarium of the manifest world is an arena in which the forces of adversity do battle with the forces of benevolence, both having their origins in the will of Nature, which is but a projection of The Absolute.

A.M.:
Yes, Enlightenment may have nothing to do with being nicer. Then again, it may. But i think you have changed my language and meaning to suit your point. i’m not talking about being a “nicer” person (though that incidentally can be a side-effect, as is being more unpredictable), or about “matching someone else’s ideas of what is a good person.”

What does it mean to have compassion? i think it means that one is concerned with the sorrows and suffering of others, for others; that one feels such a thing. We can’t really feel compassion or Unselfish Love caught up in the drama of our compulsions (egos).

When i talk about Unselfish Love, i mean having an attitude of giving; of giving-up. i am talking about consideration of others. You know, concern for their welfare. i am talking about a mother punishing her child not out of petty annoyance, but rather out of an awareness that a spoilt, demanding, overbearing child will likely be an unhappy adult. i am talking about discerning between these.

i’m not talking about going on an “ego trip” about being such a great mother before or after the fact. Nor am i talking about NOT punishing your child just because you want to “be nice” (“be nice” to be read, “not put forth the effort”). One may not know the effects of one’s own motivations, but if you examine it i think you will find that self-centered motivations tend to have self-centering effects.

This Zen Master, was he sometimes “agonizingly harsh with his students” because he was on an “ego trip,” or because he wanted to help them? Did he “use whatever level of violence he deemed appropriate” because he relished cruelty, or because he felt deeply, truly, “This will not stand!”? Was he “a gentle nurturer of children” because he wanted the credit, or because he actually cared for them?

Did he go on an “ego trip” about how wonderful a person he was after the fact? Probably not.

i’m talking about motivations here. i’m talking about the difference between motivations and justifications, or rationalizations. Why, does one actually do what they do, and what are the results of that for ALL? Is not why we do what we do deeper in the heart of us? Really experiencing this is greater awareness. How could it not be related to Enlightenment?

For the “pride” side of compulsion (ego) a useful question to ask oneself is: Would I have done what I did alone, in the dark, where no one would ever have known or seen it?

W.R. #1:
At the risk of being labeled a "Roseian" I suggest one consider these words by Richard Rose: "Know thou of teachers? Know that teachers beget teachers, even as words beget words. And if the words of the teacher are kind to the ear, then the ear hears that which it wishes to hear. Then how shall the ear hear of that which IS? For the real teacher speaks neither to the ear, nor the mind, nor the heart, but by circumstances and acts. Yet the real teacher is not a man, and is known only in that circumstances befall us."

A.M.:
i couldn’t have said it near as well. Our motivations are a part of “that which IS.” Doesn’t a proud man, believing he is special, become humiliated in proportion to his pride? And learn in proportion to his humility?

W.R. #2:
I do not challenge the idea that our work is intended to cultivate greater insight and wisdom.

A.M.:
Don’t our motivations befall others for “good” or “ill?” Shall we fail to care about this?

W.R. #2:
Good question. In the quest to attain Truth, one may, perhaps many times, be confronted with the question, WHAT DOES IT MEAN to act from the consideration of how "our motivations befall others for 'good' or 'ill?" I am asserting that the process of examining self awareness goes to the depths of challenging every notion, even what constitutes "good or ill."

→A.M.:
i agree.

W.R. #1
Ego is the drive to empower the self. Ego is necessary to manifest being, but it is the nature of humanity that ego is stimulated by imagination and confusion, and ego develops projections in order to cope with the complexities of existence. And as the self identifies with these projections, one moves ever deeper into illusion and drama. And it is ego that yearns for Enlightenment. The Albigen System is but one system among many, but like any honest teaching about Enlightenment, it has as its purpose the cultivation of intelligence and discernment in the study of the mind. The teachings, practices and group exercises of the system are intended to reveal the layers of self, from the recognition of identification with ego projections, through the realization of the umpire, to the attainment of the process observer. From there, the eye of the I turned ever upon itself may lead to the cataclysmic collapse of the entire self-identification process and catapult the individual into the Absolute. If Enlightenment is something you truly desire, I recommend reading page 315 of "The Direct Mind Experience." In a few words, the entire path is laid out.

A.M.:
True, the ego does yearn for Enlightenment, but it is the Absolute within us that “yearns” to truly express Unselfish Love through us. The ego abhors this....

W.R. #2:
You have, as already noted, stated, "I don’t really know, I’m not enlightened." Yet you proclaim that for which the Absolute yearns? I have been a father for 24 years and have done my best to be a good and wise father. I know I love my children. Is that Unselfish Love? Is it egocentric love? If it is Unselfish Love, does ego abhor this?

→A.M.:
You probably do love your children very much, but who am i to say? All i can say is that each person’s “wellbeing” is largely dependent on the level of that persons “desire” for the “wellbeing” of others. True and complete “desire” for others “wellbeing” is other than self-centered. We are floating in a sea, wherein real Love for ALL matters.

