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

May 2017 / More


Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns



It is with much gratitude that I am exploring the TAT Foundation site. I discovered it after doing research on Richard Rose.

On a normal day several years ago, I sat down at my desk in my Taxidermy shop to pay bills and did not get up again. Amidst annihilation and ashes, undeserved grace blew a hole through anything, everything. Total and complete demolition. And that's a very clumsy description. 

I had questioned spirituality, existence, God, the world and the human condition since I was about 12. There was always angst. Even at a young age it was intuited that the world was false somehow, almost like we were living a lie, that there was something deeper hidden beneath the surface. Having a Christian background, I only had a rudimentary knowledge of Eastern thought/philosophy/religion. I had no clue what enlightenment or Nirvana was that Buddhists talked about, et cetera. However, it was clear that what happened in my office that day had absolutely nothing to do with the Christian God that I had been taught to believe in or the church teachings I grew up with. 

There was no God, there was just ALL. And NOTHING. And unspeakable death/life, darkness/light and not even that. There is no difference in anything except what we project and think we believe. There isn't anyone or anything here, nothing is as it seems, we aren't who or what we think we are. The world isn't what we think it is. However, it is also us even though we are not. What we think, what we believe, isn't really what is going on, and this I KNOW even though "I" "know" nothing. 

We aren't "all one" or "one with all" as the new age slogans go. However, all of us are everything: rocks, bridges, deer, the duck pond, smog, contrails, the dog crap on my old hiking boot. Of course none of it is. Yet it is ALL God, it is ALL us. Just not God or us as we are accustomed to thinking because there is neither God nor us. There is nothing and there is the ABSOLUTE EVERYTHING, and we are IT.  Everything is IT. Underlying all, the background experienced here, is perfection, gratitude, PEACE and LOVE beyond understanding.

This is inconceivable, is available only through unmitigated and unimaginable grace, and yet is in ALL WAYS, ALWAYS obvious. Reality isn't reality in any real way. And of course I know nothing, am no thing, do not in fact exist, and this is only a glimpse. I'm talking (writing) in circles. Words fail.

Somehow there was a shift, I was torn apart (the biblical phrase "torn asunder" comes to mind) for the longest time. Circumstances necessitated continuing on "as usual," but I went into as much seclusion as could be managed to try to sort things out and attempt to make some rational sense as to what had happened. But this wasn't rational by any worldly standard, nor was there any concept that I could wrap this around. My family had no doubt that I had lost my ever-loving, cotton-picking mind and said as much.

I tried so hard to "rethink" it and get the entire thing to conform with what I thought my beliefs were and what I had been taught by the church. Only those beliefs were shown to be utterly ridiculous and therefore useless, regardless of the contortions I went through to prop them up. No matter how hard I tried, I could not squeeze the Christian God, or any God per se, into it. IT was so far beyond that. All beliefs were gone, washed away, hopeless. Words fail. 

Anyway, long story short, I kept up with my obligations while searching on the side to find something, anything, that was familiar or that could help explain what might have happened. I also had to seriously consider that I might be insane. Over the years I researched and read hundreds of books on psychology, psychiatry, religion, Christian mysticism, Eastern and Western thought, American New Age religions, Zen philosophy, Buddhism, Sufism, Shamanism, Advaita, et cetera. Anything that could possibly be related. 

Here and there I found some things that fit, but much more that was clearly just speculation and supposition, especially by modern writers that perhaps have intellectually grasped truth from a teaching and decided to write a book on the subject. This is in no way a judgment as one can never know anything. I looked into gurus and teachers on satsang circuits and the internet. A few resonated, and some of their insights have been helpful. Many others, often with huge followings, are just making a good living ;-).  There appear to be lots of masters of the talk, but they are seemingly devoid of the walk in any real sense. Non-duality speech is often spouted as mantras with no real comprehension behind them. I discovered lots of chat rooms and blogs that can be joined and participated in, but they mostly are geared toward sundry forms of ego reinforcement; they are not a true challenge to the self, ego or untruth. 

Then I stumbled across a book by Richard Rose, Psychology of the Observer. I had finally found true recognition. I ordered all of his books from Cecy Rose. After reading them I started looking for more information and found the TAT foundation. I purchased the book Beyond Mind, Beyond Death and knew without a doubt that I had found my way home, relatively speaking. There was such a deep resonation. I can't say thank you enough for publishing such an amazing guidepost for other travelers. Your book is priceless as are those of Mr. Rose.

