TAT FOUNDATION

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December 2016 / More

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It's all about "ladder work" – helping and being helped

Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire:

"You don't know anything until you know Everything...."

Mister Rose is an intimate look at a West Virginia native many people called a Zen Master because of the depth of his wisdom and the spiritual system he conveyed to his students. Profound and profane, Richard Rose was not the kind of man most people picture when they think of mystics or spiritual teachers. Yet, he was the truest of teachers, one who had "been there," one who had the cataclysmic experience of spiritual enlightenment.

Filmed in the spring of 1991, the extraordinary documentary follows Mr. Rose from a radio interview, to a university lecture and back to his farm, as he talks about his experience, his philosophy and the details of his life.

Whether you find him charming or offensive, fatherly or fearsome, you will not forget him, and never again will you think about yourself, reality, or life after death in quite the same way.

3+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.


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
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
A discussion of the varied ways we can use in order to hear the voice of our inner ocean, the heart of our true desires.

3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
Notes on assumptions, beliefs, and perspectives that bind and free us.

4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
An intriguing look into a feeling-oriented approach to life.

5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

Return to the main page of the December 2016 TAT Forum.

Founder's Wisdom

Richard Rose (1917-2005) established the TAT Foundation
in 1973 to encourage people to work together on what
he considered to be the "grand project" of spiritual work.


Introduction to the Albigen System


The following transcription features rare material from an early lecture of philosopher, poet and author Richard Rose. The talk, based on the speaker's own experience, describes a way of life aimed at understanding that life … a self-directed retreat from untruth … a common-sense, non-dogmatic approach to spiritual realization.

Part 4 of a 1977 talk given by Richard Rose in Cleveland, OH (continued from the September 2016 TAT Forum, the October 2016 TAT Forum), and the 2016 November TAT Forum):


[For instance, if you were to die tomorrow and you had accomplished a million dollars in the bank, it might make you miserable trying to get back to spend it. What good would the million dollars do you? What good would the Presidency of the United States do you? If you disappeared off the horizon that quickly – as you always do.]

Q. Well that's the hard thing for me to grasp, though. There seems to be an implicit statement that this lifetime becomes kind of meaningless in comparison.

R. Yes, yes. Well, you're not old enough to see it yet. But it will come to you regardless of whether you're enlightened or not. When you get so old you'll see it; you'll see it as sure as…

In other words, a person that is hungry and able to experience is very difficult to convince. But the irony is that once you become sated to a point where you say, "Hey, what was that, a bubble?" – then it's too late to go back and look. Because your arteries have hardened. You can't go through the persistent disciplines and strains that are necessary, unless you go through a death experience or something of that sort.

History shows that the majority of people who have reached the maximum have done it before forty. Or at death. You can reach it at death at almost any age.

But regardless, the conclusion I came to when I was young was that I didn't know who was living. When I spoke I didn't know who was speaking; I didn't know which of my egos was speaking.

Check yourself out sometime; when you talk to a girl, are you talking to the girl because she's a soul – or are you selling some merchandise? And if you're in business, are you meeting those people because they're friends – or because they've got five bucks that you need?

So I basically wanted to know who's going through it? I made up my mind it was more important for me to know. Because the wrong egos can put you in the electric chair. Or they can put you into disease.

To know yourself, to know your potential, is valuable even if you just want to make a living, or if you want to get along with your fellowman. It isn't necessarily to attain.

For instance, we're talking about Enlightenment, but at the same moment I warn you: Do not reach for Enlightenment. Do not reach for it. Because you're postulating something. The only thing you can see is erroneous thinking; this is the only path that you can follow. You can witness erroneous thinking that may get you into trouble or give you trauma. You retreat from that, and the path automatically takes you toward that which is correct. By avoiding the massive amount of that which is ridiculous. And that becomes a way of life.

Q. It might be best to assume then that there is some kind of truth; because if there is no truth, and if there is no reality to reality, you're not going to find anything anyway. So if you want to search, assume that there is truth and hope to find it. Truth being something that is consistent, that explains things.

R. Oh, I don't doubt that a bit. What I'm saying is, don't take a particular dogma.

Q. Don't take any one truth.

R. Right. If you lean on somebody's works – this is what happens in a lot of movements – you get a charismatic leader and people will lean on him because of his personality. And because of that I try not to have any personality. Maybe I try too hard sometimes, because I'm not quite that bad.

But I think that you have to doubt everything but your ability. If you doubt your ability you won't try.

Q. Don't take anything for granted, but do try.

R. … That there is a chance. And even if you thought that there wasn't a chance – there's nothing better to do, except to try to find it.

Q. What about an artist? Should he negate his artistic endeavor? Or should he see that his endeavor in some way helps other people reach their awareness?

R. Sometimes that endeavor might be an ego. I know when I was very young I wrote a book of poetry. And I threw it away because I thought that it was all ego.

Q. Assuming that there is a truth before you start out – won't that sometime prevent you from making a leap into the dark?

