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

TAT Forum
March 2004

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


This month's contents:

Peace of Mind Despite Success (part 4) by Richard Rose | Blaming Karma by Gary Harmon | Finding the Way by Franklin Merrell-Wolff | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Is It Too Late? by Shawn Nevins | Deeper than Love by D.H. Lawrence | The Procedure Toward Awakening by Alfred Pulyan | The Shifting Image of Identity by Bob Fergeson | Humor | Reader Commentary

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Peace of Mind Despite Success
by Richard Rose

~ From a 1984 talk in Akron, Ohio—Part 4
(continued from the February 2004 TAT Forum)

letter N We come down to a system now. The system is not that complicated, yet there is a tremendous lot of information in it, I think. Once more, we go back to basics. How do you do these things?

Number one, you don't start off doing anything contrary to natural plan. Because we are not superior to it. There's a trend today that's been going on for quite a while—I shouldn't say that it's just been going on for the last twenty or thirty years, because I see traces of it all through history. As soon as somebody came up with an invention, they immediately thought that they were divine, that the human race was approaching divinity, and we were going to change our environment.

They're worried about the vanishing eagle, or the vanishing grizzly bear, as though that is something that they can do something about. If the grizzly bears are going to vanish, they won't have any more chance than the dinosaur. And if we're going to vanish, we won't have any more chance that the dinosaur.

And we can conceive all sorts of super powers, super-human powers. We're able to do magnificent feats of engineering, create enormous battleships, airplanes, rockets, etc., all sorts of gadgets to play with, even these things here [tape recorders], biofeedback machines, and whatever. And this gives us a feeling of control and divinity.

But these are—you know—if the ants had our technology, they'd surpass us. They'd have better cameras than we have. I think they lack maybe the fingers to manufacture the stuff with, I don't know.

But we get a tremendous big feeling that we're going to create human behavior, and we're going to do as we please, and we're going to find a patch for every wound. No correction. No changing the road. When you get a flat tire, you put a patch on it instead of going out and picking up the nails. The smart thing is to go out and pick up the nails. But we get these flat tires, and then we go back to our technology. This is the concept.

And this is what has lead everyone down the road to disease. These terror-stricken headlines that you see in the paper. On TV they had the camera on an encounter group—I don't think it was an encounter group, I think it was a sympathy group—where everybody that has AIDS gets together and says, "Aren't we miserable." And not one of them—I never heard—one irate young lady said, "Why don't they get off their butts and find a cure for this?"

Why didn't they get off their butts twenty years ago and quit fooling around the way they weren't supposed to fool around? They never think about that. Where's this sense of responsibility that we're supposed to have? We're supposed to be responsible creatures—we're supposed to be in charge of the universe. And we can't be in charge of our own emotions.

Okay, you're not supposed to be in charge of your own emotions in all directions, because we are supposed to have children. That can be a tremendous burden. But—you can get away with it. You can get away with having children.

Once more we go back to this thing—nature. That's evident, it's laid out for us. By trial and error for ten or twenty thousand years, we have grown a certain wisdom on how to live—which modern behaviorists tried to throw out in the last twenty years. And they're not going to do it; they're not going to be able to do it.

Our wisdom goes back to the earth—from which we get food, from which we develop flesh, from which we develop neural energy. Nerves, brain—all from the food of the earth. There's our beginning of our divinity.

[Break in tape] ... in intense concentration, to come up with a solution to a problem in algebra, on how to build a better house or a better battleship. All from transmutation. The isolation of students in a classroom causes them to think. To force thinking is the process of transmutation. Sometimes it'll happen when they're not in the classroom, but that's the best way of getting the largest number of people transmuting energy at the same time with a single teacher.

From this—we can draw the diagram—and show how mental energy is transmuted beyond the body. If you want to do it. I don't say there's any particular purpose, but it just shows the ability—that you can create a vector of yourself to a point where you'll get dynamic direction of energy.

And this human energy is the energy that Christ used when people were healed. Because if you read the little story—the woman who was bleeding touched the end of his garment, and what did it say? It said he felt his virtue leave him. This is physical energy—energy that can almost be calibrated. This is a transmuted energy.

