20 Spiritual Tools You Can Use On Your Path
1. Humor as healing energy/remedy. "One thing you must be able to do in the midst of any experience is laugh. And experience should show you that it isn't real, that it's a movie. Life doesn't take you seriously, so why take it seriously." - Richard Rose
2. Forgetting yourself. Absorption in activity or concern for others.
3. Remembering yourself. Usually after a period of forgetting yourself. "I am" (Gurdjieffian) exercises, Harding experiments, feeling into the body, etc. Move out of thinking and look at or feel what is actually happening in and around you. Stop the imagination/daydreaming.
4. Put questions to the test. At the start, questions from finders can be helpful. Later, use your own questions. How can I test this out or find out if it is true or not? Test your ideas and beliefs. Compare and contrast the ideas and see if they match reality. Experiment and don't be afraid to put yourself out there or ask someone else's perspective on something you always thought was true and hadn't thought of to question.
5. Question everything. What you can't see is what is too close to you to be seen by you. Therefore, what has been unquestioned is what is taken for granted or what you are unaware of or cannot yet see. What is seeing? What does the questioning? Distance can be gained by questioning what isn't real. Reality withstands questioning.
Swiss Army Knife. Wikimedia Commons public domain.
6. Make it your own. Franklin Merrell-Wolff mentioned he made modifications of his own and that was a key. Give your personal twist to your practices, put yourself into whatever you do. Enjoy it, love it even. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there in some way.
7. If at first you don't succeed, don't give up. This path requires a small amount of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results). It might not be the 20th time but the 21st time you hear/see/do something that it takes effect or becomes clear within you. Sticktoitiveness.
8. Make a commitment to the Truth. The Essential part of you is already committed. Bring action to your commitment or make it real in some way.
9. Can't choose between two seemingly equal choices? Pick one and go with it. Even if you fail you will have succeeded at eliminating a wrong choice.
10. Perception and perspective. As you see it so it is. See it good, it is good. See it bad, it is bad. It is bad, because you see it bad. It is good because you see it good. Discover the connection between ideas of things and things "themselves." There are limits to this, of course, but you must discover where they are and how far they go.
11. The mind is like the body. It can be full or stuffed from over indulgence. Too many ideas can be like fat and cause sluggishness. Slow down; rest in silence and quiet. Let the mind burn away what it has learned or is chewing on. Meditation, physical work or exercise where the mind is free to wander are good to allow this processing to occur.
12. Same goes for the body. Lack of exercise will cause sluggishness in the body as well as the mind. Exercising the body will allow the mind to be free. They are interconnected and a healthier body will lead to a healthier mind. By intentionally introducing stress to the body in a controlled manner with exercise, you will take life's uncontrolled stresses better by being used to the body's stress response. In fact, it may even make you more efficient and better able to respond to whatever is thrown at you. Willingly undergoing adversity is taking responsibility for life, good and bad. And you'll feel better.
13. Acceptance. Relax in the present moment putting aside judgments, worries, and thoughts. Acknowledge the reality of what is, as it is what's not false (like the worries). If you cannot accept something do what you can to change it if it is within your power to do so. If it isn't within your power, develop the power or pray to a higher power. Trust in your prayers or your own ability or the specific combination of the two. "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." -St. Augustine
14. Should isn't always what is. What you think should happen and what actually does happen aren't the same. Learn what your expectations are so you can drop them.
15. How? The answer to how is yes. From the title of a book I haven't read. The title is enough. How? By any means necessary. If it's important you'll find a way or means to make it happen.
16. Why....? Any why question can be answered that there is no why, only what is. This means that an answer to why wouldn't be sufficient to change your being; it would only temporally satisfy your intellect. Go beyond thought or kill your mind by seeing between thoughts. What is there?
17. Intuit. Feel before you think. But don't forget to think too! The combination is common sense or practical right-mindedness.
18. Triangulate. Richard Rose's Jacob's Ladder and Herbert Benoit's Conciliatory Principle. Study opposites and see where you are in relation. The point isn't to find the middle spot between opposites and stay there but to back up the swinging arm of the pendulum to the still fulcrum point.
