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

November 2016 / More


Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Shifting Our Attention: From the Unreal to the Real and Everything In Between

Stairs to heaven Stairs to Chimney Top, Smoky Mountain National Park. Photo by Paul Constant.

On October 1-2, 2016, the Triangle Inquiry Group and the Center for Mindfulness and Non-Duality in Raleigh, North Carolina, sponsored a Fall Retreat with the theme The Nature of Identity/Beyond Self. Paul Constant was one of seven speakers at the retreat and provided the following observations and tips at the end of his presentation. In the coming months, video recordings of all presentations will be released on the Web.

First and foremost, these aren't hard-core practices or techniques. The best I can do is inspire you to use your spiritual compass to find your inner teacher and allow your own authenticity to blossom. So, in no particular order, the following observations and tips might help a spiritual seeker:

~ Thanks to Paul Constant, a TAT member since 1985 who frequently attends TAT gatherings and retreats. For more perspectives, read his essays. Or, listen to a September 2016 podcast interview of Paul on SpiritualTeachers.org. Comments? Please the Forum.

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


TAT Foundation News

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 November 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.

Introduction to the Albigen System

The following transcription features rare material from an early lecture of philosopher, poet and author Richard Rose. The talk, based on the speaker's own experience, describes a way of life aimed at understanding that life … a self-directed retreat from untruth … a common-sense, non-dogmatic approach to spiritual realization.

Part 3 of a 1977 talk given by Richard Rose in Cleveland, OH (continued from the September 2016 TAT Forum and the October 2016 TAT Forum):

We are able to see these mysterious signposts at the time of the overcoming of a major ego. Many Christians speak of the Salvation Experience, which to them seems to be the maximum religious experience. It is generally attained by dropping instinctive or carnal drives, combined with emotional bonds with a mate or with a spiritual being, such as Christ. The animal man has learned selflessness in the face of love. He becomes an emotional man instead of an instinctive man. He has made his first milepost.

Then there is what I call the Eureka experience, and there's another one, called Cosmic Consciousness. If you want to read about it, get Richard Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. This is a very profound writing; he's done a tremendous lot of research, describing the experiences of different people, such as St. Paul. St. Paul was struck on the road to Damascus, and blinded for three days by the light. And St. John of the Cross's jailer was blinded by the light in the prison cell, when he had his experience.

These have distinct qualifications, or designations. The salvation experience doesn't necessarily imply that a man is struck down and blinded three days by a blinding physical light, so that his eyeballs are negated, so to speak.

Then there's another word: Enlightenment. There's no substitute for it, that I know of, except in the Hindu terminology Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi – in comparison with Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi, which is Cosmic Consciousness.

But these all imply that people down through the ages have searched and found. Read Ramana Maharshi. There are very few books available to the person who isn't looking. But if you're looking, you'll find quite a bit of evidence.

For instance, Plato. In Plato's Republic, the man in the cave – this is a perfect description of man's illusory nature in relation to a real world outside the cave. I try to keep some books in the group, we have some of them back there on the table. One of them is by J.J. van der Leeuw, Conquest of Illusion. This is a very good book.

People will come into a group like this, having no previous reading on it and they'll think, "This is nonsense, the concept that the world as we know it is an illusion."

But if you're interested in physics, you might read Einstein' s concepts on space-time, or Ouspensky's analysis of space-time concepts, in which there is no time outside of space or space outside of time. These exist as a unit. And if such exists, then time does not pass. The only thing we witness is experience. And you will begin to realize then, why it is when people die they do not return. Because there is no "after." There's an eternal now-ness. An eternal experience of now-ness.

And in reading these books – I'm not saying they're all total truth, or that every word of them has to be followed – but they'll give you an insight into the paths that people have followed and things that people have found out.

It's very good, such as in Cosmic Consciousness, to read the accounts of people who have had experiences in their life. A lot of them are practically anonymous – although Bucke claims that Walt Whitman experienced cosmic consciousness, and a few other literary personalities that I wasn't acquainted with.

