I came across this poem I wrote rummaging through some old papers recently. It is not dated, but I know I was living at Richard Rose's house in Benwood, WV at the time, and I imagine I was around 21 to 24.
This poem was written to capture the feeling I had during a walk down to the Ohio River in McMechen, staring across the hills in Ohio on the other side of the river. I still remember it well after all these years. It was a late summer evening with moonlight on the river, and the crickets were loud and droning like a tamboura in Indian music. The hills were ablaze with fireflies, reflecting in the river, and I was in an intense mood of nostalgia and felt as though the entire world surrounding me, so intensely beautiful and moving was a mirage. And I felt in tune with something behind the "paper veil" if I could only pull it back and peer behind it, I would see what was generating the mirage to keep me enthralled with something I had the strong sense was unreal even while I was filled with love for it!
It was a harbinger of something to unfold many years later when I finally saw behind the paper lining on the wall....
The August moon calls forth a sound, --
The summer night emits a light,
The season's growth evokes a mood,
The Mid-night air transforms my thoughts,
~ Bob Cergol has been an active TAT member since 1973. You can contact him by . The graphic image is "Fireflies Among Reeds" by Shiokawa Bunrin (1801-1877), from Wikimedia Commons.
TAT Meeting News
Register now for the June TAT weekend, Friendship and the Spiritual Path, featuring Bob Harwood and others.
Local Group News
Update from the Columbus, OH self-inquiry group:
The OSU Self-Inquiry Group is continuing to meet over the summer on Monday evenings at 6:30PM. Meeting place is St. Stephen's Episcopal Church at the corner of N. High Street and Woodruff Avenue. ~ For further information, contact or
Update from the weekly email confrontation groups:
There are currently two active email groups where participants ask each other questions and then respond to the questions on a weekly schedule. These groups are the current manifestations of an activity that has continued uninterrupted for more than 15 years. They were designed to provide interactive Q&A activity and accountability feedback primarily for people who didn't have local groups but have also supplemented local group activity. ~ For further information, contact or .
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The Path to Nirvana and Beyond
A summary of the core teachings of Franklin Merrell-Wolff
Franklin Merrell-Wolff was many things: a mathematician, a philosopher, a lecturer, a husband, and, for a short stint, a gold prospector. But, above all else, Wolff was a mystic and a sage of the highest order. His teachings and philosophy were born from two fundamental realizations he had in 1936, at the age of forty-nine and after more than twenty-five years of actively seeking "another kind of Consciousness, where alone, it seemed, a solution to the [contradictions inherent] in the subject-object consciousness could be found." He had a unique rapport with the 8th Century Advaita Vedanta sage known as Shankara, whom he often cited as a sage that might be appealing to seekers, like himself, with highly developed cognitive capabilities, as opposed to those mystics that point the way through primary reliance on the affective qualities (feelings). Perhaps most importantly, Wolff did not shy away from offering his own sales pitch for pursuing liberation at all costs, commenting on one occasion, "but a brief experience of this Joy [inherent in Nirvanic Consciousness] would be worth any effort and any amount of suffering that could be packed into a lifetime that might prove necessary for its realization."
Wolff's prescribed path to realization of Nirvana is through a repolarization of consciousness focused on, and entangled with, objects (or the various contents of consciousness), to a consciousness polarized toward the immediate and bare subjectivity of consciousness itself. In fact, for Wolff, there was no difference between the purely subjective element of the normal human subject-object consciousness and Nirvana. He made clear the Nirvanic state is not something far away but rather closer than close, "for what could be nearer to man than his most immediate Self...." This same Self is none other than the very "I" at the epicenter of each person's experience and perception. In fact, who could dispute that it is the one unchanging element inherent in all perceptions both of the waking state and the dream state? The primary impediment blocking Nirvana, as Wolff diagnosed, is the "false predication" of this very Self with the contents of consciousness. This very Self of ours becomes entangled with the universe of objects, e.g., thoughts, feelings, desires, sensations, etc. For instance, instead of seeing a sick body as a passing object in consciousness, the Self superimposes itself onto the sick body with the thought, "I am sick." But in point of fact the Self is not sick at all. The body is sick, never the Self. According to Wolff, it is this frequent losing of our Self among the ceaseless arising of objects that keeps us in real bondage.