19. Don't confuse levels. A Course In Miracles talks about confusion of levels. This would be like taking some spiritual advice literally without understanding it might refer to the absolute level rather than the relative level. An example of that might be the saying "nothing needs to be done" and so you interpret that to mean you don't have to do anything. Doing still needs to occur but the problem is with the identification here. If you're still a body and stop doing things that body will be in for a lot of trouble. Another example might be taking practical specific advice for you and confusing it as some abstract nebulous thing that must occur on a "spiritual" level rather than on a relative "normal" level. Use common sense about what your next step is.
20. Group work. Work with others to be a mirror and allow them to be one for you. While there are no specific recipes or instructions one can follow to become enlightened (or find what you really are) and every path is individual and unique, specific to each person, you can still work together with your fellow seekers to compare notes, discuss ideas, provide support or warnings and give inspiration or suggestions to one another. It may save you time or trouble on your path.
Thanks to Ricky Cobb, an active TAT member since 2007. You can check out his website at http://whatisthislife.com/. Comments? Please the Forum.
April 15-17, 2016 (Claymont)
New downloadable/rental version of one of the TAT talks:
2012 April TAT Meeting Remembering Your True Desire
Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.
1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.
We're looking for a volunteer to rip the rest of our talks from DVD and upload them to VHX. Please for details.
Local Group News
Update from the Denver, CO self-inquiry group:
The Denver Self Inquiry Group held an introductory meeting to familiarize members with Richard Rose and TAT. Bob Fergeson led the discussion, and used as a guide the booklet composed by Shawn Nevins, Key Passages from the Writings of Richard Rose. Other texts were referenced throughout the evening and two handouts were provided, Rose's "Jacob's Ladder" diagram as well as Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer: The Path to Reality Through the Self by John Kent.
The discussion began with the outlining of the three stages of work: 1) Work on Oneself, which is relatively easy; 2) Work with a Group, more difficult. Not only must one find a group, but the group must be sincere and provide a mirror for its members to see themselves and gradually lead them out of imagination; 3) Work for the sake of the Work fewer yet are the people who will make it to this stage. Here, we work for the Work to keep alive the current so that others might be helped as we have been helped.
Considerable time was dedicated to communicating the process depicted in the Jacob's Ladder diagram, and how one ascends up the left side of the diagram against the current (difficult) and descends down the right side with the current (easy). It was stressed that one must make a commitment, which in turn in and of itself creates a vector, and then this commitment must be forgotten lest the Ego might lead its own search, and answer its own synthetic question with an answer no less fabricated. Trauma, not concept acquisition, is one's aid along the way as the ladder is metaphorically climbed.
We then delved into the honing of Reason and Intuition, and read a passage from Carillon, with one member reading on Intuition and the other on Reason. It was emphasized that each must be checked with the other along the way. Reason left to its own search might veer into rationalization, and Intuition unchecked might flower into magical thinking. There are various practices to hone both, and these methods are outlined on page 111 of Carillon.
The final part of the discussion centered around The Law of the Reversed Vector as well as the explanation and accompanying meaning of "The Path to Reality Through the Self." Here, Bob discussed the importance of the building up of energy, the various ways it gets re-deposited into the "earth," and the importance of transmuting energy as an aid to final realization.
Interspersed in the conversation were many stories about Rose, his realization, stories of Rose and his teaching methodology, as well as other anecdotes that are valuable to the seeker and which might save him time along the way.
Our next meeting will be held at St. Marks Coffeehouse, away from our usual meeting location (Montview Presbyterian Church), on 17th Street between Race and Vine, on December 22nd from 6-8 pm (and perhaps later). Bob Fergeson will host the meeting. ~ Jason S. Email or for more information.
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Your Contributions to TAT News
TAT founder Richard Rose believed that working with others accelerates our retreat from untruth. He also felt that such efforts were most effective when applied with discernment, meaning working with others on the rungs of the ladder closest to our own. The TAT News section is for TAT members to communicate about work they've been doing with or for other members and friends. Please your "ladder work" news.
