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


September 2010

Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer:
The Path to Reality Through the Self
by John Kent

Le Mont2

Continued from main Forum Page.

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy in Humanistic Psychology The University of Humanistic Studies

San Diego, 1990

©1990 TAT Foundation. All Rights Reserved. www.tatfoundation.org
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Chapter 1

Psychology of the Observer: Origins and Purpose

I am a mirror that madness looks upon,
And sees a hope surmounting foolishness.

Rose, 1982, p. 95

This book will present a system of transpersonal psychology called the Albigen System. This teaching is claimed by its creator, Richard Rose, to lead one to the direct realization of the Absolute state-of-being, or in religious terms: union with God. Rose considers this experience to be the ultimate meaning of Self-definition; the final answer to the question, "Who am I?" His work is devoted to fulfilling the Delphic Oracle's maxim: "Know thyself, and all the gods and universe shall be known to you as well." Self-knowledge is the cornerstone of the temple.

Richard Rose: The Man And His Search

Rose devised the Albigen System to be a comprehensive transpersonal map to the Self. His purpose has been to lead the seeker as quickly as possible to a personal realization of the final goal pointed to by the highest spiritual teachings throughout history.

One might justifiably wonder at this point how Rose came to know about spiritual matters and by what right he claims to be an authority on the subject. After all, if a student of truth encounters a teaching that purports to guide one towards Godhood, at the expense of much time, energy, and commitment, one should have some tentative confidence that the teacher's convictions have been validated by experience and are not based on mere conjecture or salesmanship.

This very question was once posed to Rose at a lecture in which he was making critical comments of evaluation about assorted religious doctrines and God-concepts. The questioner may have been religious-minded and was offended by Rose's opinions, or perhaps himself had reason to be wary of possibly one more fraudulent religious teacher. Whatever the motive, this skeptical person asked a legitimate question; one which Rose too would have asked had the positions been reversed.

The fellow asked: "You're talking a lot about God–but what makes you such an authority on God?" Rose faced him and unflinchingly replied: "I am God." There was a tense, dead-still hush in the room at this seemingly blasphemous, grandiose claim. Then, he added: "And so is each one of you. The big difference is: you don't know that. I do."

Rose's assertion is that he has experienced the final goal-state of the spiritual quest, and thus is able to offer commentary and advice to fellow seekers from that vantage point of realization. His stated desire has been to save people time and unnecessary hardship by describing what he considers to be the most direct path through the long maze of duality and delusion.

His own search had been largely a blend of intuition, experimentation, struggle, and luck. From this process, and the answer with which he claims it culminated, he was able to define the essential principles of inner work that he feels every serious seeker needs to know, as well as point out the common traps and tangents that may seduce or divert the unwary traveler (Rose, l986b).

Referring to the factors that make for success and the destiny that seemed to shape his own life, Rose admitted that he had always felt himself to have been born under a "lucky star." In retrospect, he considered himself to have been guided through different phases of search, by an unseen Intelligence, towards an answer he did not anticipate–nor would have desired.

Rose entered a Catholic seminary as a teenager to study the traditional church doctrines. He found that the personal search for God was not encouraged there, and was even actively thwarted. His desire for honest answers to questions about religious issues was not satisfied. He was instructed to believe that knowledge of theological dogma and devotion to the church was all to which one could–or should–aspire, as God was forever unknowable to the human being, and accessible only indirectly through religious symbolism or faith in a designated intermediary.

Rose was not willing to accept this as a conclusion to his spiritual search, and left the seminary after a few years. In college, he turned towards science, working on the possibility that if he could come to fully know the composition of matter and the workings of the physical world, he might be able to take an inferential step from there and discover the nature of the metaphysical reality beyond its boundaries, and perhaps even the Creator of the universe.

After a few years of such study, he realized that this external, materialistic domain of search would never lead to the comprehensive answer for which he was searching, but could only result in further fragmentation and complexity without end. He did not think it was possible in one lifetime to ever know all the factors and their interrelationships that make up the physical dimension, and that even if it was, there was no guarantee that such knowledge would result in the spiritual understanding he really wanted.