Now with that same thing you can project thoughts, you can enhance the computer. But most of all, the most valuable—it isn't valuable to heal people—most people who get healed don't work to get healed, so they get sick from the same cause. So healing becomes a vanity—it's a glory trip for the healer. Generally always a glory trip.

The thing is to try and get the person and show them how to transmute their own energy and convey their own energy and heal themselves. Until the time comes to die, and then die without maybe too much noise. Because the intuition gets these instantaneous readings. The logical process takes hours. Even in the computer, it takes quite a bit of time for a logical process to take effect. But with the human being, as with the savant-idiot, in one, two, ten seconds, information arrives that would have taken logically three of four lifetimes.


Now I started out when I was twenty-one years of age. I dedicated myself to the Truth. I didn't go join the church. I didn't announce my dedication to anybody but myself. I said, "I don't care too much for this life. So if I'm going to live and put up with this environment, I'm going to spend my time finding out who is here—who I am."

The result was of course that by the time I was twenty-one, I knew the path that I had to follow. I realized that I would never learn anything. The only way that I would ever discover anything was to become. And this is the little blueprint I laid down for myself. And I searched out ways. Instead of going to the psychology books, I left the psychology books and went inside myself. And strangely enough, I was accidentally successful.

And I don't think I was accidentally successful. I think—in fact, I was quite an egotist at the time. I was going to find out something and then, once I discovered that, I was going to be powerful. I sensed that I would be powerful. And that appealed to me because I was young.

But about seven years went by, and nothing was happening. And I came to the conclusion about being—like Omar Khayyam, in too many wrong heads—that the truth must be evasive. In fact, so I became angry at all the phonies, all the facetious books that were written, all the brainwashing institutions called churches which you had to go to, to find the truth.

And in my anger I made a pledge that if I ever found anything, I would help my fellow man. In other words, that I would try to find the people with the little crack in their heads where the light might get into, and I could communicate with them. And that's what I would do with the rest of my life.

And it was only at that point, from that point on, things started to turn. And within two years I had an experience. And I don't go around trying to prove this experience to people because of the simple fact that you can't hear unless you have ears. But I do hope to find people that will someday make that pledge to themselves, that they want to help somebody else sincerely down the road.

And then—if you continue plugging and plugging, for no reason at all except for the sake of the truth—you'll find it. You will find it.


medieval scribe In the process also of writing this book, I ran across some little psychological laws, and I want to talk about them for a minute because they don't appear in the literature everyplace. These are the things that I discovered. And what happened after I had my experience—I had no words. I mean I had never realized that I would have to come back and try to say something to somebody.

And to say something—for instance, my experience was of an absolute nature, if you understand what I'm saying. It had no relative definition. And to talk to people, you have to talk in relative language. Which means that as soon as you say something is a good thing to do, then that can be paradoxically interpreted by somebody as being negative.

For instance, there is no such thing as "positive thinking" without the parallel comprehension and agreement that the opposite is also true—or can be proven as true as you can prove that which you think is positive. But nevertheless, I recognized this polarity. It wasn't until many years later I ran into a book on Zen by Hubert Benoit [The Supreme Doctrine]. And in it he had a little diagram, a triangle, and he called it the triangulation of thinking.

In other words, what we have from our viewpoint is a line at the far end of which is the word "black," and at the other end is the word "white." And we realize that in between those two are millions of gradations of gray—which can only be viewed from a superior point. From the apex of the triangle, you can look down and see both ends. From the superior point, you can see the entire line, and there's no mystery.

Now this is the view of the physical world. You have to get to a superior point from which you can look back and see it—as not something in space, and time-related, but in space-time as one.

So you come back to language. I was talking in Pittsburgh one time, and there was a man there from India. And he said, "What you're talking about is the Buddha mind, isn't it?"

And I said, "I don't know what you're talking about. You'll have to educate me with a whole book on Buddhism in order to find out what we are talking about." Because he didn't know what I was saying, and he was trying to get me to translate into his terminology.

Basically what you have to do is find somebody with this little light of intuition, and then work on it together. Ask questions. And pretty soon, as it becomes important in your mind, you'll see it on the street every day while walking. Instances of what you are trying to understand will come to you in everyday life.


But I found these laws, incidentally, and we'll run through them. These are psychological laws, laws of nature, laws of the spirit. Everything has its echo, its mirror in the different dimensions of thinking.