Say what? Basset hound communication; wikimedia commons.
The only thing that stands between me and happiness is reality. ~ Mirksuh http://mirksuh.livejournal.com/profile
We're hoping to present humor created by TAT members and friends here. Please your written or graphic creations. Exact sources are necessary for other submissions, since we need to make sure they're either in the public domain or that we have permission to use them.
On Learning How to Die
"We think that this is great advice, too, for those of us who
have no reason to think our ends are near because they actually could be, and also
because we believe a good life means living your priorities and values as fully as possible at
all times. To live them, you have to know them, and to know them, you have to spend time
thinking about them."
~ From an NPR commentary by Irene Kacandes and Steve Gordon (thanks to Shawn Nevins).
How the Light Gets In
~ From Leonard Cohen's "Anthem"
Photo by Abhijit Kar Gupta of Kolkata, India. Wikimedia Commons.
~ Brian Turner, My Life as a Foreign Country, the memoir of a young soldier, poet and teacher. Note: In biological taxonomy, a kingdom contains one or more phyla subdivisions, "tribes." View Brian reading his poem "Hurt Locker" on YouTube.
Please your thoughts on the above items.
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?
Last month the Forum staff asked the question: "What film would you say had the biggest impact on your life, and why?" Responses follow.
From Mike G:
Patton. It was one of the few movies I went to with my father, and connected me with his background, and the state of mind and wartime experiences that marked his generation.
From Phil F:
A movie that has stayed a part me for twenty-five years was based on Nikos Kazantzakis's fictional, radical revisionist novel of the same name, The Last Temptation of Christ. This controversial film redefines divinity suggesting that if Jesus accepted his destiny triumphantly, in full awareness of another alternative, his spiritual example was thus greatly enhanced by a human dimension. This view shows the human Jesus, the reluctant doubter, the troubled friend, a lover as well as a teacher of love. We also get the contradictions of desert mystic and strident Messiah. All of this is carefully rendered in the context of the Jewish-Roman historical predicament.
The visceral performance by Willem Defoe affected me emotionally and was accompanied by the powerful "world music" soundtrack of Peter Gabriel. Unlike other biblical epics, it never panders to the audience. I remember indelible tableaus such as Jesus confronting the mob about to stone the prostitute, the Temptations in the desert and in the final hallucinatory scene when the elderly apostles admonish a deathbed Christ for abandoning his mission. The cinematography by Scorcese brings these scenes to life with transcendent visual detail.
A couple of lines I remember: to Mary and Martha, "I've said too much already silence is better"; to his imploring mother Mary, "Who are you REALLY?" In the end it was the passionate and dramatic portrayal of what Richard Rose called the "battle of the voices" that brought this movie home for me. "That part of Christ's nature which was profoundly human," Kazantzankis wrote in his introduction to the book, "helps us to understand him and love him and pursue his Passion as though it were our own."
From Del M:
For me, it would be 2001, A Space Odyssey, which, in 1969, while living in Cleveland, OH, I took my parents to see, in a restored old theater in Playhouse Square, which had the old huge, wraparound screen. We watched it from the balcony, and my father looked at me at the end and said, maybe this is about God. My mother had no comment. I thought it was the most profound experience of my 16 years on this Earth and in some ways, still is now.
From Eric C:
Movies with powerful death scenes usually in combat stand out in my memory. In Saving Private Ryan, soldiers hear bullets pinging on the door of their LST, moments before the door is to lower and they are to wade or swim ashore. In the roulette scene in Deer Hunter, Vietnamese gamblers exalt in triumph as the shot rings out and they realize they have won their bet, as blood pulses out of the skull of the American captive. One of the main characters in Stalingrad survives close combat in the tractor factory and other horrors, and, close to the final days of the Soviet encirclement decides to escape on foot in the Russian winter. Alone, he freezes to death in a blizzard. In Enemy at the Gates, the German sharpshooter König is matched with a skillful opponent in a chess game of death, again in the cauldron of Stalingrad.