By this point in his early 20's, his intuition had developed to the point where he realized more clearly what he was after and what it might take to find it. The existential doubt about the value of life, while the nature and meaning of that life was unknown, grew. He had the conviction that life was not worth living if he did not know who was living and why, and that he must do everything he could to find out.

Having exhausted his hopes of finding philosophical truth through materialistic science alone, and with his religious upbringing still fresh within him, he began to suspect that much of the answer to his questions about life could only be found from an objective vantage point outside of life; in other words: in death. He thought that possibly in the realm of death, the illusions and limitations of life would be dispelled, and the true perspective on existence, as well as one's relationship with God, would be found. At this point, he was still expecting the spiritual quest to culminate in the encounter with an objective, benevolent, personal God, separate from himself.

Rose would also later admit that much of his philosophical desire was motivated by fear: the fear of death, the fear of dying in ignorance, and the fear of oblivion. So, with this as an additional motive, his curiosity led him to wonder how he could come to know about the reality of death. The obvious answer that occurred to him was: if one wants to know what death is like–find a dead person and ask him.

This took Rose's search into the domain of spiritualism. Although well aware of the dangers of desire-motivated hallucination, as well as outright fraud, his studies led him to believe it might be possible to witness genuine materializations of the souls of the departed, and inquire into their knowledge and experience of the other side. But, in this too, Rose was to be disappointed.

After studying the psychic/occult world for awhile and going down numerous dead ends in spiritualist exploration, Rose claims to have finally experienced at least one genuine encounter with the astral remains of some deceased persons in a séance. But, the answers he received from them to his questions about the nature of the death-state, the larger significance of life, and their knowledge about God or Christ were all vague, and their quality or presence of mind was mediocre. Realizing now that people do not automatically become wise just because they become dead, Rose was forced to conclude that they knew no more about Reality than he did, and that indeed, as Christ stated: "The dead know nothing".

At this point, Rose arrived at a major insight about the nature of his path; one he was to repeatedly emphasize throughout his subsequent teaching. He realized that he would never be able to find the truth, as a condition or state apart from himself. He also intuited that the truth was not something that could be learned or acquired, in the sense of one's looking for the ultimate philosophical concept-structure or belief-system to embrace and maintain. The answer would have to be somewhere inside himself, not out in the world of things and thoughts.

His intuition told him that, whatever the final answer might be that he hoped to eventually find, he would have to experience it personally and directly. He also sensed that for such an interior realization to occur he would have to undergo some process of personal refinement, so that he would be able to more meticulously search for the truth, as well as "receive" it, should the truth be found. He would have to know and perfect himself as a seeker.

There was another significant implication to this need for accurate self-definition. As the fear of death strengthened his urge for survival, and there was little hope of the body's becoming immortal, Rose realized he would have to more precisely know who it was who was faced with death, and exactly what aspect of himself might realistically hope for immortality.

It was at this point that he made the commitment to himself that he would dedicate the rest of his life to doing everything he could to find "God," or the final answer that incorporates all of life and death. He felt certain that this would be the most important thing he could do with his life, and that life itself would have no justification if this effort was not earnestly made. And, while knowing that there was no guarantee of success, he consoled himself with the thought that, at the end of his life, should he still not have found what he was after, he would know that he had not wasted his life chasing shadows, and could face death with self-respect.

Faced with the task of self-transformation, Rose whole-heartedly embarked on a multi-level manner of search. From age 21 to 28, he followed a strict yogic lifestyle: vegetarian diet, yoga exercises, celibacy, and long periods of isolation. He studied every available religious, philosophical, and psychological teaching. He experimented with different forms of meditation. He traveled to find groups, teachers, co-workers, and systems of inner work. He isolated the principles and techniques from each source that seemed meaningful and applied them to himself. He studied himself, intensely, from all angles. He did everything he could do to find wisdom and "God."