One of them is the "Law of Proportional Returns." It means that if you put out energy, you will get, in proportion. And I thought, "That's very good if you're lucky, maybe. That will work if you're lucky." No—it works. It works.

I saw a tremendous example of this one time. This man didn't know what he was doing, but intuitively he practiced this type of procedure. He ran a small business in downtown Steubenville. And I stopped in to see him. He was selling painting equipment, paint spray guns and tanks and so on. He had coveralls on, and he didn't look very much like a businessman because he was mixing some paint. And a young man came in. So he walked over to the counter and the fellow said, "I want to see some of your pressure tanks."

And he told him, he said, "Well, what we have is all there in front of you. We've got them anywhere between two hundred dollars and seven hundred dollars. That one sitting over there is about four hundred dollars." And the fellow looked them over and said, "I can get that same thing down at Sears and Roebuck for about a hundred dollars cheaper."

And the fellow said, "Yes—probably just as good. The only difference is—I'm stuck here on this corner, and I have to repair them if they go bad. And Sears doesn't. But Sears backs up their stuff. I'll tell you—I will give you a list of some other people, too. You should shop around and make up your mind where your best buy is." So he gave him the names of some other places he could go that sold tanks—a hardware store in Wheeling, and so on.

He was very cordial about it. And I watched the fellow walk away, get to the door, turn around and come back. And he said, "Oh, hell, give it to me."

Now this was a man whose wife was interested in the group work. They had a little group going in Steubenville at the time. He was interested in his business. And he would come in, and we'd be sitting in the front room, and he'd go out in the kitchen and make himself a martini. And about the time he got that martini about half down he could tolerate our philosophy. And he'd get somewhat in tune with it.

So I said to him, "John, you are a philosopher. I watched you operate. You didn't try to sell that fellow. The only thing you tried to do was help him." And he said, "Right. I learned that strangely enough from my wife's father. I watched him do it. You don't have to go out there and twist people's arms. Make yourself available, that's all. Just make yourself available."

There's an old expression I heard a salesman say one time: "If you throw enough mud at the ceiling, some of it'll stick." If you hit enough doors, believe me, one of them will open. But go at it from the idea of being of service to those people, not the idea that you're going to steal from them.


Another one of the laws I call the "Law of the Ladder." This is what the man in Irwin [referenced in part 2 of this series, in the January 2004 Forum] said to me he'd learned from my lecture. He wrote it on a little piece of paper. He said he'd never made notes at lectures before, but he wrote that down because he'd realized that not knowing the law of the ladder is what caused his lecture series to collapse.

The law of the ladder says that you can only learn from people one rung above you; you can only teach one rung below you. If you reach down too low, they pull you down by the hair of the head. They crucify you. And if you reach up too far, the guy on the second rung above looks like an idiot to you. You can't comprehend him.

This I learned while standing year after year on a ladder, painting houses. I realized that there was a significant symbol there at work.


Another law is the "Law of Friendship"—that we are stuck with humanity. They seem at times to be a despicable mess of protoplasm, but this is all there is. And when you transcend the flesh, you're still stuck with them. If you go anyplace and you owe them money—you still owe them money.

We have this human family, which is our total environment. The trees, the mountains, the planets will fade away. But the relatives will still be there, and the friends will still be there, and so will the people you didn't do so hot by.

So we have to function with the idea of friendship. And in this respect, you can function. If I take your money, if I steal your money, if I con you—I can't function.

And of all these groups—this is one thing that I am very proud of—I have never had a crowd much larger than this one in all my time of talking. But the thing is that I didn't pull any tricks, I didn't give out any information which I wasn't sure of, I didn't try to pressure anybody. Of course, I try to agitate people. I'll try to get you to function. I'll try to get you to helping some people yourself.

The reason the group was formed—there's a little law concerned with this too, and that is the "Law of Extra-Proportional Returns." An individual by themselves doesn't do much of anything, anyplace, on any level. Of course, an individual in a flat, flaccid group isn't doing anything, either. So you have to find your fellows. You have to find your medium in which you can operate and actually accomplish.

And that was the reason the group was tolerated. When I first started out, I was very much opposed to having anything in a type of an organization. Organizations become corrupted by those who are in charge. Money is collected, and then somebody starts to become a politician. And dogma is developed, and things you've got to believe are developed. And the result is the search for truth ceases. And we start believing, and that's the end of the road.

