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

TAT Forum
May 2001

Essays, poems, opinions and humor on seeking
and finding answers to your deepest life-questions

This month's contents:

Temptation by Richard Rose | The Apple by Richard Rose | The Validity of Love by Shawn Nevins | On Controlling the Mind by Shawn Nevins | On the Turning of Heads by Bob Fergeson | The Essence of the Albigen System by Paul Constant | On Meditation, Becoming, and Two Vectors by Bob Cergol | "I can see him, but he can't see Me" by Bob Cergol | The Narcissism of Words by Gary Harmon | There is only This by Gary Harmon | Humor | Reader Commentary

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by Richard Rose

Several days ago I chanced to have a discussion with my friend R.J. on the subject of temptation, and it struck me at the time that it might be worthwhile to put the thoughts down on paper.

The first thing of importance to consider is the existence of temptation,—next the advisability of dealing with it or submitting to it. I cannot help but conclude that there are salutary influences assailing man, and that there are also possibly unsalutary influences assailing man, either from within or without his being or both.

Of course there is the ever-present denial that temptation exists except in one's own mind. However if only for the sake of tentative argument we take the concept of mind being universal (or Brahma) then we can assume that we are dealing with a problem in the mind-world and go on from there.

I believe that there is temptation from external sources, and temptation from within. A habit tends to repeat itself, but there is another urge to form new habits. There is the undeniable fact that others will tempt us to gratify their pleasure. Now if the thing or act into which one is tempted is not considered injurious then we can hardly say that we are tempted. With the word temptation must go the connotation then that the word is to be used in this writing in regards to some act that is injurious. We cannot say that we are tempted to eat. But we can say that we might be tempted to gluttony. There are several acts indulged in by mankind that most of us will claim to be unimpairing either to body or spirit, such as normal sex desire in married life, [or] an occasional drink of alcohol.... It is my aim to try to draw the line of distinction as to that which I consider injurious.

How many people that we know flee to religions or psychiatrists and still consider their habits sane! Why does man need these stays? I have heard the hard-bitten alcoholic weep in his glass in one breath and in another minute philosophize that liquor is the best of pleasures.

If we are to take a glimpse at mankind we will find a universal striving to release itself from the forces that makes its peace of mind less peaceful. Is war just, and a natural function of nations, and is the succeeding national remorse merely an aberration and a useless worry caused by world-religion-indoctrination,—or is the voice of remorse a questioning voice of a wiser ego checking on the organism. My answer is that actions invite counteractions, therefore a mind that seeks solution of problems without violent action is aiming at a more consistent progress.

In my estimation of things I place the man as being more valuable than his coat, and his brain as being more valuable than his epidermis. The skull that surrounds the brain can be seen as the house of the brain. The house is valuable and must be protected by the housekeeper against external elemental ravages in order that the housekeeper will have a place in which to live. The housekeeper must therefore manage his house.

In sexual excess, in alcoholic excess, or in any excess that is apt to debilitate or delude the mind we have an instance where the body habit conflicts with the equanimity which the mind is seeking. I will admit that if the entity or person is too phlegmatic to seek betterment by willed progress, then war will exist within the spirit until an adjustment is made. That is wisdom by attrition.

It is therefore my conclusion that mankind is dissatisfied with these excesses, that mankind strives against them, and that they are injurious because mankind as a whole repudiates them.

I am of the opinion that (as Spinoza infers) man is seeking more perfect happiness. In time he transcends certain pleasures in order that the mind may enjoy a longer and more perfect happiness or peace. I deny the existence of the pleasure that is sought after by most people. As far as the body is concerned, they exist. The body feels them, the mind denies them. They will detract from higher consciousness, from clear thinking. The drunkard awakes each morning to a new personality.

If we are to have a better mind to enjoy serenity, then that mind must be free from hypnoses. If we are obsessed we can hardly say that we own ourselves or possess the pleasure thus seemingly found.

In this perspective of the human being we can take either the monistic or dualistic viewpoint. The body can be part of the mind hence we would be monistic. In that case it would be the same as the arm getting burned, the central brain causing the arm to draw back. The mind could inhibit an organ which we recognize as the body.

