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April 2016 / More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.

1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

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

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

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

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

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


Founder's Wisdom

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

Knowing Oneself

Part 2 of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983 (continued from the March 2016 TAT Forum):


Now there's a third step that's taken, and this is the last step. The process observer, you've pretty much exhausted that. You've cleared out all the cobwebs and you don't know where else to look. But you still don't particularly know yourself totally, you just know what to expect under certain conditions. And there's a strange combination: After you do this, which might take a couple of years, you become aware not so much of any composite being, except an observer on one side and awareness on the other [points E and F of the Jacob's Ladder diagram]:

Source: Psychology of the Observer, © 2001 Richard Rose. All rights reserved.

The investigation of the life inside the human being, thinking objectively and practically, seems to boil down to nothing but awareness. Here's a person or a point of consciousness watching all the games it's played inside this structure. And that's all he has, outside of awareness. But the concentration upon the two points of awareness – a person observing the processes of life, and this other awareness – brings you to a state of realization.1

Now from this overview, once this state of realization came, I was able to look back and see what had happened. You can't see it from where you are. You have to do it. If you have never been into any of this, you can't see it. What I'm saying you may not understand. It may seem reasonable to you or appeal to you intuitively, but you have to apply your head to it. Or possibly read something on it. There's a little book back there2 that will spell this out, and if you forget what I've said you can read it. Every time you forget it you can read this and you'll understand a little more.

But the view is not the viewer. And you continue in this, but what happens is that you suddenly get an overview of exactly who you are and what your purpose is. And all this mechanism below seems to be some definite fog that's been put between you and this, so that you'll be a good fertilizer.3 Our purpose here as I can see it, in the final analysis on the natural level, we are nothing but fertilizer....

But we have something beyond the natural level. And you have to have that overview from a spiritual level. By spiritual I mean an essence level. The word spiritual is bad; people have all sorts of association with hypocrisy and holiness, and that isn't what is meant, the common word of holiness. I mean that you're aware of your essence. And you're aware of what your purpose is. So that when anything's happening you see it and can immediately say, "Oh, yes, I should have looked at the calendar." Or "I know this happened as a result of one of these processes that set in."

The Formula

The other thing is the formula. There's a formula for this, and the formula applies to everything we do in life, or want to do. First of all, you can't have everything simultaneously. You have to make a choice. Some of the older people back in the country, a little town where I come from, the mothers had a little routine when a child was born. They were curious whether the kid was going to amount to anything, or what he would do with his life. So they put some objects in front of the baby, so many days later. It went back to some little formula. One of them was a book, the other one was a silver dollar and another one was a whiskey bottle. They claimed that whatever that child picked was what it did with its life. If it grabbed for the bottle it became a hedonist and so on.4 But anyhow, the reason I mention this is that it shows that people are aware that there's a destiny to a man. [Break in tape] … even in that baby. There's a desire in that child to do what his destiny is.

This is the catch. And if you have a desire you're pretty close to destiny. I don't think that your desires would be at odds with it. Consequently, you have to make a decision, and then you have to make a commitment. There's a very simple formula. The night before last, over in Boulder, I mentioned that it doesn't matter what you want: If you want to be a millionaire you have to make a commitment.

You read some of these books like Napoleon Hill's Think and grow Rich. He was an esoteric philosopher, and his advice is very accurate. He says that you put your whole being into it. Not half. Don't think that you can be drunk and fooling around with this or that and still make the million. You're going to be tripping over it. Several books have been written that I think have a tremendous import along that line.

There's a desire to know our essence. I think this is the most important thing, to know who you are. And this little phrase which I skipped over, that hundreds of times I had heard people say: "Know yourself. Everything else will be added unto you."5 This is the great thing in life to discover in my estimation. No matter how much money you get, you're going to have to part with it sooner or later. But that which you are, that which you become, you don't have to part with.

Now I'm speaking not from proof but from personal experience. Again, I'm open to questions on that. But once you make that pledge honestly to yourself and carry it out for a period of time, you will arrive. Hardship and many things might be thrown at you, but if you keep plowing through, you'll arrive at whatever you put your head to. It's a commitment and a priority. That doesn't mean you have to quit anything. You don't have to quit eating meat or drinking beer or making money. But whenever that interferes with the project you have, then everything else is secondary.

