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June 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 June 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 4 (conclusion) of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983 (continued from the March 2016 TAT Forum, the April 2016 TAT Forum) and the May 2016 TAT Forum):

Mind and body

Q. You talked about the process observer … [the rest is inaudible].

R. Yes, it's an observer. An observer isn't an actor. But your awareness too is very passive. There's a strange thing that happens; I haven't explained it tonight, but it's part of this formulation in studying the mind. The brain seems like a blob of flesh, but the brain has the mechanisms in it which I believe are in contact with the mind. I believe that the point of contact is the synapse. The synapse is like a spark plug; there's a gap there. And there's a small voltage that crosses the gap in the synapse, and it has to have a purpose for crossing that gap or else it would just be continuous wiring. And I believe that this is the contact between the physical sensory pickup and the mind that transcends the body.1

There's increasing evidence of this [i.e., a mind that transcends the body] forming all the time, and a lot of people who were totally atheistic have had experiences which caused them to reexamine their perspective. There's a book [Journeys Out of the Body] by Robert Monroe, who projected astrally halfway across the country. He was able to identify places, see people he knew and that sort of thing en route, and he was able to think while he was up there. While he was up there he was thinking. And he made a decision to come back to his body.2 Now this means that the mind is not limited to the brain. This is another fallacy.

Psychologists, incidentally, don't accept the mind. I mean behavioristic psychology now, which tends to say that all we do is react, and that this is a somatic reaction. Of course what they do is simplify their science; you can't question them too deeply. They're not going to get into a corner, but at the same time they're never going to advance the human race on the knowledge of thought.

But this is worth looking into: What is thought? Every psychiatrist I run into, and every psychology student who has a BS or BA degree, I ask them, "What is thought?" And it never occurs to them. There's no book that tells you what thought is, except reaction. Ultimately that's too poor an answer. When a person is floating somewhere above a city and looking down, and he says, "I'd better get back into my body," and he also remembers this, then he's thinking outside of his head.

Not only that, but there are surgical cases, people in operating rooms. My brother3 was in an automobile accident and he watched his own operation. He was in a wreck and he was far from home, in Arizona, and they took him to the closest hospital. He had his ribs smashed in; the car rolled on him. They said he's not going to live, or had just a slim chance of living, because of punctured lungs and Lord knows what. They hauled him to the closest medical center, which was an Army station. They had a doctor there so they immediately put him on the table and started working on him. And my brother watched this from the ceiling.

The ironic little thing that happened, his wife was a Nazarene, but he was born and raised a Catholic, same as I was. So a priest who was an army chaplain came in and proceeded to anoint his toes and his nose and so on. And his wife came in at the same time; they were living in Texas, and she came up. And immediately, right in the middle of all this trauma, she starts cursing this chaplain, called him a devil-worshiper and a few other things. Well my brother was watching this, he told me later, and he said it was absolutely hilarious. It didn't trouble him; he just thought, here are these idiots arguing over a piece of dead meat. Who cares whether you oil his toes or not?

In the experience I had in Seattle [in 1947], I went out a window. And I was thinking all the time. I was watching the people on the street. This was broad daylight. I went up over a place, it was the Cascade Mountains,4 snow-covered at the time. And that's how far I went up in the air, until things changed. I don't want to get into that too deeply now because it doesn't do any good to hear the symptoms of it. But what struck me most when I came back was that I was aware, but the fellow in the hotel room in Seattle wasn't. He was out. But I was so fascinated by this that I kept thinking, "What's going to happen next?" So this thinking process doesn't depend upon being inside the body. And you've got to go to the bother of getting some literature. Don't rest on the convictions or beliefs you were born into. Go out and get some medical history.5 There's a tremendous reservoir today of information that was unavailable when I was 21 years of age. You have all sorts of books on the bookstands; none of those were in existence then. There were very few books in the public libraries, because the public libraries always were run by little old ladies who burnt books that didn't agree with their religion. So you didn't get too much to look at.

But this business of the essence, you get a conviction that there is more than just the body. And we have to pay attention to the scientists who are reporting it, like psychiatrists and medical doctors.