At first when you get onto this you think you're a loner. You think you're chasing a nebulous sort of cloud, and that there's no guarantee that you're going to find anything. Well, it boils down to this: That even if you never find anything out, your living with your fellowman will be a tremendous lot better. You'll have a better understanding of your fellowman, and less of an imperious ego in which you might think that you're supposed to rule the society, or something of that sort. Your ability to know yourself will improve, and you will not be as miserable.

Because you'll realize that almost everything that happens to you is educational. That may be hard to swallow, but just about everything that happens to you is educational. We're not here by chance, and after a while as you get older, you'll find out that of a lot of things you cursed in your youth, you welcomed the experience as you got older.

I'd like to change the format at this point. There may be some things you'd like to talk about. Now, I'm open to questions. The only thing is, I will not engage in argument. If you wish to consider me ignorant and you smart, that's perfectly all right; I'll accept that a priori.

I can only tell you that which I feel, and hope that you feel it. I'm not going to prove anything to you. Consequently, I will not welcome loaded questions. I'm not on the witness stand at this point.

Q. There are several people, whom I am becoming aware of, that are in communication with spirits. The most famous one right now being the Seth material. Could you say anything about that?

R. There's a Levy, who wrote Aquarian Gospel, and the Oahspe book was written this way. I mentioned this in my book, incidentally, as being a correction of some of the systems that you can get into. I would far rather take the evidence of an entity that appeared in front of me – because I could look at it and gauge the expression on his face as I was talking to it, possibly – than I would automatic writing or an inspired voice or something of that sort.

Q. All of those things being what…?

R. I'll tell you, if it won't offend you. I think it's phony. I think that it's next to an obsession. In other words, you run the danger of being taken, of being a vehicle.

I'm going to give you a little more insight into the business of mediumship. Again, I offend sometimes people who are deeply interested in spiritualism. And I'm not saying, "Get away from spiritualism," because I went through it myself. But I'm just telling you what I found and the convictions I came out with.

It took us quite awhile to find this materializing medium. It was a Presbyterian minister and his group in Steubenville that located him, and he was in Muskegon, Michigan. He's been dead now for four or five years. We found out he was coming to Delaware, Ohio, the White Lilly Chapel, to materialize.

We got two carloads together, about ten or twelve people from Wheeling and Steubenville. There was no great racket, there was no fleecing. Because he only charged three dollars apiece, and it cost him more than that to come down from Michigan. There were four or five local people that came in also, so there was a group of about eighteen people there.

He had been in Steubenville before, and they had had him in and tested him. This was the Steubenville Psychic Society. They put flour on the floor to pick up footprints, they had taken all his clothes off and given him a new suit of clothes, so there couldn't be any cheesecloth in his clothing and so on. They went through some rather rigorous testing.

But sometimes the most sensational findings come about accidentally. He stayed at the minister's house, and he had two children. So the minister got to talking to the kids, and he said, "What do you think of Midget?"

And the children said, "We don't like Midget."

"Why don't you like Midget?"

"Because he will not let Daddy sleep." They had come into their father's bedroom, and they would see this thing come out of his body and jump up and down on him, and wake him up.

So I came back again full circle. You go out from the old paternal faith and doctrine, and then you hear something that reminds you of it. In the Bible it says, "Destroy the people that have a familiar spirit. Don't allow them to live."

I became convinced that this man was obsessed. And for the little bit of information that he could get, for this show, like a puppet show – these things came out and made little mouthings, but no great wisdom – they took his life. They drained him. Or it drained him.

Get a hold of Colin Wilson's Mind Parasites. It'll give you an inkling of what goes on. One of the great egos of all mankind is that we're the only people here.

We know that the only reason we are visible is because we vibrate molecularly at a certain rate. Now if another entity vibrated at a different molecular or atomic rate, it's very possible that they could be standing right here taking in everything we say.

You can even get physical backing for this, that there are creatures not seen. The old Church classified them. Twelve Choirs of Angels, they called them. They had names for them, and listed them.