I live at the foot of the Spanish Peaks Mountains in southern Colorado. While there are lots of Buddhists, New Age groups and seekers of numerous stripes in the area, I have been unable to locate anyone who is really searching for the truth. Apparently most around here enjoy the seeking lifestyle but don't really want to find. They seem to have a preconception, an idea, of what they think truth should look like; they run in circles chasing what they believe, blind to all else. It appears to be an impossible, closed loop of searching and never finding, a rigged game. There isn't much true self-inquiry or knowledge, much less any desire to actually question deeply or move in the direction of bare-bones, brutal, annihilating truth. "Know thyself" is instinctually a terrifying proposition.

For me it is unconditionally about the truth at any and all costs, absolutely no exceptions. It seems most folks I run across, assuming I can even begin to talk about this with them, are looking for a "special" lifestyle or some magical benefit from so-called "enlightenment" that is going to make "them" "better" in some presupposed great way, or give them an advantage over others and cure all of their ills and discomfort with life. And, as you know, that is so far from the truth that it isn't even in the same universe. 

This is in no way a value judgment. I love these folks, respect them and am happy that they are happy with their rituals, beliefs, desires, all of it. That is perfect. It's just that they are practicing a religion and belief system like any other, and for me it is pretty hollow. There is nothing to attain, nothing to get or achieve. Nothing to be gained. Words fail again. This isn't about bliss, although bliss is a beautiful spiritual experience and is what, in actuality, some are seeking as an endpoint. However, bliss is just another spiritual concept, another layer of distraction. Concepts get in the way. 

If one is looking for relief from life's hardships, a better job, financial security or gain, a better relationship with your partner or family, relief from depression and anxiety, then this isn't it. This isn't going to pay your mortgage or even your cell phone bill. It won't give you a wonderful, conflict-free relationship, or turn you into a rich and powerful guru who has an amazing life traveling the world, bringing peace and enlightenment to a large multitude of followers. No one is going to recognize your greatness; heck, you won't even get a free cup of coffee, much less a job promotion out of it. Perhaps some of these things can be discovered to various extents in the spiritual market place. I encourage serious soul-searching if that is what you are looking for. Seemingly some don't have a choice, and their intent is clear: they value truth above all else, and that is their goal. Others just want to be happy and content with their position in the world. Either way, whether we seriously want to spend our life pursuing this or not, it's all good.

An emphatic word of caution is needed. THIS that is talked about here is not that and isn't going to fix anything in your life. In fact, THIS will cost you everything. And rest assured, that is meant literally and in no way should the consequences be underestimated. I'm deadly serious. Seekers should take a good, hard look at just what exactly it is they are searching for and what price, when push comes to shove and their back is against the wall, they are ready and truly willing to pay for it. It has been said by some that know that no one would knowingly choose this. On the other hand, "you" don't choose anyway. 

I enjoy a simple and quiet life, spending most of my free time in the secluded mountains surrounding my home. Many think I have become a recluse for all intents and purposes. Perhaps that is true to an extent, but it is not intentional. I can't talk about this with anyone around me as no one else I know has a desire to explore any of it. All of my family members, as well as most of my friends, are old-school, conservative Catholic farmers and ranchers. Their eyes glaze over and the subject is changed on the rare occasion I say anything about the nature of the human experience. And that's wonderful; they are great people. 

Thank you for reading my rambling email. This is the first I have ever been able to share this freely, and it is appreciated. I have never had the opportunity to fully speak about or communicate this to anyone. Well, I did try to discuss it with the parish priest a few years back. It was obvious that he was deeply concerned and seemed sure that I had a stroke or suffered a seizure. He advised that I seek serious medical attention as I was not in my right mind. 

I know all of this sounds presumptuous, not to mention preposterous. I was on the fence about even contacting you but life does what it does and after reading Richard Rose and TAT newsletters in regard to ladder work could not do otherwise.

With humble and deepest gratitude,

~ Thanks to new TAT member Abbie A., who can be contacted by . If you have comments for the TAT Forum, please email the .

Return to the main page of the May 2017 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 May 2017 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.