It's a formula that involves a magic in human behavior, and it's a very simple thing. You also have to take yourself out of it. You can't glory in the fact that I've made my first ten thousand or my second twenty thousand. You take what comes and continue working, and you won't have too many headaches and too many regrets. The same thing when you're dealing with definition, which is what we're talking about. From the very beginning we're talking about definition: Who are you? Who is doing this? Who is performing? Everybody here has seen a time when they stepped away from themselves and looked back and said, "Hey what a jackass you were." I was talking the other day6 about the time I was going to marry a woman for her money. That was my plan of getting rich when I was a young fellow. Well, I went to considerable bother and I made a jackass out of myself. I found that she loved some other woman more than she loved me. And here I was projecting all that I was going to do upon this person who had absolutely no chance of any compatibility.

This is a tremendous gain when this happens to you. You never do it again – because you know you can't kid yourself. The first person you lie to is yourself. If you lie to yourself and swallow it, then God help you. Because you'll start talking to yourself before not too many years go by. You can't lie to another person without lying to yourself. Of course I always have a qualification: don't plead guilty. That might be a lie, but you're not required to stick your head in the guillotine.

When I talk about being honest, I mean be true to the people you're living with, your family, your children, and above all be loyal to your friend. In this book I've written, which touches on these subjects, I say that there's no religion greater than friendship.7 And this I believe sincerely. Because I'm convinced that 99% of people who pretend to have religion or who teach, preach, or become mighty gurus from the other side of the planet are phonies, hucksters, and they're interested only in money and selling words. If they had the real thing they couldn't sell it. You can't begin to sell it. I had somebody call me on the phone, they may be sitting here now, who said they were interested only in the business approach to psychology. I said, "Well, there's a formula that I go by, and I don't believe that you can run a racket without lying to yourself. You become tangled in this."

With our talks there's nothing beyond what I call pro-rated expenses. You pay five dollars for a talk, and this covers the lights and the place you're sitting in. Perhaps I need some gasoline to get here. But no rackets, no profit. I can prove this at any time. [Laughs.] I do not make money and I don't want it; that's not my objective. You can use it for that if you wish, but once you get into the money, you can no longer be trusted. You become businesslike. A business man, one of the first things he has to learn is how to fire his best friend, or how to eliminate his best friend, overwhelm him and take his partnership share. This is understood as perfectly ethical in the business world; it's just part of the chess game of business.

You have to be able to trust people because we're dealing not in money, which you might be able to recoup, but in a subjective value, which is your life or your essence or your wisdom. It's easy to tell people what they want to hear, and they will pay you. I've watched the various movements that float into this country, and I've never seen one of them that had a moral background. Well, I shouldn't say that, because some of them do have some advice. But I believe that there has to be a certain moral stance, what we call moral, but it isn't that so much as what I call putting the whole being into what you're doing.

When you put the whole being into what you're doing you can't become a dissipating person. You put that whole being in and nothing else has a priority. You're not going to say, "I can't go tonight, I can't abide by my decision, because I made an appointment to play tennis." Or, "I meet with the fellows and we play poker and drink some beers." That's alright, but if that becomes the priority or takes the place of what you're doing, then that's not your whole being. Something else is more important, if it takes priority over it at any time.

One fellow told me he was going to college and he was having trouble with his lessons. He's also in a dramatic class, and he's going for a master rating in chess. He said that the days we get together were either when they had the chess tournaments or when the drama class meets, or when he's needed in the classroom. I said, "Well, keep your commitment regardless and see what happens." I think we met on Wednesday nights. He came back the next week and said, "You know what happened? They changed the date." So then he could show up on Wednesday. It doesn't always work out that you're crucified just for making a commitment.

The purpose of the meetings incidentally is just to keep it on your mind. This is one of the best things in regard to the business of religion, that people get together once a week and if nothing else they remember. If they didn't get together once a week they'd forget completely. They'd just become animals, just go out there and vegetate. But at least once a week they come back and say, "Boy, I can see this last week I forgot all about this stuff."

For awhile, with me at least, there was a period of rough going. Because sometimes you have to give up certain relationships, friendships, business. Maybe you think you're going to make a lot of money. We used to meet in a little town up the river about 30 miles.8 I worked as a contractor, and every Friday I'd drive up to the meetings. And I found that every time we had this Friday night meeting I had hundreds of things to do. I had opportunities: Here's a contract to sign, they can't sign it except on Friday night. Well, forget about it. That was a commitment I made, and I kept it. And I never lost anything. Not only that, but there were many opportunities that would be thrown at me; I had more business than I ever had before. And I wondered what was behind it. It's what I call "milk from thorns." You're setting up a new type of process. If you get obstacles, those very obstacles can be used to accelerate your growth into understanding of yourself.

Let me stop and ask if you have any questions on this matter. Then I have something I want to read to you, to get your reaction, which will be a prelude to what will be done tomorrow.