Our psychology today does not take into account the existence of these creatures. And the result is that we have a lot of people who are obsessed. And this is not fiction. I have had people come to me and ask me to free them. And I don't have the strength, to be honest with you. I don't have the time or the strength. But it's manifest that they're obsessed.

Now, I know that certain acts that people do will make them fey. You know what I mean by that? I use that word, it's a Scottish term – because a lot of Scottish people were psychic – but it was a particular type of psychic. They could tell the future; they could see it.

There are certain things that change your body chemistry. And I'd prefer not to go into them at a public meeting. But I know that these people get fey. And they can hear all sorts of voices, and if they wish to they can write them down ad infinitum. And I believe that the woman in connection with Seth is that way.

Q. She's in touch with people who are vibrating at a different level….

R. Yes – or even deceased. She claims that the person she talks with is deceased, and it may well be. I don't doubt that. But that's no … for instance, I was reading in some esoteric writing, that somebody contacted Oscar Wilde, and he said, "I really gave them a fright. I was in Paris, and I got inside of a kid, I wanted to look at the scenery, to see Paris again. So I got inside this kid and I looked out through his eyes, and I scared the hell out of the kid." And everybody around him, I guess.

But these things can happen. And what their genesis is, what their origin is, is open to speculation.

One time in my diggings I joined an outfit – I used to join anything they would let me join without any money, if I thought they had something. I joined a secret organization – I don't consider them too secret so I'll mention it, the Universal Brotherhood. They had a lot of literature, very brief stuff; it wasn't too dogmatic.

The piece I had was an interview with some eminent yogi, and they asked him about the appearances in the medium's cabinet, these ghosts. He said they were activated astral shells. That was the first time I had heard of that.

But I noticed when I got into Blavatsky – she talks of Katie King, an astral creature she classifies as a Titania that visited William Crookes, who was a noted physicist and chemist – that some of these people who have done a tremendous lot of digging in this respect are waiting and expecting. Whenever these things appear they run through the set of symptoms and say, "Which is it? What's behind this?"

Now I don't doubt that a person – back in the mind of man possibly there's all sorts of genetic memory. In the Steubenville Psychic Society we had a man who would go into a trance and he was a priest in the Temple of Karnak. They all come from Karnak. I don't know why. Even the guy on television, Johnny Carson; he's a priest of Karnak, too. But it's an easy one to remember. It sounds impressive.

And everybody was helping to build the pyramids. You'd think surely there was someplace else important they could have been, but they always go back to Egypt.

But he would get all sorts of messages. Well, one time a priest came through. And he was talking in an Irish brogue…. (Break in tape.)

Community Building on the Richard Rose farm.

…If I tell you something face to face, I've got to back it up. But you can come out with this automatic writing and I can say, "Hey, this isn't consistent. How do I know?"

And they say, "Well, I don't know – Seth told me this." So what are you going to do? Are you going to argue with Seth? You're stuck. And this is the way with a lot of automatic writings.

For example, the Betty books [e.g., The Betty Book: Excursions Into the World of Other-Consciousness, by Stewart Edward White]. There's a whole theology woven around a particular type of reincarnation. Which I think is very logical. But he got it from a mediumship deal. Stewart Edward White, was it? It has to do with a quotation from the Bible. An enlargement upon a quotation of Christ speaking with Nicodemus. Nicodemus says something about what people are born from, and Christ says to him, "That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit."

So this whole takeoff means to them that in the previous dimension or experience you are born as a baby, by two spiritual parents. This cherub flutters around until it finds a woman at the right time of the month, and enters that woman's womb and is born to a physical person. Now this is their whole idea of reincarnation.

And – so what? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. You can't prove or disprove it. But it sounds good. It sounds like it springs from the Bible. So – my honest opinion is that it's questionable. You can't build a way of life on it.

I think a lot of things that are easy to read and easy to follow are just that. And the mind rests upon them easier.

Q. What do you think about following the Tao?

R. I can't speak with authority on it. I don't know much about Taoism; I just understand it as sort of being a combination of Christianity and Buddhism. And maybe yoga, I don't know.