Early Impressions of Richard Rose in Retrospect

The material here is from interviews conducted between 1994-1995 with students who knew Richard Rose as early as 1973, by Paul Schmidt—an early and still-active TAT member. The Mr. Rose that we knew as students was fading into Alzheimer's by that time. The TAT Forum published a memorial issue to Richard Rose (March 14, 1917–July 6, 2005) in August of 2005.

Part 3, continued from the March 2017 and April 2017 TAT Forums:

"Transmission is the highest form of direct mind. If we reached a point of high intensity in work, I could walk right up to you and put my finger on your forehead, and we'd go through an experience." ~ Richard Rose

Bill K.: "You picked up on his mood. One common thing that I've heard from a lot of people was on picking up the mood, being around Rose. Spontaneously there'd be a feeling of eternality, or reality becomes very dreamlike for a moment, and there's a close bond between all the people that are sitting there at that moment. He emanates."


Bob C. says Rose would be on the verge of tears in certain situations where this dynamic could be transpiring in real time, like a rapport Bob experienced at one of the early lectures he attended. "Something phenomenal happening with people was the norm. People would have intense dreams between the first and second meeting they attended. At the meetings or after the meeting, somebody would be troubled and go sit in the corner. And the next thing you know you'd see them weeping."

Bob was having a lot of dreams of Rose during the early days. Bob relates one such dream where he came out of blackness into the lighted clearing that he later learned was an unused racetrack at the Rose farm. The mood Bob remembers was picking Rose up, feeling his good intentions, his friendship, and compassion. "Whatever doubts I had about the personality, those were superficial compared to the gut-level perception of who this person was. The other part of it was some earthshaking thing that had happened to me. I couldn't remember it in the dream, but I remembered that he brought me through it." Bob says years later that he viewed it as a dream of an enlightenment experience of a future state.

He would get overwhelmed by moods of nostalgia and that all the possibilities of life were at his doorstep, and he wanted to embrace the world. Something would happen the majority of time that Bob was around Rose. In the first 6 years where Bob was more openly dedicated, working together with Rose and running groups, "I was the pupil and Rose was the teacher. I could sense that he could project his mind and he was mentally poking around looking for an opening."

Bob said his ability to pick up on Rose was dependent on Rose's state of mind. "I think that's part of where the notion of transmission came from, because he always talked about that. Zen transmission, the realization that the teacher had had was with the teacher all the time, and it was a process of getting inside each other's heads. And all the years, I never consciously had a thought that I was going to do this, that I was going to try to get inside his head and have an experience. For all I know, he might have been making some mental effort of his own all the while he was talking … or that he was outwardly focusing on people, struggling, straining to constantly think about people, trying to understand how they thought, what their problems were, how he could help them—and so focused in that regard that maybe a lot of this stuff was just an automatic outgrowth."

He relates a story of living in Columbus, 20 years old, trying to establish a group there under a lot of tension. Rose would come over from West Virginia, and this always increased the tension for him. "I had gotten home from work, about 5:30. There were some people in the kitchen…. There was some time before we had to go to the meeting … killing time before we had to leave. I sat down on the couch across the room from him. And I became very agitated. He was just sitting there with his eyes closed, resting or taking a nap. And after just a few moments I was frozen in the chair. I couldn't move, and I was becoming more agitated, and my mind started to speed up…. The nature of my thoughts at the time was very introspective, looking at my self, 'Why do I have tension, why do I get upset before I have to run these meetings, what am I doing with my life at the moment?' I was defining my personality in my own mind. And the side thought was, 'He's causing this.' There was no blatantly overt sign that I could say unequivocally: 'Mr. Rose you're doing this, and I know that you're doing it, and now you know that I know.' But this went on for 10 or 15 minutes. At one point it got to such an intense level that I thought that there was literally a hand on my head … and this is like in my mind, but it was a physical sensation, turning my head around. And as my head was turning, I was becoming more feverishly intense, fearful, and my thought was: 'My God, I'm going to see myself. And if my head turns all the way around, I really will.' And at that point I kept hoping that it wouldn't happen. It was very traumatic. And I kind of tensed up and paused for a while, and initially it subsided. Shortly after, Rose got up and went into the kitchen. And there's no doubt in my mind that he caused it. I looked at it as, 'I had an opportunity to have any experience there.' I rejected it, assuming that it's possible to reject it (I'm not sure that it is). It's true that one has a choice in that matter, but let's just say that I was blocked. Whether I blocked myself, or wasn't ready, who's to say?"