Incidentally, in this study of your own essence there are mileposts; these are what I'm describing. You'll notice when you change from an instinctive to an emotional man. You'll notice when you have a more clear understanding of the human mind. And as you go along you can look backwards. For many years it's very discouraging; you think you're going nowhere. Those were the years I thought, "I'd better go hunt up some nice girl and get married and forget about this nonsense. Because I haven't got an answer yet."


Q. What then is after this?

R. What do I do with my life afterwards? Is that what you mean?

Q. Yes. After a person reaches this level [the rest is inaudible].

R. I didn't have too much choice of it. I don't know whether my return back into the hotel room was because of my direction or because it was programmed, that it was supposed to be. Number one, when I was a young person I had a tremendous desire, first of all an anger. I had an anger at all the phonies, all the money-makers, the hucksters of truth and so on. And with that anger came a tremendous determination in which I promised myself that if I ever found out anything I would sure make it known. And it wasn't going to cost a fortune; anybody who wanted to hear it could hear it.

I didn't know what I was doing, except that I was an angry person, angry at people who were wasting valuable time of the ones who are able to pick it up, the young people. You have to have an open mind. If you're crystallized, forget it, you're not going to pick much up. There's a tremendous urge to waste the lives of young people. But when I got the opportunity I started lecturing in colleges, and the result is that there are quite a few young people who have gotten some benefit from it. Not that that is anything in the absolute dimension.

The process of doing this is called creating a vector. Now that's somewhat of an engineering term, but it applies. You are what you do, not what you know. You can read books, but unless you act there's nothing done, and you don't become. The process of becoming doesn't come from reading; you become a reader. If you want to become the truth, that's something entirely different. And I think that sometimes you're helped.6 Because I was too stupid to plot. I didn't even know I was going to find anything. The amazing thing is, that what I found was tremendously contrary to what I expected to find – which led to the validity of it. Because when I was going into it I thought, "Oh boy, I'm dying. This is it. I'm going out on a limb too far."

And I'll tell you what happened. When I came back, my first thought was, "I don't want to live on this earth." I was in Seattle, and I was looking for a bridge. And they don't have any bridges over Puget Sound so it would have been rather difficult for me to eliminate the whole thing.7

The thing is, I felt that if I chose to live, I should use that lifetime to the best advantage, so that someone else would know what's up ahead. That seems like a trifling thing, but I don't think it was decided within the first week or so afterwards, because the transition was so painful. I don't think I stopped weeping for a week, day and night. I just couldn't stand the contrast. I didn't see any point in living at first. I thought, "I'll get on a bus and head back to West Virginia." That's where I come from. And of course, I didn't even go home then; I thought I might act strange or something. So I stopped in Cleveland and stayed there for a while.8

But the result was that whenever the opportunity presented itself, I made myself available. I've had people ask me, "Why don't you do something more useful?" See, nothing is useful. One woman said, "Why don't you become a healer?" What for? So people can go out and get drunk and get sick again? That's just spinning wheels.

Q. You made a statement that your purpose changed at that point.

R. Well let's say I was conscious of making a synthetic purpose. Up to that time, I had no intention of trying to do anything except find something for myself. It was ultimately a very personal and perhaps selfish motive. And there's nothing wrong with being selfish. This sounds paradoxical, but if you expand yourself in the right way, you cast a better light or shadow or however you want to say it. So statements of selfishness are sometimes misunderstood.

But when I found it, I didn't particularly know what good it was for me to remain on this planet. For instance, when I walked the streets of Seattle, and still to this day sometimes it happens: people become transparent. I can see their motivation, I can see things they've done, I can see pains in their body. This can be tremendously annoying if it goes on all the time, so you shut it off. But at that particular time the human race was nothing more than automatons. It doesn't happen until I go to a big city, but when I get into a big city yet, I see the massive robot movement, everybody pounding the pavement with an angry determination, going nowhere.