So I have to keep that—complete honesty—on the surface. In full view at all times. And I have to treat everybody as friends, and they have to know I am their friend. Not just be told—they have to know. Like when the man said to me, "What happened in your experience? Who made the blueprint?" I said, "I don't know, and what I don't know, I won't tell you anything about it." (But I know by the pattern that I witnessed that there was a pattern there, because it was beautiful.)

~ Continued in the April TAT Forum.

© 1984 Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

Blaming Karma
by Gary Harmon

We seem to blame karma for all our material successes or failures. However, we fail to note that these successes and failure arise exactly to keep us in this cycle of life and death. We haven't taken a moment to be an OBSERVER....

~ See Gary's Gates of the Mind web site.

Finding the Way
by Franklin Merrell-Wolff

letter M Much that I have written in this book is in the form of an intimate personal testimony. Other portions are in the from of reflective discussions, or more or less mystical compositions that are, in large measure at least, the fruit of a shift in consciousness level which I, individually, have experienced. My purpose in this was not merely the satisfying of a demand for self-expression—in fact I do not feel such a demand—but to report and reveal, as far as may be, a fact that I know to be of the very highest importance to myself, and a fact that is potentially capable of having the same value for others. From previous training, I know something of the importance and technique of introspective self-observation. I have not neglected watching the personal transformation, while in process, with a view to keeping a record of as large an objective value as I could achieve. It has been my purpose not to neglect the recording of unpleasant or negative features if they should arise. In point of fact, I have found the unpleasant features to be of remarkably minor importance and only of temporary duration. Thus any ordinary athletic achievement in the field of sports involves more bodily and emotional discomfort than I have experienced at any time since the 7th of last month, while on the other hand I have known the Joy of finding a World far greater and far more significant than all that which came out of the discoveries of Columbus. I simply wish that others may find the World, or have the Way made clearer to them because of what I have already accomplished.

Roman cardoway There is one point that I wish to have understood very clearly. The initial Transformation did not just happen to me as something coming unexpectedly out of the blue. We have several records of such spontaneous Awakenings, and while there exists a rationale explaining such cases which shows that they are not quite so spontaneous as they seem, I shall not enter into that question at the present time. In point of fact, I have sought this Awakening for several years. I was finally convinced that, at least in all probability, there was such a thing or event, while I was in the midst of the discussions of a metaphysical seminary held at Harvard. I saw, at once, that if such Knowledge were an actuality it was of far greater importance than even the greatest intellectual achievement within the limits of the subject-object field. At that time I had a very imperfect idea of the Goal, but I knew that among the East Indians was to be found the greatest development of knowledge relative to It. I resolved to make the search and pay what price might be demanded. In the years since, I have been more than once discouraged and have permitted lateral desires to lead me into side-excursions. But I always returned to the search. I tested various different routes, finding values and defects in all, and then at last by combining the best that India has to offer in the field of metaphysics with the best of western science and philosophy, and then adding thereto some modifications of my own,1 I found a road that has proved successful. While during the interim there have been partial Transformations and Recognitions, it has taken twenty-four years of search to attain a culminating point which I can recognize as definitely culminating. All of the steps within the subject-object field were conscious, and therefore I can formulate and evaluate them. Also, I am aware of the Transcendent Factor and know the Significance of the part It plays. If I had known in the beginning all that is here for the first time collected together between the covers of one book, many years of time would have been saved. Perhaps, also, for some others this book may have a similar value. But from the standpoint of evidence for a Beyondness, the point I wish to make is that in the present case an individual was finally convinced of the validity of a search from the discussions that formed part of the classwork in one of the leading western universities. He tried to find the Way, at times following others, but in the end carving his own course, and did that without renouncing the western form of intellectuality. What one can do others also may do.

My final word on this particular subject is: I sought a Goal the existence of which I had become convinced was highly probable. I succeeded in finding this Goal, and now I KNOW, and can also say to all others: "IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH ANYTHING THAT IT MAY COST, AND IMMEASURABLY MORE."