Bob tells of a letter he wrote to Rose of doubts about following "the life," and Rose wrote back, "Yes, I see the doubts in your eyes before they're spoken. What causes you to doubt is my personality. I am what the acid of life has left in the pot." Bob tells of the first time he left Rose's farm and moved to Beltsville, Maryland—wondering why he always left and came back to face the same obstacles. He was broke from working on the TAT Journal. He wrote a letter about this to Rose and didn't hear back from him, which wasn't that unusual, as Rose didn't always answer letters. A year went by, and Bob was living in Baltimore, working as a printing estimator. "I came home one day, I walked into the house, and there was this overwhelming feeling that he was in the house—the same kind of feeling that I always picked up in his house in Benwood. I'd walked into that house in Benwood occasionally when he wasn't at home. It was like the place was permeated with his presence. Kind of hard to explain … everything about a place just conveys something about the persons who lived there for five hundred years. The feeling was so strong that it bothered me. I honestly half-expected to walk around the corner and see him in the living room. I got the thought that maybe something had happened to him … maybe he was dying. It may have been the only time that I followed up on a feeling like that, it was so strong. I called Benwood to see if anything was wrong. And he answered the phone, and I told him why I was calling, and he kind of said 'Wow.' Rose had just found a pile of mail on the top of his refrigerator, and had just found that letter. He had never opened the letter, so it was nine months to a year later that he was reading this letter. And while he was reading this letter, because it was a personal letter he was thinking about me. And maybe he just felt a little bad based on the contents of the letter that he hadn't read it earlier. I had stuff like that happen to me for as long as I knew him. I would just feel him at a distance."

After his father's death, Bob was in a pensive mood. He went out for a walk around 10:30 PM one night and he picked up on Rose's head again, wondering where it came from. Again he thought perhaps Rose had died. Then he stopped thinking about it for a while. He found that when a person dies, he would review every aspect of his relationship with that person. He started thinking about Rose as someone who would die, and thinking of him in that context, he found some closure which propelled him into a sort of experience. "I saw his being beyond his physical character that I had related to over the years."

He went home and sat down and focused on who that person was. "I had a vision in my head that was so intense. When I say vision in my head, it was an experiential thing. I was enveloped in this experience. It was almost, like the phrase of Christ in the Bible transfigured—seeing Rose transfigured. The thought that went through my mind was: 'This being that I had this long interaction with, looking at in sum total now, he's a window to God. The thing that you saw when you looked to see who it was, something so transcendent to mundane things that it was synonymous with what you would use the word God to describe. And I felt a certain oneness with that at the same time."

Bob tried to talk about it, but there was always some block. He felt that "it was the wrong thing to do, that there were some unspoken things that you don't bring up, certain things you don't talk about." Bob says Rose always made some comment that would brush it off before he spoke about it.

"The occasion of having that experience (of contacting another's mind through rapport) is simultaneously the occasion when you learn how to do something. It's like when you grab the baby's hand … she experiences the touch but simultaneously she learns how to grab on and do the same thing back. I almost felt that in rapport sittings, that if I wanted to do that, I had the ability to project energy because I had been on the receiving end. I knew what it felt like, and it somehow made me realize how you could do the same thing … how you could project the energy back. I feel like I've done that in rapport meetings on a few occasions. And I came to the conclusion that it was not the right thing to do. I guess because I didn't understand the mechanism and I just didn't trust why I would do this. What would be the benefit of doing it, what would be the outcome, the purpose? Do it just for the sake of it, just because I felt it was something I could do? No, that doesn't make sense."