Rose was rewarded with peace of mind and emotional contentment. He had tremendous vitality and mental clarity. He could see the beauty, wholeness, and perfection of the natural world. He was in harmony with himself and walked in balance with the flow of life. He experienced mystical bliss. He was free of all external concern, all temptation, all fear. He was his own master and felt that, in a sense, he had conquered the world. He imagined God was smiling down upon him from Heaven.

But yet, after seven years of this, Rose knew this was not the final answer he was seeking. A part of him was still seriously unsatisfied. He saw the grandeur of the world, but did not know what the world was, or Who created it. He felt the joy of life, but did not know what life was, or for. He believed himself to be blessed by God, but did not know this God or His purposes. He became a free man, but he still did not know who he was–ultimately. And he knew he was not free of death.

Rose became acutely aware of the passage of time and that the reflection in the mirror was becoming less flattering. He was forced to admit to himself that this long period of tranquility, punctuated by moments of ecstasy, did not really answer his core concerns about the real nature of existence. Furthermore, he was aware that death was always waiting in the wings to finally negate his experience of paradise.

Rose began to feel that his quest for spiritual verity was hopeless and wondered if he had not been kidding himself all along with a massive exercise in egotism. There no longer seemed any justification for him to assume that God was around the next corner, ready to reveal Himself. He had lived in expectation that at any moment, the heavens would part, the bugles would blow, and the angels would descend in their golden chariots to greet him and whisk him away to glory. But, as Rose wryly noted, "They never came." Le Mont

With his reclusive, ascetic lifestyle, he also felt that perhaps the life and simple joys of an ordinary human being were passing him by. He had exhausted every form of inquiry and discipline he could think of and it had not worked. He did not know what else to do. So, he quit.

Or rather: he tried to quit. He made motions to re-enter social life and pursue the more conventional goals of family and career. Yet, despite the conviction of seeming futility, he continued to find himself in libraries, studying philosophy, doing his yoga exercises, and relentlessly examining the subjective issues that obsessed him.

He became more frustrated. One reason for this was his being able to find little reliable information and experienced guidance during his years of eager search. Rose did admit to going through much philosophical material during this period that was thought-provoking and served to bring up personal issues which he needed to examine; Blavatsky's Theosophy and Paul Brunton's works in particular.

Still, Rose considered much of the spiritual teachings available to him to be either too shallow and simplistic or lacking in practical methodology to be of much help in leading him to valid answers. He found most of the existent groups that he investigated to be filled with sham and pretension, rather than a mature, sensible approach to philosophical inquiry. But, most infuriating to him was his discovering that too many of the spiritual teachers he encountered were phony. He realized that they not only did not have the real "goods," but often had motives with their students that were mercenary, predatory–or sexual.

These experiences had a strong impact on Rose, and would influence much of his own later teaching. One result during this period was his making the vow that should he ever find anything of value at the end of his search, he would make it readily available to whoever was interested, plainly and without a fee. He was later to explain that he believed this vow to have been an important part of the formula leading up to his Realization. He suspected that it might not have occurred had he not first made this commitment to pass along whatever might be "given" to him.

These experiences of frustration and disappointment in his search, while proving to be grist for the mill of self-study, had a second, significant effect on Rose: one that may be reflected even in the tone of this report. This attitude is best summed up in his insistence that doubt should be the chief mode of inquiry, rather than belief.

Rose learned the value of discrimination and rejection of the false or less essential throughout his years of philosophical investigation. He intuitively followed the path of negation, and did not hesitate to criticize what he considered to be inadequate, or altogether absurd. His aim was to arrive at a state-of-mind that was free of all impurity, and not be misled into the complacency of an unproven and possibly unworthy faith.

This combination of anger and discernment resulted in a style of teaching that stresses judgment, not acceptance. His views have sometimes been criticized as being "negative", but to this he routinely responds, "Negative to what?". By this, he means that the negation of negativity (the false) is true positivity, as versus the indulgence in the affirmation of rationalizations, born of laziness, desire, or fear that this term often really means.