1At the present time, some two and one-half years since writing the above, I have a further contribution to offer on the creative effort supplied by the individual himself. I have made many experiments with the meditative and yogic techniques given by the various authorities. In no case have I had any results that were worth the effort so long as I did not supply at least a self-devised modification of my own. Apparently the modification is suggested intuitively. Often I got results by a method diametrically opposite to that suggested by a given authority. At least, so far as my private experience is concerned, the successful method always had to be in some measure an original creation. I suspect the presence of a general principle here, but I am not at present able to deduce a conclusion of universal applicability.

~ Reprinted, by permission, from Ch. 53 of "Pathways Through to Space" by Franklin Merrell-Wolff, which is now published along with "Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object" in "Experience and Philosophy." See the Franklin Merrell-Wolff Fellowship site for more information on Merrell-Wolff's teaching.

Poems by Shawn Nevins

I am carved glass
that cannot stop singing in this wind.
Where did I leave my self?
How did I become yours?
Do I miss what was, what seemed to be?
Light streams though me,
blinding this thought.


I feel the cold wind
carve through my dreams
scattering the pieces placed
by a fractured self.
This fellow can't help
but claim everything as his own.


When the world is too bright
I cannot see inside.
Give me a night
to match that dark depth
that rests my soul.


I am the minute
it takes to read this poem.
Emerging from darkness.
Ordinary, yet astonishing.
Straining to voice its origin.
Creating meaning from memory.

All the while,
slowly losing the pieces
that made the words
that made the man.

sliding into darkness
faltering with me
becoming edgeless inside.


My self is burning,
drawn by gravity into this atmosphere,
leaving a trail of living
that fades,
even as I return
to my origin.


I've been here forever
and in another place as well,
that holds eternity
as I hold snow in my hand—
melting me over and over.


To touch another is heartache.
This gulf separating
hand and hand
mind and mind
is only crossed alone.
Love is the eye,
the turning,
the within.

Is It Too Late?
by Shawn Nevins

Moon over autumn field If you discover or return to the spiritual search later in life amidst career and family responsibilities, you may run headlong into Mr. Rose's maxim: "Results are proportional to energy applied." Dismayed by the many directions draining your energy, you may feel any exploration for the truth is futile. What are you to do? Take leave of the life you created? Even if you did, you no longer have the energy of youth to apply to the task of self-discovery.

If you are lucky, you may recognize your life as one of Rose's "Tales of Love." Your ego is diminished by responsibilities larger than its desires, but your life pattern/habit is hardened. You realize you were used by life but are strapped solidly into the passenger seat of a vehicle headed for death. Your ego is worn down, but very hard, as opposed to the huge, but soft, ego of a younger person.

Therefore, it may be easier to admit to the mechanicalness of your life and self. You see the imagined potential of your youth eaten by the pattern of life. You are like a humble prisoner sentenced to hard labor. Humility alone will not allow you to escape the prison. In fact, you may take a certain sweet sorrow at your situation as your ego uses even humility to maintain its significance.

Hope is found today, not in dreams of a deathbed realization. Possibility is found in the moments that you carve out to observe/listen within, to be honest about the feeling of your self's existence, and to let desire arise. A little time and honesty late in life may equal the intensely felt labors of youth.

Deeper than Love
by D.H. Lawrence

There is love, and it is a deep thing
but there are deeper things than love.

First and last, man is alone.
He is born alone, and alone he dies
and alone he is while he lives, in his deepest self.

Love, like the flowers, is life, growing.
But underneath are the deep rocks, the living rock that lives
and deeper still the unknown fire, unknown and heavy, heavy
and alone.

Love is a thing of twoness.
But underneath any twoness, man is alone.

And underneath the great turbulent emotions of love, the
            violent herbage,
lies the living rock of a single creature's pride,
the dark, naif pride.
And deeper even than the bedrock of pride
lies the ponderous fire of naked life
with its strange primordial consciousness of justice
and its primordial consciousness of connection,
connection with still deeper, still more terrible life-fire
and the old, old final life-truth.

Love is of twoness, and is lovely
like the living life on the earth
but below all roots of love lies the bedrock of naked pride,
and deeper than the bedrock of pride is the primordial fire of
            the middle
which rests in connection with the further forever unknowable
            fire of all things
and which rocks with a sense of connection, religion
and trembles with a sense of truth, primordial consciousness
and is silent with a sense of justice, the fiery primordial

All this is deeper than love.

