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July 2018 / More


Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Paradigm: a model, template, prototype, archetype; a worldview; from the Greek for "show side by side."

There are many beliefs that underlie our individual thinking. Many are learned ("I am good," "I am bad," "I am 'cool,'" "I am worthless," etc.,) and others are more subliminal, seemingly arising from the human condition. But are they valid?

Some of those that are subject to question are listed below. It is an incomplete list, as drawing such a list of your own beliefs will attest. But, a paradigm is just that—a mental experience which we witness. Paradigms of which we are unaware or lose sight of define our existence… and, thus, we are sleepwalkers.

Paradigms of human life:

Social paradigms of human civilization:

Opposite these paradigms are the insights that come from a retreat from untruth and by becoming unattached to this belief and that belief. My own deepest feelings, personal insights, and the direction pointed to by those who have found the true nature of the Self have provided hope of overcoming the limitations of a perspective into which the mind has been tricked, and in which belief defines identity.

What is Real is beyond the mind. The mind is not the vehicle of knowing. The feelings of the body are unreliably tied to the body and are not a vehicle of knowing. That sense of awareness, sense of "heart" not tied to desire, seems to pull every one of us to itself, and if we put enough attention and energy into the question, to know it for its own sake.

~ Thanks to Mike Gegenheimer, an active TAT member and student of Richard Rose. If you have comments for the TAT Forum, please email the .

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TAT Foundation News

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 July 2018 TAT Forum.


Inspiration & Irritation

Irritation moves us; inspiration provides a direction

If someone could read your heart, what would they find?

Someone endlessly doubting himself and trying to get away from himself. Fear, desire, insecurity on a background of goodness that I feel we all are ultimately. Lack of trust in anything, except the thought "Is it true?" It's the pride that really pisses me off.

A longing for connection. A longing to connect with someone or something at such a deep level that there isn't any more separation. I think that I've believed this type of fulfillment could be found through a relationship for most of my life. That if I meet the right girl who would love me enough I could feel that feeling and be truly complete. I have yet to be in a relationship where this has happened, where I felt as if I loved someone else completely and they loved me completely, although I felt glimpses of it and had hope towards it. Lately I have been wondering if this was really possible. If someone else could provide that type of love or if it's a pipedream. This longing for connection and completion seems to be another reason why I'm involved with all of this. Hopefully there is a love which can be felt from god or the absolute. Maybe I've been trying to fill that void through seeking god or enlightenment. If someone could read my heart they would see I want true love if there is such a thing. I sure hope so. This response feels like one of the most honest things I've said in a while. Honest in the sense that after writing this down, no doubts came up, I wasn't wondering if this was just talk. It feels true to me.

The first thing popping into mind was "what is meant by heart?" but I guess that an intellectual answer is not what is asked so I will just write a flow:
      [I am a] person who wants to be good but is often feeling as if there would be something wrong with him. Like a child accused. Someone struggling for acceptance and admiration. A person who doesn't really know what he wants but is struggling to find something worthwhile in his lifetime. The kid whose father left him even before he left us. The acceptance missing is still searched and the failure which that brings flings him deeper into the search for something that would end the suffering and satisfy the longing. Guilt, a lot of guilt. And shame, a lot of that too. Things done wrong trying to be fixed but never really satisfied about the results. Vulnerability of a child crying in a dark room waiting for a hand from someone to lift him up.

I think viewing my heart would be kind of cloudy, hard to see through the veil very clearly; there's still too much thought and desire. While I do see small differences in myself at times, such as in dealings with the kids and unexpected problems (more patience, empathy, love), I have not been satisfied with those small changes. It feels like it's either been a wide open or a shut doorway. They might see that there is a myriad of good intention, but good intentions don't mean a thing if you don't implement them. I have wanted it all, so they'd see greediness, I suspect. They'd see someone who wanted to say he was spiritual but still wanted the luxuries of life to go along with it. They'd see someone who wanted others to automatically understand what he was trying to do and to just get out of the way and cheer him on. They would wonder why someone who had been so much more grounded years ago became more self-centered, all in the name of searching for the truth.