There is a fascination with death in the movie experience. In reflecting on these scenes and others, I sense the presence of the fear of death in my life, shaping thought and action.
From Ike H:
Lost In Translation (2003), directed by Sofia Coppola.
Life suspended in a foreign land. This is the feeling that Lost in Translation evokes in me. But it is this uncomfortable feeling of disengagement that made possible a deep human connection in the movie. This is what happens for two fellow Americans, Charlotte and Bob, during their temporary stay in Japan, a pair who was unlikely to meet if they had been home. Maybe only a foreign land can afford such an opportunity for connection. Living as an expatriate: what an apt metaphor for the feeling of being disengaged from the ordinary.
Sadly, or not, the movie offers no resolution nor hope for the two people, none that I saw, at least. It does not end with happiness ever after. No exchange of contact info was shown, even though I think the audience would like to think they have done that sometime in between the shown scenes. But when the screen grows dark the two characters' lives remain incomplete. And although they kiss sweetly, their relationship remains unconsummated. In fact, they parted. But what exactly is a consummated relationship? (The fact that I can even ask the question suggests to me that such an ideal is possible.) In the movie, no answer is given.
The movie is a work of art though. The sensory experience it creates with its low-cost lighting, the sound and music, the dialogue, the set communicates very well the depth of their connection. Their bond stays in my memory to this day, twelve years since I first saw the movie. To me the story told in it is mine, as well. For it is only as an expat living in the US that I first learnt about friendship. It was there that I first sincerely looked for it. I think my circumstances forced me to. The isolation that came from being removed from my native culture forced me to admit to myself that I was desperate for friendship. When one is desperate, one "prays deeply and responds," to quote a friend. And hallelujah, out of the desperation, more than one good friend was found.
From Dan G:
As much as a film might affect my mood, and inspire thinking, no films seem to have changed my life much. One could be Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, which maybe someone should have told J.J. Abrams about since it was filmed at Skywalker Ranch. Seen in parts in eleventh grade, it contributed to a growing feeling examining life had some legitimacy.
Avatar also had a big impact on my life, though it embarrasses me to admit this given newspaper articles on people seeing a 3D movie their first time and experiencing post-Avatar depression, South Park calling it "Dances with Smurfs," etc. It started one of my most exciting "research periods" for three years, reading and living a truth in simple, sane living I felt, and exploring an ulterior motive to seeking the Truth I'd had. Unfortunately I found what James Cameron maybe also found, that he can't write a sequel audiences would find both believable and likable. I also found a perspective to observe some psychology as evolved from hunter-gatherer tribes, some objectivity on my actual gifts and weaknesses, and joy of community after everyone admits they're flawed and still want to work together.
As exemplified by the monthly film selection of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, inspirational films abound. This spiritual movie list is slightly different, though. Blade Runner, for example, is not a typical inspirational film, but it does provoke thinking, questioning, and new perspectives. [In this list] are a handful of films that resonate with me on a profound level spiritual cinema at its finest. Some of these films directly address the spiritual, while others serve as a momento mori. ~ Shawn Nevins
What life event would you say had the biggest
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?
Traffic Lights by Pierre Vivant, London. Wikimedia Commons
We like hearing from you! Please your comments, suggestions, inquiries, and submissions.
Zen & Death
More Q and A
Q. How do you advocate looking into one's self? It seems like most people's minds are really wandering-types of things.
R. Right, right. That's true. You've got to form a ways and means committee. Everybody's different. So you've got to look at yourself and say, "Hey, under certain conditions I will act a certain way, and I've got to head this off at the pass. I'm going to have to find some way of looking into myself, because if I meditate I go to sleep. So I've got to keep myself awake." That's what I call the ways and means committee.
It becomes a scientific search. Because there is some element in your mind that doesn't want to know. The natural purpose of the animal is to reproduce and fertilize the earth. And somehow you've got to keep your eyelids propped open so you can do a little thinking while you're able. The mind wants to avoid it; the mind wants to go back to pleasure or to rest. So you've got to have a ways and means committee. Sometimes that's the idea of joining a group. I used to say we were Ignoramuses Anonymous, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes a guy can shake you, wake you up and say, "Hey, you're slipping, you're getting back into your old syndrome. You're showing that old ego-pattern again." And the guy wakes up again.