~ See the companion poem "Go Deeper than Love"
by D.H. Lawrence.

The Procedure Toward Awakening
by Alfred Pulyan

Normally the procedure toward "awakening" goes something like this:

STAGE (1) // Battered by the storms of life or driven by an interior compulsion or even some "experience" a person becomes dissatisfied with his or her current religion (or the lack of it), and drifts and studies such things as Unity, Theosophy, Christian Science, maybe even Rosicrucianism, Zen, etc. Possibly they will read Huxley's "Perennial Philosophy" & dip into Far Eastern texts now so easily available. They may get the idea that there is a thing called liberation or awakening or satori or realization, although it seems extremely vague and their passion for miracles & marvels gets mixed up with it.

STAGE (2) // Sooner or later the "master-" or "guru-" idea comes up since the student gets nowhere by himself or herself usually. To "pick" a master or guru, cold turkey, is not at all easy because there are not enough available for picking & choosing. However there are the correspondence courses, the Essene Society, the Brotherhood of Light, etc. etc. (I make up names although I may have guessed an actual name—it does not matter.)

I often wonder whether some of these are not genuine & could actually do the job! However, the attention one gets, needs to be far more individualized & personal because this is not "learning," it is partly a transmission through friendship or love. One does not usually sell these things. Then there are the Swamis of the Vedanta Society, very well educated & high-toned men indeed & they conduct yoga classes. There is a Zen master in New York at the First Zen Institute. Here we touch more satisfactory gurus. The question of "how long" each of these takes is to be considered & of course these do NOT "work" by mail. Is there any genuine guru who does?

The student may meet by good luck (if that is the proper word) a master, such as a rare one in the Taoist succession or some other kind. (There are people in USA belonging to NO sect, cult or religion who "work" as I do, suiting my vocabulary to the student's habits. Again, few work by mail if any.)

The student by now is getting a good idea (even though he is not "awakened") of what he wants & how to judge. Remember I am speaking of personal interviews. He may drift from guru to guru (all good) until he reaches one that really suits him.

Meanwhile it is assumed that the student has gradually become more & more familiar with the "Perennial Philosophy" or "Wisdom Religion" (or whatever term you use to describe what Honoré Morrow puts into the mouth & mind of her character Lincoln). It becomes clear that "awakening" consists of realizing that we have come from & return to this One Self (to speak crudely perhaps). At this stage the student is said to "dip one toe in the ocean," i.e. to accept the general theory or doctrine and be ready to accept "work."

STAGE (3) // I do not wish to go into the whole technique of work with a guru but one thing is clear.

The student realizes that "awakening" or "realization" will never come unless at least once the student has surrendered the "boss-concept" of ego or self, the idea that it is a Supreme Court in itself, self-sufficient, "Captain of My Soul" (as Henley boasts & poor Bertrand Russell squeaks after him) ---

Since the student is seeking to realize "that" to which he is subordinate, second-in-command, it is obvious he must lower his flag, admit his lower status, at some time.

It is extremely easy for one person even like you to hold the great "God" (so-called) of the Universe AWAY. One little finger suffices. Even a penny can hide the Sun. Thus without your active cooperation, & agreement to do as your guru says, there is not even a ghost of a chance of realization. If the student wishes to "win" he should not be a student because it is hard enough when both guru and student are eagerly cooperating! Such a "win" is a Pyrrhic victory—it is far too easy.

Thus in Japan the applicant must wait outside the gates of the monastery a day or so. It is done rather symbolically now—once it was very real & the applicant was repulsed, treated roughly, told to go away & the gate slammed in his face.

But nowadays with Ipana toothpaste with Hexa-Hexa-Hexachlorophene & innumerable detergents competing over TV little S. wants to be wooed, gently persuaded, urged to enter—and the $1,000,000 bill must be washed & ironed & handed over on a silken cushion before he will accept it.

© From 1960 correspondence.