A nice guy who is profoundly displaced from the world around him, but has learned to hide it.

I wish I could read my heart. I feel that a yet unanswered call comes from there and I haven't yet gone fully there to see what it is about. I feel drawn towards silence and meditation.

Well, they would find a lot of heartache, maybe a broken heart. Hesitate putting it like that, because it sounds melodramatic. But it's basically true. It's the same as when people describe so and so – "His spirit was broken." There would also be found a deep longing for god to reveal itself once and for all, with the tiredness of straining. The third thing to be found would be a deep peace that emerges in spontaneous rare moments.

In one sense my heart cries out to ignore all my personal drama – as important as it might be. It is not important on a deeper level, and my feeling of its importance partly feeds off a fear/desire to not look at contradictions in various types of data indicating my nothingness (e.g. death, lack of control, no awareness about nature of awareness, headlessness) with a need to believe I am something.
           Recently, I have grown more aware of my heart crying out for various, what I'd call needs, which basically fit with Maslow's hierarchy. At the Georgia earthskills retreat I suddenly drove to (which apparently Eustace Conway attended at least last year) a woman my mom's age asked me why I came, and her interpretation of what I said was that I was looking for community.
           Depending on the person's predilection, they would focus on one or the other. And they might see it as half-hearted but not see where the other half lay.
           If they could look at both angles (which I can't easily do simultaneously) they would find also sadness at this confusion of priority, a program still trying to resolve the problems, a horrifying degree of panic influencing things, a spark of fight, a love of realness.

Depends on how I define my heart. My gut level response was: Love.

A core of wanting to just be happy and free, surrounded by a mass of fear.


[What I really want:] To see beyond the curtain; to be dissolved in God.


~ From a 2011 survey of friends participating in email self-inquiry groups.

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Please your thoughts on the above items.


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.

Talk at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh

Part 2 of a talk given at Duquesne University in 1974 (continued from the June 2018 TAT Forum):

Levels and exaltations

When we speak of exaltation – some of you are familiar with the Gurdjieff and Ouspensky books. Gurdjieff refers to the different levels of man as being instinctive, emotional, intellectual and philosophical – that's one, two, three and four. He claims there are seven men, but four is as far as he goes because manifestly he didn't go any further himself.

But between each of these – if you observe the different exaltations of mankind, the religious experiences of mankind – they occur between these men. And this brings in the concept of betweenness. That a man starts as an instinctive creature and then he becomes emotional: maybe he falls in love, and it somehow draws him away. Although the love is caused by a physical attraction, which is his instinctive nature, still he starts to have an idealistic way of looking at things.

And he's caught between his animal nature and his selflessness, his meaninglessness in front of someone he considers more than himself. And in this he reaches an exaltation. It may be a love affair. We hear of people in fundamentalistic religions getting "saved" – this is very similar. This guy has overcome his booze or his sex habit or whatever it is, and he's saved. And he'll tell you that he has reached the last rung, that this is it. He's talked to God, or something of that sort.

And he may spend the rest of his life in that. I've known people who did. When they were quite old they died with the conviction that this salvationistic experience was the only thing that was possible for human beings to feel.

But he lingers in the emotional stage – and some time after he graduates it becomes commonplace to him. He has doubts about the voices he heard in his ears, but he goes on, perhaps, studying, getting more, trying to reason. Maybe it's just a logical analysis of the Bible or something, maybe doing numerology or astrology or Lord knows what. But he becomes more logical in his processes and he experiences another type of exaltation. They come generally in this order.

And this leads to what I call the "wow" experience, or the eureka experience. In a lot of Zen writings this is called satori.1 And I want to give my difference, because everyone speaks with words, and different people have a different meaning for the same word.