R. No. It's a hope, that's all. That there's a balm in Gilead somewhere. If you don't hope for something, you'll not move.

Nobody has that conviction, though, to be honest with you. You won't have that trouble. Because there's something in all forms of life – it resists death to the last wiggle. So this resistance of death means there's hope of explanation. So it's automatic.

Q. Psychiatrists are publishing more and more today that one of the main things that disturbs people and drives them to psychiatrists is the problem of guilt, that results from sin. How does Zen deal with the problem of sin and guilt?

R. Well, I should better tell you what I think of modern psychiatry. And that would explain it better.

I told you I was born and raised a Catholic; and one of the most guilt-infested movements was the Catholic religion, as far as raising young people. I was raised to believe that, say, everything from the belly button up was God, and from there on down was the Devil.

I think this is bad; a very bad influence on young people. It's necessary to build a certain culture – because there's a primitive urge – that if you can't logically explain to a child that a certain thing will destroy his energy source, it's better to scare hell out of him with guilt.

But then there should come a day when you say, "That was a fairy tale, son, and now I'll tell you the truth. This was just to get you over a certain hurdle." If we have to do that to our children. But unfortunately, it's never done. Even the priests themselves are guilt-ridden. They're in there confessing to each other all sorts of little peccadilloes.

This was what I consider to be a phase that the Western civilization had to go through. You don't find it in the Orient at all. You don't find that guilt-complex at all. The whole Christian religion is one of sadomasochism. A sadistic God and a masochistic people. A good Christian is masochistic; you strike them on the other cheek and all that sort of thing. This doesn't permeate Oriental theology or philosophy.

But nevertheless, it seemed as though because we were barbarians or something we had to go through this attack.

Now – there was a revolt. The human mind revolted en masse against it, and said, "This is garbage." But it didn't revolt intelligently. Most revolutions are the same; they don't settle for a happy medium, they go clear over to the other extremity.

So the result is that modern psychiatry is saying, "This is hogwash. Any sexual act with any type of human or animal is permissible. And don't feel guilty about it."

Well this is not true. And this is where modern psychiatry, modern sociology and psychology, are leading people down into destruction.

Q. Do you really see that, that it is all a reaction?

R. Yes. As I said before: If you go after an intangible, subjective goal, a self that is not the physical self, the only way…

As I say, in the Catholic theology they had a stopper that deterred people from looking for the subjective, or the essence of man: Thomas Aquinas was supposedly quoted as saying, "The finite mind will never perceive the infinite."

This sounds good, because it says, "Sure, we're relative creatures and we've got a relative brain." So you're never going to get these real subjective truths with a relative head.

We talk about a relative mind here discovering the Absolute. That sounds strange, when you realize you've got a relative mind. And it stopped me for a while. I thought, "That's true; you've got to believe." I knew you had to change, and the first thing was, "Well, you've got to believe."

Well, I couldn't quite swallow the belief. I don't know why.

But then it occurred to me that there's a method by which the finite mind can become less finite.

Now the method by which you ascertain, as you go on this path – this is like running between the raindrops, it's not a straight blueprint on a roadmap - is it's necessary to develop the intuition.

If I can give you a brief description of what the intuition is, it's a computer with the taps closed. No impressions coming in. No irritation, no confusion, coming in; no energy going out. So that the problem stays in the computer until it's solved. And the energy stays in there to keep the computer going until it's solved, so to speak.

Now this is the whole secret behind developing intuition. You cannot develop it by having the experiential life of many forms of sex and many forms of experiences – try dope and booze, try dope and sex, try dope and this and that – you know, it'll broaden your mind. It'll blow your mind right out of your head and they'll have to track you down and club you to bury you.

And then the earth may refuse. Because nature just doesn't care for that type of activity.

Consequently, I think the great psychological crime – is psychology. Today. Modern psychology, modern psychiatry. In which they're trying to go clear over to the other extremity, and say, "Don't feel guilty."

I say, "Don't feel guilty." But you'd better learn to discipline yourself. Or you'll amount to nothing even on the physical plane.

Read Napoleon Hill's book (Think and Grow Rich). In the middle of the book he gives the formula for making a million dollars, which I think is very true. And that is one of them: The inhibition of the outgoing energy. You can't do a hundred things at once. You can't be drunk and doped and jaded, and accomplish.

You have to inhibit some of your energy outflow in order to accomplish anything. And you have to inhibit it quite a bit if you want to accomplish something on the maximum effort; and that maximum effort is self-attainment, or self-realization.


Community Building on the Richard Rose farm.


Q. So the psychiatrists are saying, "Nothing is wrong, so you shouldn't feel guilty because you haven't done anything wrong." But you think that certain things are sins.