This seemingly irreverent attitude likewise manifests throughout this report in the attention paid to Rose's critical evaluations of the numerous philosophical and psychological issues that must be examined. In addition, his tendency to encourage turmoil and confusion in the seeker–or rather, to provoke one to see that this really is one's usual state–in the process towards genuine knowing, will also be much in evidence. He explains:

If I can create a hypodermic, it has not been intended for any sensitive posterior, but is rather aimed at the heart and head. I feel that time is short and that honest men will appreciate honesty in the long run. I wish to reach those who prefer to encourage wakefulness... (Rose, l978, p. 70).

Rose continued to walk his path, not quite knowing what he should do, yet "playing the drama of life with one face and looking eagerly to heaven with the other" (Rose, l978, p. 224). The tension between dual desires, and the apparent impossibility of satisfying either, tore him apart at the seams.

Then, what he refers to as "the accident" occurred. Whatever finally precipitated the crisis and transformation–whether a crack in the pavement or an errant thought, Rose would recall: "...once the catalyst started the change of mind, absolutely nothing mattered. I had no attachments beyond myself...once I became...more deeply" (Rose, l978, p. 225).

It would be indiscreet at this point, as well as create confusion, to describe the full nature and implications of that experience. The realization, and the knowledge that derived from it, will be much further referred to in Chapter 17, in its proper context.

It is sufficient at this point to state that Rose claimed to have had undergone a profound and traumatic change in being that resulted in his discovering Essence, or the Self. He had arrived at the final form of existence, beyond (or prior to) life and death. He had witnessed the entire universe, along with Richard Rose in it, disappear–yet, his "I," as the nameless observer, remained. He realized himself to be one with the Absolute. In this experience, Rose found his answer, once and for all (Rose, l978, p. 229-236). This realization of Truth was not what he had been led to expect, however. The experience was not one of cosmic rapture or communion with the Divine. Rose elaborates:

You pick up a book on Zen and you read about satori, which is the 'wow' experience. A fellow says, "I went to such-and-such ashram, I stayed there so many months or years, and one day–wow, I know it! And I had a beer with the head master and we went away laughing together–we got it!" This is not Enlightenment. Because if this man had experienced Enlightenment, they would have carried him out on a stretcher–it's that drastic. You don't die and then laugh and say "wow!" Death is more final than that. (Rose l985, p. 86).

The experience showed Rose who "he" was, forever. He realized the identity of the ultimate Self. From this vantage point on the other side of death, he was able to correctly view the real nature of life, and the relationship of the realms of life and death to the Self.

Who did Rose discover himself to be? I recall once hearing, the possibly apocryphal, account of the Buddha being asked by several followers who he was. They asked him: "Are you a God? Are you an avatar? A saint? A magician? A prophet? Who are you?" Supposedly, the Buddha bluntly replied: "I am awake." According to his testimony, this is who Rose is. The same One is awake in them both.

Not only did Rose believe that his previously mentioned commitment helped provide the critical momentum necessary to propel him into that experience, he felt it was also responsible for his being returned into the world–what he now recognized as a dream-dimension–in order to share his discovery with whoever could hear him. He presents his offering this way:

For those who are somewhere in between the folly of youthful hedonism and the indifference of old age, some system needs to be salvaged from the experience of those who managed to make a grand assault upon definition, and who admittedly found an answer. (Rose, l979c, p. 73)

This intention resulted in Rose's beginning to talk about what happened to him, and attempting to make contact with those of a like mind. Gradually, people gathered around him and an esoteric school was formed to further the work.

Rose called the group: T.A.T., standing for Truth and Transmission. He chose this name to signify that Truth is the ideal, the unknown goal which is sought, as well as the primary means–truthfulness in all ways–by which the end is attained. Transmission refers to the ability of the fully Enlightened teacher to convey a profound spiritual realization to a student who is ready to experience it, as well as to the efforts of the people within the school to help others on their own level of work, towards this end. By this, the commitment is maintained and perpetuated. This dissertation too is a part of this chain.

Also, it may not be a coincidence that the word "Tat," in the Hindu religion, refers to Reality, Brahman, or That Which Is.