The repolarization, or dehypnotizing of consciousness away from the aforementioned entanglement with objects, is done through a process Wolff described as "discrimination." The process of discrimination, according to Wolff, is one of "radical dissociation of the self from objects." To do this, the aspirant must push back further and further to dis-identify with the contents of consciousness. The familiar refrain at this stage is: if you can be aware of it, then you are NOT it. Eventually this constant discrimination between subject and object, and the isolation of the bare subjective feeling of "I," has the effect of repolarizing consciousness in favor of the subject and away from all objects. Pursued long enough, a seeker may eventually have his sense of identity shift to a witnessing presence where it can only be said of all passing objects, "I am other than that." At some point in this process of discrimination, Wolff says, "the self shifts to another plane or base, where relations vanish and the self is realized as identical with the contents of consciousness." It is as if the bare point of subjectivity in the subject/object consciousness is transformed into a "space" that spreads out over the entire universe of objects.
With the shift in the base of consciousness itself, and attainment of the Nirvanic state of consciousness, Wolff assures us that the true values of Freedom, Joy, Bliss, Benevolence, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, will be found on a level that normal human subject/object consciousness simply cannot comprehend. But lest we get too excited, Wolff makes it clear this repolarization of consciousness towards the subject, and the eventual shift in the base of consciousness from a bare point to a space, is not easy to effect. For although, according to him, all men are in the Nirvanic state in the "hinterland of their consciousness," one who has realized this is one that has embarked on the long and difficult journey of carrying self-consciousness over into that hinterlanda task made difficult by the ceaseless arising of objects to become entangled with.
As enticing as it would be to rest in Nirvanic consciousness, identified with the formless, empty, subjective substratum of all that is, Wolff assures us there is yet a higher realization. He himself said that if this second realization had not occurred spontaneously thirty-three days after the initial awakening, it would never have occurred to him there was a higher realization. As he points out, the vast majority of mystical literature is focused on the first movement to Nirvanic consciousness and the "blowing out" of identification with a separate self among the many, and little is said about a further second movement. Only in the Northern Canon of Buddhist literature did Wolff find references to a "clear light" and "the deepest turning in the seat of consciousness itself" that, based on his second realization, he recognized was a turning beyond not just the ego self but the Supreme Self as well. It was this second turning of consciousness in upon itself that he called true Enlightenment or Shunyata.
The transcendence of both the ego self, and the Supreme Self, is something that hardly lends itself to common language, as Wolff made clear. He was emphatic, however, that what we truly are is quite literally Primordial Consciousness, which is a consciousness beyond any sense of a subject and all objects. He clarified that this second realization is above and beyond all valuesincluding the value of wanting to compassionately rouse others to an awakening. Quite literally it is beyond all desires of any sort, and devoid of bliss, love, joy, and any other quality found within Nirvanic consciousness. Hence, he called this state the "High Indifference," as from this vantage point Nirvana and Sangsara (subject/object consciousness) were one and the same and both were encompassed by this more comprehensive state. The only quality he said that could be prescribed to the High Indifference was "Authority." Interestingly, Wolff said that although the High Indifference had no value to personal consciousness, and was devoid of any desirable quality, anyone who had ever touched upon it would never prefer anything to it, including Nirvanic consciousness.
Wolff suggested there was truly nothing an aspirant could do to realize the High Indifference, for it was beyond all personal efforts, and even beyond the Supreme Self that is the basis of all effort. Rather, as one of many pointers, he prescribed a meditation technique that would help with the attainment of Nirvanic consciousness, from where a spontaneous second awakening might occur. His method was to perfect the process of discrimination by focusing on the sense of bare subjectivity while making no effort to stop the flow of thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arose. One can see the parallels of this technique with Ramana Maharshi's "just be" and Nisargadatta's frequent admonishment to hold to the sense of I AM. It is by this dehypnotizing of consciousness inclined towards objects that one may eventually break through the spell and awaken out of identification with a small self. Anyone can test the polarization of their own consciousness by taking note how often during the day they are lost in thought or identified with feelings, desires, and bodily sensations. In my humble opinion, there is little that is more difficult than simply resting just as one is, identified with nothing more than the sense of "I" or "me." The Universe of objects has a very strong pull, and, in my experience, some objects are so subtle it is very difficult to get behind them and clearly see them as "not self."