Concerning the nature of these hypnoses it is possible that many of them come from external sources. It is possible that the real world is the world of the mind. We are constantly striving to find that which is more real. As we develop we begin to see the enormous and ever-expanding field that is the scope of the mind. If on this body world we have parasites and animals it does not seem illogical to me that we would have entities in the oceanic mind world. This brings to mind the various concepts on thought forms, poltergeists, incubi and succubi, and angels.

Although I advance no proofs on these entities we will not lose anything by taking those concepts into consideration when dealing with temptation. If their existence were valid, then parasitism would be possible. The mind could be inflicted with a false impression of pleasure while the parasite indulged in the more volatile ethers of the body and brain, and thus crippling the mind for future use. Although the concept seems far-fetched it is accepted by several different groups and is worth consideration.

Whatever the source of temptation we must find release from it. I will outline a system which I have employed, a system which is the result of years of thinking on the subject of continence and efforts toward it.

We must first learn the tricks that are played on the mind (perhaps by the mind) and then discover how to circumvent them. Man deludes himself with happy phrases, some of which are "In vino veritas," the rhyming aphorisms of Omar Khayam, the reverence for the word "Love" in relation to sexual satisfaction, and others. Love is a solemn sounding word that makes sexual excess seem almost a solemn duty. Few of us can give a definition for love, fewer will ever give a definition that is accepted by all lovers. Man loves himself.

Man's great adversary in dealing with temptation is rationalization. The mind plays tricks upon itself. I would like to say that the body argues for pleasure. I do not like to give the impression that the mind does not know what it wants, or that the body is arguing with another entity, the mind. Therefore I think it apt to liken the workings of the mind to a court. Every act is first debated in the mind. Once it is accepted and acted, the second time will require less deliberation, the third time still less and so proportionately into habit. It will endanger itself and the body in order to learn. Thus most harmful habits gain entry into the system.

Some of the rationalizations that assail the reasoning of the mind are: laying the faults of the pottery at the feet of the potter; reminding oneself of the total ignorance of man, hence his inability to do anything good or bad; escape from another seeming worse dissipation, and others. Man is also apt to remind himself that his life is very short and that his pleasures are few in regards to his sorrows, therefore he must indulge.

In contradiction to these rationalizations I might say that I believe man to be an individual, and that if we conclude ourselves to be pottery that shall be later thrown back into the furnace, then indeed there is not any need for self-betterment. As for good and bad, good is what is best for body and mind, and bad the opposite. If alcohol is good for body and mind then I would advise drinking. As for the shortness of life I would say there is no measurement of time, except in man's consciousness, and if a man is unconscious or possessed or obsessed, then a life-span of one hundred years lived in dissipation would not equal twenty years spent in freedom from hypnoses.

When I am confronted with temptation my greatest argument is "Why?" After having freed one's self from a binding habit, the person is struck with the imbecility of ever indulging in the habit in the first place. When you ask yourself,—what shall I gain from this pleasure-hypnosis, you can destroy much of the power of the suggestion. It is hard for a person to give a reason for pleasure outside of just saying "because it's fun." Eventually the mind denies itself the delusion, and finds a warming satisfaction in the freedom thus enjoyed. In time a general indifference to all fixations of pleasure will be the result of this method.

I have found that by developing indifference to temptation one also tends to develop total indifference unless a new driving power is found. Sex is the greatest driving power on earth. Man's mammoth achievements are all evolved from the sex-urge,—the urge leading him to feather his nest better. When indifference to all the maddening ambitions of conventional mankind is reached we are inclined to grow apathetic. Then there must be found a new motive or a higher motive for living, and one must study to find driving power to further it. It is possible that we must create and exert a will.

To revert to the methods used in overcoming temptation, besides applying "Why?" to deeds that might provoke a question, I have found that it is also beneficial to practice relaxation. Most of our excesses occur in periods of tension. There are various methods of relaxing, some are outlined in modern health education, some in hatha yoga. We must keep in mind that total relaxation promotes death unless will is exerted after freedom is gained from the animal motivation that automatically keeps our system fighting with its self.

© 1947 by Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

The Apple
by Richard Rose

I am an apple
Round and red, bursting with Love.
Beautiful with the artistry of ages.
Once hard and insensible, yes—
Green and bitter with ignorance,
But now soft and mellow,
Sweet to the joys of life,
Soft to the mouth of love,
Mellow to the harsher hand of Fate.
Perfect is my noon-day bliss . . . .
And time holds the glad sun still
For a long, dreamy summer's day,
Until I drink a song into my heart,
And feel within me glorious beginnings,
Seeds of perfection . . . .
Straining and exulting.