But this is true; the mind is full of tricks. We're talking about the somatic mind. I maintain that there's another mind beyond that. Everything that you do is watched by you. Meaning that you observe yourself, you observe the mind thinking. This one back there isn't quite as stupid but he's blocked out a lot. We get carried away with thinking that we are the actor, but there's another fellow back there watching the actor all the time. It's what I call the anterior observer.
Q. Could you say something about the relationship between the consciousness and the subconscious, and what you said about there being no such thing as knowledge?
R. Well, in the final analysis. There's knowledge here, it's evident. We learn how to drive nails in a house, we learn how to count, to work calculus problems. That's knowledge. But I say in the final realization there's no knowledge. There is no knowledge. If you want to call it the knowledge of nothingness then you get pretty close. Knowledge has to do with relative memory, body sensations and that sort of thing. But when you reach a final realization, it's an experience of joining, not a watching of something else. Because everything is you.
I'm not trying to negate knowledge. Getting back to the subconscious mind, I do not think we have a subconscious mind as understood by the compartmentalized psychological writers. That we have an id, ego, superego and this sort of thing. I think what we have is a perceptive ability and a memory bank, and an automatic coordination just like any computer. The thing is that there is only one thought that comes through the window at a time, but the memory bank has all that information in it, and we like to call that the subconscious mind.
Q. Krishnamurti 1 advocates that you've got to get into a really intense observation of what you're doing all the time. But it seems like in the confusion of the everyday world – the Vedic scriptures call it the Age of Kali – there's so much intense stimuli occurring in such a rapid pace that I don't see how just doing that, one can direct the activities of everyday life in any sort of manner that gets you anywhere. It seems that there's just too much going on to start moving in a positive direction, just by watching what you're doing.
R. Can't you get away from it for about an hour a day?
Q. To do what?
R. Well, you said too much is going on. You get away from what's going on.
Q. But what am I to do? You said that mantra meditation puts you to sleep ...
R. Your point was that we can't do anything because we're too wrapped up in everyday life, and I'm saying to get away from everyday life. If you want to do something. That's up to you.
Q. But what about the harmony of society?
R. What about it? Who cares? Are we going to create peace in the pigpen, or are we looking for ultimates?
Q. I can see that point. But it seems that as a human being that there's a certain brotherhood you have with other human beings; that you shouldn't just totally negate yourself from society.
R. I don't think you do. But I don't think you should play God either. We've got a lot of people running around wild today playing God: they're all going to do something for society. But the blueprint is already made. Let me go to this lady back here...
Q. I was interested in your comment about the intuitive experience with the young boy who was killed by a truck.2 I was wondering how you relate these intuitive experiences to your own Zen experience.
R. I believe that before you can go out and evaluate systems you have to have an intuition. I'm not saying go out and join a Zen movement. What I would like to say is to look inside yourself, I don't care what you call it. I think it's a mistake to start to label things because pretty soon people think that the only thing you can do has to be this Zen, that you have to learn Japanese, Chinese, Indian or whatever, and read the sutras, and I think that's all nonsense. The main thing is to go within yourself. But you've got to evaluate some of the data to date. It's a scientific investigation. If you go into the study of a new element in science, you're going to have to go down to the library and get books on all the chemists who worked on that element.
The same thing in applying to religion. Before we start off we've got to do research, and there's a vast sea of people saying, "I've got the truth." Regardless of books, everyplace you go, every sky pilot has the truth. So how are you going to sort these people if you don't have an intuition? Somewhere along the line you have to develop that intuition. Now, there is a way to develop it. It's in the Bible. It's in all the books. Become as a little child.