To conclude, Franklin Merrell-Wolff was an extraordinary sage. Any seeker can benefit greatly by reading his aphorisms and other written works, especially his sections on the "factors favoring recognition" and the "obstacles to recognition" in his book Pathways Through to Space. I myself am truly indebted to him and hope my small attempt at summarizing his core teachings has not done him an injustice.
~ Thanks to Tyler Tarrant, a TAT member since 2013. He welcomes .
A reader wrote that what would make the Forum more interesting would be:
Hearing from people who are searching and have questions instead of those providing endless advice and "answers." What challenges they are facing. What their doubts and questions are. How they perceive their path is going. What they are doing in their lives. Where they think they will end up. Etc. etc.
Can you help make the Forum more interesting?
The Forum staff solicited feedback on TAT Press's fourth book, Solid Ground of Being: A Personal Story of the Impersonal published in 2010.
From Dan Andrews:
I highly recommend Solid Ground of Being by Art Ticknor. A book which should spend more time on your knee, than in your hands, as you carefully, and honestly, consider the questions asked within. If Understanding is what you seek, then this little book is the only guide you need.
From Corina Bardasuc:
Art's book is a description of a life lived in search of truth. The surprising thing about the author, however, is that he actually found what he was looking for. There are all kinds of writers of spiritual books out there who write about things they have only heard about, and use nebulous words to describe abstract concepts they can barely wrap their own brains around. Art is not like that. His writing is simple, direct, and speaks to the reader using the language of logic and common sense. Art's gift as a writer is that he can use logic to speak to the heart of the reader...Think that's a paradox? It appears to the be one of the few ways that someone can address such an abstract concept as spiritual development, and Art's life experience has given him the ability to write in such a way. This book is the perfect mix of logical and intuitional insights meant to guide the reader on the path of self discovery. Also throughout the book the reader is challenged by koan like questions that turn one's attention back towards the self. An excellent book and one of the best purchases I have made in my entire life!
From Mike Mitskewski:
This book has truly whacked me upside the head. I purchased Solid Ground of Being primarily because I had read some of the author's work over the last few months and I relate well to his style of teaching others. The short passages make it easy to stop and reflect on that particular lesson, or just simply place your book mark in a great spot to return to. But what has pleasantly surprised me most about it is that, if one actually does the work as suggested in some of the passages, (as opposed to simply reading through), good things can and will happen. It really hasn't forced confrontation with my Self, it invites it. This is a must-have book for any determined Truth seeker.
From Todd W:
A collection of aphorisms, personal accounts, retold conversations and original poetry wrapped around the theme of spiritual introspection, Solid Ground of Being overall impresses me with a feeling of heartfelt and honest communication.
The author certainly seems to have his bona fides in terms of having lived the life of one who has struggled to find his self definition and eventually found the Source. I found each section was ripe with ideas and material for meditation. This book may replace my worn out copy of The Power of Now as my go-to resource of inspiration.
I recommend it for anyone who has grown weary of the road of being a Seeker and wishes to finally become a Finder.
From Tess Hughes:
This book has that wonderful quality of being accessible to anyone who is serious about their spiritual development. It is simple enough for the total beginner to be inspired and informed and at the same time is equally inspiring and informative and challenging for the longtime tired out seeker.
I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to seek the truth about themselves and who is willing to be challenged.
From Ben Rainey:
I found Solid Ground of Being to be much more confrontational than I had expected, which makes it incredibly useful in the spiritual search! It's written in short, often one-page, chapters, each taking a different angle on going within. Some chapters are personal stories from experience, some are written as conversations, and some are discussions with the reader. Throughout the book are questions that point back inward, giving the reader no comforting palliative, but directing the attention within oneself for answers. This book doesn't seem meant for those who are looking for confirmation of their beliefs, but for those willing to pose questions to themselves in the search for something certain. I can see myself returning to this book for inspiration, for an aid in meditation, or for something to stir up my mind when it gets stuck.
Please send us your brief reviews or feedback on something that stood out for you in the TAT Press book The Listening Attention for next month's Reader Commentary.
Other Reader Feedback:
I live in Gunnison CO and own 40-acres with a one-room cabin. It is surrounded by BLM land. It's a place of solitude and pure quiet that has given peace to my soul. Every time I go here, I get the feeling that I should let others feel this kind of quiet. If there is someone that is interested in coming to Gunnison, CO for quiet they can contact me at . ~ Laura Guccione
Dear TAT editor
Have heard it was said that "Truth is what works." In your latest newsletter your "Irritation & Inspiration" column has certainly worked both/and!