I am an apple . . . .
Feeling for the first time
The bruise heralding putrefaction . . . .
The canker and disease
Afflicting the perfection of my beauty,
And the relentless parasite
Assimilating my softness,
Stealing my whiteness,
Depositing the filth of his feeding
Within my terrified heart.

And I cry to my mother tree,
In the agony of despair,
In the agony of terror.

And hearing my cry,
She draws away from me
Drying my stem,
Dropping me lifeless upon the rocks.

And I cry out against her,
And she says
Go, thou art ripe for deliverance
From the flesh and perishable pulp,
Enter into life through thy heart seeds
And grow into a mighty tree.

And again I cry out against her,
For I love not metamorphoses,
I am not a cycle . . . . I am an apple.
What care I for the designs of chromosomes,
Or the prattling of prophets,
Or the respiration of pralaya—
I am an apple.
Give me my perfection.
What right has anyone to rot
The inestimable beauty I possessed,
What errors brought this fine,
Who dares to count my errors—
If errors I committed . . . ?

I am an apple . . . .
Wanting unchanging perfection,
Freedom from worms and decay,
Freedom from the heartless motherhood of trees,
Freedom from my designer
Who claims the right to un-design me.

I am an apple,
Dry and old.
Plaintive and acid.
Rotting and cursing my state,
Hating the seeds rupturing into my bowels,
Hating the earth that tries to absorb me.

~ Published in "Carillon: Poems, Essays and Philosophy of Richard Rose." © 1982 by Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

The Validity of Love
by Shawn Nevins

I can not count the times I scoffed at such statements as, "the universe is Love," or that, "all there is, is Love." Yet, tonight, I find myself writing, "There is only Love."

The difficulty lies in the word "love." It is as full of pre-conceptions as the word "God." However, some ears may respond to "love," but not to "allness," so it is helpful to explore further.

Love is not something we do. To be kind, thoughtful, positive, happy, or caring has nothing to do with Love. It is a feeling which is with us always, but only surfaces when we crack a little at the seams—meaning when we relax our continual guard against the perceived threats of the world.

Sometimes it is another person who allows us to feel the love that is always within us. Are we loved by another person, or does that feeling originate within us, available to us at any time, if we let down our guard (ego)? Love is not between two people, because there are not really two people there. There is only Love—an ever-present oneness that has nothing to do with bodies.

Search for the essential feeling behind your experience of love—beyond romantic tingles, beyond your concern for other human beings. What is love telling you of your importance and the importance of others? "That the other is more important than me," you say. Think though, if the other person experiences the same feeling of love as you, then love is saying no one is important.

Yet the majority of lovers and poets of all mediums use love to exalt the human condition and glorify our misery. A misery caused by claiming for the transient body a feeling that is eternal and all pervading.

"I am in love," means not that you possess a feeling. It means that you rest in a sea of Love and are like Ramana Maharshi's salt doll dissolving in the water. Love is the light shining through the spaces between your atoms. Love is the impersonal reality of your Self.

On Controlling the Mind
by Shawn Nevins

I'd say that bringing the mind under control requires developing some distance / freedom from the mind. In doing that, we find we are more than we thought we were. To control, we develop superior perspective and wonder where this progression will end.

On the Turning of Heads
by Bob Fergeson

Looking at the lives of mystics and saints, we might think that realization is something one is born with, that the mystical path is a function of historical destiny or fate. But if we question how we, as average men, can acquire a drive towards realization, then we are taking a practical step. We can never assume we know our ultimate goal, but must simply be willing to allow our inner head to be turned in a different direction than the one life has given it. For this we need help in the form of shocks, for the inner head will not be turned easily.

First there must be enough trauma or suffering to turn us away from the belief in life as an end in itself, otherwise we will see no reason to enter a path; the question, or doubt, will simply never occur. If we are lucky enough to be thrown into the unknown, through sheer desperation, sickness, or misery, we may find that we emerge okay, that something took care of us. This forced surrender gives us renewed Faith. We begin to trust something greater beyond life and the world of the five senses, and gain a little courage as well. We begin to look for others who might know more than us, and by sifting through these find a teacher. This shift in meaning also gives new credence to the intuition and can be synchronistic with the new-found teacher 'ringing our bell'. An inner connection is established between our inner self and this 'God incarnate', the Guru. Something in us awakes and our head turns towards a new view. The old values of the rat race and mundane pleasure are no longer enough, and we see our teacher as living proof that there is something else worth doing.