(Preceding section compiled from: Rose, l978; l985; plus numerous lectures and personal communications).

Still, given all this information, how is an honest seeker, who does not wish to be deceived or misled, to know for certain whether or not a teacher's testimony can be trusted? In a domain as abstract as spiritual research and discovery, one's "credentials" to verify authenticity can finally only be of a non-material, non-relative dimension. A higher level of reality cannot be measured or validated by the tools and standards of a lower one. Yet, this very principle can be used by a false teacher as a ruse to deceive the naive, much like the humbug Wizard of Oz.

Admittedly, anyone well-versed in mystical literature, with a talent for communication, and a charismatic or authoritarian manner may profess to be a guru and concoct and promote a teaching for some selfish, rather than benevolent, purpose. Other individuals may have a useful, though incomplete, teaching, yet claim their meditation technique or psychological principal, for example, constitutes the entire path to Godhood. Some may be sincere in their intentions, although erroneous in their convictions, especially if the convictions came from drug use or excessive emotionalism. Others may even be mentally ill and not know it, yet seduce the unwary or susceptible.

Seekers find themselves in an awkward position. Without knowing in advance what Enlightenment is, or even that such a state really exists, one must still have some reliable way of judging the worth of a teacher's offering before trading valuable years for the expected ticket to eternity.

No exhibition of powers or expression of profundities alone is proof positive of an individual's spiritual state-of-being, as magicians and scholars can provide the same display, yet without their having arrived at the Source of all power and knowledge. God seemingly awards no doctorates, black belts, or gold medals as indicators of attainment. The Enlightened person brings back no such souvenirs from the Absolute to substantiate the claim of visitation.

Rose admits that a person cannot know for certain the level of spiritual realization of another, nor can the latter claimant prove the reality of his state to the former inquirer through words or deeds alone: "We cannot hope to know, by relative mentation, that which another has come to know or realize by a direct-mind experience" (Rose, 1979c, p. 60). The only way the teacher's veracity could be determined would be for the student to apply himself to following the recommended map out to its finish and experiencing that goal-state personally. Also, in the special instance of transmission, the student's mind, when readied by such preparation, can become one with that of the teacher, whose mind is an ever-present, direct channel to Reality (Rose, l975, p. 55). Still, how is a seeker, who is looking for a reliable teaching with which to work, to decide if the commitment to a particular path is worth making? Finally, a student has no choice but to go with whatever appeals to his intuition. One has to follow the course that best suits one's own nature and capacity, once the person knows himself well enough to maturely judge this and not be swayed by lesser desires or rationalizations for weakness (Rose, l986b).

Other criteria for judging will be further discussed in the main body of this book. The most basic measure, however, is that of knowing the goodness of the tree by its fruits. A valid teaching will prove its worth to the student as each step is taken, with or without the teacher's personal involvement. As this category of spiritual work discussed here is aimed towards self-definition and "becoming," seekers can realize as they go along the extent to which the practice is resulting in greater self-knowledge, mental clarity, and mature being.

Above all, Rose fully endorses Christ's declaration: "Seek and you will find." His own individualistic, and at times uncertain, manner of exploration suggests that how one seeks is almost less critical to success than the sincerity and determination with which one seeks. Permanence

Also, Rose does not claim that his teaching is for everyone or is the only valid path:

If I have a system, it is simply a system by which Truth is reached by the continual analysis (not breakage) of various transcendental poses, and by a constant vigil over the many factors within the self. I make this statement because it worked for me, and in my lifetime. The system is not new nor mine alone. I only hope to clarify things a bit. (Rose, l978, p. l93).

His teaching is meant simply for those who recognize that it speaks to them. The Voice calling the seeker home speaks different words through different mouths, in order to be heard by different ears, but it is the same One speaking. And perhaps listening.

In its original form, the manuscript was a PhD. dissertation, hence its somewhat scholastic tone, for which I apologize to the non-academic reader.

You can read John Kent's dissertation here: The Path to Reality Through the Self.

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


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