One wonders if Bob Harwood's piece is sagely advice from a renowned master, a cryptic zen koan, a poem expressing the inexactitude of language, a 'soup de jour' of terminology borrowed from eastern traditions symptomatic of the new age 'spiritual' zeitgeist, a lesson in the inexactitude of language and the futility of expressing the non-dual from the dual, absolute states of awareness with the relative mind, a joke disguised as profound wisdom or wisdom disguised as a joke, a Socratic gadfly trap to ruffle the feathers of intellectualism or from 'thinking' one knows, a provocation into teaching, or simply a sockpuppet troll pen name the guy you hire to write something when reader comments are low to create a reaction, or all of the above and simultaneously none of the above.
There is so much one could confront in word games with Bob but instead am left with confronting my own self and its intellectual arrogance. My only rebuttal is to remain silent, but it's too late, Bob has already defeated me just by this reader response to TAT.
Once again thank you Bob for the mirror :)
Thank you Peter O'Doherty! When someone shares their vulnerability, as you have done this month [i.e., the May 2015 Forum], the oceans between us shrink and I feel a connection. There is no TAT that I know of in Australia and I love the Forum. While I appreciate and mull over all I read, your contribution reached some depth within.
Colleen Kelly, Qld, Australia
~ Colleen can be contacted by .
I must say I like the forum a lot. The archives from TAT are so great and I have spent a lot of time there.... As I read an article, I always turn it into something for me (put the light on the little me). So I take any question and view how it reflects me or my life or so.
Rob ten Have
~ Rob can be contacted by .
Richard Rose described a spiritual path as living one's life aimed at finding the meaning of that life. Did you find anything relevant to your life or search in this month's Forum issue?
We like hearing from you! Please your comments, suggestions, inquiries, and submissions.
Zen Is Action (Part 5 of 6)
Near Death Experiences
Q. What do you think is the difference between an out-of-body experience and say dreams or even an acid trip?
R. I'm going to tell you something. The acid trip is a departure from the outside ego. Years ago I was lecturing in universities, and people would come who had been into acid and seen another dimension. And through that dimension they realized that it was as good as this one; not because it was pleasurable but because it was real. There was some message. They didn't know how to decipher it because they didn't go into it with the idea of deciphering it. Sometimes pot will affect people, but I think the heavy drugs are strictly destructive.
Timothy Leary and some of those guys were psychologists. They said, "Hey, this is the cure. This is the truth." Well, it wasn't. But one thing it certainly was, it showed that there was a dimension besides this relative dimension that we labor in now. And with that as a background, they said, "Tell me more. Show me how to get in there." That was, if they weren't too completely blasted. I saw that in 1972. I saw that the door would open for some people. And I said this is the time to go to the universities and see how many I can salvage. Because that type of dope is an intuitional thing. But it's confused; it doesn't come in the English language. There's no explanation that comes with the package.
Q. [mostly inaudible question about the ultimate observer]
R. The ultimate observer is God. Now "God" is a word. And God in my estimation you can take this as fiction if you want is the ultimate destiny of man, hopefully every man. But it's not the totality. When this experience happened to me I realized that I was a total consciousness. And I thought, "This is everything. So what is nothing?" And I fell into an abyss. I thought, "Oh, oh, this is nothing." And wound up back in the hotel room. I came back to my mundane consciousness.
Q. What organ or part of the body if any do you think the soul of man resides? The heart, the head?
R. None of them. That has shifted down through the centuries. The Greeks used to think it was in the liver. Some thought it was in the heart, because when you stab a guy in the heart he dies, so that must be his life center. But basically, your real life is outside your body, in my estimation.
I'm going by analysis of people who have had operations and that sort of thing. My kid brother Vincent was in an automobile accident, and while he was supposedly unconscious he saw everybody in the room. He described the operation to the doctor. His wife was a rabid Holy Roller and he was raised a Catholic. When they called me to find out what religion he was they said they didn't expect him to live I told them he was raised a Catholic and he'd probably want a priest. This was out in the desert near an Army base, so they called and got a Catholic chaplain to come out and give him the last rites. My brother's wife was anti-priest: her religion believed that all priests were demons and devils. And when the priest came in she started cursing him out, right there at the bedside, trying to drive him out. And my brother watched all of that, knew the motions they went through, and told them later.