R. No, no. I didn't say sin; I don't believe in sin. I never committed a sin in my life.

Q. Of right and wrong, then, or whatever.

R. Not right and wrong. Healthy, unhealthy. Propitious, unpropitious.

I've got a billy goat down on the farm; that is all he's good for. So if you want to be a billy goat – by all means take some lessons from him. But if you want to accomplish something else in your life…

That's all – it isn't a sin, it's just – do you want to do something besides being a billy goat? It isn't a question of being guilty. The billy goat doesn't have any guilt. Neither should you. It depends on what you want to be, that's all.

The other thing is that I think ever since Freud, psychiatry underwent this business of what I call "packaging." Freud was a merchant more than a psychologist. He found a few cunning phrases, and then he started to sell clinics.

He wanted a syndicate, a Freudian syndicate, in which they used Freudian techniques. And he did it; he set it up. He had a school – of loyal followers, who never said anything out of touch with Freudianism.

But this disease which crept into psychiatry, in which the different teachers decided to package their stuff led to – like a medical doctor – a pretense of infallibility. Today you can hardly go to a doctor who will honestly say, "I don't know what's wrong with you." He'll give you a placebo if nothing else, and say, "That'll help you."

And this is modern psychiatry. They know nothing about sanity. No one has defined it. None of these people – this is their stock in trade, sanity – they know nothing of the definition of sanity. They can't define insanity or sanity. They know nothing about the essence of thought. They don't know where thought comes from. How can they treat it?

So they have a way of getting around it, and that is, anything that you don't see – deny it. If a person's possessed, for instance, and there's all sorts of evidence of some other form of activity besides his own personality – they deny it. It's either a set-up or a hallucination; the party's deliberately trying to trick the audience.

There are many phenomena that occur that psychiatry just refuses to admit that exist at all. And that's the way they get around it. Because they maintain that the only mind is somatic. That the mind is the brain. And boy – they have to twist their theory a lot.

But like the medical doctor – I often say the medical policy for a doctor treating chancres is to apply something to heal, not to prevent. My idea of true treatment is to say, "Hey, Bud – change your lifestyle. Because you'll get chancres again." Psychiatry does not say, "Change your lifestyle."

Q. So what you're saying then is, "There's no such thing as sin; there are just certain things which are going to be more beneficial, and will lead you more in the right direction."

R. That'll give you more potential in whatever field you want. Whether it's making money or whatever. Spiritual laws are the same as financial laws: Results are proportional to energy applied.

Q. You've had some kind of insight…

R. Maybe. I'm old enough to have had something.

Q. In what way do you think you can transmit to other people? A person can have true insight, but there's also a matter of being able to give it to other people; because when that person dies the insight dies with him.

R. True.

Q. So what I'd like to know is how…

R. Well, you'd have to be shown. I couldn't tell you. If I told you, I'd give you words, and you could argue the words. But we have a group, and it has been witnessed, in different degrees.

Q. This self-knowledge – what ego does a person have in finding this?

R. To see your self. Your true Self. The egos prevent you. And you have to see those in order to go in; you have to go by them. That's the only objective. If that's all you get [i.e., transcending egos] – at least that's of value.

Q. Well, why do you do this?

R. Well, I thought it was explained – a person does not want to have a false impression of who they are.

Q. It helps to know what you're doing.

R. Yes, I think your general conduct would be entirely altered. For instance, if we have a lot of people who think they're Napoleon, they pose with their hand in their shirt, and they do weird things. But once they realize that they're not Napoleon, they quit doing weird things, that's all.

Now that's an exaggeration to bring out a certain point. We look in the mirror when we put on a suit of clothing – almost all of us have had this experience. When you put on work clothes and go up to the mirror, you don't have as much respect for yourself. But you put on something real pretty and you go up to the mirror – and you have to act that way. You have to go out and act the way you look.

Now this is ego. You should be able, say, to act the same way stark naked. Except a little bit shy. You shouldn't be proud… (Laughter.)

Q. I've read that one of the biggest problems for the person who's trying to achieve something is that he's saying, "I am doing this. I am the one who's achieving this." And that also has to be dealt with.

R. Well – I know. But I believe that you'll get to that, though. I know that there's a group that goes around not allowing each other to say "I." That isn't necessary. You'll realize you're not important soon enough.

Q. Is there any way to try to see yourself?

R. You look back. You can see much clearer by looking back – some people can. We've had people come into the group, say they were there for a year – and they'd say, "Boy, I'm getting absolutely nothing out of this." And everyone around had witnessed a tremendous transformation in the person. So we'd check it out, and they'd start telling him, "Here's what you were a year ago," and this sort of thing. Sometimes it's hard to see it yourself.

But I maintain that there are distinct guideposts that you'll reach. You'll reach a definite evolution; for instance, Gurdjieff talks of man number one, two, three, and four. You actually go through the instinctive, emotional, intellectual, and philosophic levels. And you'll know when you hit them. There's an exultation connected with them. So you'll know you're moving.

To be continued….

~ Transcription by Steve Harnish of a talk given by Richard Rose in Cleveland, OH in 1977. for information on the transcription project.

Return to the main page of the December 2016 TAT Forum.

Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book! Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.

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