Q. Could you elaborate on the origins of Zen, how it came into being?
R. It started with Buddha in India. I never went too much into the history of Zen.3 Presumably we know where it started but it's so far back. He didn't write anything himself, same as Christ: stuff was written about him. But the system is good. That's the way I look at it. It's a good thing to work with. So regardless of who started it, it's a good system. And I don't know how many of the things we attribute to Buddha or Christ, either one, are true. It doesn't matter. But he's the man responsible for it.
Q. Did I understand you to say that existence is dualistic?
R. Not existence. The human body, the human person is dualistic.
Q. Isn't the whole principle of Buddhism and yoga "union" or "oneness"? How do you show the difference between one and two?
R. See, they're talking about the ultimate end result. Only by the recognition of what is evident will you reach the truth. Not by the denial of things that are manifest...
Q. That's not how I understood it. I understood that all was one now, whether or not you and I realized that it was. It is now, and we are one.
R. Well it may be. But you can't prove that and neither can I.
Q. You don't need to prove it, if it is one. And what we are discussing is whether existence, the Truth capital-T, is that we are all one now, or that I am a spirit and a material being. If everything outside of the spirit is illusory, as the Indian philosophies would believe, then the senses are illusory as well, and all of what is outside of the spirit is actually a non-reality. It is only a relative term, so consequently there is actually nothing there. It may be as modern physics would point out, it is present at one point in time and becomes only a probability at another point in space.
R. In space-time. The space-time concept, yes. But what you're giving is a postulation because you don't know it. So I don't come out from that angle. Because I don't expect you to believe that I have reached a point in which I know everything – well, I can't even say that – in which I was everything, or am everything. We're trying to keep down to relative reasoning, and relative reasoning says that you are separate from the person sitting next to you.
Q. But the point of yoga as I understood it is not to have relative things ...
R. No, no ...
Q. ... but to be experimental with oneself.
R. I don't think yoga ever loses its dualism until the final experience is reached. Nor do they pretend to, because they have hatha yoga and they talk about training the body, and they talk of raja yoga, which is training the mind.
Q. Only because you have to go through the process, the path.
R. Right, right. But don't jump ahead. What I'm trying to stop you from doing is jumping ahead and saying it's there. I'm saying don't believe me. Go there. But if you say that everything is one, then there's a tendency for everybody to relax and say, "Oh, everything's one, don't worry, we're all getting to the same place." Maybe. Ramana Maharshi says it's like the river entering the ocean – when you reach Enlightenment you enter the ocean and the river is seen no more. Identity is lost. But is it lost? How did I get back here?
Q. The only thing I don't understand with that philosophy, though, is that if they believe in reincarnation, and we are only encased in the temporal at the present time, and as the spirit goes into the next world, it too must mature. So certainly at the point which we would consider death – the man in the box – he is nowhere near enlightened; he has gone to what another person called a plane. Because we can only describe things in planes.
R. I think a valid teacher of Zen would never talk about reincarnation. Most of them avoid it. Because this is another postulation. See, we're trying to keep down to just bare facts. And we start off basically with, "What do you know for sure?" – Nothing. Then from there we take possible postulations, and choose the less ridiculous; that's the only way we can go. This is the whole thing.
So sure, reincarnation might sound good, but there's no proof. The Christian idea of one long shot at the goal, and if you miss you go to hell forever and if you win you're in heaven: this too is seemingly ridiculous. Because we can see the human element in all this thinking. In other words, the person who's crippled, who doesn't have a good break in life – he's going to grab onto this idea of reincarnation. And the guy who's got the millions, sitting up in the palace is saying, "Believe in reincarnation. Don't start any revolutions, because next time around you'll be in the palace and I'll be down there working for you." So we've got to get down to what we really know for sure.
Q. Your statements such as to become like a child, and to go into oneself, are things that have helped you, but they seem extremely vague. Is there any way you can talk more about that, or do you come to a point where you have to look for yourself?
R. No, I believe that there are rules you can lay down, but I don't like to get into them in the line of proof. For instance, when I'm talking to people about individual progress in this Zen path, spiritual path, whatever you want to call it, everybody is different.