Bob relates how with his daughter he would try to make a connection with the baby's world, get into her head. He felt like he did it a few times, but he's not sure it wasn't an invasion of her mental space. After a while the baby would cry when Bob was around. He said he definitely got inside his father's head when he died. Bob thought the baby would see a sad and suffering side of existence, which is what Bob would pick up around Rose. "I always saw that his experience seemed to be an awfully heavy burden to him, to have to live in this dimension with the knowledge of that experience. So much so that it seemed like, boy, I don't want to deal with that." Bob is reminded of a poem in Carillon where the writer is out in the night, and truth is too thin a blanket:

Ah, Truth is a wonderful thing,
But a lonely thing,
And the fools who frolic on the green are happy fools,
But make-believe is not for hoary head or pedant's brow.
And the hollow laugh that finds echo far inside,
Will nevermore ring for thee.
All that rings in memory is the hint,
The haunting, wistful hint,
That somewhere, back, in a warmer, sunnier, clime,
We lived and lied and drank of fantasy,
More eternal than we.
And but for some relentless, judicial clock,
We might still be children dreaming in the meadow.

But here it is night….
And Truth is too thin a blanket.
~ From "Truth" by Richard Rose

Like Rose, Bob can appreciate beauty with intensity because he senses the suffering side. He says rapport events happened more with the women than the men. "You heard about it happening all the time, that women were like a radio receiver without the tuner, having an inability to focus their reception. They were extremely sensitive to picking up stuff, where men had the ability to focus but lacked sensitivity."


Eric H. relates that about a month after he came to the group in Pittsburgh, he went to the city ashram shared by some students on the South Side. Rose was there and went around the room, asking people to tell about their life in a general way. Eric started telling of all his spiritual exploits, and while he was doing this all of the dark side of his existence was flying through his mind at the same time. "It put me in a real hyper state. The room went out. I had no vision of the room, it was all blank. I could still hear Rose's voice. And all of a sudden I was in some kind of state … where I could look into the room through a small circle. It was like an angel. I guess my thoughts and consciousness caught up to me at that point, and I became really nervous and scared. I remember thoughts going through my mind that I didn't want to go further, although I could've gone further…. I came back into the room, and it really shook me." Eric says it wasn't a psychological experience in the sense of being therapeutic, but "it put me into a different state of awareness. And also gave me the knowledge that Mr. Rose was able to create first the experience and then be above the dimension that was necessary to create such an experience."


Augie T.: These kind of experiences, according to Rose, hook you. Afterwards you realize spiritual things are real, and there's more to life than sleeping, eating, and drinking, and you can't go back to being the same person. Augie says the most important thing is how the things that happened were spontaneous.


Mike G. tells of time Rose and he and another person were getting into a car to drive to the meeting in Pittsburgh. "He and I went around the car to get in on the passenger side. And I glanced up and there was a leaf floating down in front of the car. And I got the impression that there was something very significant about this leaf; there was a real strong feeling about it. Later on in the meeting, Mr. Rose mentioned something about this leaf, that it was reminiscent of satori. And it was amazing."

Mike describes the time he drove C.R. down to West Virginia from Pittsburgh; she was in a depressed mood and crying. He was trying to put himself in the same frame of mind to pick something up as in rapport. "All off a sudden I felt the bottom drop out of me. Tremendous depression." He didn't think he made it up. It didn't compute with anything he normally felt.

"At a rapport sitting in 1975 or 1976, there was a fair-haired guy named Rich who was very sensitive. Something was bothering him at the meeting, where there was a lot of energy in the room. Rose had a facility for funneling energy—he always claimed he was just pointing to where it was—to the extent that one can be a vehicle for channeling energy. This guy got hit when Rose pointed at him because he knew what was happening to Rich. And he physically started shaking, just more than he could handle. The guy never came back after that. Something scared him."

"I don't have any idea about where he would put his mind to cause this to happen, if in fact he was doing this in some fashion. In most meetings where you could sense that happening, when it was over you'd realize your perspective had changed as a result of sitting in the meeting. It was unlike your perspective changing in other meetings. I knew that there was a difference and felt that he was the source of that."

Mike said when he and other students were sitting in rapport without Rose, they would try different things to start out, such as telling jokes or kidding each other about stuff, and then everybody felt relaxed from laughing about it. Sometimes they would chant Om.