If the inner head has been loosened up enough to look a little closer to home, we will begin to see in a real, personal way that we are mechanical, a robot. That as personalities or egos, we are nothing but accidental associative reaction patterns. We don't exist. But our heads are locked on this robot, identified with it in an almost absolute hypnosis. This includes inherited and learned states of mind and moods, that are precursors to reaction patterns. Seeing this gives us another shock, and we begin to learn the hard way that no amount of tinkering with the associative pattern will give us real being: the realization that endless analysis of the robot is a dead end. Confrontation, whether in a group setting or from being engaged with everyday life, helps us to see this mechanical nature and the uselessness of putting our faith in its eventual perfection. We begin to look within, in earnest. This acceptance and the following ability to turn the head inward only comes after every mental avenue has been exhausted. We can no longer place a high value on states such as 'happiness', justified negative emotions, mundane pleasures, or even elevated 'spiritual states' or feelings of well being, such as being a 'good boy', a do-gooder, etc. It also helps to bring up conscience, which enables us to have real compassion for our fellow man, as we see he cannot change either, and is also not a conscious being.

Continuing to go within, as there is now nowhere else to go, we begin to see the value in listening. We begin to develop and place value on the 'Listening Attention'. We realize that we don't know, but that knowledge is available. We begin to hear Higher Centers and value their help. This leads to a return of faith in the inner self and furthers the inner relaxation and loosening of energy knots (egos) formed by implanted erroneous beliefs. Given this new mental freedom, we can see the dualistic nature of the mind, with its penchant for ever increasing the subtlety of its ego through cleverness. Triangulating above this never ending duality, we continue to look within, finally realizing that no view, no matter how subtle, can be our true Self. We sooner or later separate from the mind, and thereby realize the observing awareness that is our true Self, the self that realizes its own nothingness.

This receiving of the experience of ourselves as awareness also leads us to see that this awareness is the same in everyone. We have become Universal after our long lost voyage in the particular and find ourselves back Home, where we've always been.

The Essence of the Albigen System
by Paul Constant

A hazy, warm summer morning. August 1985. I was driving my way through the hills of West Virginia's northern panhandle. The narrow, uneven road was tortuously winding, I thought, as I maneuvered my car alongside Wheeling Creek—first lost, then re-oriented, now seemingly lost again. Why in the world would a Pennsylvania college student risk traveling to a remote farm, where a meeting of philosophers—all perfect strangers to me—was taking place over the next two days? I held no long list of answers to that question, and it was so unlike me, a socially backward and naïve 22-year old small towner, to take "risks" of this kind. This, of course, was the beginning. This was the long shot of a lifetime, which ultimately allowed me to take steps to change my self…

That fateful visit led to my first meeting with Richard Rose, the man who assembled the Albigen System from the ground up. With its practical methods for Self discovery, the Albigen System contains down-to-earth advice for those with the ears to listen. Many systems have different ways of expressing similar ideas. At the core of each authentic system are methods which indirectly or "accidentally" cause the seeker to find, or become, the Truth. Through my own personal analysis, I have tried to extract some of what I consider the important points in the Albigen System:

The Albigen System does not provide formulas for "attaining." It merely provides ways and means for self-definition, to better understand ourselves and others. An individual does not reach for magical Absolute states of mind. The seeker instead incessantly asks, "Who am I?" Only thus do we create an opportunity for a massive accident that will change our perspective once and for all.

~ Visit the SearchWithin Download Center to read more essays by Paul Constant.

On Meditation, Becoming, and Two Vectors
by Bob Cergol

On Meditation

I am convinced that intense self-introspection does not require large amounts of time. It requires only short meditations which regardless of the form they take, in essence, amount to a prayer—a plea to the higher self for help and guidance. This sets in motion a direction so that amidst busy-ness and hard work—that higher self will manifest and the inner man will get through to communicate—which you will experience as insight or mini-realizations—that translate into a change of being.