I'll give you an example: possibly people can find it through throwing themselves away, by just the opposite. I'm not saying they can't. But as far as I know, my idea is that a person has to find simplicity. And I believe that the truth is very simple. We make it complex. We've got the belief that anything that's worthwhile is a complex formula, a thousand elements. And then we think, "Oh, yeah, now as soon as we understand that we'll get the truth." Things I think are very simple but we don't see it. We want complexity.
I think also that the mind blinds itself by certain things it does. For instance, we think in terms of past actions, and we've got to somehow purge ourselves of some of our past actions in order to think clearly again. Like an alcoholic's mind: I've had close relationships with alcoholics; I find they have a definite way of thinking. We stand on the outside and say, "That poor fellow. He's not going to give up the booze until he gets out of this state of mind he's in." But he doesn't know that, because he's in that state on mind. The only way he's going to know it is if he develops his intuition. And the only way he's going to develop his intuition is to give up the booze.
So all we can do is look with sympathy upon most people. Because we're talking about a case you can see clearly, but everybody's life has got themselves trapped into certain mental syndromes, in which they've got a rationale.
I grew up with a fellow he was a year younger than myself we started off on a spiritual search together when we were in our early twenties.4 This guy decided he was going to take a string of women with him. He said that Lahiri Mahasaya 5 was married and so on, so he was going to have fun. He had a good rationalization: he was born with the fun-making parts so why not use them? So I said, "Okay"... But of course, you can get spirochetes floating around inside your brain, and it impedes your thinking system from then on. He also decided that he should drink a little. Because Christ drank at the Last Supper – so he was always carrying a gallon of wine with him in the name of Christ.
This fellow was one of the most outstanding authorities I've ever run into on Buddhism, on any esoteric philosophy. He's got a photographic mind, he's an engineer, a mathematician. The mathematicians who worked with him said he never made a mistake, drunk or sober. But everything was rationalization. And he comes down to my place, he's an incurable alcoholic now, and he says, "Everything you said was true." It's too late. All he needs now is a place to lay down and get some rest before he dies.
What I tried to tell him when he was in his twenties: "Develop your intuition. Inhibit yourself. Give yourself time to think. Don't be crowded with all sorts of parasitical ideas and compulsions." What it amounts to, it's not superstition, it's a fact of clarifying your computer. You can't bombard your computer with four or five problems at once. You've got to clear it out for one problem, and work that one problem. If a guy is sitting and meditating, and as soon as he starts he thinks of his girlfriend, Lord knows what he'll be doing next. Or, "I'm thirsty." He doesn't go get a cup of coffee, he gets a drink of wine. Pretty soon he goes back – he loves to meditate – you find him in a corner drunk.
Q. In our social structure, I hold a job and I'm working towards a particular career because I know I have to eat. Does such a thing interfere with aspiring towards enlightenment?
R. I don't know. It depends on what job you have or how much trouble you have. I said a little while ago that one of the first steps that a person has to take is to make a commitment. Now Paul Wood, the fellow I was talking about in Dallas,6 he had to eat; he had to keep his family. But the family dumped him. But when I talk about a commitment, I don't talk about a fair-weather commitment. Because you may have trauma. You may lose your job. You may wind up digging ditches. I don't know what will be the result.
I know that myself – I worked as a chemist for a long while, a metallurgist – I never worked over a year anyplace. I got a tremendously bad reputation and after a while no one wanted to hire me because I wasn't a slave. And they knew that I'd leave again if I took a notion.
But I found that I could set myself with a job even better than if I were unemployed. Because I'd get a routine. I'd rent a room where no one knew where I was; I didn't want visitors. I would come home from work in the evening and I would either do so much reading on associated subjects, or I'd tuck my toes underneath me and sit there in a yoga pose so I could meditate. It's a good thing if you've got your back up against a wall – you won't fall over. So I'd sit there and think. It's not that difficult. All you have to do is think about the stuff that's hitting you during the day. It'll come.
And sometimes I'd read a book. I don't know whether you're acquainted with Blavatsky or not; Blavatsky is nothing in particular. She has a big volume called The Secret Doctrine, and also Isis Unveiled. They're mostly encyclopedias of esoteric knowledge. But there's no great system laid out, no system at all laid out, on how to find the truth or anything. But I would be reading these and there were fascinating things in them, of accounts.