Most of the Zen experiences that are called satori, that you read about in these books such as Kapleau2 – where a person says, "Wow, I've got it," and he gets up, gets his clothes, goes home and says, "I'm enlightened" – these are mostly the momentary thing that comes like when you solve the algebraic problem. If you've ever had algebra and labored with it day after day, and then all at once it cracked through – you realize the light; it's almost like a light burst on you. From that time on, algebra is clear to you. You could go on from there and work the problems.

Now that's similar to Zen satori. And of course, everyone thinks, "That's it. I've seen it." Because – first they've been acquainted, unfortunately acquainted, with Zen literature. So when they see part of the algebraic problem, they imagine that they have the whole answer to the cosmos.


The next one of course is the realization that this intellectual breakthrough – in the transition from the emotional over to the intellectual – is still vanity. When that is realized, then you enter the philosophic stage. And in the transition between the reason or the rational state and the philosophic state, you encounter what they call samadhi.3

Now samadhi is a loose word; it's a Hindu word and I don't like to use Hindu words. I maintain that all these things can be spoken in English, and they should be spoken in English. We have no need of mystical-sounding Hebrew or Japanese terms. But unfortunately there are some foreign words we have to accept, because there's no American or English word that actually describes it, when you get to analyzing it.

Now this was very well expressed, this phase of spiritual advancement, in a book by Ramana Maharshi.4 There are two types of samadhi, to pick up his explanation of it. One is kevala nirvikalpa samadhi; that's where you're still in the objective world. And the other is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Now what those other words mean, I have no idea, except that I do know that the term samadhi is used to refer to enlightenment. But what kevala and sahaja mean, I don't know. I do know the explanation of them though.

I know that sahaja refers to a total state of nothingness-and-everythingness, whereas kevala samadhi refers to an objective experience. And this is described, incidentally, in Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness.5

The things that come under the heading of cosmic consciousness generally are the kevala samadhi. The person becomes "enlightened" and it's literally light. He sees light; he hears angelic music. In the case of Bucke, he wrote in the book that the whole sky became illuminated with rose-colored light; it was like an LSD trip for him. He quivered and he thought the town was on fire or something, as he explained it. This was in Montreal, Canada.

But this is a relative experience. And when you talk about enlightenment as being the absolute experience – anything that is relative would immediately negate the finality of an absolute experience.

So that what happens in kevala samadhi, it's a transition between the intellectual and the philosophical man – at least that's the best I can explain it. It's after a lifetime of straining of philosophical bounds.

But when the sahaja experience occurs, it generally occurs with an experience of death. You very seldom enter that without going through the experience of death. I don't know of anyone who hasn't.

That's the reason why I draw quite a line between the so-called "wow" experiences that people have – which they walk away from, and go back to some little cult and start having people sit in zazen6 circles or something, under the guise that they're going to illuminate them by sitting and staring. This is in contrast with a person who has gone through the experience of death, and maybe it took him a week to come through it. And when he came through it, he knew the answer to everything. That sounds big, but I have to leave it lay where it is.


Now we get into this business of betweenness. This system that I advise has largely to do with the business of betweenness. And as I said before, it's the idea of putting the attention on these states, these almost subliminal states, between intense instinctive man and an intense emotional man.

To give you an idea of what betweenness implies, to give you some instances – if you've ever done any gambling, you've experienced something of betweenness.

I was really amazed one time I went to a movie7 – it was the story of some ritzy gambling house in Europe, Monte Carlo or someplace, where they were gambling for millions. And this American drunk staggered in with a handful of pennies – they kept pushing him aside – he had to have a thousand dollars to play one chip. They said to go on over to some other table, and he did; he ran up his winnings.

He came back and he put this chip down with these millionaires, and he recited a little bit of poetry, a little doggerel – he said it kept running through his head.

And all these gamblers in this place had little things that they used as gimmicks, to try to win. Now these gamblers were all unconsciously using the science of betweenness. They didn't know what they were doing, but they somehow were using this intuition to try to hold their head a certain way so that things happened.

I really would like to have known who wrote the play, because either he took it from real life or he had some esoteric knowledge.