You can get some of this material and read it. Raymond Moody's book is factual. He was on this Geraldo Rivera show I can't pronounce his name the guy who got his nose broken, getting into politics. They had four or five people who survived death. And they fall into certain categories. When people recover from death they talk about different kinds of experience that seem to be peculiar to a certain type of life, whether they're instinctive or logical or whatever. Moody himself was astrally projected, if you want to call it that; he claims it was like a death experience. But these fellows manifest something of memory. You remember where you were, you remember what the streets look like. He said that when he was traveling over the streets in this town, he recognized people he knew on the sidewalk. And he checked with them later. He was headed for Washington DC, he said, and he knew what to expect.
This means that the fellow carried his synapses with him, seemingly. His synapses are in his head, so if he dies you would think he'd be blotto, that there wouldn't have been any thoughts. But he's still thinking. So this means that there's a correlation, or a correlated double, where the stuff that you learn in this life is also deposited in an astral or spiritual memory bank, the same as it is in this bank. Consequently we realize that memory can transcend death. Now when Paul Wood was conjuring up the battle of Gettysburg, of course, the only way to check would have been to get some evidence of what he saw.
There's a lot of evidence now that we can pass out and see things with our eyes shut, when we're unconscious, medically dead even. The people in this Geraldo show had a common thing: two of them said they passed through a tunnel and at the end of the tunnel there was a bright light. One of them said that the light was God. The other said that there was a man there, which he considered to be an angel, leading him into another dimension, another field.
There was a lady there, I don't know if she was a psychiatrist or what, but she made the remark that the greatest enemies to this spiritual investigation are the federally-funded psychiatrists and psychologists. She said they seem to be trained to write this down as a disease of the mind, and that anybody who survives death should be forced to have psychiatric care.
More Q and A
Q. I was in a bookstore and I asked the man if he had one of your books. He rolled his eyes, and I said, "Why did you roll your eyes?" He said, "Well, we don't really consider him a true Zen master." What do you think of that?
R. What's his name? I'll tell you his name
Q. It was on the west side.
R. Yeah, that's him, a duplex. At one time he was some kind of authority in the Theosophical Society here. And somebody else moved in, I think his name was Sibert, and took over. So he went back to his bookstore. I met him in Pittsburgh. And he offered very graciously, he made the remark to me, "Well, I'd like to hear you speak, Mr. Rose, and if I like what you say, we'll invite you over to the Theosophical Society for a talk." He was a rather pompous guy. So I hope he didn't like my talk; I didn't want to go to his Theosophical Society under pressure.
Q. In all this life after death stuff, what do you think about Shirley MacLaine?
R. I don't know about Shirley MacLaine. But it seems like a long drag if that Ramtha guy took 26,000 years to learn English.
Q. You disbelieve all that stuff?
R. Oh, this is the age of creation. Create anything, and the bigger the lie the better. The public will believe the biggest lie. And if you're wealthy then you must know something, so the wealthier you get the better you are. But it's like crystals: for anybody to pay attention to crystals the way people are doing today, it doesn't say much for evolvement. Believe me, the desert rats out in California two hundred years ago would have known something about the beneficial values of crystals, because they had to dig through them to find gold. They chose the gold.
But anyhow, it's just the idea that we're trying to create. We create God in our own image and likeness: "God wouldn't do that because it would be unjust." How do people know, until they know what his essence is? God might like to eat humans. "He's supposed to act like us. He created us in his own image and likeness." And we were created in the image and likeness of monkeys and dogs, perhaps. It goes way back.
People are lazy-minded. They can't help it. Sometimes it takes every hour of your day just to make a living. So what can you do? I can't see endorsing every movement. But one thing I'll say is that every movement answers a question for somebody. That's important. I'm not saying that everybody goes down the same path. An instinctive man may be lifted out of his puddle by some emotional religion, some guru-deal, and he becomes a better person. And I've seen people who quit drinking. The formula for getting cured of drinking is to find somebody you can dedicate yourself to and get off your ego trip. So you pick Jesus Christ, nothing wrong with that.