....What you say in the above paragraph sounds similar to what i mean to convey though. Some of our motivations are “layers of self” and are often a big part of “the entire self-identification process.” But there are both: motives that lead toward further identification, and motives that lead away from identification.

W.R. #2:
Is it possible to see the source of these motives? Perhaps that is a more fundamental question than the effect of our motives. Which does not obviate the value in assessing what the results of our actions may be.

i think it would be conducive to communication here if everyone reading this would attempt to observe this with me. Please, if you’d be so kind: Okay… Get back behind some specific compulsion within yourself. You know, some “knot” of emotion that typically tends to “grab” your attention. Take your time… Alright, hopefully now there is some “space” between “you” and the “knot.” Now “let” “grasping” onto the knot happen… Can you see what happens? That grasping is identification (At least one form of it. Does anyone know if there are other forms?). That grasping tends to narrow “your” awareness. That is to say that it creates the illusion of localizing a “you.”

Now examine within the knot… What is the meaning of the particular knot you are working with? To give some examples: if you’re working with pride, its meaning may be, “I’m special”; arrogance, perhaps “I’m right”; despair or self-pity, maybe “I’m unlovable.” These are examples of what i mean by “unconscious belief.” They are assumptions that have mostly gone unexamined. They are self-ish in the sense that they are only concerned with “you.” Even if the belief is something like, “I’m better than others” it is still not truly concerned with others. Right? Nor would the assumption/belief, “I’m such a great person” be anything other than selfish. Those beliefs contribute nothing to actually being a better person; in fact they do much the opposite.....

W.R. #2:
Who shall we say was a better person, Andrew Carnegie or Mother Theresa? Carnegie invented a steel refining process that allowed him to become one of the wealthiest men in the world. He had a reputation as a tough but scrupulous business man and, at the end of his life, he built Carnegie Hall, founded Carnegie Mellon University, established the Carnegie Corporation of New York which is chartered "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and more. Mother Theresa established medical clinics for the destitute, worked with lepers and other social outcasts, enjoined the world community to help the downcast and, upon her death it was discovered in her journals that she suffered chronic despondency. Was Mother Theresa a more admirable person than Carnegie? Did Carnegie actually do more to help humanity? Which one should we hold as our model for what constitutes a better person? Which one was more
"truly concerned with others"?

→A.M.:
Each of them either did, or did not, have genuine concern for others to varying degrees, regardless of what i think.

W.R. #1:
I am not concerned with what may or may not lead someone to "being a better person." I do not assume I know what anyone needs in order to be a better person, or even what it would mean for someone to be a "better" person. I am concerned with the work that leads to Self realization.

→A.M.:
Love for all is concerned with both.

.... Nor do those beliefs contribute anything to relinquishing ego. In fact, they do much the opposite.

If you have a little more time to spend on this we can briefly examine within the “grasping” itself: What is the meaning of that “grasping”? If you keep at it, i think you will find assumption and belief functioning there as well.

In releasing these identifications i think you will find yourself “retreating from untruth” as Rose liked to say. Check it out for yourself. We can begin to release identification not only by discernment as i just gave example of, but also by the cultivation of “virtue” and/or “positive qualities”.

“Virtue” and “positive qualities” to me mean: the light that shines through the bleak sky of delusion; the “holes” in the Swiss cheese of compulsion. Such things as: humility, patience, tolerance, courage, compassion, gentleness, self-honesty, kindness, curiosity, wonder etc, there is even room for heartfelt indignation (as opposed to egofelt or rabbit felt ; ] ). In short: Unselfish Love.

To give a brief example, there is something one may feel; an attitude one may cultivate, that can be defined as: not-struggling with regard to receiving credit or recognition, or being “right or “wrong.” This is a specific feeling and quality. If experienced properly it is a disidentification. It can be labeled “humility.”

W.R. #1:
As for those who may or may not be Enlightened who present themselves as teachers, know this: it is one thing to be a pilgrim upon the path and to attain the goal, it is another to be able to show the path to someone else. The journey of life doesn't end with Enlightenment, there is still the road before you, the drama of the manifest terrarium, and there is a world of experience and knowledge to be plumbed, including the ever emerging field of psyche and all its variety of forms. After graduating from being a student, it takes time to become a good teacher.

Ms. Milo seems sincere. Perhaps instead of telling others how to interpret their egos she should spend more time examining her own.

A.M.:
Basically William, i don’t think we disagree so much as we simply misunderstand one another. After all, the Truth is the Truth, right? So there isn’t really anything to disagree about.

W.R. #2:
Yes and no. True, that if we were to be in direct mind rapport, we would know the essential being-ness of each other, and such knowing transcends difference. But the work of scrutinizing meaning and understanding is essential to revealing errors of thought, of unconscious assumptions, of well meaning projections.

A.M.:
Here and in “An Art of Unknowing” what i’ve said basically boils down to asking two questions: What actually motivates you to conduct yourself the way you do?

W.R. #2:
This is a fundamental question of self inquiry and a foundational reference point within "confrontation."