On Becoming

...Becoming is the process of giving expression to that which is at your core—a process of manifesting that which is in you, or that which you essentially are. The opposite is an unconscious life of manifesting that which you are not.

In an absolute sense we are already the result of a perfect vector. But in this life-induced drunkenness, it is difficult to accept what is and so we subvert this perfect vector. We work against it—trying to express the ego, or outer man, instead of working to let the inner man manifest fully. Becoming is finding our way back to the central theme of the universe and living fully in harmony with it. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is letting our lives become the perfect manifestation of it—that which is—truly us.

Bhakti and the Two Vectors

There are two vectors at play. One is of the Permanent, the other is an echo. The path is a struggle to change the "balance of power" between them, regarding what will be manifested in us or given expression as us. Will the echo bounce all the way back to the source? Or will it get diffused and muffled on the return journey? An absence of a devotional element, even if it seems to have no object, indicates strong identification with ego—which is only the echo.

"I can see him, but he can't see Me"
by Bob Cergol

~ In response to the question, "Where is Bob now?"

Bob is lost in his personality and its idiosyncrasies and lost in life. I can see him but he can’t see Me. I am trying to take over his life but he is hanging on to patterns that have become precious and beautiful to him because he witnessed them as "things apart," with no permanent substance, but only as themes that echo Me. I showed him that he was not, for I alone AM. And in that seeing he was perfectly content and accepted everything as it is. But he cannot exist in life as he exists in death and he has still to learn how to live while abiding in Me.

The Narcissism of Words
by Gary Harmon

Words only get in the way. How do we talk about something that words cannot describe? From one standpoint this is the case, yet "it" is not the experience. "It" being always ever-present Here Now, what could an experience indicate? How can you say at one point in the perpetual present, knowing that present to have no points to reference from? How could something not involving time or space "Realize itself" nowhere, at no time, in no dimension?

In point of fact, there is no describing in words. Neither "Self Realization" nor "Union" or any Sanskrit descriptive word is precise at all. All fall far off the mark. Words cannot work at this juncture. Some use terms like "instantaneous" to describe this, but that is not accurate. Some use terms like "gradual," but that is not accurate either. The experience took twenty minutes, three days, or a year? WHAT!!!? How about, {nothing ever happened}. That is a little closer, but still not accurate.

"'Experience/Realization/Whatever," that is the exact point that words fail. That is where words fall off, where they do not contact. The indescribable cannot be described. What else can be used for dialogue, but words?

Everyone has to resort to these irrational symbols called "words" to describe something that can't be described, and so they lie, but as closely to the truth as possible. It still winds up misleading. We cannot convey without mumbling or writing something. What ever is said is still very far away. It cannot be put into words.

No one ever will believe it can't be described, either. If more would accept the fact, there would be less talking about it, but since few do, endless talking, conjecture and speculation runs wild confusing the issue even more. Here my typing is adding more words that are basically worthless.

That is the protection that is built into the bardo/paradigm which we live in. The movie would not be as consuming if it could just be explained from within that bardo/paradigm. That is not possible; it can only be experienced by chucking the whole belief that it can be explained. Then allowing the truth to reveal itself. Focus on the Now. That is the only "moment" that we can truly ever have. All else is the mind's eye projection.

There is only This
by Gary Harmon

There is only "this"
Life in the moment of "now"
Where nothing happens
And nothing fails to take place

It is, but it isn't
We are all the same
Duplicity is an illusion
To not realize, who is there to blame?

As there is neither something
Nor anything to understand,
What can fail to be understood?
Life is certainly Grande

We find that we are not
But yet we are still here
Death is our way of life,
If the Truth be told without fear

This is all that there is
There is nothing more
Everything is perfect
But who is there to keep score?

The view within
Is a vast vision?
There is nothing to see
Yet the ocean roars

The Silence is deafening
Not to be overlooked
The quiet is so encompassing
It just cannot be ignored.

Classical Humor...

Plato and Aristotle camping in the desert, set up their tent and fall asleep. Some hours later, Plato wakes his disciple, "Aristotle, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Aristotle replies, "Millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?" asked Plato.

Aristotle ponders for a minute. "Astronomically speaking it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically it tells me Saturn is in Leo. Time wise it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, my esteemed teacher?"

Plato is silent for a moment, then speaks: "Aristotle, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent."

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