So you try to break through to a few of them. But you can't touch anybody who isn't already somewhat knowledgeable. For instance, I know there's a percentage of you people who have an inclination to get up and leave because it isn't registering. But if it does register, if your intuition matches what I'm talking about, you'll be curious for the rest of your life. And that's my purpose. You get that curiosity, which is basically an animal implant, a programming in the animal to find food and reproduction, and turn that curiosity to self-definition. Let it go in that direction and welcome it. That's all you have to do, and things will move rapidly. I call that milk from thorns.9


Q. [A long statement and question about Zen, mostly inaudible.]

R. Well, I'll give you an example. I studied with a Zen master.

Q. You trained?

R. There's no point in training. This training is to keep people occupied. Especially if you've got a group of them in a monastery, they have to do something or they get out of hand....

Q. [Listener interrupts.]

R. I'm going to speak to you from my heart. I don't know whether I'm offending you in what you've studied. But a tremendous lot of Zen is useless. The Zen movements in this country are mostly useless. I don't know if you've heard of Suzuki Roshi10 over here in California. But he had a little colony there and shortly before he died somebody was interviewing him, and his wife was present. They said, "Are you an enlightened man?" And his wife said, "Of course he's not an enlightened man." And he told her, "You could have kept your mouth shut."11 Also, Huang Po in China, thousands of years ago, was taking to a group of monks and he said, "There is no Ch'an in China."12

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. In essence, in the translation I got, he said there was no one capable, there was no one being enlightened in China. They had thousands of people in the monastery, and no one was enlightened. This was the complaint.

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. You know what you're doing right now? You're no more than a fundamentalist arguing the Bible. The truth is not in words; the truth is in action and being and becoming. And if you haven't become, those books aren't going to do you any good. Keisaku and buying robes and being dressed like this is not going to do you any good.

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. That's alright. Now you're taking a stand, you've got the podium back there, and it belongs up here. [Laughter.]

Q. [Inaudible, angry.]

R. Hey, I will not argue with you, and you're approaching argument. I'm not here to argue. If you don't understand ...

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. … then please let somebody else ask a question.

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. I don't continue to carry this any further.

Q. [Inaudible.] R. What is your objective? To bring this talk to a close?

Q. [Inaudible.]

R. Please sit down. You're not making any sense.

Koans on thought

R. We have a few minutes. If you have appointments it's not going to bother me if you have to go. The seminar that we have tomorrow will take off from this business of questioning yourself, and here are some of the questions that you'll have time to evaluate:

You can take that exercise right now and say, "I'm going to stop thinking; I'll prove it." When you take these questions and examine them a while you'll understand that you can't stop thinking, and that you never knew it before. Now maybe under some circumstances with a lot of training you can make your mind a blank. But deliberately starting to think, say when you wake up in the morning, it's impossible for you to voluntarily start to think.

The whole thing of thought is a dimension beyond our control. So we have to get a proper definition of it, and if possible get some sort of control, knowing from what point that control is exercised. Especially when we say that the body is not the self. Incidentally, to define these things properly we use two of the letters "s" to designate the self. Small-s is the self that you formerly thought you were. Capital-S is the totality-Self, where that which you have found is greater than the pretensive, projected personality.

There's a very good possibility, implied by some writers, that we are projections from a mental dimension which is more real than this. And I find that the dimension you encounter in your experience is greater than this one. More real, more solid. You'll find this out, that this dimension is an illusion, which the Hindu literature refers to as Maya. But none of our Christian literature talks about it. We're led to believe that you're going to heaven and you're going to meet everybody who was good. There's no real evidence for that, except in the cases of certain people who are dying whose relatives appear. The Tibetans say that what we enter when we die are bardos13 – that we're either liberated or we go into bardos. The Catholic Church for instance uses the word purgatory, another word for a bardo. It's not necessarily a really happy or beautiful place.

What we're doing here is playing with concepts, because we haven't started into a real deep study of what I call pure psychology. So you take these various concepts, and they give you at least a shock from your previous perspective.