Contractor's Law

Q. You mentioned working with a group.

R. Yes. There's a book back there called The Albigen Papers, the first one I wrote. It was published in 1970. I wrote this book from a ladder, working as a contractor. I was raising a family and didn't have time to write anything except when I came home in the evenings. These things would all come into my head.

I started out by myself, but I got so I could hire one person to help me. All this had to be was an inexperienced boy 17 or 18 years of age to hand me tools, help me hold ladders, this sort of thing. One of the first things I noticed was that the bidding on a job was improved. You bid man-days, and if a certain contracting job might take 100 man-days, working by myself it would take me 100 days. When I hired this young fellow to help me who had no great skill, it didn't go down to 50 days for two people, it went down to something like 48 days. This happened invariably. This person wasn't doing a lot of work, but he was expediting what I was doing so much that it cut the job down to say 96 man-days for the job instead of 100. And when I took this further and hired 3, 4, 5, 10 men, the efficiency improvement wasn't proportional, it was out of proportion.9 So with 4 men working you didn't do it in 25 days, you did it in 20 days or 18 days.

One of the factors involved, there's a sort of communal energy that forms; people start to move in a certain rhythm. One guy does his work efficiently, the other guy envies him, does his own work a little better. One guy works faster and the other fellow says, "Hey, how's he doing that? I'll have to see." And you can apply this in anything. This is what I call the Contractor's Law. You don't make much money working by yourself; it's only with a multiple of manpower that you make money. And this is how it happens. Consequently, I applied this to the spiritual department.

If you want to do anything for the human race, if you want to call it that, I maintain that you can only help people who are on a level of understanding close to your own.10 Now what happens if you set out to do something? Why does an evangelist go out and insist on preaching to a bunch of people? If he has discovered God, why doesn't he just sit quietly with God? Of course, there's something in the human being: I don't think there's any real good reason for it except that he knows he only exists in relation to other people. If you were to die tomorrow and your after-death life consisted of an immensely beautiful, happy place but no one was there, I think that from our memory viewpoint we would be very miserable.

I think that to help intelligently you don't try to help everybody. You only try to talk to people with ears. You don't try to argue and convince or harangue or anything of that sort. You talk, and the people who hear it will move. And when you go out by yourself talking – for example, I came to Denver and I can't stay here – but yet I take steps so that other people will read or get interested. I leave a few books behind, or there are people who will stay behind who will maybe get together and hold little meetings and discuss philosophy.

Incidentally, the field of philosophy is a tremendously good thing to take into consideration to stimulate your thinking. In this business of observing yourself, you can't just sit and think about yourself. This is the hardest thing to do on earth, to deliberately sit down and think about yourself. I've also got a little book back there on meditation.11 The only way you can meditate easily is to meditate on trauma. Don't meditate on how good the beer tasted. That's no good. Don't meditate on pleasure, in other words, because you'll get into morbid reverie.

But think of trauma. Just like when I found out that I had made a bad guess, I go back and think, "What the heck is wrong with my head? I thought I was smarter than that, but I got tripped up." This is a trauma. Then you go back further: "Where did this trauma start?" You go back to when you were a very small child. And when you do, once you realize what caused your present foolishness, you clear the road, and the likelihood of foolishness in the future is less.

The Contractor's Law involves something Christ talked about: his word for it was "the life." You live the life. The life that he led was with twelve apostles and around seventy other brothers. These were the people who were necessary to put his voice across. Buddha spoke of the sangha.12 And they all had these three forms or three words in their advice. Christ used "the way, the truth and the life."

The Truth

Now we get to this thing truth. This is ignored a tremendous lot. Everybody thinks that it's inconsequential, especially in the field of abstract sciences, philosophy or psychology. There's a whole group of people who think they're going to remake society. This isn't the truth. The truth may be quite the opposite. The truth may be that this is already engineered. But we think we're going to do something about it. We're going to educate the public, we're going to train Pavlov's dogs. But the catch is, who is going to do the training? What robot will do it? How dependable is this robot's mind, to train other robots?

So we talk about the truth, and they say, "We'll create a new one." I just had this told to me by a sociology professor: "We'll create a new truth. If everybody believes it, then that's the truth." This is not true. The truth is recognized by very few people. Richard Bucke says in his book Cosmic Consciousness that the number of people who reach cosmic consciousness is one in a million.13 We are trying to run the world from the normal curve of 51%. If 51% of the people in this country vote for a certain man, or vote for a certain issue, then they are sane and we are insane. Politics and psychology take the same yardstick. If 51% of the people are murderers, that is sanity according to the basic tenants of behavioristic psychology.