"One of the most profound things that happened to me was in a rapport sitting in '76. Mr. Rose was not there. Frank M., Don S., Al F., and maybe Dan P. were together, telling some raunchy jokes, chanting om, talking about betweenness." Mike tried to get into that state, going around the room mentally and trying to pick up on people. Went to Al first, nothing unusual. Mike had been sitting with Frank for 4 or 5 years since he met him at the U. of Pittsburgh. "I was in a different state, further back in my head. It was easier to pick up on other people." As he went around the room, the thought came into his head that Frank was aware that there was something more back there watching all of this. "As I turned to Frank, he was looking right at me. I turned … there was a glow of energy, a jolt of energy, of the type that frequently manifested. But this was extreme, and it caused my mind to wobble. My mind was on a knife-edge, falling…. It was absolutely frightening … the fear was overwhelming. As I subsequently realized things about it (from readings in Zen), it was like dying while living. I also found out later that Frank had had the same thought that I had when looking at him. That shock gave me a perspective. Actually I was reeling in my mind, which could have died or gone insane. When it was all over, I felt there was something I was familiar with back there that I had come in contact with. That began to fade after a period of time. But for me that validated the fact that there is an observer that can observe the fall of the mind. Subsequently I read some things in Huang Po about the fall of the mind and nothing to stay the fall."

Another time, there was a meeting of group monitors—guys leading self-inquiry groups from Kent, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Ohio State U.—about 7 or 8 people. Mike T., who ran the Columbus meeting, was there. They met at Frank's house in Pittsburgh, and had a rapport sitting. Energy manifested and landed on Mike T. "He realized he had more work to do, because when the energy hit him, he felt it go downwards instead of upwards to his head. He felt bad about it because he couldn't raise it in the right direction."

After about 20 minutes and nothing more was happening, the group began to break up. The suggestion was made to take the picture of some guy that was leaving, which occurred while Mike G. and Dan P. were staring at each other. And at that moment, their two minds became one. "The other one was aware that the other one was aware, and we tried to hold that point of betweenness or awareness as long as possible. It didn't matter because we ignored them (the group wanting to take a picture). We both ignored them. We both knew we were trying to ignore them. We both knew why."

"There wasn't a thought—just awareness and a desire to maintain that awareness. We were both aware that our minds were one. There weren't two minds; there was one. If either of us would have been aware of anything more or had an experience … it makes understandable the idea of transmission of mind, because extrapolating that, it's an experience of awareness, not mentation."

"It was as if our heads spun around internally and connected. And the moment it finally ended, the awareness, it flew apart at the speed of light—instantaneous separation. In both cases we were a little bit stunned with the sense that our minds, our mental heads, had been turned around."

"I've been sick before, and after you're sick you realize that your health is more of a balance on a knife-edge than you normally think it is. When it gets out of kilter, you realize it. When you're well, you think your equilibrium can't be upset. I think the same thing is true with the mind. It's like on this knife-edge where its balance … I felt that I was going to die or go insane. I mean really die, not just like the thought of dying. Just that there was absolute certainty in that. And as a result of that, my fear kept it from falling. And I always wondered if I had had more individual momentum at that time whether that would carry me on past the fear."

"It was an automatic animal reaction. That's one of the events that brought tears to my eyes. There was a sense way back in there, there was a really familiar awareness, which sounds a lot simpler than the way that it emerged in time. Somehow I got close to some part of me that was familiar and there all the time. And I know that for a period of two to three weeks afterwards, I felt a personal sense of inward momentum and a tremendous desire for inward momentum. I tried to convince myself to redouble my efforts. I tried some but couldn't because there was this fear of death there. I asked Rose about it later, and he said, 'Well if I'd been in the room, maybe I could have pushed you over the edge.' He had a sense for where that was and that one shouldn't be afraid of it."


Al F.: There was so much energy in the room at times. Each took a chair in a circle, in the middle room of Benwood. Occasionally someone would start weeping. "Rose went through a transformation; it's almost as if he revealed another side to himself, usually non-verbal, a tremendous awesome power. It was like everybody in this room were cardboard cutouts and Rose was the center of the universe." People were fasting, also.

Al also participated in a rapport group in which Rose didn't attend, which validated rapport. "I had an experience in which there was energy in the room, and I felt it, becoming paralyzed. I reached a point at which I felt my mind was shut in one little corner. Something caught my attention. It wasn't even a physical movement, but that if I turned my head to the right, the feeling was as if there was a locomotive going a hundred miles an hour and that, if I looked at it, would be this far from my face. For whatever reason, whether I chose not to, or I just couldn't look; it was a feeling of total annihilation. This is really what Zen was talking about, death of the mind."