But all of a sudden it would switch over to me. I don't know why, but I'd go back to my childhood, and I'd realize where I'd made a mistake, where I had made a fool of myself. And I'd realize I could see my ego. Where a big fat head got in the road and somebody punched me, and I was hating this person because they punched me. And then I began to see myself, by detaching myself from the scene while the scene is cooled off now. Of course while it's hot you still hate the guy. But I could see where I had caused it. I had been laying out a projected picture that was nauseating to people until finally somebody punched me.
So this is what happens, and this came from reading Blavatsky, not a book on psychology. Why it keyed in I don't know, but the intention was back there to basically know myself. So I think that anything that I had read would have done that.
And in meditation, a lot of people are scared to death to meditate on sex. I think you should meditate on sex – because I think it's one of the big factors, to understand why you're being moved. But meditate on it properly – I don't mean get morbid – I mean if you analyze it you'll find out what a slave we are. Basically, if we follow the line we're manufactured for, we're here just the same as the pigs in the slaughterhouse. But after a while you find out you can transmute sexual energy, if you wish. You can use your head a little better by transmutation.
But anyhow, I was pleased every time I got employment, because I'd immediately be able to do some serious meditation, regularly. I used to try everything. I was a vegetarian. I wasn't macrobiotic because they didn't have the chicken feed around at the time. But I ate vegetables and I stood on my head, and I breathed, I moaned Om – and all the hair went off the top of my head. And I thought I'd better try something else.
4. See Robert Martin's book on Rose, Peace to the Wanderer. Martin says they met in 1943 when Rose would have been 26.
~ Transcription by Steve Harnish of a talk given by Richard Rose in Washington, DC in September 1977. For information on the transcription project . An audio extract (4 minutes only) is available on SearchWithin.Org.
We finished 2015 having achieved over 76% of our goal, including $644 raised through your Amazon purchases which is not bad, though we hope to inspire greater efforts to seek meaning through consumer goods for 2016. When you make any purchase on Amazon after visiting the TAT Press webpage and clicking any of the Amazon links, TAT earns 4 to 6% all at no cost to you. Or try it now.
An interesting property was discovered near Raleigh: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/421-Wildlife-Lake-Rd-Reidsville-NC-27320/70152968_zpid/. At $169,900, there are 39 acres and two small homes which could be used as isolation cabins/sleeping quarters/a caretaker home. With our goal of $250,000, this properties leaves enough funds to build a meeting space. We are currently exchanging emails with the agent, and may have a Raleigh TAT member check out the property.
LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN: To invest in the "Homing Ground" project, mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please ).
Or you can use PayPal (though we lose 2.2% of your donation to PayPal fees) by choosing the "Make a Donation" button below or the Make a Donation button on our Homing Ground page. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.
Thanks to each of you who have donated and pledged and look forward to the day we set foot on our new home site.
What is TAT?
The TAT Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 100% volunteer organization founded in 1973 with the express purpose of providing a forum and meeting place for inquirers into the mystery of life and ourselves. TAT brings together people from all levels and experiences and welcomes those in search of truth, adventurers of the mind, seekers of knowledge, the self, and the unknown to meet others of like interest.
TAT is non-sectarian and non-denominational; there are no secret oaths, dogmas, or rituals at TAT. Its membership, open to all of serious intent, from all walks of life, is united in the friendship of dialogue and fellowship of human spirit. All are on equal ground at TAT.
TAT believes that you can expedite and intensify your investigation of life's mysteries by working with others who are exploring, perhaps down a different road, so that you may share your discoveries and "compare notes" in order to come to a better understanding of yourself and others.
TAT is not tied to a single teacher. Its model remains in line with that of TAT founder Richard Rose, whose vision included an "umbrella" organization through which many people would exchange ideas. His vision also included "a spot on earth upon which to meet. A homing ground...."
What's This All About?
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.
Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book!
Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.