Then you've got people who are a little more scientific and they become Spiritualists. I made my rounds of the spiritualists and I found some genuine phenomena, but they didn't answer the questions. I talked to the entities, they were genuine. This was right up the road, north of Columbus, a place called White Lilly Chapel in Delaware, Ohio. I saw them materialize. Some of them were supposed to be dead relatives of the people there. But you talk to them and they didn't have any answers. "Is my brother Joe there?" "Yes, yes, he's here. He says hello." "Well, go to hell, Joe, I wanted something more than that." [laughs]
We had a fellow in Wheeling who went to a spiritualist church. He had worked in a brokerage house and rolled up close to a quarter of a million dollars. His girlfriend was working there too, and I guess by inside trading she got a little bit of information and made forty thousand. Back in the depression that was a lot of money. So what happened, the head of their brokerage office took their stock, borrowed it to sell it to somebody, figuring he'd replace it. That's what they do when they're selling short. He just took their stock out of the till and sold it. And instead of going down it went up and he couldn't buy it back, couldn't raise the money. So they lost it. This guy's name was Hazlett, the head of the brokerage firm.
But this man at the age of sixty was now actually broke. He was wanting to get married to this girl who had worked in the brokerage house for twenty years, and they couldn't get married; they didn't have even the price of the ring. So he was very bitter about Hazlett. Well, he said he went to a spiritualist thing. There was a guy named Allen Spraggett who wrote a book on spiritualism; it's a muckraking of Camp Chesterfield in Indiana. I've been there and what he says is very accurate.
Anyhow he went there, and some guy must have done some research and found out he had a friend by the name of Hazlett who had run this brokerage firm. Wheeling is a small town, you know. So he said, "Oh, we've got a spirit here that wants to talk to you." "Yeah? That's good." He said, "It's a man named John; he says he knows you." "I don't know anybody named John, can't think of anybody by the name of John." This guy had to make it sound good, he knew it was Hazlett. "Well, his last name is something like Hazelnut, I think it's Hazelnut, or Hazlett. Yes, Hazlett, that's what the spirit said, it's Hazlett." So he says. "Oh, John Hazlett? Tell him to go to hell." [laughs] Here's a guy who had died and owed him a quarter million bucks. So he got to tell off the pseudo-spirit at least.
Q. You mentioned earlier about an LSD trip showing a different dimension. I've had vivid dreams that weren't relevant to anything I had experienced before, but they seem very real.
R. Well, I don't know the exact thing that occurred to you so I can't say. But I'll tell you, you have to be cautious about any tokens of this sort. You have to check your intuition, so to speak. If you get dependent on a certain line of information like that you'll get fed false information sometimes, to really wreck you. If you can see for a moment, this is an agricultural setup. We're here for fertilization, for keeping the human race going, keeping the earth green, fertilized, and that sort of thing. For what purpose? we don't know. The average person doesn't know. Consequently there's an inclination to buck the harness, quit feeding the fertilization process. And when you do that, immediately whether it's our programming or someone who is profiting from our loss of energy it will start to put ideas into your head. And you've got to be able to credit, to find out where they're coming from. Some people will actually hear voices, and they think, "Oh, that must be spiritual." Ha. Be careful. It's better if you don't hear them.
Q. If animal instincts are negative and intuition is positive, how can you tell the difference?
R. I wouldn't say that the animal instincts are negative. I think in some respects the animal has it all over us. We're cursed with language but the animal isn't. The animal has correct impressions and they risk their life on it. The deer goes in to drink with the lion, only when she knows the lion's belly is full. That's the instinct. But that's an intuition that saves their life.
When you have an intuition you'll know it. Like I said, there are people who have an intuition when the husband's in the beer joint; they'll even call and get the right beer joint. That's mundane. That's a power you don't want to gauge your life on. It won't work all the time. You'll get into a real trap sometime. But the intuition about your correct mental thinking is what I'm talking about. Because thinking about the mind in this esoteric business is subjective, it's not tangible. You can't put it in a test tube. So it has to be tested with very subtle and carefully thought-out methods, to see if you're going in the right path. Of course, my feeling is that you don't have to do much checking if your intentions are right. If your intentions are right, you automatically put like a watchdog in the computer.
That's the reason I say it's very important if a person is on what we call a spiritual path, that they keep their ego out. And you can't do things for money. When you get money into it then you've got an ego into it. So there's always a danger of that. But number one, I don't believe in trying to convince people, to sell a fellow a bill of goods. I do believe that there may be certain people, perhaps, sitting here tonight who have a destiny ahead of them in this regard. And if that's true, they'll ultimately know it, and they'll take action.
But I read those questions purposefully because I think it gives you a new perspective on many subjects that people never think about: things that we define, such as pleasure, right and wrong, and that sort of thing.