So that now we're incorporating into our human pattern things that 20 years ago we wouldn't have considered normal or sane. We're voting it in. This is not going to change the facts or create a new truth. The truth will remain the same. And the overall truth is that we're not running the show. None of us are that smart. This gives us a very chesty feeling to think we can vote a whole thinking process into being, but we're never going to do it.


I call it the engineer. There's an engineering here that is manifest. I just read a piece in the paper: they came to the conclusion that the trees are talking to each other. They had scientific evidence that when insects attack a tree, it gives off an odor and the trees next to it immediately prepare a poison to put a stop to the bugs eating them. They start to put off a protective mucous or something to make it hard for the bugs to eat their leaves. This is not just a theory, it was evidently carried out under pretty careful investigation.14

This isn't the only thing; you see it all up and down the line. I refer in the book15 to the pterodactyl. The pterodactyl is a prehistoric flying lizard or snake; I don't know where the evolution came from. But there are wings, and the people with the concept of evolution say that these wings or fins occur as the result of the environment. This couldn't be. Why would the wings be necessary? To escape from a predator. It takes a million years for a form to evolve something like a wing, maybe ten million.16 They are digging out clams, very similar to trilobites, that are two or three hundred thousand years old. They're still clams. They couldn't grow feet and get away.17

So here's a pterodactyl that flies like a bird, looks like a bird but it has no feathers, and it's the forerunner of most everything that flew. The only answer I have is that if this creature depended upon those wings to escape from the predators, it had to be done instantaneously. It couldn't first grow just a little wing and escape; it would have been eaten. It couldn't grow a foot-long wing and then a two foot-long wing and then learn to run like hell. No, it still would be eaten. So for it to survive as a species, once it was created, formed, engineered, it had to be engineered with that equipment, same as the wings on an airplane.

Robert S. de Ropp did some investigation on the sex life of insects.18 Some insects have peculiar mechanisms to keep them from inter-mating, and these are the equivalent of Yale locks: the male has a key that only fits the lock of its own species. I think we are evolving and changing, but at the same time, whole dominant species are eliminated, such as the pterodactyl, the dinosaurs and so on. We evidently didn't need them – or the purpose ahead didn't need them, let's put it that way.

To be continued....


1. The Albigen Papers, ch. 7: "That there is a path to Truth. From ignorance to relative knowledge. From relative knowledge to an awareness of the limitation of such knowledge. And finally we pass from that which we recognize as a loosely associated intelligence to a Reality of Being."

2. Psychology of the Observer (1979), https://tatfoundation.org/psych.htm

3. Gurdjieff's "Kundabuffer" in All and Everything, www.gurdjiefflegacy.org/40articles/hoyt.htm

4. See "Use of object for determining future of young," from University of Detroit Mercy, http://research.udmercy.edu/find/special_collections/digital/cfa/index.php?field=boggsNum&term=P864

5. Satchidananda Saraswati: "The Bible says, 'Seek that kingdom within you.' It is not outside. Seek That within you. Once you have found That, everything else will be automatically added unto you." www.poetseers.org/spiritual-and-devotional-poets/india/swami-satchidananda/satchidanandaquotes/ Similar versions are found in Satchidananda's Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and The Living Gita.

6. "First Know Thyself" Boulder, Colorado, June 3, 1983 (not yet transcribed).

7. The Albigen Papers, ch. 6, First Steps, subheading Friendship and the Search. https://tatfoundation.org/albipap.htm

8. Steubenville Psychic Research Group, meeting at the D'Alibertti's or the Kapitka's. See "Alfred D'Alibertti: A Vignette": www.searchwithin.org/journal/tat_journal-02.html#2

9. Law of Extra-Proportional Returns. The Albigen Papers, ch. 7, Discernment.

10. An element of the Law of the Ladder.

11. The Meditation booklet, https://tatfoundation.org/meditate.htm

12. The "three jewels" of Buddhism are the buddha (the truth), the dharma (the path), and the sangha (the fellowship).

13. "Psychogenesis of Man": Last row in the table at http://selfdefinition.org/christian/bucke-chart-p43-one-in-a-million.htm

14. "Some Evidence that Trees Communicate When in Trouble," Environmental Conservation, vol. 10, issue 2, 1983, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5927832

15. Reference not found in The Albigen Papers.

16. Mathematical Impossibility of Evolution www.icr.org/article/mathematical-impossibility-evolution/

17. Tracking Evolution's Rate through Trilobites www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/research-posts/tracking-evolution-s-rate-through-trilobites

18. Robert S. de Ropp, Sex Energy: The Sexual Force in Man and Animals, 1969.


~ Transcription (at www.direct-mind.org/index.php?title=1983-0610-Denver-Colorado) by Steve Harnish of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO in 1983. for information on the transcription project.

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

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