Another time, the pressure increased and increased until Al felt as if the inside of his body was being pushed out from the inside. It became intense, and he felt his face contorting. His body strained until he felt his conscious mind was barely occupying a tiny space in the top of his frontal lobe in skull. The rest of his body he felt he didn't possess. Suddenly the tension lifted, and he relaxed and fell into a mood of light despondency.

In one particular group, "there was Don S., Mike G., Mike T., Dan P., and a couple others. This group got together for over a year. Mike G. got hit. We generated our own energy. Rose sometimes sat with us. Someone would read a passage to focus our minds. Don S. got hit. We came to recognize the presence of energy—you could feel it as experiential. You feel it … it was like the room would get thick. The borderline between the self and the room would start to disappear, and you couldn't keep this feeling out, and with it was a certain amount of tension and apprehension—like mounting the steps to the guillotine…. But that was what we were sitting for. Rose said this is the way to abridge years of work."

"Frank M. was going through hell with marriage. At the beginnings of the meetings, we joked around. As soon as it got quiet, it would come right to the surface: his wife, his separation. You would look at someone like they were cardboard dummies. Frank and I both picked up on Dan P. We both saw the same thing in somebody else, and we both had the same identical thoughts. We were in a triangle, I looked at him (Dan), and this guy looked like two people … and one was a raving maniac. It was like you could split his face. Rose verified it, 'You have some insight into him.'"

Al F. continues: "It was insight, this type of insight, that Rose had of people. We were getting it, you know, sitting in a chair talking to Dan. You don't get this insight, only under these conditions. The dominant side of Dan was a boyish, quiet side. Dan always cocked his head a certain way, because Dan was a thief, a bullshitter. He stole stuff from the farm. He was part Russian, part Italian, part Slav. We had one mind on this, this was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and we would have never picked that out on him. The funny thing about it, Dan knew he had been had, he knew he had been revealed."

"I remember in the farmhouse, upstairs, the night that I got hit. I was on the edge of my chair, sitting there, my legs trembling. I couldn't stop them. And having that feeling, like you were by a railroad track, and there's a locomotive going 100 mph, and it's one inch from your head, with no escape. The experience possibly could have unfolded, but at that moment, you fight. The mind is screaming … under those circumstances, there's no choice in the matter. You don't calmly say, 'This is death, this is what I've been looking for.' Part pray, part distraction. Get up, bolt and run. Rose wasn't even there. This only proved, this validated, everything Rose ever said about an experience, about dropping the ego. That this was a doorway, and that everybody's experience would be different but the same."

Al said he could feel the presence of energy, and he was afraid of it. Another time, in the kitchen of Rose's house in Benwood, Al was sitting next to Rose, who was on his right, Augie next to Rose at the end of the table, and a few others around the table. "It was like sitting here talking, and I look down, and then I look up, and I'm sitting with a stranger."

"We bottomed out at 9 PM, and there were periods when none of us spoke at all for a few minutes at a time. Quiet desperation." Rose appeared to be ambling around by throwing out bits and pieces of comments and jokes. Then Augie got quiet, and that's when Rose started to recite 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.' And he turned to Augie: 'You know the guy who wrote that was enlightened.' And that's when the room changed colors. The intensity began to pick up."

Al didn't want to look at Rose. "I was so afraid of this change that came over me. I remember him saying to Augie, 'They keep marching and marching, endless cavalcades, marching to their deaths.' Augie wasn't looking at Rose, at anybody. Augie was riveted in his chair. Nobody was talking. Everyone was aware of the fact that something was going on with Augie." To Al, it was the most manifest energy he had ever experienced. Al said there was a tremendous fear of impending annihilation, fear of death.

"Rose was inside Augie's head…. Augie was on the edge of a cliff. When you hear these descriptions of the death of the ego, the ego is balanced on the edge. Augie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Rose was in his head and that Rose could have kicked him over. There's a realization that we don't run the show, that when death comes we can't stop it. Rose said for years that the nature of this experience is realizing that the self doesn't exist. I'm my biggest obstacle…."


End of part 3. These three parts comprise about half of the total material. This may be continued in future Forum issues.

Return to the main page of the May 2017 TAT Forum.

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