Our current psychologists like for us to believe that there's no such thing as thought outside of synaptic reaction, but I think it's already been proven by scientists in ESP experiments. There's a tremendous volume of statistics where people were aware of the thinking processes of someone a thousand miles away; sometimes messages were communicated. Another thing was the Russian woman moving objects under a glass,14 or people moving the dice which are not in your hand necessarily. If these things are moved 51%, 52% or 75% of the time, then this is scientific validation. It means that the mind has some effect, some tenuousity that is able to reach out and do that. I'm going to a bit of bother to explain this, but I think all of you have had something in your life which has proved this to you.

This is a concept also, that we have little possessions called thoughts; that they're like entities, and these emanate from the brain like a broadcasting tower. I ask where in the body is the receiver for ESP phenomena? If it is projected, where do we receive it? Here are some interesting questions on brain chemistry:

They found that when the serotonin gets weak, our thinking mechanism fails. And the lack of certain neurotransmitters leads to an inclination for schizophrenia. So, do the chemicals create thought themselves, because thought is there only when they're active? Or are they just a lubricant of sorts?

This is interesting to look into. What is a sane person? A person who knows what is correct thinking? Or somebody who is just the shrewdest person at survival?

In other words, the idea is that sane people live long and people who aren't sane do not. We're talking about a spectrum, degrees of sanity. Not necessarily insane and sane people, but that the sanest person is the person whose mental faculties are put to the best use. I'm not saying they are, I'm just asking, "Are they?" Is that the proper definition of it? Is insanity outside the normal curve? The normal-curve definition would be that the mental condition of most of the people is sanity. Even if the whole country's mental IQ would slip 50 points in a few years' time, the majority would be the sane ones.

It's getting about that time. Are there any questions? If any of you wish to attend tomorrow, we're going to get into this business of digging into your concepts, your convictions. Not to change them; there's no doctrine to replace. Just to give you a perspective within a few hours of time that will call you to think. [Heavy applause.]


1. More detail on the synapse as the brain-mind connection is given in a 1983 talk by Richard Rose at the U. of Pittsburgh. See the preliminary transcript of 1983-0323-Is-the-Game-of-Life-Fixed-Synod-Hall-Oakland-PA (side 3).

2. Rose mistakenly mentioned Raymond Moody, author of Life After Life. Robert Monroe and his book, Journeys Out of the Body, are substituted as the intended reference. In the video "Robert Monroe explains his first OOOB" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZZHXtzuJ9c), Monroe mentions traveling astrally between Virginia and San Francisco.

3. Vincent Rose, the youngest brother.

4. Here Rose says, "Olympic Mountains I think it is." Normally when Rose told this story he said the Cascade Mountains. In Seattle he was living on the west side of Lake Washington, on a hill which faces eastward toward the Cascades.

5. Moody's book (http://selfdefinition.org/afterlife/) is full of case histories of consciousness during clinical death.

6. Rose: "Once a person makes a commitment to the Truth – I mean truly demonstrates a sincere desire to find his Real Self at all cost – then this commitment will attract assistance and protection." As quoted by David Gold in After the Absolute, ch. 5 http://www.richardrose.org/ata5.htm.

7. In a 1991 conversation, Rose said he looked at the bridges over Lake Washington, but they were too low.

8. See Robert Martin's Peace to the Wanderer, pages 19-28 for details.

9. The Albigen Papers, ch. 7, "Discernment," subheading Milk from Thorns.

10. (1904-1971) Founder of San Francisco Zen Center http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunryu_Suzuki.

11. Some history and criticism of the San Francisco Zen Center by Stuart Lachs dated October 2002: "Even though the bureaucratic 'transmissions' in the Soto church have nothing to do with spiritual insight, the Soto institution does nothing to dissuade people thinking that there is a mind-to-mind connection between its 'roshis' and the historical Buddha." From Richard Baker and the Myth of the Zen Roshi. "In Soto-Zen, dharma transmission provides access to only a relatively low grade. It is listed as a requirement for the very lowest ecclesiastical status": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma_transmission.

12. Blue Cliff Record, Case 11.

13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardo.

14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Kulagina.


~ 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 June 2016 TAT Forum.

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