Now with this little bit of doggerel the fellow won, and won repeatedly. And he kept repeating this. The only thing, of course, was that he was a working man – and he kept drinking, and his blood pressure went up. He got drunk with the winnings. He finally wound up with all the money in the place – he had a million dollars – and he also wound up with the most beautiful girl in the place. She walked over to him and said, "I belong to the winner."

So they went into the back room – and he dropped dead. Because in the final science of betweenness, he didn't know where to stop. He had hit upon a formula, with no more esoteric training than what he had just come onto as an intuition.

Some of you may have read a book called The Crack in the Cosmic Egg.8 This is a book that a fellow wrote because his wife was dying of cancer, and he felt that there was some little twist that he could apply – something that the doctors hadn't thought of, that no one had thought of – a way of holding your head, a way of positing or something, that would cure his wife of cancer.

Now he goes through the whole book and never tells you that she was cured: she died. But regardless, he was on the track. He sensed something, he knew it was there … [break in tape] … through the magic, if you can find it.

Healing, this business of healing people – I've watched it done. Some get healed and some don't, because all heads aren't in the direction at once.

Enlightenment is a betweenness resulting from an extreme tension exerted on both objective reality and the … [break in tape] …

Serious scientific research should be more intuitive. So that we employ a little bit of betweenness in developing intuition, or improving intuition.

Knowledge vs. change of being

We come down from the subjective category to the wisdom and knowledge systems. This is what we're faced with today – I'm going to try to run through the gamut of stuff, of the so-called truth systems.

We have systems that pretend, through a series of courses through the mail or otherwise, to teach you infinite knowledge. It might be developing your mind to where you're a super-mind, thought-control courses and this sort of thing, where you develop more and more – incidentally, hinting at the law of progression, that if you can become smart you can become infinitely more smart.

Then you have the other side of that coin, which are the change of being systems, the systems that recognize that you can't find by thinking or memorizing or knowing – you have to change your essence. I don't mean essence – the essence doesn't change. But you have to change what you are now.

And I came to this conclusion, as I told you, when I was around twenty-one, when I first got into yoga. It finally dawned on me that previous to that I had been studying, and I realized that I would never acquire the truth by study. For instance, it may be piling up some scribblings in our DNA molecule, or maybe piling up synaptic memory – we don't know whether this is the end of it or not. If it is, then when you perish your memory perishes with you.

But my intuition told me very succinctly that it had to be a different type of vehicle, to conceive what was necessary.

Now in theology there's a little slogan that the finite mind can never perceive the infinite.9 And this used to frighten a lot of people and possibly still does, into not trying to find anything infinite.

But what's missing – this little slogan that the finite mind can never be infinite – I maintain that there's a situation in the finite mind in which it can be less finite, let's put it that way. I presume that there's some aspect of man that is infinite. But the mind can reach a condition in which it is less finite. For instance I believe that under the influence of LSD the mind is less finite, or more infinite, than it is on just meat and potatoes.

We're going down now by elimination – from wisdom systems that pretend that they're going to take you there with your head, down to systems that have a change of being. And these were all things that I looked into as I got older. And I indulged in them too, as I said – standing on my head or concentrating on my supposed third eye.

These again go back to the relative way of doing things – the physical methods, in which it seems that everybody wants an easy way. You know, twist your legs up into a pretzel and you'll go to heaven. Mantras, chanting, praying.

I used to say that if a man prayed and heard himself, he could answer and acquire. But not just praying outwardly, thinking that there's something out there that's going to say, "That's a good boy, we'll get you your sled for Christmas."

Hatha yoga – twisting the body thinking it's going to have a spiritual effect. Subud10 – standing and shaking. I've been into these. I've been into their initiation rites. I went through a lot of initiation rites, and if any of you are interested in them, you can ask. Radha Soami,11 different ones. I belonged to a group [of friends] that deliberately went to and became initiated into some of these groups, in order to have something that they could talk about validly.