The Shifting Image of Identity
by Bob Fergeson

When two subatomic particles where one is the negation of the other, such as positron and electron, are brought into conjunction, the result is mutual destruction—in their place a flash of radiation that spreads indefinitely throughout space. So also is the effect of the mutual cancellation of all dichotomies of experience and thought. The flash of radiation that spreads indefinitely through space is the symbol of the Enlightened Consciousness. To achieve the mutual cancellation is to effect the Mystic Death, and this requires faith and courage. ~ Franklin Merrell-Wolff

As we go through life, and the path of spiritual seeking, we find we have many ups and down. Upon closer examination, this emotional roller coaster is seen as being caused by identifying with a succession of images, which tend to cancel and replace each other in our never-ending quest for a secure identity. We completely identify with a pleasing image, say that of being a sincere seeker of truth, only to have the facts show otherwise. This can lead us into a negative state, and to fall back for security on a previous image, possibly even a negative one. Since any image is better than none, we will even cling to ones of self-pity and loathing if need be. Anything other than facing the self-less void of no-image. Soon, our energy may recover, we may get a lucky break, feed on flattery and hope, and then identify with an image creatively based on the new, positive circumstances. As life goes on, the circle of identification with the ever-changing parade of images continues. If we are lucky, we will tire enough of this zero-sum game to perhaps pause,... and begin to question the entire process.

Wolff speaks often of the subject-object consciousness, the Transcendent Consciousness, and the difference between them. Let's take a look at the subject-object realm and see if we can relate it to the above predicament. We first get into this mess of needing a self-created image to identify with, when we are first brain-washed into believing that the world, or mind-created images, are the reality, and our own awareness, an illusion. Wolff calls this "false predication." This happens before we are wise enough and strong enough to resist, even though we may know better. Soon the magic spell of hypnotic conditioning has done its work, and we are hopelessly dependent on mind-created images, or objects, for our very sense of being. We even create a subject-image we call "I" (ego) which we soon become so taken with, and let so close to our hearts, that we forget our real Self and come to completely believe in this "thing" we call "me." The false universe of the subject-object consciousness is thus brought to a level of value far and above that of its Creator.

dancer in backwards pose Since this false universe is based upon a false premise, it must be continually re-created. As the actions of life are played out, we must continually re-act to them, life being change and flux. The action dictates the form of the reaction, thus the subject (ego) is continually being modified by the object (world, inner or outer). Soon enough, the action-reaction pattern is taken to be "my life," and even "me." We become so engrossed with this pattern that we believe we are actually seeing a real, stable reality we call the world, from the likewise stable point of our "self." We never notice that this "self" is a continually changing reaction-pattern wholly dependent on circumstance,... until something goes wrong.

Most of us are unlucky enough to put off questioning the dream of life until tragedy and trauma interrupt. Some, such as Merrell-Wolff, had an in-born intuition waiting to speak when conditions were ripe. For those of us who need a more forceful wake-up call, the realm of action-reaction must provide. Once we receive this blow to the head, called by some the "first conscious shock," we begin to question our previous belief-system. We may come to hear from others who have been down the road before us that there is another way of looking, a clearer, more direct method of seeing. We may get the feeling, reinforced with strange facts, that the world is somehow the reverse of what it appears, that things are somehow "backwards." Our guides may hint that we have been fooled by experts and have now become experts at fooling ourselves.

If we are lucky enough to meet teachers such as Franklin, we may pick up something valuable from them, an induction, not on the level of our usual perception. We may come to feel as if an inner light has appeared, an inner gong has sounded, and a part of ourselves that we had long forgotten has awoken. We are, thereafter, never the same. We have become aware, though perhaps dimly, of the Transcendent. There is now the realization of the possibility of reconnecting to the Transcendent Identity we have lost. We now turn our attention Within, and perhaps find that we are Eternal, and that this Soul we Are and ever have been, is directly connected, via a Current, to Its Indefinable Source. It may take the commitment and work of a lifetime, but we have come to know there is no other task worthy of our time. If we persevere, we may make the jump from subject-object consciousness to the Great Space, the Infinite Capacity, where subject and object cancel each other out, and we Recognize our Self as having no boundary, free of the chains of subject-object, the endless suffering in the shifting sands of identity-as-image.

~ See Bob's web sites, The Mystic Missal, NostalgiaWest, and The Listening Attention.


Questioner: What do you think about modern civilization?

Mohandas Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

Reader Commentary:

Thank you so much for this newsletter. Each month I find some inspiration helpful to my walk. I always enjoy the teachings of Richard Rose, and this time [i.e., the February 2004 issue] also the one by Douglas Harding was helpful. ~ Shelley E.

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