Q. What is the spiritual purpose of conditioning?
R. Conditioning is the enemy. There's a book put out by Idries Shah on the Sufis. Sufism is almost like Zen in the Arab countries. And he was quoting one of those old prophets or whatever you call them. He said the worst enemy of mankind is conditioning. In other words, we take a pure and simple soul called a baby and we start to condition them, to get them to believe certain things and act a certain way. We know this. The parents have to keep the kid out of the penitentiary. We've got to live in the sardine can, so you have to be conditioned to live in the sardine can; you've got to transform that kid into some kind of a pretzel.
In my estimation a child is born with a memory of God or the previous essence. And he's also born with a tremendous intuition; they can learn real fast whether to trust you or not. They can also learn real fast where their dinner is. But the older that child gets, the more it is seduced by education, until it thinks it has to believe everything. I ran into some guys from the Army one time, and one of them was a sergeant. And he kept saying, "You better believe it." I don't know if you've ever heard them say that. But I said, "Why? Why do I have to believe something, to go out and get my head blown off? Let's just blow the head off and don't give me that stuff." I don't have to believe anything. We're animals out there, fighting, that's all.
But we seem to think that this is necessary. And people talk of discipline: what do you mean by that? There's no greater discipline than a man who disciplines his own life. He'll never be much harm to anybody else because he won't have any reason to. He's got values. But people who talk about discipline are generally talking about disciplining somebody else. He says, "We're going to educate everybody. Everybody has to be educated."
To be continued....
~ Transcript of a talk given by Richard Rose in Columbus, Ohio in February 1989. Transcription by Steve Harnish. For information on the transcription project .
Raymond-Moody-video-NDEs-on-Geraldo-1988.wmv (Moody appears in the first 26 min. of the video) http://selfdefinition.org/afterlife/
 Mentioned in transcription part 3 of 6: tatfoundation.org/forum2015-04.htm#6
 Minute 28 of above video: Phyllis Atwater, Coming Back To Life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._M._H._Atwater
 Rose's brother Joe, who was still living, appeared at a séance at Camp Chesterfield, July 3, 1958.
 The Unexplained, 1967. Spraggett: "This was a fraud so crude it was an insult to the intelligence."
 The "Lecture of Questions" at the beginning of this talk; see part 1 of 6 tatfoundation.org/forum2015-02.htm#6 and part 2 of 6 tatfoundation.org/forum2015-03.htm#6.
 Idries Shah, Way of the Sufi, Chapter 1, "El-Ghazali", page 51.
Do you have a favorite quote from Richard Rose? Please it along with how you'd prefer to be identified.
For over 35 years, the TAT Foundation met on Richard Rose's farm, where he and the members created "a spot on earth upon which to meet. A homing ground...." TAT meetings, group retreats, and solitary retreats were a regular part of life at the ashram. Rose's desire to help others and to bring people together in a meditative surrounding, influenced two generations of spiritual seekers. Rose's farm was a sanctuary for many years, and a crucible. He once said it was like the desertwhere you go to meet God.
In 2011, Rose's heir decided to use the property for another purpose, and TAT's lease was not renewed. We have since rented facilities for our four quarterly meetings. Yet, the desire to provide a greater service has been a frequent topic. Our dream is to create once again a space that encourages honesty, provides a crucible for spiritual development, and produces the next generation of spiritual seekers and finders.
To that end, TAT is raising $250,000 to find a new home. We envision a semi-rural facility, close to a university town, with a meeting hall seating up to 70 participants, kitchen and bath facilities, and a room for a live-in caretaker. Additionally, the facility would have one cabin for solitary retreats. Ideally, the property would border public lands to provide a buffer of quiet and solitude, and have enough acreage to allow for additional cabins, sleeping quarters, and facilities over time. A resident teacher, week-long retreats and intensives, public events and other activities are planned.
As of the end of May, we have reached 70.4% of the fund-raising goal. Please keep your small donations coming; they truly add up. We only need $11,500 to reach 75% of our goal, at which point we begin the search for a new property.
Don't forget that every purchase on Amazon helps raise funds for this project. So far this year, we've raised over $200 via Amazon. Each time you want to make a purchase on Amazon, follow this link (Amazon Purchases), or any other Amazon link on TAT's site. Add whatever you want to your cart, and a percentage of your purchase price is credited to TAT. It's easy and costs you nothing.
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