Worshipping an object or a human master – this is something you have to be very careful of, letting some character play God with you.

Mental and psychological systems

We graduate from that to what I call the third categorization, where it becomes more essential, or pertaining to the human essence. In the mental means we have visualization, mental attack on our own minds, confrontation, primal therapy, and this Albigen system of betweenness.

The analyzation of external thought – under this category comes psychology and psychiatry. By that I mean, if the old adage says, "First know thyself," how are you going to know yourself unless you study your mental processes? To look back within yourself you don't look at your intestines, you look at your thinking processes. So this is psychology.

Now in this system, this Zen system – and incidentally, all true Zen is exactly this – they call it concentrating on a koan, but you don't concentrate upon a koan, you concentrate on a problem. And this was lost in the translation.

For instance you'll read in some of the books about a person being given the koan "mu." He had to concentrate on this and work the problem out, and it took him maybe a year or two. Now this comes to us in an error of translation. The koan "mu" means basically "Who am I?" So his problem was to find out who he was – and he could search for this without being in Japan or China; you can find yourself by looking inside, any place in the world.

But when you do find yourself out, there's no longer any objective study of mental phenomena. And this is what psychology attempts today – it attempts to be an objective study of invisible phenomena, or mental phenomena.

Now this latter category of mental means – you're using mental means to acquire – this brings us to another dimension, another subjective state or experience. And this is the end of the road. What I mean is, it leads to enhanced awareness, or a pure awareness.

And when you reach pure awareness you have reached enlightenment, when you actually know – and incidentally, when you know it, you don't know it. When you know it, you know nothing. When you know everything, you know absolutely nothing. I mean, you know the essence of nothing as well as you know the essence of everythingness.

I'm not saying that to mystify you; that's not being done to be clever: you cannot describe an absolute condition with relative words unless you follow up with both sides of the picture. Again, everything both is and is not. If I can, I'll try to explain that to you also.

But this comes up with the final science of betweenness: this is where we're caught, and this is what enlightenment is – the final betweenness, between everythingness and nothingness.

I want to go back over these mental means again. I mentioned them in the order of lesser first, the lesser in importance.

Visualization: We have quite a few spiritual systems today that employ visualization. In other words, imagine that you're holy. Positive thinking: imagine that you're in a certain chakra, or put your guru in your third eye. These are all creations; these have no validity. They don't take you anywhere except as a training; it's a discipline.

Mental attack: There are a lot of groups forming today – encounter groups – to attack the other fellow, in the hope that when the battle is over, when all the encounter groups are settled, we'll all be a puddle of equal slime. That nobody will be any better than anyone else, and then we'll get along – this is the important thing. The great service of modern psychology and psychiatry is to grease the wheels, not to find the truth.

If we can keep these in perspective, when you're looking upon a science that's supposed to analyze thought – meaning, to analyze the self – it has a tremendous job. And instead of that, it reverts immediately to utility: how to get the guy back on the job; how to get him back in bed with his wife, so that the state won't have to support the kids. And whatever brainwashing is necessary, this becomes the thing.

With this in mind, we have things like Primal Therapy,12 which are to put people back to work. I'm experienced with quite a few people who have gone through Primal Therapy, and some whom I have managed to prevent from going to Primal Therapy – and they had more final and more lasting success than the ones who continued to scream the rest of their life.

The Albigen system of betweenness: I'm not going to go into now, because I don't want to blow a horn here, I just want to theorize.

And external thought – about this dimension, the observations of psychology and psychiatry: I've commented on.


End of part 2. To be continued…


1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satori.

2. Philip Kapleau http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapleau. His best-known book: The Three Pillars of Zen.

3. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi.

4. Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi.

5. Richard Maurice Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness.

6. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zazen.

7. Does anyone remember the actor or the title?

8. The Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

9. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.

10. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subud.

11. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radha_Soami.

12. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primal_therapy (advocates the primal scream).

~ Thanks to Steve Harnish for the transcription. for information on the transcription project.

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