A.M.:
And what are the effects of those motivations on all?

W.R. #2:
Does this question not assume knowledge that one does not possess? Concern yourself with becoming Truth, and let "the effects of those motivations on all" be the concern of the One Who Is All.

→A.M.:
No, it does not assume knowledge that one does not possess. All one has to do is LOOK.

To end, i’d just like to leave the reader with two quotes by a pair of men much wiser than myself:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain pursues him, as the wheel of the wagon follows the hoof of the ox that draws it.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought; all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness pursues him like his own shadow that never leaves him…

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an eternal rule.” – The Buddha, Dhammapada

"The casual way of looking at things always answers only the question, ‘Why?’ but never ‘To what end?’... However if someone asks, ‘For what purpose should we help one another, make life easier for each other, make beautiful music together, have inspired thoughts?’ he would have to be told, ‘If you don't feel the reasons no one can explain them to you.’ Without this primary feeling we are nothing and had better not live at all." – Albert Einstein

W.R. #2:
The purpose of the TAT fellowship is to engage in the very reason hinted at by Einstein in the quote above, to combine our individual efforts to create an energy greater than the sum of the parts, to grow individually by working communally. This is referred to as "ladder work."

I want to make this clear: I do not assert that there is anything wrong or inappropriate about publishing an essay which has as its purpose challenging the readers' thoughts and assumptions. I agree completely with the idea that examining one's assumptions, thoughts, feelings, prejudices, desires, emotions, projections, in short, cultivating mindfulness, is a beneficial discipline for one who seeks Self realization. But you and I, Ally, do not just differ in the language we use; we are NOT just saying the same things in different ways. You wrote above, "But i do not think we will ever achieve social reform except through a Universal Consciousness which includes genuine concern for all, and each of us must do this." The work of the Albigen system is NOT about social reform. All IS as intended by The Source of all that is. To quote Richard Rose, "Those who have really experienced sentience of the Absolute and have viewed life from the direct appraisal of things - lose all inclination to change any part of the theatrical mental reflections. An adult simply loses interest in the toys of childhood and it matters not who has the marbles now." -The Albigen Papers, pg.124, para. 3.

→A.M.:
Cultivating Unselfish Love IS cultivating mindfulness. It is an expedient means of going within. The work of Unselfish Love is not about social reform either, but that happens to be quite a lovely side effect.

W.R. #2:
You have proffered a number of concepts, of what it is to be selfish, of what it is to be selfless. You have acknowledged, "I am not Enlightened," that you have not experienced pure awareness, yet you engage in any number of projections about what it is to be Enlightened and about how one should imagine Enlightened behavior,
"We can begin to release identification not only by discernment as i just gave example of, but also by the cultivation of “virtue” and/or “positive qualities” You would substitute one model of identification with another. But I am not interested in instilling a set of benevolent attitudes and behaviors. WHO IS IT WHO SUGGESTS THESE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES? WHO ARE YOU with NO identification? With NO concepts or projections?

→A.M.:
No, Unselfish Love and its qualities are dis-identifications.

W.R. #2:
We are NOT about displacing one set of constructs with a different set of constructs, we are NOT trying to insert one paradigm for another. In "An Art of Unknowing," you write, "I also like to pair the discussion of “dropping” or getting rid of something, with its partner, “embracing” something, or “taking on” something – an attitude, a feeling, a perception." In that essay and in the comments above, you do not JUST take aim at an assumed paradigm, you propose a REPLACEMENT paradigm: "There are moments of selfless consideration, of gentleness, of genuine compassion, of humility, though they are much rarer than they could be. ... I can do these things with a positive attitude simply because they’re good, regardless of what my ego says.... if we are to be of honest, useful, practical service to others." Above you write, "i mean having an attitude of giving; of giving-up. i am talking about consideration of others." The problem is, that in each of these statements you assume that the "self" who will act is KNOWN. If we accept the idea, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought; all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts," who are we if we have NO thoughts?

→A.M.:
No, i do not wish to replace one construct or paradigm with another; practicing Unselfish Love continually undermines one's constructs and paradigms. You have misunderstood me.

i simply wish to point out that Unselfish Love and its qualities are DIS-identifications with ones obstacles to Enlightenment. See for yourselves.

i simply wish to point out that Unselfish Love and its qualities are DIS-identifications with the source of ALL problems. See for yourselves.

i simply wish to point out that Unselfish Love and its qualities can help one discover who and what they are. See for yourselves.

W.R. #2:
The work of the Albigen system is to chase ego and thought into an inescapable corner, to shine light on the multitudinous layers of cognitive constructs created throughout one's life, those unconscious dialogues and paradigms that form identification and bind one to a world of illusions, and to create the energy vector that will ANNIHILATE THE EGO, that will carry consciousness through the DEATH OF THAT WHICH BELIEVES ITSELF TO BE SELF, and reveal ABSOLUTE AWARENESS.

First attain Enlightenment. All pure action flows from this.

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