Q. Are you free from the cycle of death and birth?

R. I hope; I don't know for sure. I'd hate to have to go through it again. (Laughter.)

Q. Could it be a different ego that continues? Couldn't your awareness of thinking also be an ego?

R. Who's ego?

Q. Well, mine.

R. Who's "me"? Is that the man that's aware? How can the awareness be an ego of awareness?

Q. You were talking about your experience with the spirits – it sounds like if you were stupid in life, you'd be stupid in death too. That spending time talking with them is like talking with someone on the CB radio or something.

R. I grant you. If you read The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and there are others also that will possibly give you the same hint, or possibly an experience of it yourself – there are real visitations. Blavatsky mentions this. Blavatsky's got a lot of foolishness in her books, but at the same time there are some points there that I thought were very valuable, on the keynotes of authenticity for spiritual experimentation.

We try to be scientific according to scientific methods – science as being a method of prediction, whereby you can say that you can put chlorine and sodium together and produce salt, and then you put the two together and prove it. That's fact. But the proof behind spiritualistic or esoteric phenomena is unpredictability. Whenever you can predict it, you're liable to create it.

So that when you sit down in a mediumistic cabinet, your energy and intelligence creates. In fact some people, for instance Eliphas Levi, could materialize anything they wished.

On the contrary, if you meet a man say on a lonely road on a dark night, you bump into Joe Doakes and you say, "Hi Joe," and he says, "Why hello, how are you?" And you speak to him and he says, "Tell my wife I'll be late tonight because of such-and-such." And you go home and you find out that he had been dead for two hours before you met him.

Now this was no begging the question. You didn't know he was dead, you didn't go out hunting for him, or you didn't go to a materialization. These are much more authentic experiences. By virtue of their unpredictability. This is where the whole scene is reversed.

I do believe that this type of experience happens when people are going out. But by the same token, these [witnesses] are still on earth. Now what is the difference?

The Tibetans in their books speak of a bardo. In that we do not change too much after death. The Catholics speak of Purgatory. This is a bardo. Now what is Purgatory? Some of the sky pilots would like us to believe it's a flaming inferno. Well, if whoever eats you in the next dimension likes you roasted, maybe it will be, I don't know.

The whole thing as I see it, is that unless you progress to a certain point, the only dimension that you can contemplate is the dimension you have now; the people that you know now – as you know them now. The dimensions that we witness are created by faith, and the dimensions after death are often created by faith. But this doesn't mean Reality. Because they're still relative.

The way to tell an experience – for instance, I went through different types of experience – the only one that is absolute is Enlightenment. Cosmic Consciousness is marked by relative experiences: blinding lights, bliss, rosy-colored horizons, this sort of thing. This means color – relative experience. In the Absolute there are no relative experiences. And this makes the difference.

This means that there's no freedom – as long as you are beguiled or bedeviled by relative experiences. Because as I said: ninety-nine percent of our experiences are painful, one percent are pleasurable. So it would be one hell of eternity to continue on a relative type of experience forever.

Q. Assuming a person experiences salvation, transformation, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment…

R. Hmmm. Do you want them all for a quarter? (Laughter.)

Q. …What does that accomplish? People spend lifetimes seeking this. You mentioned people who go to Spiritualist meetings all their lives….

R. Right.

Q. …But once you accomplish these things, it seems to me that you still have to deal with everyday life. And therefore, what is the motivation and the purpose of trying to develop these powers, even though they do exist?

R. Well, number one, it's not power that you develop, it's realization. There's no power connected with it. It's not a question of becoming so powerful – because you're not going to wield anything after you get there; you're not going to affect it. The second thing is, when you say, "What good is it going to do you?" you're coming from a utilitarian standpoint, which doesn't exist in the Absolute.

For instance, if you were to die tomorrow and you had accomplished a million dollars in the bank, it might make you miserable trying to get back to spend it. What good would the million dollars do you? What good would the Presidency of the United States do you? If you disappeared off the horizon that quickly – as you always do.

To be continued….

~ Transcription by Steve Harnish of a talk given by Richard Rose in Cleveland, OH in 1977. for information on the transcription project.

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

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